15 Wasteful Habits of Unproductive (and Unsuccessful) Part-Time Bloggers

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.

Final Words

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.

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  1. says

    Interesting post Dr. Bob (with deference to the old Muppet Show, I loved saying that). There’s almost none of this that I can disagree with, while at the same time feeling like I have to add that no one has to be as rigid as the points seem to come across.

    For instance, I’m not sure #9 is all that wasteful a habit, just a recommendation for people who find that they have problems completing articles because they’re doing it. Also, #13 is a nice recommendation, but if you’re a part time blogger struggling to find time to write your own posts, it’s illogical to step out of your time zone to go writing for others until you get a handle on your own processes.

    Still, it’s a nice list for people to look at to see where they might fall, so good job.
    Mitch Mitchell just posted Making Money By Blogging – Let’s Talk

  2. says

    I am a part-time blogger and #1 thing that I have changed this year that has drastically increased my productivity and the quality of my blog is #11… Having a way to capture ideas for your blog at all times.

    You don’t get your best ideas only when sitting in front of the computer. Having ways to capture those ideas anytime (i.e. Evernote or just caring a pad and pen) is extremely important.

    Thank you!
    Ryan Hanley just posted How Small Business Can Leverage Social Media to Fight Back Against Their Big Business Competitors

  3. says

    Very good article! I especially liked #7 and #8. The concept of “productivity leaks” is new to me, but immediately recognizable in my own habits! Also, I am a serial multi-tasker! Guess I should start rethinking some of my routines.. Thanks for sharing!
    Serena just posted Bringing Live Support to Facebook

  4. says

    wow….u have said it all…… each and every blogger can relate with these habits…i guess most of the problem arises when people try to blog to earn quick cash…..soon they realize that it was not that easy as they thought it to be so and then they either quit or the blog quality decreases…

    its all about passion… if passion is put before money….quality will automatically reflect….
    there is no quick rich scheme..
    thanks for this wonderful share..

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  5. says

    Hey there Bob,
    Excellent tips/reminders for all of us part-time Bloggers. I find #10 and #11 very effective. I tried batching my work a couple times in the last few weeks and I find it very efficient. That was before I succumbed again, to the natural instinct of writing as I go. I will be sure to make it a habit to batch from here on out. I believe posting content regularly (which is the positive result of batching), also helps search engine robot get in a habit of checking your page frequently, so it’s definitely a plus.

    I will check out that app you mentioned in #11. My method is very archaic at this point. I just email myself the ideas as they come, then those emails get buried under a pile of other emails, and the rest is history :)

    Kodjo just posted Partner Workout – Clap Pushups

  6. says

    I find the concept of a blog tribe (for traffic, comments, what have you) to be really appealing and yet surprisingly difficult to organize. Plus few people have heard of it (or at least people I’ve thrown the idea out to). How do you get this started? Do you just email a blogger you have a connection with and toss out the idea?
    Alexis just posted Too Young to Cry it Out?

  7. says

    I do agree that blogging part time can make you a hobbyist, at best. People should treat blogging as a business, if they are serious about reaping any rewards out of it.

  8. says

    This is blunt, but true. I think many bloggers fall into some of these habits at some point in their blogging career. Blogs can be time consuming and when you are not making any money – frustrating. I think focus is key, thinking about your readers, connecting with them helps!

    Since blogging is on the Internet – multi-tasking and procrastinating are so easy! Having a tab with Facebook and another one with youTube can really stomp out productivity! One thing I have tried is writing my blog post in Word without having a browser open.
    Julie just posted Writing an eBook to Educate, Encourage and Inspire for the Beginner

  9. says

    I fell into the trap of so many of these before. I found that editing while I write or multitasking was distracting me too much. I like the saying, “Don’t edit yourself,” because to be in the flow of creativity is liberating.

    The one I didn’t think about was batching the work. That’s a good idea and makes sense. I set aside hours at a time to do work so why wouldn’t I set aside hours at a time to do writing for my own business blog? Thanks for that!
    Gabrielle just posted Engagement from Scratch! A Giveaway Copy of Danny Iny’s Book

  10. says

    Bob. Lots of cool stuff here. I agree with most of it. On scheduling: sure most part time successful bloggers have a schedule, but it doesn’t make having a schedule a determining factor of their success.

    On WHO you’re writing for, I like your approach. It’s interesting though, because I have a different approach which is to write for no one. I write what I feel, what I’m thinking and what’s interesting in areas I write about. I think “those who align will follow,” and so far that’s been the case. But to your point, I am writing mainly to entrepreneurs and marketers.

  11. says

    Hi Dr. Bob,

    Those are fantastic tips for successful blogging! One thing that I found extremely helpful especially in the early days was syndication. It really helped to build my blog traffic, build relationships, etc. I’ve had many followers stick around from those early days.

