So, as I was putzing around the kitchen today, cleaning up our little New Year’s pizza take out and hot chocolate cups from last night, (we had a very quiet and lovely night in, watching several Pirates of the Caribbean) and wondered what I should be posting about on New Year’s Day.
After one final wipe and buff of a once again clean kitchen counter, I grabbed a fresh coffee and browsed online to see what everyone else was up to.
That in itself led me to shooting in all kinds of directions. I started no less than 3 different kinds of posts, until I stopped myself.
I realized then, I just really needed to establish better blogging habits for a start.
Guys, I fail daily. I get in the zone, go off course, and am all over the map!
BUT… I do know better, and it was just time to get it all down in a post… so you can see what I do on a good day. 🙂
While I don’t really wish to call these resolutions, these goals, or tips if you will, are an attempt to guide other bloggers to improve where they may need to, as well as helping me stay honest with my own techniques.
And for the non bloggers, if you’re curious on what it takes to get a blog post published, or to read some browsing online tips period, there may be something here for you too.
Happy 2820 words of reading to you all! 🙂
1. Beat to your own drum
I’m often tempted to do what others do. Staying on top of the newest and greatest is good! Trying it once is even better! But I also need to heed what does and doesn’t work for me personally.
Is the social media effort made giving me enough return?
Is the project something I’d want to keep for myself?
After reading another’s idea, no matter what it is, I get offline. I reach for my own list of goals, then allow that to influence my decision to move forward or not, and to what level.
Trials are a plus! But going through with it should be guided by whether it’s actually working… or not.
2. Did I really just say that?
Sometimes I’ll post a reply somewhere stating my opinion on something. But once I leave the computer, if I begin questioning myself, I know something is amiss. Ever do that?
So then the overthinking begins…
Did my ‘opinion’ truly make a difference? Was it helpful? Needed? Asked for? Or did I talk just to be heard?
What WAS my reason for saying what I did?
Did it make me feel good afterwards? Or is my stomach churning?
Isn’t stomach churning the worst? Yeah… it is.
If you disagree with something out there, give it a little time before responding. And ALWAYS give it 24 hours if something raised your blood pressure! 🙂 The outcome is almost always better after thinking something through.
It’s the same with writing negative blog posts. Isn’t silence better than saying something negative anyway? What do we honestly hope to accomplish by talking down on a topic? It’s not like we’ll change anyone’s mind.
I personally don’t want to post or reply just to be heard. I want my efforts to make a difference. And if they don’t, then I just won’t. 🙂
My workshop tour where I’m generally productive if it’s clean enough to work in!
3. Be more intentional with productivity
“I’m just going online to check something in my email.
Oh… but maybe I’ll just check my Facebook feed while I’m here.
Haha, what’s that video all about? *Click*.
This reply is interesting, I think I’ll add something…”
And on it goes.
I’ll have one reason to hop on the computer, but then wander off to other unplanned territories. Fun for the short term, it can be a huge time eater.
Do your business, then leave.
Get online, do what ya gotta do, then click off. Go back on a few times throughout the day if need be, but then LEAVE. An iPhone alarm or kitchen timer is a most wonderful nag. Add in an official schedule for the most bang for your buck.
4. Keep up with email
I often open emails, read something I need to respond to, place a star by it, then keep scrolling.
Then that star email gets buried under other star emails, and soon, it’s become too overwhelming and time consuming to address them all. So I leave it for another day.
Then I create a page 2. Then 3. 4 5 6… and on it goes. Not productive one bit really.
You know the saying about paperwork, right? Touch it only once. Pay the bill on the spot, then file the paperwork in its final resting spot. For if you open a letter and plunk it in a pile, you’re forced to deal with it again.
Email is like that too. Open, answer, delete or file, then move on.
Even a wishy washy answer (if it’s something you have to mull over) is better than none. At least you’ve started up a conversation and you’ll get a reply to continue at the very least.
And delete a few extra emails a day to keep the inbox from being buried alive. I’m currently trying to keep mine down to 1500. What’s your current count at? 🙂
I love posting about junk projects. Quick and easy, to the point, done!
