Are you trying to grow your blog without giving up your day job? Or is blogging the only thing that you do in life? Probably not (according to Technorati up to 64% of bloggers are classified as Hobbyists and another 13% are Part-Timers.) It would be cool if every single blogger could devote 100% of his/her working hours to this fun and exciting activity but realistically not all of us are full-time bloggers.
Balancing blogging with your day job and your life can be quite difficult. After all we have only 24 hours in each day and we have to spend at least 6 of them sleeping. Considering that there are over 133,000,000 bloggers in the world today (and more popping up every day) I believe that it is time to start talking about blog/life balance as opposed to boring work/life equilibrium.
If you have a big dream for your blog then you need the time and resources for it. Then you throw your money-making job into this mix, your family, friends, a little bit of exercise, maybe a hobby or two, personal growth … Did I forget anything?(probably, yes.) I think that we definitely need some balance in this cocktail.
I’ve been running my blog for about 3 years now and only in the last one and a half years I finally made it a priority. With the long-expected growth (I still remember my first milestone of getting the first hundred of readers. WooHoo!) came the realization that blogging was a lot of work. Here are just a few well-known successful blogging tips:
- Create great content,
- Optimize for SEO,
- Write guest posts (on a regular basis),
- Maintain your Social Media presence,
- Launch a newsletter,
- Keep your design modern and uncluttered.
And then you have all the extras of answering comments and emails, keeping in contact with other bloggers, taking care of an unexpected blog crash (I think every blogger goes through it at least once.) And I am not even mentioning any monetization strategies which become a priority if you want to become a full or even part-time blogger.
How can you balance it all with your life and still stay sane?
The whole time that I’ve been running my blog I was also working and taking care of my family (I have toddler-twins so I know everything about staying busy) while still devoting time to my health (exercise and healthy diet). As you can see I know a few things about life balance.
If you really want your blog to grow but cannot devote 100% of your time to it you can consider these strategies that proved to be helpful and effective for me:
- Divide and Conquer. I believe in the importance of breaking down big globes of commitments into simple steps. It means that I have not more than one big project on my blog a month. Instead of running wide open and burning out quickly I choose a slow but steady-growth strategy.In practice you can create a list of projects or blog growth strategies that you are interested in and then put them in your schedule. Whenever you are done with one project you can move on to the next one instead of piling them one on top of the other one.
- Learn from the best. My blog finally started growing and I finally realized where to focus my efforts (rather than running in circles like a hamster on a hamster wheel) when I found the best blogging mentors. My blog was a mess and my blog vision simply didn’t exist until I joined the first A-List Blogging Bootcamp. Leo Babauta and Mary Jaksch taught me how to create great articles and choose catchy headlines, they explained the importance of a good blog design and shared numerous tips about promoting my blog content. They helped me understand what my readers wanted and how to give it to them. You can spend weeks, months and even years trying to figure out the best ways to grow your blog. Or you can learn from the experience of A-List Bloggers and use their wisdom to stop spinning your blogging wheels.
- Delegate. There are certain things on my blog that I prefer to outsource like graphic design and theme tweaks? Ask yourself what is the most important thing that you have to do on your blog. If you’ve been reading Write To Done at least for a little while then you know that you need to create excellent content. This is the most effective way of spending your time, the rest can be outsourced.
- Find help. Just lately I’ve opened up my blog to contributing authors. I think that it is the best thing that I’ve done on my blog in a long time. First of all, my readers benefit from reading a wider range of topics and opinions. Secondly, I am not so pressed to pump out 3-4 articles a week which gives me more time to concentrate on creating more useful articles (here is a benefit for my readers again.)
If you already have subscribers on your blog then it will be easier for you to attract guest authors. But even if you are just starting out you still can team up with other beginner-bloggers. It is a win-win situation.
- Simplify your blog strategy. If you are limited on time you need to choose the most effective growth strategies that work for you. You can try to create a social media following, optimize each one of your articles for SEO, write a few guest posts a week, comment on other blogs and try every new blog trend. But do you really have enough time for it? The truth is that if you do not put enough effort into each of these strategies then they simply won’t work.I might sound like a dinosaur from the Stone Age of blogging but I’ve completely quit my Social Media race. I rarely check my Twitter and Facebook (once a month at the most) and ignore any other social media site except for StumbleUpon (now, I really love this one because it steadily brings me a good amount of traffic and it is effortless.) Instead I focus on guest posts and search engine traffic. How can you simplify your blogging strategy?
- Simplify your blog. Another thing that I have recently done on my blog was close my comments. It has tremendously decreased my blog workload without any sacrifices to the traffic. Here are a few reasons why I did it:
- stop fighting spam comments which eventually penetrate Akismet and any other spam filters,
- stop wasting my time answering each and every comment (it’s not a secret that most comments are left by other bloggers who just want a little bit of traffic to their own blog),
- stop worrying about posts that have no or few comments and look very lonely.
Readers who have questions and who want to share their experience with me send me a personal email. I prefer this personal communication much more. One day I might reopen my blog for comments but for right now I prefer the “silent mode” of my blog.
- Carry a notebook with you. Sometimes you can get an idea for an excellent post when you are at work, hanging out with your friends or when you just woke up. While you won’t always have the opportunity to write this post right away you can jot it down in an old-fashioned notebook. When it is time for your next blog posts you will have an excellent idea waiting for you. After all, there is nothing worse than a writer’s block when you are facing a deadline.
- Simplify your blog communications. Having an email address that you use only for your blog is a must in my opinion. It helps you to keep your emails organized and separate your personal, business and blog emails from one another. Set aside some time during the day to check your blog email but make sure that you have enough time to answer your emails before you open your inbox. Email can be a huge time trap when you do not use it wisely.You can also write a few guidelines on the contact page of your blog. If you are not interested in product reviews or guest posts – clearly state so on your contact page. It will save you and the person who is sending you an email a lot of time. Possible categories that you might want to mention:
- Guest posts
- Product Reviews
- Use of your content (your copyright)
- Personal emails and requests
- Thank you notes
- Enjoy time away from blog. This is probably the most important part. The blogging world can easily consume you making you think about new posts and blog updates every waking hour of your day. No matter how much you and I love blogging it is important to step away from it and spend time with your loved ones, devote some time to your health and spiritual needs. This time away from blog will give you more inspiration to create the most excellent and amazing content.
It is possible to balance your blog with your day job and essentially your life. Blogging is a fun part of life but it should not take over your life. There is always a way to find more balance in everything you do including blogging.