This month, I will be hitting a personal milestone. After starting my blog in January 2014, this month will mark my first consistent 6 month timeframe of publishing two blog posts each week. ***silent claps and yays*** I started blogging on the side of my 9-5 as a creative outlet to give me a place to use skills that I didn't have the opportunity to use in my day job. As I continued to blog, I noticed how much I enjoyed it and I noticed that bloggers were monetizing their blogs. (I honestly didn't even know it was possible to monetize a blog in the beginning. It was purely just for fun.)
After blogging for a year or so, I started to notice that the key factor that determined if someone was able to monetize their blog or not was their consistency. What really gave me the push to get consistent once and for all, was getting my first online boutique sponsorship for my lifestyle blog and finishing up a Visual Design evening class that I was taking in May of this year. The opportunity with the boutique wasn't paid, but they allowed me to choose any 4 items that I wanted and sent them at no cost to me in return for blog posts on those items. I had also gotten into the habit of working each evening after being in that intense (and expensive) class, so after it ended, I needed a way to fill my time to keep pushing towards progress, as to not let my pricey investment go to waste.
So I said to myself, "Keshia girl, it's time that you get consistent to see how far you can get with this blog." Compared to when I wasn't consistent, I practically tripled the website traffic that I had prior to June. I still have a ways to go to get my traffic to where I really want it to be, but I am still very proud of my progress with juggling blogging with my day job. Below, I share the five tips that have helped me to keep this up!
1. Planning in Advance
Plan blog posts in advance
At the beginning of each month, I plan what my posts will be for each week. I try to do a new post each Thursday and Monday. I find it really helps if I decide what each of those posts will be in advance to stay on track and not miss a week.
Plan how to promote blog posts in advance
I promote each post via various social networks. I typically plan, while putting posts together, which photos will be used for promotion. This helps me to quickly get a post on Instagram without having to think about it.
2. Batch Processing
Do multiple blog posts at a time
When I was lifestyle blogging, I met with my photographer once a month for an hour shoot, typically on a Saturday or Sunday, for 4 looks to last me for each month. I really love fashion bloggers who post new outfits on a daily basis, but that just was not realistic for me. A new outfit post each week was more doable for my wallet and my time. Getting photos done for all of the looks for an entire month in an hour is a wonderful time saver because all I have to do resize them and pop them into my website, as needed.
Scheduling social media promos for Twitter and Facebook
As much as I can, I try to schedule my Tweets and Facebook page posts to promote my content using Hootsuite. Tweets are so short-lived that it's important to get those out frequently. You wouldn't believe how many people don't even see your content on there, if you only post about it once or twice. I also do the same for my Facebook page.
3. Setting Custom Expectations and Being Realistic
Holding yourself to your own standards
It's ok to admire other bloggers who have been in the game longer than you or who do it full time. However, do not let that admiration turn into pressure on yourself to live up to THEIR standards. Blogging is something that you get better with in time, if you stick to it and continuously seek to grow and improve. You can't expect to be on the level of someone who has been blogging for 7 years when you're just now hitting the 3 year mark. (***note to self***)
Related: How to Start a Blog in 5 Easy Steps
Be realistic about the amount of content you produce
I only post 2 times each week because it's the most feasible for me and my schedule. If I was blogging full time, I'd definitely post more, at least 4 days a week, but with a 9-5, that's just a bit much for me right now, when you consider the amount of work it takes to create original content with amount of work required to promote the content. So I aim to kill it at my 2 posts each week.
4. Not Taking on Too Much
"I want to do freelance work. I want to go out. I want to do this that and that...." However, the reality is, I simply can't do it all. I found out the hard way that to get anywhere, you have to prioritize the area you really want to progress in because if you spread yourself too thin, you will make little to no progress in each area.
At various points during my blogging journey, I was doing all of this freelance photography, web design, and logo work, while taking evening classes on web and visual design. Yes, this was all great experience and information, BUT I wasn't able to gain momentum with blogging because I was doing THE MOST. I still wouldn't change anything with that part of my journey because I am a better blogger because of it and I have more direction on the services I will offer, like online resources for branding and web design.
5. Allocating Time to Blogging and Doing at Least a Little Each Day
Just make time for it and stop the excuses
Yes, I'm sleepy after work. Yes, I would sometimes rather watch mindless television instead of work, but guess what? I know the potential that I have and I know that I wouldn't be using it if I simply came home from my 9-5 every day and just watched tv or took naps or hung out at happy hour. Don't get me wrong, I still incorporate fun things in my evening like occasional events, live music, dance class, etc. But now, I know that when you do too much of that, you end up being out all of the time, so you're never home to get any work done.
No matter what you have going on, set aside some time each day to do at least a little work on your blog. Don't be afraid to say "no" to certain outings if you know you do not have the time for it. People who understand and respect your goals will not take it personally.
It helps to plan one or two things to get done for your blog the day before, so when you get home from work, working out, having dinner, or whatever, you can quickly get started and not waste any time wondering what to do first.
Break it down into bite-sized chunks
For more text-heavy posts (like this), do it in segments. Outline, then fill in the blanks, then finalize it. By taking the pressure off of yourself to spend hours on a long post at one time, you increase the likelihood that you'll get it done because it will feel less daunting to you.
What helps you maintain your blog while working a 9-5? Share your tips in the comments below.