    Stacy just posted The Habit Building Challenge

  12. says

    Great insights Dr.Bob. Working on helping another part time blogger start up, so will definitely share this post with him. Great ideas, especaially on managing productivity, and keeping yourself accountable for your actions.

    I had life get in my way too, and it made me take a look at what I have been doing in my own business, and things I want to change. thanks for these tips.
    James just posted Taking Action To Achieve Your Dreams and Goals

  13. says

    Thanks for the post, great information! The tip on identifying productivity leaks truly spoke to me. As I was reading your post I was actually editing a post on my own blog and tweeting. I tend to do this when working later in the day to accomplish multiple tasks at once. But you are correct when my attention is placed on 2-3 different tasks at once, then neither of those tasks receive 100% of the attention they truly need.
    Regina S. just posted LearnVest: Getting My Financial House in Order

  14. says

    I agree with all your points! Especially the idea of NOT multi-tasking. I wrote a similar post solely about the downside of mutli-tasking. I will have to look into evernote…my ideas definitely come at the most random times, and I run to write them down before they leave my brain. An app for this would be great for ideas that hit while I’m on the go.
    Tracy just posted 10 Ways to Help Rid Yourself of Brain Fog

    • says

      Hi Nishadha, its so easy to lose a bit of productivity here and there.. that’ why I like to call them leaks. A few small leaks can add up to a large dropoff in your productivity if you don’t keep an eye on them.

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

  15. says

    Dr Bob,

    Great post here. I would say that while just about every single one of these is extremely important to productivity ones are specifically near and dear to my heart. My work online is the only way I make my living and still finding time to do everything is not always an easy proposition. I’m rigid with my time since I think it is one of my most valuable commodities.

    Being consistent, planning and executing an efficient manner are elements that I believe are essential to successful blogging.
    Steve just posted 119 Free Internet Marketing Tools to Grow YOUR Online Business or Blog

  16. says

    Great Post Dr. Bob, I think having a blogging schedule is very important though its sometimes difficult to keep to your blogging schedules especially if you are studying.

  17. says

    Very well said. I am a full time developer and i find it extremely difficult to maintain my blog. Although the site rankings are crawling up, the growth is really slow. Surely needs dedicated time for this to reap success and im striving hard..

  18. says

    Really nice post Dr. Bob, I think there are a lot of part time bloggers out there who waste a lot of time doing different unproductive stuffs. I think you could also include social media in your list since nowadays social media sites like Facebook and Twitter too have started adding to the un-productivity of bloggers. I think it is really important that one should make a schedule and try to follow it while blogging
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  19. says

    Dr. Bob, these gently delivered pieces of advice are critical to ponder, and I’m still struggling with why I want to blog and who I’m blogging for. I have learned a great deal from my experimenting, but am still experimenting. I know that some of my audience likes humor, others like more technical articles and commenting, while others are drawn into product reviews by search engines. I would like eventually to make some money, am building a list, and running a few ads. My main objective is to figure out how to get readers. But my strange mix of topics means my blog is at odds with itself. For now, I’m having fun and want to keep blogging part time. But as a web guru, product hawker, humor writer I’m really just a dabbler! A steady schedule of posts that I can sustain and have value to someone is my immediate goal. A second six months may have me more focused.
    AstroGremlin just posted Comment Treasure

  20. says

    Time Management and Fixing Schedules are very important in these matters. This is a good guide for those part time bloggers out there who are still starting to make their own blog. All of what you’ve said are very true, because of peoples wide interest in many things they sometimes forget to focus on the niche of their blogs.

    Some just do it for fun but what important in my opinion is they keep their Inspiration and Motivation in blogging. 😉

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  21. Chris says

    These are all great comments! I am gearing up for to launch my own blog, so these recommendations came a perfect time for the part-time blogger.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    By the way, I came across this post on a Twitter from a link shared by @TweetSmarter



  22. says

    Hi Dr Bob. Wow, I see a lot of those things in myself when I had first started and there are a few that even today i struggle with.

    I think one of the biggest problems is #3. For some reason lots of us tend to not take blogging seriously as a business. I guess the way the society thinks of “internet marketing” in general, plays a roll in it as well.
    satrap just posted 60 Ways to Make Money Without a Job

  23. says

    Sometimes I suffer from the point #8. I am a full-time blogger and a SEO Content writer. Though both seem two sides of same coin, but it is not. When I write for clients I don’t get too much of freedom. This is against my blogging nature which I don’t like.

