For most of you folks, blogging probably began as nothing more than a hobby. Writing, sharing and hearing other people’s feedback brings a great sense of accomplishment…
But the fact is you can make money blogging if you play your cards well. That is namely the reason why lots of amateur bloggers so to say, start taking their efforts more seriously in the hopes to make some residual income.
And that is when things get a little harder!
If you want results, you need to start putting a lot of effort towards content creation, building an audience, promotion strategies, connection with readers and so on.
And although some of those tasks aren’t all that time-consuming, once you bundle them up, you end up spending several hours a day. And time is a big factor – after all one of the main goals is to spend as less time as possible, while generating as much ROI as possible.
That is exactly what I will cover today friends!
The sixteen tips you will see below are all about helping you become a more productive blogger and a marketer. I really hope you enjoy them and don’t forget to take a minute and share your feedback!
Let’s get started!
First up it’s writing. After all one big part of successful blogging is all about producing quality content. Here are some of the best ways to make that process a little more effective and finish your posts faster:
1. Read Relevant Blogs
You know that might seem obvious, but do you really take the time to see what’s going on in your niche?
The one simply truth about blogging is that you don’t really have to reinvent the wheel. Yes, everything that you cover has probably already been covered. So what makes the difference is not that much the topic itself, but your point of view.
Looking at that angle, you should absolutely check out what your competition is up to and take notes. The more you read, the more ideas will start floating in your head. And as we all know, coming up with the idea is often times tougher than actually writing the article.
2. Create a Plan of Attack
Spontaneity and writing go hand by hand.
Initially you might not have a clue as to what you are going to cover in your latest post. Once you begin to write however, the first sentence leads to the second, the second to the third and after some time you end up with the finished piece…
Or maybe not. Unfortunately the above is not always the case.
So what do you do if spontaneity doesn’t work?
Simple. You first create the backbone of the article and then start filling the blanks!
Here’s an example:
II. Actual Content
1. First Idea You’ll Talk About
1.1 First Takeaway
a) Additional specifications
1.2 Second Takeaway
2. Second Idea
3. Third, etc.
III. Conclusion and the place to ask people to comment
3. Use a Countdown Timer
One of the biggest problems when writing are distractions. Over time I found that one of the best ways to focus entirely on the article you are currently working on is by setting yourself a time limit.
Here is a really cool tool that does the job!
The thing is once you start the timer, you start writing and don’t stop until the countdown is over. That is why you should find a good balance between doing enough writing, but not getting frustrated by a too long time-frame.
My advice is to go for thirty to forty minutes. And before you get going, close all apps and sites that might prove a distraction. Social media is NOT an option. Open up the full screen no-distraction WordPress word editor click F11 and get going!
4. Don’t Leave for Later
Yeah, I know, sometimes you just can’t help it… But the fact is procrastination kills ideas. Sometimes you might have an excuse (although excuses work against you rather than help you) – you’ve had tough day, you’ve been redesigning your blog or you’ve been doing something else important.
The real problem is putting off writing when you have the idea, you know what you are going to write and how are you going to write it. You basically say to yourself ‘Nah, I know exactly what I am going to write, no need to rush‘…
And then once you finally decide to write the first lines you are like ‘Hmm, I’ve had an awesome idea, only if I could remember what it was!‘
Don’t procrastinate today’s work for tomorrow when you can leave it for the day after tomorrow doesn’t work if you want a thriving blog. Get used to that!
Moving on to the more general blogging part. Here are some ways to help you manage your content better and improve results:
5. Use Sticky Notes
I’ve actually written a whole post that is all about Sticky Notes and why you need them!
To sum it up though, Sticky Notes is a great free Windows tool that is exactly what the title suggests – a sticky note that stays on your desktop. It’s super simple, you just create the note and write down whatever you want. No need to save it and you can edit it straight from your desktop.
With the keyword list (included in the post about Sticky Notes) you have a full range of formatting if you’d like to use such. Other than that the main ways I use the notes is to collect blog post ideas, to create a daily to-do list and to make sure I’ve done things like proofreading, adding meta tags and so on before I publish a new post.
Definitely give that one a go!
6. Take Advantage of Infographics
Throughout the last months, infographics became quite a trend. And although they aren’t as much of a hit as they were in 2012, I strongly believe using infographics is a great content marketing strategy.
Why is that so?
Because infographics are mostly visual content, where you don’t have to write much. The only thing to write is a short introduction and a summary of what readers are going to see.
So you only have to spend a fraction of the time you’d need for a traditional blog post. At the same time however you end up with a piece of content that has a great chance of going viral.
The fact is people love infographics. Some of the infographics I’ve published on this blog have gotten close to double the sharing of my written articles, which is quite an impressive results.
7. Get the Editorial Calendar for WordPress
The problem with that is that it makes it difficult to get an idea of how your posts are structured over time. That in terms makes it hard to manage your drafts, schedule articles and look at the big picture of your posting schedule.
Fortunately for you and me, there is a great plugin simply titled Editorial Calendar that changes the boring layout.
Once you get it up and running you end up namely with a calendar and your articles placed on that calendar. From here you can easily move your posts around and add new ones.
All in all now you will be able to write a lot of posts in advance and schedule them accordingly and without wasting time, figuring out dates and days.
