When I first started blogging, I truly had no clue what I was getting myself into. Over the past year, I have thrown myself into learning everything I can about this industry, and I wanted to share some simple but effective ways to save time and sanity.
Blogging is a great way to both build a community online and bring in some extra income, but there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of. With these tips and tools, you really can keep everything on schedule!
#1: Find Your Focus
The first thing you will hear in any blogging course is to “find your niche.” This will come with differing opinions about how narrow your niche needs to be, and there is no hard and fast answer to this. Often, it’s something you just need to experiment a bit with.
It is important to make sure that you have a focus, though.
Think of it like teaching your child how to write a paragraph. They may enjoy pancakes, homemade slime, their new favorite TV show, and the park down the street. These are all good things to write about…just maybe not in the same paragraph.
Picking a focus – a niche – for your blog is kind of like narrowing down paragraph topics. It’s fine to have a few different sub-topics that all go together, like homeschooling, homemaking, and parenting.
However, trying to write about travel, gluten-free baking, and mental health all on the same site, simply because they interest you, will be hard for your readers to follow.
Staying true to your focus – your niche – allows readers to want to engage with you, but it also helps you stay authentic. At the end of the day, being authentic with your readers is a huge part of having a successful blog.
#2: Learn as You Go
One of the most important things to understand is that blogging carries a pretty steep learning curve, especially during the first year. Think back to when you first started a new job, became a parent, or started homeschooling. There was a lot to learn, and there was no way you could do it all at once!
Blogging is very much the same. Something I found within weeks of starting my blog, though, is that the blogging community is filled with wonderful people who are willing to help you along the way. Your job is to be teachable, to be willing to learn.
In addition to learning from other bloggers, there are some excellent courses that are worth investing in!
I’ve tried a lot of blogging courses, and the following are the ones that I’ve found to be the most helpful.
Each of these courses is self-paced, and you will have lifetime access to the materials. They’re also among the most affordable and effective training resources I’ve come across!
#3: Automate Your Tasks
One of the questions I hear the most often from new bloggers is, “How do you manage to do it all?”
The truth is, most bloggers don’t…or at least, they don’t manage it without help.
If you have the budget, you can hire a virtual assistant (VA) to help you with time-consuming (but necessary) tasks, but even then, you will likely need to have automating tools to help out.
These tools not only save time, but they help you in many other ways. They allow you to do what you do best, in the time you have, which in turn saves stress. It’s a win-win!
For example, the right social media scheduler can help you increase your reach and market your site and products more effectively. There are a lot of different choices out there, but my favorite (by far) is SmarterQueue. It’s flexible, incredibly effective, and easy to use – and you can try it free for 30 days to see what you think!
You may have heard how important Pinterest is for bloggers, and Tailwind is a tool that I’ve found to be indispensable for my Pinterest strategy. (It can also be used for Instagram!) With this link, you’ll get a $15 credit toward your purchase – a definite budget and sanity saver!
Lastly, you’ll want a tool for creating graphics for your site, social media, and pins. There are several amazing tools out there, but if you are new to graphic design, Canva is a great choice. There are both free and paid accounts available, and it comes with just about everything you’ll need!
#4: Engage Your Readers
In order to have an engaged reader base, you’ll need to actually engage your reader base. It seems like common sense, but it is a step that many wait to take!
In the email course recommended above, you will learn everything you’ll need to know about building, maintaining, and engaging with your email list. To do this though, you’ll need to have an email service provider.
There are several good options out there, but two that I’ve found easy to work with are Mailerlite and ConvertKit. Each comes with different levels of service, but they are the two that I’ve found that are the “best bang for your buck.”
MailerLite is a great choice if you’re starting out and need something inexpensive but easy to use. ConvertKit costs a little more, but it will also give you better functionality and stronger open rates. I would recommend checking them out to see which best fits your needs!
Having the right tools and training at your disposal will help you keep it all together. Once you have those in place, you’ll be all set to grow both your blog and your business!