Challenge: Put On Your Blogging Blinders

By Steven Snell

Bloggers are distracted by all sorts of things. We worry about gaining subscribers, increasing traffic, improving rankings, generating income and building links, just to name a few. It also doesn’t help that the vast majority of bloggers do so on a part-time basis with a very limited number of hours to dedicate each week to the blog. What would happen if we could dedicate ourselves to simply producing the best content that we’re capable of? My guess is that significant results would follow. How much do these other things distract us from reaching our potential?

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My challenge to you, and to myself, is not to obsess over these details. Dedicate yourself to spending the next month focusing on writing the best content you can possibly create, and interacting with the comments on your posts. Whenever you have some free time to work on some element of your blog, choose to spend that time on content development.

The content creation process doesn’t only involve sitting down at the computer and typing a post to be published immediately. Make an effort to spend more time brainstorming for post ideas. Unique and interesting ideas are critical for building a blog that stands out in a particular niche. Also schedule time to research posts that require some additional effort. This is one that I struggle with. I keep a list of post ideas, some require a good bit of research and some don’t. I usually wind up writing the posts that don’t need research and saving the others for later. As a result, I think the posts are often not what they could be. When I schedule the time to do the research, I usually wind up with some of my better blog posts.

Things that may need to be scaled back

If you are dedicating yourself to creating better content, some other blogging-related activities may need to take a reduced role, at least temporarily. This doesn’t have to be a permanent change, and it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t spend any time on these activities. They all have significance, but if you use your time on these activities with moderation, you’ll have more time for content development.

You may find that you can free up some time by spending less on:

  • Use of social media sites
  • Stat checking
  • Emailing, IM’ing, and RSS feed reading
  • Surfing
  • Tweaking your theme or design

My plan to create better content

I’ve taken a little bit of time to think about what I can do to free up some more time and make my content a higher quality over the next month. These are only my thoughts, but they may also help you. Feel free to share your plan with all of us in the comments. In fact, please do so.

Dedicated time for email – Right now I keep my email open almost all of the time. It’s nice to see messages as they come in, but I know I could save some time by only checking it at certain points during the day.

Daily “to do” lists – Some days in the past I have used a to do list for my blogging efforts, and not surprisingly, I always seemed to get more accomplished on those days. Every day before I start working, or the night before, I’ll create a list for the day. I did this today and when I finish this post I will have finished everything I set out to do.

Put off new projects – I have a few ideas for new projects that I would like to start immediately. However, I’m going to put those on hold and focusing on building a more successful primary blog first. Too many projects at one time will prevent me from doing well with any of them. At some point in the future I’ll move on these ideas.

Weekly brainstorming – I’m usually pretty good about leaving time for brainstorming post ideas, but I have never really set aside time for it. I’ll dedicate one hour each week (not necessarily all at once) to nothing but brainstorming for the best possible article ideas.

Allocated time for research – As I mentioned earlier, I often put off good ideas for posts because they require more leg work than I’m willing to do. I’m going to dedicate 2 hours per week to any type of research that needs to be done that week for a post.

No goals for subscribers – I typically set personal goals for gaining new subscribers each month. Sometimes I hit the goals, but usually I don’t (I like to set the bar at the high end of my limits). This month I’m not worried about subscriber growth, I’m only concentrating on content development. I have no idea if this is a good or bad decision, but it seems like it might help. Generally goals are good, but this one seems to be too much of a focus for me at times.

Conclusion

Don’t worry about your stats or your subscriber count for a month. Focus on writing the best content possible and I think you’ll see improvements in these areas. Again, this doesn’t have to be a permanent change, but I challenge you to make your blog posts your absolute priority for one month.

What are your thoughts? Are you up for the challenge? What will you change?



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22 Responses to “Challenge: Put On Your Blogging Blinders”

  • Jeremy

    Typo in title: s/challange/challenge ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Daniel Scocco

    Ooops. Fixed it, thanks.

  • Armen

    Good stuff Steven.

