How To Run a Blog With Only 12 Hours a Week
Writing a blog isn’t as time consuming as you may think and so long as you put in the ground work at the beginning and come up with regular content ideas, the website will do a lot of the work for you. I only spend about 12 hours a week working on my website, and I want to show you that it’s possible for you to do the same.
8 Hours – Writing
Content is king. I do my absolute most to write the best content for my niche on the internet, and that’s why I dedicate so much time to writing. Even more important than writing though is planning, as in some cases it can literally halve your writing time. I’ve written before in detail about how important planning is, and I really can’t stress it enough, because when you start writing with no idea how you’re going to structure your post or what to include, it can take a lot longer.
I work Tuesday – Friday for other people, so I have the weekend and Monday to work for myself. I try to get all the writing out of the way on a Monday so that I’m set up for the week and not having to work evenings, and this usually works pretty well. It’s important to treat it like every other work day, and get to your computer at a sensible hour. Because I know much more about photography, I can write content pretty easily once I’ve thought of an idea, and you should be able to too, if you knowledgeable about what you’re writing about.
I find more than anything that half of the work is done as soon as I’ve thought of an idea that I can write about. I’m pretty good at writing, but once I’ve got an idea, or even just a vague title, I can start planning what I want to include in that post and build it up from there.
It’s hard coming up with good ideas all the time, but the trick is to keep thinking along the lines of what you know the most about, what people are asking to learn and what other people in your niche are writing about. I subscribe for about 50 RSS feeds of people in my niche and take inspiration from a combination of what they’ve written. It’s good to see what’s out there because then you know what you have to compete with and how well you have to write to create better content than them. That’s always my goal, because if you’re not writing content better than everyone else, then what’s the point in writing at all? My website survives the way it does because my readers stick with me after they’ve read a couple article, knowing that I’m writing important and relevant content.
2 Hours – Original Content
For me, this is photography, but for you it may be something completely different. When I say original content, I don’t mean text, I mean something else that sets you apart from the competition. This is relevant to everyone, even if you’re just spending some time making a diagram, or arranging an interview with someone – there’s always something that you can do.
I spend 2-3 hours each Thursday night either going out and taking photos by myself or seeing a model who will pose for my photos. I like to keep the photos fresh on my website so that I’m not constantly using the same ones over and over again. This means that everything on my website is 100% original and 100% the product of my hard work, which is starting to gain me some recognition. I would say I get at least 1 comment a day on my website, Facebook or Twitter, thanking me for my hard work and I even get comments from people asking where I get the photos from. This small step doesn’t take long, but dramatically improves your content and sets you apart from your competitors.
1 Hour – Twitter
This used to take me at least 5 hours a week, but I’ve got the majority of it automated now. I now follow people in my niche, follow back new followers, unfollow people who don’t follow back, tweet relevant content and tweet links to my own site and Facebook, all automated from 1 single program – TweetAdder. This now takes a lot of stress and time out of my work and allows me to focus on a more personal side of Twitter where I can interact with other readers.
The Twitter side to my marketing is actually pretty good fun and doesn’t feel like work, as I get to watch my following grow everyday and it’s a great way to interact with readers because not only do your readers get something out of it, but potential followers see that you’re actually human and not just an automated tweeting machine, which makes them more likely to follow you. One of my favourite parts about Twitter though is that I can use it to get attention from much more important people in my niche remarkably easily. Just today, I tweeted to someone with over 50,000 followers who’s at the top of their game and they replied. This means that they’re starting to notice me and over 50,000 people were tweeted my name.
30 Mins – Facebook
I treat Facebook very differently then my Twitter as I only post my own original content and photos, and I have the ability to have group discussions. I’ll post 2-3 photos a week on the fan page, along with the 3 tutorials that I’ve written and information about what I’ve been up to and what I’m doing next. I check my fan page multiple times in a day, but that’s merely out of interest, I don’t really do much work there, I wait until it’s the right time of day to start sharing content and discussions.
30 Mins – Analytics
The last thing that takes up any real time is checking my Analytics to see how well I’m doing. It’s important to know whether you’re having a good day or a bad day as there’s a lot that you can learn from it. I’ve learnt a lot more about what days to post and what time of day I should be posting to ensure that I’m getting regular visitors to my site. It also helps to know their traffic sources and amount of traffic because it’ll tell you something about the sort of content that you should be writing.
On days where I experience a large boost in traffic, it helps to know right away so that I can make the most of it. I can target the page and perhaps add a link to content that I want them to see, or I’ll re-promote relevant content in the featured post slider on the home page which will help to ensure that the visitors are spending longer on my site, and maybe even spending money. When you know that a particular site has sent you a load of traffic, then it’s always good to contact them or promote them too as they’ll recognise this and be more likely to promote you again in the future.
I hope I’ve shown you that it’s possible to make a website work and grow without having to work on it full time. It’s not really a full time job, it can just be a little bit of extra income, until it’s paying you enough money to go full time. I’m not really making much money at it yet, but it’s not taking me much time either so I can still go off and pursue other interests while my website is growing. That’s something I do a lot of, in fact, I’m going to Croatia for 11 nights at the end of the week, I just need to write a few blog posts before I go so that I can forget about writing while I’m out there.