8 Addictive Habits of Bloggers

By Steven Snell

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As bloggers we face a wide variety of task each day in managing and building our blog. Productivity and efficiency is a must, especially for part-time bloggers. Standing in the way of productivity is a number of habits that tend to be extremely addictive and time-consuming for most of us. I think I have personally struggled with each of these at one point or another, and I’m sure that you can relate. Let’s take a look at each of these habits and how you can overcome the addiction.

1. Obsessing Over Subscribers

The number of subscribers to a blog is probably the most common measuring stick for determining the blogs impact, importance, or success. As a result, all of us make an attempt to gain new subscribers on a daily basis, and many times this turns into more of an obsession than a goal.

While building a large base of subscribers is important for any blog, putting too much focus on a number can do more harm than good. First of all, you can’t force anyone to subscribe, so you are not in complete control of the situation, which makes it frustrating. Second, not all subscribers are equal. Loyal and involved subscribers are much more valuable to a blog than someone who subscribes but never actually reads. It’s impossible to look at a subscriber count and know what type of involvement the audience has. Sometimes an unhealthy obsession with subscriber counts will lead you to make decisions that will harm your blog in the long run.

How to kick the habit

Rather than focusing so much on your subscriber count, focus on building active readers and developing relationships with them. While it’s fine to have goals for reaching a specific number of subscribers, don’t let that determine your success or failure. There’s much more to blogging than just the number of subscribers. If you need to, develop some other goals that will take some of the emphasis away from your subscriber count.

2. Checking Stats Constantly

Just like subscriber counts can be addictive, so can traffic stats. Useful tools like Google Analytics can become a nightmare if you spend too much time looking at your referral stats, search engine traffic, and most popular pages. While I do feel that analysis is a necessary part of blogging, it’s also easy to go overboard. Do you really need to check your stats every couple of hours? Checking constantly isn’t going to change the results.

How to kick the habit

Set a specific time each day or each week to check stats and don’t do it any other time. Give yourself a few minutes at a time and that should be sufficient. You may also want to allot a little bit more time once a month to do more in-depth analysis.

3. Chasing Social Media Traffic

Social media presents an incredible opportunity for bloggers, but it also becomes a huge distraction for many. Especially Digg. I do believe that targeting social media users with your content is a great way to bring new visitors to your blog, but chasing social media traffic with each post is overkill. I’ve seen many bloggers that constantly use Digg buttons on their posts with very poor results.

How to kick the habit

Only submit your best work to social media. Don’t try to push everything you publish, because it simply won’t work that way. You’ll have much better success if you only promote your best work, rather than trying too hard to make a square peg fit into a round hole.

4. Excessive Use of Social Media

While going after traffic from social media can be a big distraction, surfing around social media sites looking at popular content can also be a big time waster. I’m an active user of social media, so I’m not suggesting that you should never visit these sites, but avoid spending hours each day looking at sites just for fun. I think StumbleUpon is especially addictive for many bloggers.

How to kick the habit.

Set aside a specific amount of time for visiting social media. By limiting yourself you will still be able to find the valuable content that is available, but you will refrain from reading too much about things that really don’t pertain to you.

5. RSS Feeds

How many feeds do you have in your RSS reader? How many do you actually read? Most of us spend a lot of time each day just wading through feeds that we don’t have much interest in. Subscribing to other feeds in your niche is a good habit, but within reason. Most of us don’t have a few hours each day to read through the feeds that we subscribe to.

How to kick the habit

I like to go through my subscriptions every couple of months and get rid of anything that I haven’t read in a while. If the odds of you reading a feed are unlikely, don’t let it waste your time everyday, just get rid of it.

6. Forums

Web forums are a great place to network and help others, but if you’re not careful you can spend way more time there than you intended. Some forums really become addictive when you get an email notification anytime someone replies to your post in the thread.

How to kick the habit

Like many of the other items already discussed, forum use should be limited to a specific amount of time. Additionally, only opt to get email notifications on threads that are important where you really don’t want to miss a response, and unsubscribe once you’ve received the response that you need.

7. Rankings

PageRank, Alexa rank, Technorati rank. All of these are helpful for knowing where you stand and motivating yourself for continued growth (plus for selling ads), but don’t put more weight in them than they deserve. Rankings can never tell you whether or not a blog is successful, so don’t obsess over your rankings to the point that it hurts your productivity

How to kick the habit

I think one of the most important things you can do here is to simply recognize that these rankings are meaningless unless you allow them to be significant. Once you see that they really don’t make or break your blog, chances are you’ll stop worrying about them. Focus on creating the best blog that you can and the rankings will take care of themselves.

