This is a guest post by Dr. Bob Clarke.
It’s hard enough to build a successful and profitable blog when you have all day and night to devote to it. But when you’re a part time blogger working around a full time job, taking care of the kids and/or your elderly parents, success can seem like it’s a mile away.
While it’s not impossible to transform yourself from a part time blogger to a highly successful full time blogging machine (think Kristi Hines, creator of this blog and others), those blogging part time face unique challenges.
The fact is, if you want to succeed as a part time blogger, you’d better bring your “A game” at all times. You simply cannot afford to be wasting time in the few hours you have to devote to blogging each day.
While it’s always a good idea to study those who are successful, sometimes it works equally well to examine the reasons why many fail to thrive.
With this in mind, I share with you the most common wasteful habits that will torpedo a part time blogger faster than a submarine can sink it’s unsuspecting prey.
1. You Don’t Understand WHY You Want to Blog
Everyone thinks they should have a blog when they start marketing online; yet, you’d be surprised how many “bloggers” have no idea why they’re doing so. The result is a mediocre blog lacking direction and results.
Take some time to figure out what you want your blog to accomplish. Are you looking to build your email opt in list, sell products or an income opportunity, or simply wanting to build your reputation and value to others?
Understanding why you are blogging in the first place will help you become clear about your expectations and what actions you wish your readers to take.
2. You Don’t Understand WHO You are Writing For
This is just as wasteful as #1. If you try to write for everyone and anyone, your results will be just as diluted as your profits.
For example, I wasted over a year with my Network Marketing blog because I was not clear about who my target audience really was. But when I focused my writings on helping Part Time Entrepreneurs navigate the struggles and difficulties associated with building a business “on the side”, my blog’s popularity grew by leaps and bounds.
3. You Treat Your Blogging as a Hobby Instead of a Full Time Enterprise
Being a Part Time blogger doesn’t make you any less serious than those that blog full time. It simply means you have less time than most to build your business.
Don’t make the mistake of treating your blog like a hobby.
Be sure that you have a dedicated work area that is used solely for your home business, if at all possible. Open up an email account just for your business and perhaps get a dedicated phone line, as well.
Get your family to respect your business hours by discussing the benefits they’ll receive when you’re successful!
Be professional and be serious when it comes to your business.
4. You Fail to Set Goals and Have a Plan
A sailboat with a broken sail and no rudder will float aimlessly in the ocean, going wherever the tide takes it. Similarly, a part time blogger without goals and a plan will flounder aimlessly with not much to show for his effort.
Set some goals for your blog, make them specific, measurable and attainable, and check your progress regularly. Create a plan that is consistent with reaching your goals in a reasonable period of time.
By doing so, you’ll go a long way towards boosting your productivity and the success of your blog.
5. You Don’t Have a Blogging Schedule
Setting a writing schedule is all about organization. Decide how many blog posts you can reasonably write on a weekly basis and stick to it. I use the Editorial Calendar WordPress Plugin to map out my posts each month and create reminders to publish, but it can be as simple as putting a pen to paper.
However you decide to do it, most successful Part Time Bloggers have a rigid system for scheduling their posts.
6. You Lack Consistency and Accountability
This one is true for all bloggers, but especially so for part timers. Being consistent in your blogging efforts works on a couple of different levels — it creates a routine for the blogger and gets her readers used to expecting posts on a regular basis. Both are crucial for the success of the Part Time blogger.
It’s also a great idea to have an accountability partner, someone who helps you stick to your schedule and expected work output.
The bottom line: Be consistent in your efforts and accountable to yourself and your readers.
7. You Fail to Identify and Plug Productivity Leaks
If you are a Part Time Blogger, it is especially important that you identify leaks in your productivity and do your best to plug them.
What do I mean by productivity leaks? Simply, places where you are not using your time as efficiently and effectively as you could. For me, I was spending too much time browsing social media and not enough time performing tasks that would actually generate income.
Also, I made the mistake of keeping Skype and my email open while trying to blog. The result?
Too many distractions and wasting too much time.
What are your productivity leaks? Where are your time-wasters?
When you identify them and make adjustments in your work habit, you’re productivity will skyrocket and success will soon follow.