But… I use to post something inspiring about once a week. The writer in me just seeks out sharing things that have no bearing on junk at times. Therapeutic, perhaps?
Thing is, these posts don’t get shared by others nearly as much, but they rank the most comments. What that says to me is that heartfelt posts are hitting other hearts, so there’s a reason for them to be included.
One single thought can become a post. Avoid blurting out prompts on social media and apply them to a blog post instead. THEN blurt it out your new post on social media! 🙂
Many times your most inner felt feelings and dealings can be something someone else needs to hear. Ask me how I know.
Photoshoot from The Crafty Affaire Booth
6. Establish better head zone takeover habits
I sit down for a good writing session due to a brain storm. But suddenly, outside grows dark, I forgot about lunch, and my boy just got home from school, and I’m still in my pjs. How did that happen?!
‘The zone’ took over once again. Good for the blog, but bad for other areas in my life.
The dayplanner needs to make an appearance once again. And you must become strict with yourself. There’s a time for blog posts, checking email, taking care of biz, sharing, or otherwise. Make a schedule, alongside your iphone alarm or kitchen timer if you must.
I’ve actually made my own dayplanner and have never blogged about it. It’s on the to do list!
Another way is to start your draft, but leave it unfinished. Spontaneous posts are always the best! And if you get JUST enough started, you won’t lose the momentum if you open it up at a later time.
7. Define what kinds of posts your readers enjoy the most
I often just post what I want. Then wonder why it didn’t go over quite as well as I had hoped. Ah well, next time, right?
Blogging isn’t always about hits of course, but if there’s a pattern of interest, that can be a very telling thing.
What got the most comments?
What continues to get pinned heavily?
Then pick it apart…
Did you teach something?
Was it easy for everyone to do?
Was it unique?
Go over your biggest hits, and note any similarities. Focus on doing more of those types of posts in your mix.
And inside your biggest hits? Link to other biggest hits so your readers have more to enjoy from you.
Sometimes an opportunity will come my way, and I’ll mull over its potential. At times, I may take it on, but then wonder why I did after the fact, since I’m not enjoying the process.
I have a rule. I can try everything once. But twice? No. If this thing doesn’t mesh well with my goals or brand, it turns into a regrettable time eater that only serves as a pay check. I refuse to turn my blog into just ‘another day job’.
Never do it just for the money. Do it for the love, the challenge, and if it meshes with your own personal goals and brand. Your readers will thank you for it as well as those you work with.
And don’t be afraid to say no after you’ve said yes, if you can. I’ve backed out of several gigs that I have no regrets over, after explaining why it wouldn’t be a mutually beneficial idea. Ask about a trial ‘to see’.
Long term gigs are trickier. If you sign a contract, ensure you’re in it for the long haul. If it’s something you wish to do but don’t love all the terms, try negotiating. Most want to hear your ideas so your relationship can be the most successful possible!
Just remember, your opportunity and you have the same goal. So make it a good fit!
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Some successful gigs of my own:
A salvaged farmhouse bathroom makeover utilizing a brand new vanity, too modern for my style.
9. Challenge yourself with a unique twist
Most of what I blog about are easy, junk projects anyone can do.
Fun, but it can make it a little boring if I know the end result before it’s done. At times, that alone makes me want to not finish. Can you relate?
I have a little challenge I host against myself… if my project didn’t surprise me, I’ll change it up just enough so it does. The change can be small, but it needs to be unexpected.
It’s a huge encourager that keeps motivation high, and makes your content one of a kind!
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Some projects with surprise twists:
I’ll often dive into a project, post what I did, and that’s it.
But then I mull over what I just wrote.
Did I just take my reader through a show and tell or actually teach them something of lasting value?
Go back into the post, and throw in a teaching slant. Give an official reason for the post. Inspiration is always good, but if you actually taught a lesson or new technique, your posts will hold more value.
11. Learn new things. Constantly!
We’ve all done it. We pump out an easy project that doesn’t even need a tutorial. Easy is nice!