    Just to add, I’d encourage people to drop online reading for a while, and head to the library to get a book or two which relates to their blogging subject. I guarantee their posts will be better, and will be more ‘successful’.

  • Cindy Szponder

    Great reminders. Focus on the content and the readers will come. Focus on other things and your content will suffer from lack of your time input.

  • Daniel Scocco

    Armen, good point, I am also finding that I am increasingly turning to other sources of information as well.

  • Marty

    Lots of good points there. I think you’re spot on with your comments about many bloggers spending too much time checking stats, tweaking their theme/design, etc!

  • mayooresan

    so you declared this month/week as content month/week..huh? ๐Ÿ™‚
    Agreed!

  • TBowcut

    Excellent suggestions. I would also recommend contributing better comments on blogs. End result is better content and contribution all around which will result in higher traffic to your blog. Probably the time saved in checking your stats will be enough to produce the improved content ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Betty C.

    I write one corporate blog and only recently had got it together enough to use an editorial calendar. I now use a Yahoo! calendar and put my ideas and links on it as soon as they come to me, or over my alerts. Now, rather than spending time looking for what to write about, I usually have a choice of at least two subjects all set up.

    I haven’t yet applied this to my personal blogs, but I suspect it would help a lot.

    I definitely agree with the research point too. At the beginning of the (school) year I was spending some time at the library and it brought me many ideas. Unfortunately, a busy schedule got me out of the habit. I think this post has inspired me to get back into it.

  • Lori

    if you are thinking about getting new subscribers, exceptional content is especially important. people already subscribing to your blog would need to see a few useless, uninteresting posts in a row or a pattern of not-good-enough in order to unsubsribe. people who aren’t yet subscribing need to be inspired to do so รขโ‚ฌโ€ a few excellent posts in a row, along with the implied promise of future value, can do just that.

  • Lisa

    Wow, this is a sign – lol! I was just telling my husband that I must shut everything out and write, write, write. And then I see this post. I’m definitely up for the challenge!

    I’ve been told before that writing good content is time very well spent. Now it’s time for me to DO. It is definitely an worthwhile investment.

  • Steven

    Jeremy,
    Thanks for catching my typo. Daniel, thanks for fixing it.

    Armen,
    That’s a really good point and one that I need to do more of myself. Thanks.

    Betty,
    Thanks for sharing some of these points from your personal experience. I appreciate it.

    Lisa,
    Good luck!

  • Robb Lejuwaan

    Great suggestions. If I went on a stats checking fast for a week I could probably save an hour a day!

  • Karl

    I am guilty. I get sidetracked so easily, and what I planned to do is totally forgotten. My problem with writing great content is that I get obsessed with it and a 1 hour article ends up taking me 3 hours to write. I know I shouldn’t be so worried about the details. You are right on, and helped me see I need to just chill out and write for fun above all else. Thanks for the great post.

  • Christine

    It sounds as though you have written New Year’s Resolutions, in March. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Wonderful tips. I have been coming here and reading things little by little. (you are in my google feed reader and I found you through “Make Use Of”)

    I did want to point out, however, that even when you have MASSIVE amounts of time on your hands, as I do because of my disability, still doesn’t always allow for time to work on your blog. Now, granted, my blog is NO WHERE near yours. You give out wonderful ideas and look for ways to encourage and help people write blogs, so they are learning from you. I, on the other hand, basically have my blog in diary form, where people get to realize that other people are going through the same thing and they are not alone.

    Well thanks for letting me waste all that space above ๐Ÿ™‚

    -Christine
    http:blog.christineleiendecker.com

  • Michael

    I think I spend way too much time looking at my blogs stats, this is terrible for me, it wastes a lot of time and keeps my brain focused on the wrong thing.

    I really should spend more time brainstorming and coming up with ideas for better content.

  • francetales.com

    One thing i do to get ideas is read other blogs, but that can be the kiss of death for creating content. Then I go from one to another and 2 hours later I haven’t written or planned anything.

    I am beginning Getting Things Done. I think a slimmer personal version could work for me.

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