8. Email/IM

Communicating with other bloggers is an important part of networking, but for many of us the amount of time we spend on these activities keeps growing and growing out of control.

How to kick the habit

Organization is really important to reducing the time spent on email. If you get the same questions over and over again, you can either develop templates to answer these questions (then cut and paste into your email) or set up a detailed FAQ page. Using folders effectively will also help you to manage your inbox more efficiently. Probably the most important thing you can do is limit the amount of times each day that you check your email. Learn to work with it closed rather than open. Also, don’t feel like you have to respond to every single email you receive. You may want to consider putting a brief statement on your contact form that you get more email than you are able to respond to. Darren Rowse recently wrote an excellent post about some improvements that he made in this area.

Your Turn:

What are your blogging addictions? How do you overcome them?



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49 Responses to “8 Addictive Habits of Bloggers”

  • Siddharth

    Hello Daniel,
    I am reading your blog for last some days and really implanted some of your tips in real blog life and I have to say they have been useful. As for this blog I think the most important is your first and second points. Really worrying and taking care of your blog is another thing then just go mad about the stats and I think every new blogger and many other always do that. Infect I was also in the line but I have managed to avoid that and your above tips will also help me further.

    Things take time to develop; we can see in the archive.org website that how the big websites of today are grown from a scratch. So patient is the biggest friend.

  • Carey Suante

    Even as a small-time part-time blogger, I have to admit my obsession with points 1,2 and 5 above!

    And even though I have never got a cheque for blogging (and may never will :P) I am obsessed with checking my Adsense earnings – which on a good day would be as high as $1!!!

    Great post!

  • Mike Panic

    Great set of how-to’s. Sadly, I think more and more bloggers are being drawn in by the lure of money and / or becoming famous on a social media network instead of writing quality content on a regular basis. Checking stats / RSS subscribers is a good way of knowing how many people are interested in reading what you wrote, but it is not everything.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Shiddart, thanks for the nice words.

    @Mike, true indeed. Funny how both things should be connected though :).

  • suresh

    Well explained and i shall appreciate for the planned post.
    Yes being a blogger getting readers and traffic is important but it shall not give health and mental problems for bloggers.
    Particularly the measures you explained to take to come out of problems is nice and thank you agian.

  • Maria Reyes-McDavis

    This is such a great post. Bloggers don’t realize, all those obsessive-compulsive behaviors can really drain the productivity and motivation out of your day.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Maria Reyes-McDavis
    Web Success Diva

  • Vespertine

    I’ve felt you were talking about me in every list item. I’ve written a short tale, that started as a list of “miserable blogging tasks”, then turned into a humor thing called “Jacinto, el blogger miserable” (jacinto, the miserable blogger). It’s in spanish in my site, just search for “Jacinto” and you’ll get it.
    I used to check for comments on my blog to define my state of mind. That’s was very destructive to my self-steem, I even performed the task TROUGH MY CELL PHONE. Another vice was to write posts while I was at work (I don’t earn money from my blog), and of course check comments, stats and email related to it at work-time too.
    The worst part of the day was the maintenance of my hosting: my blog was offline and I felt like crap, useless and brainless.
    This is my first comment here and I like to make clear that I did it for the last q you put: “Your turn”.

  • Jonas

    Happy blogger appreciation day! Thanks for all the tips!

  • mxyzplk

    the problem is I don’t have a blogger friend… all of them are gamer, hacker, and clicker, so its kinda hard for me to build up my blog…
    I’m on my own…

  • Ava

    I try to remember Mae West:

    The score never interested me, only the game.

  • Steven Snell

    Carey,
    Checking AdSense or affiliate earnings is a good addition. Thanks.

    Vespertine,
    Checking comments is another good one.

  • Jean

    Thank you very much for writing this post! It really made me reflect on how much time I spend running around these 8 addictions.

  • AtlasRider

    A watched kettle never boils, or in these terms a watched subscriber count never increases. I’m guilty of a lot of these points. Very insightful.

  • QuietRebelWriter

    Terrific points. I constantly have to remind myself that the results I see on Feedburner and Google Analytics are useful to a point, but they’re not the end-all-be-all. I have to remember that I got into blogging as a n outlet for writing that wasn’t going anywhere, something fun, exciting, and potentially powerful in building a platform. But that’s it. I’m not there to reap in the big bucks, or to have the whole world hanging on my words. I’m just carving out a small area of the interweb for myself. A little perspective helps.