But if you’re making a habit out of that, could it be due to your own limitations?
I personally post about things I know how to do, but when it comes to something I’ve never done, I stall. I may even avoid going there. But ultimately, it drives me crazy I don’t know how to do it and there’s only one way to fix that…
Define what you’d like to create. Then google how, or call on a friend. Do what it takes! But do it.
These posts indeed take more time, but if you space them out in between non tutorial types, and allow several days to build, you’ll find them do-able.
And the lesson learned will push you yourself into a new level!
This includes photography as well. If you aren’t getting the results you desire, try try again until you do.
Success comes from never quitting. It’s really that simple.
12. Spread it out
I remember the day well. I was doing a project that I wanted completed all in one day so I could post it that night. As a blogger, you know what that all demands, right?
- come up with the idea
- gather your supplies
- make it, praying it turns out (because it doesn’t always!)
- photograph it during daylight hours
- edit the photos
- write the post
- publish it at prime time
- then social media it
Read that over 5 times. That’s a lot to accomplish in a day, along with all else that needs you. And what I typically end up doing is saturating an entire day with this one thing. Dinner is late, my boy gets ignored once coming home from school, and on it goes. All for a blog post…
Break things up in chunks.
Gather your supplies one day, then create on another. Take pics on yet another. And save the editing and writing for night time. My most successful posts have taken many days to implement because I’ve given them the time needed.
But that doesn’t help if you need blog content now, does it? #13 will save your blog…
13. Take pictures daily
You’re in the middle of a project. But it isn’t complete, so guess what… no blog post tonight! And what if that project takes days?
Take at least one new picture a day. Several is better. Even if they don’t relate to your project.
Then scan the pictures and dream up a story to accommodate them. It’s really not hard to do once you get into the habit. Take note of your daylight limitations, grab the camera, and start shooting. You’ll be glad you did! One day I shot several different things having no relation to one another and it gave me 3 blog posts worth writing!
Another trick is to take MORE pictures of steps from a longer project. During Christmas, I was working on a project that I couldn’t yet reveal, (the beverage station from a cart) so I took more pictures of the preparation, then spun it into a post about treating old rusty metal. It was very well received!
14. Preview your post. In preview mode. It’s different.
You’ve written a crazy long post like this, and now it’s finally time to hit post! Or is it?
Um… no, it isn’t. Boo. And here’s why.
Try reading your entire post again. Did you change even one word? Or add a sentence? Good! That’s part of the process.
Now start at the beginning and read it through again. Better yet, visit the draft at a different time of day. Did you edit anything?
As long as you continue to edit, you aren’t done. But there’s one more step to do.
View your post in preview mode. It seems to show differently with mistakes easier caught. Don’t ask me how but it works.
Another tip is to view your html. If you find some funky spacing you cannot ditch for the life of you, it may be due to some & n b s p ; in the mix. (I added spaces but your html won’t have that) That’s an html code for an actual space. Delete those from your html if it’s in a glitchy area and your paragraphs will become happy and joyful again.
“Can’t read this! It’s too much! I’m taking a nap instead…” Arrow sign is HERE.
15. Try and keep your blog posts at 1000 words maximum on the average.
Did you just laugh? Me too! This post is now at 2820. Good grief! But….
Sometimes you just need the odd super long one to tell the entire story. I’ve actually read that long ones can be good for sharing and traffic. But I wouldn’t do this every day.
And if you find your helpful posts getting too long, you can also do a part 2.
But for a normal post, I attempt to keep it at around 1000 words or under so it doesn’t require so much effort to get through. Just remember to team up lots of words with lots of photos to balance it out.
And use paragraphs! LOTS and lots of paragraph breaks.
See? It’s better if you do. 😀
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Obviously, I could go on and on with these kinds of tips. But these have proven to be the most helpful for me. Here’s hoping you can find something buried in here that’ll help you overcome what you’re attempting to fix.
Which of these do you struggle with the most?
Do you have any tips to add? I’d love to hear!