8. You Believe That Multi-Tasking is the Answer
It is my opinion that multi-tasking for a Part Time Entrepreneur is rarely a good thing and can cripple your productivity rather than boost it. While it may seem like you’re getting more done by doing two or more things at the same time, this usually results in many half-finished projects or putting out mediocre work.
If you’re tempted to multi-task, think again. It will make you more unproductive and ultimately less successful.
9. You Edit While You Write
Editing your posts as you write is a very unproductive way to create a post. You can be a much more prolific blogger if you just write a post from start to finish, without editing. Later, go back and reread your post, cutting unnecessary words and fixing spelling and grammatical errors.
Write first, edit later — it’s the strategy of most productive bloggers.
10. You Don’t Batch Your Work
Batching involves setting aside a certain period of time for writing and creating multiple posts at one sitting. By blocking out time specifically for writing, your blogging productivity will soar.
I find it much easier to create several posts during a 2 hour period of writing, rather than writing posts as needed. It’s also helpful to have backup posts when “life happens” and you are unable to blog for whatever reason.
11. You Don’t Have a Method for Capturing Ideas
Everyone struggles at times with finding topics to blog about. For the Part Time blogger, this can be especially daunting since you don’t always have the time to go searching for ideas.
Ideas for a blog post can come at any time — at your computer reading a related article, standing in line at the supermarket, even in the shower! It’s really important not to waste a single idea.
Have a system for capturing these ideas immediately. One “old fashioned” way is to have a pad of paper and pen with you at all times. Alternatively, you can turn to technology.
In the past, I have used a voice activated recorder to capture ideas as they come to me. Now, I use my iPhone for this purpose.
I also use a Mobile app called EverNote to take more extensive notes about blogging ideas. Wherever I am, I can open EverNote on my iPhone or laptop and capture an idea when it hits.
12. You Fail to Leverage Technology
There are so many ways that technology can make your life easier; to not leverage that technology is simply foolish.
Here are just a few ways that technology can make the part time blogger more productive and successful:
- Using RSS feeds to keep up with your competitors and provide ideas for future content.
- Sharing your content on social networks
- Using services like OnlyWire to share your posts on dozens of social bookmarking sites simultaneously
- Installing WordPress plugins that automatically make your blog SEO friendly and faster to load
The technology available to bloggers is amazing; leverage it to your advantage!
13. You Don’t Leverage The Skills (and Followers) of Other Bloggers
Asking other bloggers to guest post on your blog is a win-win situation in my view, as long as your blog posts predominate. By having another blogger in your niche post on your site, not only are you creating more content for your blog but you are potentially attracting a whole new set of readers to your site.
Similarly, guest blogging on other blogs is an extremely productive use of your time. You get exposure to new readers and build relationships with other bloggers.
It can be a little intimidating to do it the first time, but don’t let fear stop you. Just do it!
14. You Don’t Take Advantage of Blog Commenting and Syndication Tribes
Some of the fastest ways I’ve found to boost the popularity of my blog has been through the use of blog commenting groups and content syndication tribes. The concept is simple — you arrange with other bloggers to promote their content and comment on their posts and they do the same for you.
For the struggling Part Time Blogger, this strategy can really help your blog get a foothold and established in your niche.
15. You Don’t Take Care of Yourself
It’s really tempting to skip your workout or grab some fast food when you are pushed for time and need to get writing. But to ignore your health is a huge mistake for Part Time bloggers.
In order to be more productive, you must feel well. This means getting enough sleep, eating well and getting physical exercise on a regular basis. Don’t skip this — it will come back to haunt you. I speak from experience on this one!
Bonus Tip: What If Life Gets In the Way?
I’ve added this last tip because it’s been an issue for me lately. What do you do if life “happens” and you just can’t find time to blog?
It happens to all of us at some point, and it’s important that you don’t beat yourself up over it.
My advice here is to direct your focus on taking care of your life issues first and foremost. If not, you will likely be distracted and not be very productive anyway. Give yourself permission to take a break and resolve your other problems.
Your blog will be there when you get back.
Explain to your readers why you’ve been missing in action and maybe even share some aspects of your personal struggles. They will love you for your openness and honesty.
As a Part Time blogger, it will be easy for you to become frustrated when your blog readership isn’t growing fast enough or your blog isn’t generating much income.
The most important advice I can give you is to be patient! Your time will come! Make sure you are using your limited time as efficiently and effectively as possible, and the results will follow.