8. Prepare Your Call to Actions First
All the writing, promoting and socializing are worthless if you don’t first have the right call to actions. If you want to generate sales, get more subscribers and increase conversion rates in general, you need to prepare.
So in short, here is a list of the places where I’d advice you to include an opt-in form:
- At the top of your sidebar
- Under your blog posts
- In your About page (About page importance)
- In your “New Here” or “Start Here” page (more on the pages you need)
- In your footer
And if you are haven’t yet created a list, there’s no better time than now! MailChimp is totally free and it gives you everything you need in order to build an email list and make some money.
Here is the social media part of this post. As we all bloggers (should) know, having a social presence these days is an absolute must or you are missing out on a lot of traffic and clients:
9. Sign Up for a Triberr Account
Several months ago I wrote a full Triberr review, which you might want to check out…
But in short Triberr is a great way to get your content seen by a lot more eyeballs and also get to know new bloggers in your niche. On Triberr you enter different tribe and share the posts of the other tribe members. In exchange they do the same for you.
All in all you could expect to bring anywhere between 100 and 1,000 additional clicks on your latest blog post. So definitely check my review or simply go to Triberr.
10. Start Using Buffer
If you are into Twitter then you are probably using or at least have heard of HootSuite. Well I never really liked that one. Although there are lots of advanced features that one offers, my main desire was to schedule social media updates.
Once I discovered Buffer, I ditched that one straight away.
What is Buffer all about? Scheduling social media updates!
Buffer is absolutely free. Once you set it up, you create a posting schedule (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are supported as of now) and you simply start adding your updates to the buffer. All else is done on autopilot.
11. Give IFTTT a Shot
Or If This Then That is a great tool from the same guys who created Buffer.
The concept is great and can prove a big time-saver for marketers. What IFTTT does is it lets you connect two apps and get them to work together. At the moment there are 59 of them so that makes for a huge number of possible combinations.
By doing so for instance you can set up a recipe (that’s how the combinations are called) that adds an item to Evernote whenever you start something in your Google Reader… Or you can configure YouTube to send your “Watch Later” videos to Pocket… or connect your favorite blogs’ RSS to send the latest posts to Buffer.
The possibilities are almost endless, check it out!
12. Download TweetDeck
TweetDeck similarly to Buffer can be used for scheduling updates. The additional functionality it offers however, is the reason why I use that one.
You can set TweetDeck to display all of your Twitter mentions. And since it’s a desktop tool, by installing TweetDeck, you basically eliminate the need to sign in to Twitter every now and then to check your replies. Instead you get notified every time someone mentions you in a tweet.
The added bonus with TweetDeck is that at least in my opinion the interface is better organized than the one Twitter offers and all in all you end up having Twitter at your fingertips whenever you need it.
As tedious as it might be, search engine optimization is the one thing we all, marketers need if we want to get high-converting traffic and make money. So here are some SEO suggestions for you to consider:
13. Use the Yoast Plugin
WordPress SEO by Yoast is THE way to write both for your readers and for the search engines.
Along with the huge variety of SEO options it offers, the plugin allows you to set a keyword you’d like to focus on for the specific post you are writing.
Based on the word of your choice, you are given different suggestions as to where to include the keyword, what headline to choose and so on.
I’ve talked about Yoast in my post about WordPress plugins, which you might want to take a look at.
14. Try Market Samurai
For the Yoast WordPress plugin to work, you first need to find relevant keywords. Keyword research is crucial if you want to discover phrases that people actually search for, but also that don’t have much other blogs competing for.
And that is exactly where Market Samurai comes into play. I bought the tool several months ago and until now I am really happy with the results I’ve been seeing.
With the huge variety of filtering options available, you can easily find the best keyword for the topic you are covering right now. Of course if you prefer not to buy the tool, there’s always the option to use Google’s Keyword Tool.
15. Use THIS Guest Blogging List
Neither keyword research, nor on-site SEO are enough to get you going in your SEO game. What you need is guest blogging and a lot of it. As of now I have almost ten published guest articles, some of which on high-ranking blogs like Kikolani and TrafficGenerationCafe.
One of the problems when it comes to guest blogging is actually finding the blogs to write for. If you are a marketing or a social media blogger, definitely check out this guest blogs target list written by Danny Iny.
Danny has taken care to display the Alexa traffic rank of the blogs, their PR rank and their respective niches.
16. Check out My Blog Guest
My Blog Guest on the other hand is a great service that is all about helping you discover where to guest blog. Or if you are an author you can sign up to find guest contributors, willing to write for your own blog.
All in all if you are serious about your blog, building a loyal readership and monetizing it, consider guest blogging. I was actually skeptical if the time would be worth the results, but just after getting my first guest post published, I began seeing a jump in organic traffic.
Now a month later, I’ve almost tripled my organic traffic figures since I started.
I really hope you found some of the tips I shared useful friends! The above are how I manage to work less and improve results and productivity at the same time. All in all my blogging day comes at two-three hours at most. Definitely not that much considering the profits you could make.
Now I’d like to hear your thoughts! What are your ways to increase your productivity as a marketer? Have you tried some of the tools I talked about? If so, what are your thoughts?