  • Myo Kyaw Htun

    I have to admit point 1 and 2 because I used to do when I first started blogging.

  • RJ

    For me, blogging itself has become an addiction – in a good way of course. It’s becoming my number 1 hobby. Here are some of the things that I love about it:

    -I’m learning as I go
    -I get to be a part of a community
    -Meeting new and interesting people
    -It’s a creative outlet for me
    -It’s a lot expensive then my expensive hobbies
    -It’s a lot of fun!

  • RJ

    🙂
    Whoops! I should have said A LOT LESS expensive than my other hobbies.

  • Mo

    Hehehe…that is a great post! I’m definately guilty of a few of these. I’m the worst for stats. I check them incessently. Every hour!! Second has got to be e-mail. I’m an e-mail junkie. If I’m not connected it feels like I’ve forgotten something. I’m equally as bad with my BlackBerry. I check e-mail at 3:00am!!!

  • T Bowcut

    Another common obsessing over blog theme. Many bloggers end up pouring in a ton of time tweaking themes, layout or plugins.

  • Victor

    It takes one to know one. 🙂

    I’m addicted to checking my AdSense earnings and my reinvigorate stats. I do it once every few hours. It’s first thing I do when I turn on laptop and the last thing I do before turning it off.

  • Meraj Khattak

    Excellent tips.

  • daniy!

    Dear Daniel,
    Today’s post is likely what I experienced every day. Blogging is a continuous activity and it’s vulnerable when it comes to such distractions to what you’ve described above. Reading RSS Feeds surely wastes my time since they provides related items correlates with my needs. I always spend almost 2 hours everyday to read those feeds. It’s an ideal time range for you but since I’m still a part time blogger, 2 hours are a lot of time. Maybe I should cut some of my feeds from my reader.

    But, I can’t stand not to read every of your posts, Daniel!

  • Danny Rocks

    I plead guilty on all 8 counts! It is easy to become a creature of habit. The problem is that these 8 habits are bad for your health, sanity and productivity.

    So, I have started to create habits that benefit me – and my blog. The first habit, for me, is maintaining my commitment to post to my blog once each day – every day. That, in itself, has helped me to eliminate several of the bad habits that stood in the way of my productivity and creativity.

    I enjoy reading this blog – and I DO make it one of my good daily habits!

    Danny

  • Jacqueline

    This is a great list. In every case, you provided the “remedy” to help the blogger regain focus. Nicely done!

  • Jessie

    Hi Daniel. I really connected with your articles especially number 5 and 8. I had another addiction that I suppose I overcame. At the beginning, you think that you need to write a blog post every second of the day. But if you just post for the sake of posting then your posts become really meaningless junk. 😀

  • Marsello @ feedbacksecrets.com

    9. Information overload from the temptation to check any of the random links on your screen, making it even harder to “stay on topic” when blogging.

    How to kick the habit? “Batch processing” or grouping similar activities in a batch and performing them as efficiently as possible.

    http://www.feedbacksecrets.com/symptoms-of-information-overload/102/

  • himi

    Checking Stats Constantly…that’s the habit most of the bloggers are adicted with.

  • Clark

    My vice is checking stats. Getting less hits today than I got yesterday ruins my day everytime. I know that what I need to do is write really good stuff, post on a regular basis, and check the stats occasionally. But that’s not what I do. I have checked stats 10-20 times a day. I’m working on it, but my blog is relatively new. I hope when the new wears off I can settle down.

  • Binny V A

    You are talking about successful bloggers here – my main ‘habit’ is procrastination.

  • JBiggs

    Hello
    At the moment i still learning how to make good income from internet, searching for great tips and advice to help me successful.
    I found your articles very help me to get an idea about how to make money online.
    Thanks once again.
    JBiggs 🙂

  • Ashley Ladd

    I obsess over comments and traffic. I still have to learn how to do the Digg and RSS feeds. Obviously I’m a blogging newbie. That’s one reason I’m here, to learn more.

  • Craciun Dan

    A good post, like most of the others I read on this blog since I’ve discovered it. This one particularly caught my attention due to the fact that most of the habits here are also available to me. Well, probably all the newbies have the same ‘addictions’. The other two left out but pointed out in several comments would be regularly checking both the blog’s comments and AdSense account.

  • SEO Genius

    I am almost guilty of all of them!

    I tend to check for comments quite a lot 😛

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