Earlier this year I began to see the potential that a blog can have, and the responsibility I had to steward my online presence. I started to take my blog more seriously than ever before.
- I took a month of facebook and refocused my online time.
- I logged my hours online, decided I was spending too much time, and purposed to become more productive in fewer hours each day.
- I began to seek out online mentors in the areas I was passionate about (real food, creating art every day, being a good mommy in the midst of busy days).
I am just now beginning to see the fruit of the decisions I have been making, and it’s all good. Relationships I care about have deepened because I’ve not been wasting time when I’m online. My productivity has gone up, and my creativity output has increased – infact, I’m fulfilling a life long dream and publishing my first book next month!
I wanted to share with you the steps I took when I decided I wanted to bring my online presence to the next level. Whatever your dreams are, whatever your online goals, you can benefit from these tips.
1. Get A Blogging Notebook
If your blog is a place to share your passions, your little tool to try to make the world a better place, if you are constantly having great ideas that you just have to blog about – you need to get a blogging notebook. Benefits include:
- all your blog ideas in one place (no searching around for scraps of paper and things you wrote in margins of your journal)
- Reducing time online – you won’t have to get on the computer to jot down an idea
- Increasing productivity when online – you’ll have your post, or atleast an outline, right in front of you and you won’t have to be searching around and trying to collect your thoughts
Whenever I have an idea for a post, I write the title on the top of a new page. As I gather info or am inspired on that topic, I jot it down as it comes to me. During the day the 8 1/2 x 11 tablet lives on the kitchen counter. At night it comes up to my bedstand, ready for when inspiration strikes. My mind feels so free when I know I’ve downloaded my ideas in a safe place, and I never lack for post ideas when I sit down at the computer.
This is the new, biggest secret to a successful blog. The old rule was “Content is King” – if you had good content, people would find you and your blog would grow. Now, there are soooo many great blogs and bloggers, you could be a superstar sharing the cure for cancer, and no one will find you…unless they know someone you know. You have to connect with people (especially people in your niche) and form relationships. Comment, follow, re-tweet and be active on other people’s blogs. Leave helpful comments, respond to questions, and if you’re really serious about growth and development, try guest posting, like I did for Lindsay last month. (once again a warm welcome to all my new readers that followed me over here!)
3. Keep track of your time
We all are guilty of getting sucked in and spending too much, less-than-productive time online. I helped choke this habit by actually logging my computer time for a few weeks. I found I was spending upwards of 4 hours a day online, and that just didn’t fit in the budget, as Amy would say. So, I made the goal of 2 hours a day and it really helped me stay focused.
I also have tried setting a timer when I get online – 15 min. of email – 15 min. of facebook – when the time goes, I have to log out. This keeps me productive and shortens those bunny trails and blog-hopping expiditions.
Of course, if you need help managing your time in any area of your life, I recommend Amy’s book, Tell Your Time!
4. Less is More
If you’re overwhelmed by all this new information and don’t think you really have time to build up your online presence or make your blog what you wish it could be, be encouraged by this revolutionary idea: you don’t have to blog every day!
I use to be one of those “every day but Sunday – don’t want my readers to get bored!” bloggers. I took my goal of new content every day very seriously – till blogging became a burden. About that time, I was also in the progress of sifting through my RSS feed. Keeping up with all my favorite blogs had become overwhelming, too. I actually deleted a few blogs because they posted too frequently – I couldn’t keep up and always felt behind and stressed. That’s when I realized that I’m probably not the only one who feels that way – too much to read, too little time.
So, I gave myself a break and set a more reasonable goal for me and my readers – 3-4 posts a week. This would ensure my posts were quality and not just “hmm, what should I blog about today?” and would make sure I didn’t overwhelm my precious readers. (after all, if you want MORE of me, you can always read the archives!!! ☺)
This is my favorite tip, because it’s the one thing that has made my blog the place I always desire it to be – a community, a place where people share and connect, a place to make new friends.
For all that to happen, you have to be there for your readers – you have to comment on your own blog! I never used to do this, ’cause I thought, “Who actually goes to the trouble to check back and see how the comment thread conversation is going?” Then I started getting questions in the comments, and I realized I had to answer. And that’s when the fun began – you guys responded back, and we were actually having a conversation! For your blog to be lively, you gotta be a faithful commenter – be willing to go back and reply to your readers.
Diane is a great example to me in this – she and her readers have long, lovely conversations in the dozens of comments after each of her posts. It really is “where all the fun happens”, as she says. Make sure you don’t miss a single comment on your blog by receiving them to your email inbox, then respond back as often as you can, even if it’s just a ‘thanks for commenting!’
Do your online goals include monetizing (making money) on your blog? If so, you’ll want to stay tuned for info on how to join the affiliate program for my soon-to-be-released e-book. I’m planning on a %50 commission on sales for my affiliates!
And that’s my tips – do you have any more to add? Meet you in the comments…