    All your points are valid. I appreciate the way you have put forward the lessons.
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  24. says

    Very nice Dr. Bob, and well thought out. Much of it seems like common sense but still often overlooked. You would think that we would have a good grasp on why we actually blog but I bet a lot of bloggers can’t answer that one decisively. The answer “to make money” is probably one way to insure that doesn’t happen. I can remember a few years ago when my best friend asked me that exact question and I was shocked at not having a decent answer. The next four wasteful habits are all but irrelevant without the answer to “why” we blog. It was very appropriate that you listed that as the number one point.

    I am very guilty of #9 – editing while I write. I have developed a habit of saving a post to draft, editing a dozen times or more and previewing the post with each edit. That’s probably why it takes me several hours to write a single post when you add in the time spent researching it. Something to work on. :)

    16) Never learning to type! Using two fingers to type and one of those is reserved for the shift and enter keys slows me down in a big way.
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  25. says

    I’m also a part time blogger, juggling all the things you mentioned. If you are a part time blogger, it’s important to understand that you need to manage your time really well. Also, you’ll havve to be more patient with growing your blog as you will need to give it more time to grow. Finally, remember that your other life endeavors still take precedence. At least for the time being. Don’t neglect the other parts of your life, trying to juggle everything.
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  26. says

    I’m guilty of several of those habits, the main one that I got over in the last several months is multi tasking, I used to have all kinds of tabs open, working on design, SEO, post creation and more on 5 different websites.

    Well now I have a plan, I have times for each thing, and I make sure I stick to that time, it’s much easier to get tasks completed and not be overwhelmed, which keeps me motivated.

    Thanks Dr. Clarke 😉

  27. says

    Hi Bob,
    Good Article!

    I’d like to share a couple of observations from past experience. My focus now is on creative writing and blogging but in the past I’ve worked as a technical writer.

    The key is to provide step-by-step procedures as concisely as possible but still point out areas that require special attention. I don’t want to ‘steal your thunder’, you’ve made your point well. Mainly, I’m making practical application and possibly pointing out some types of resources that may be helpful.

  28. says

    For me, I’ll address number 7. I find that I am continually thinking up new ways to improve both my business and my blog and jotting them down. So much so that I soon feel overwhelmed at the sheer volume of possible improvements I can make. and a “to do” list that numbers close to a hundred items.

    I find lately that if I focus on a single task or project until completion I’m able to accomplish more in the long run. Plus you end up with many feelings of accomplishment, vs. a feeling of leaving many things incomplete.
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  29. says

    Hey Bob,
    I can safely say I am guilty of 2,4,5,9 and some of the others to a lesser degree. In my defense though, I am becoming way more organised as of the late. The reason why is kind of ironic. I’ve been doing a linkbuilding exercise which has invariably lead me to blogs like this. Unlike most who are out simply to get as many links as possible, I actually ready every post from start to finish. At the minute my bookmarks folder looks like a bombsite from all the blogs I’ve marked. I’m going to separate those into different folders, according to niche so that I can revisit them.

    That is why the points I listed strike such a chord with me. Since becoming more organised and planning my content/activities, not only am I seeing an increase in traffic, I am learning something new with every post.
    Frank just posted Elance, Get Paid to Write Articles, Develop software and Build Websites

  30. says

    I’d be willing to bet that 67 and eight are probably my biggest weaknesses. I have too many leaks in my time because I’m trying to do too many tasks at once. I’m working on trying to fix that.

    as far as editing while you write, I think that’s a mistake a lot of people make. Having done NaNoWriMo a number of times, I can tell you that you can get a lot more done by not stopping to edit while you are writing a post. Get the thoughts out, and then you can correct it later.

    Great post.
    Grady Pruitt just posted I’ve Reached My Goal… Now What?

  31. says

    While reading the post, I saw myself and all my mistakes. I am a part time blogger and I have little time to work with myblog in fact. I have no cler purpo why I need all this stuff and who I am writing to and you are 200% right that I am not oganized at all. I need to decide myself if to cary on or just stop all this. I hope your tips will help to make this decision.

    • says

      I hope so, too Anna. Perhaps it will help to know you are not alone… many, many bloggers out there are in the same boat as you. Take your time, talk to some people and perhaps a mentor if you have one and decide what is your voice in all of this.

      I hope you will carry on and continue to blog. Once you find your voice and your target readers, blogging is very rewarding! Just ask Kristi!

    • says

      I also believe this is true, Ricardus… people think that making money from blogging is “easy money,” when we bloggers understand the complexities and the work it takes to have an awesome blog that brings in cash.

      I will also say that, for the most part people whose primary goal is to make money from their blog don’t make money, or if they do it’s not nearly as much as it could have been if they focused on helping others first. Just my 2 cents.
      Dr. Bob Clarke just posted How To Get Over The Fear of Writing Guest Posts