Blogging on top of a full time job can be overwhelming to say the least. Beyond the actual writing, there’s the photography, sponsorships, emails, editing photos, brand collaborations, and promoting of content. You need to be a writer, a designer, a marketer, and a webmaster all at once. But my passion for this hobby of mine run deeps and I refuse to surrender my soul to the blogging gods just yet.
To ensure I am able to continue blogging on the side, I am forever looking for tips, tricks and tools to streamline my process. Today I share a few ways to to conquer those tedious tasks and make your blog work harder for you!Pain point: My inbox is flooded with emails leaving me with a chaotic mess to sift through.
Solution #1: Unrollme
The coveted Inbox-Zero is a distant dream for most. Unrollme allows you to mass delete all of those pesky online shopping and newsletters you have subscribed to over the years. You can also “Roll up” all of the daily and weekly communications into one concise email delivered to you at a designated time each day.
Solution #2: Gmail Filters
Instantly cut the junk filling up your inbox by organizing emails that detail upcoming events or travel plans into folders. Apply a label to your blog “comments” so they bypass your inbox, straight into a separate folder for you to review when time allows.
Pain point: I love to write but am no grammar guru.
Solution: Hemingway Editor
Hemingway makes your writing vivid, concise and clear. This is particularly important in online writing. People want simple, short sentences with easy words so they can skim the piece and move on. Beyond just a basic spell check, this app proofreads the grammar of your posts, with an eye for detail and a focus on style. Hemingway highlights sentences that are difficult to read, passive voice and adverbs which slow down your readers and weaken the power of your message. Your readers will thank you.
Pain point: I haven’t found that “sweet spot” for the ideal posting times on social media.
Solution #1: Hootsuite
Schedule content in advance to automatically post at optimal times for maximum impact—so your social presence stays active, even when you’re not. I live in a time zone not conducive to posting when many of my readers are even awake (Australia is 15 hours behind the States!) Engage with readers across all your social media accounts through a single dashboard. I automated my Twitter and Facebook posts but you can choose from many more outlets!
You can even create custom, targeted streams to see the conversations relevant to you as they unfold. Set up streams of mentions, sent/received, lists of your favorite followers, and so much more! I also use it to keep up with Twitter chats, so I can see columns for the username hosting the chat, the hashtag for the chat, and my replies in three separate columns on one screen. There are also free add-on apps such as UnfollowMe and a twitter demographics to track all of your followers and followeees.
Soulution #2: Revive Old Post
This handy WordPress plugin automatically tweets out your old posts at specified intervals to keep your content alive and drive traffic to your site. Dig as far back into the archives as you choose (I have mine set to just one year so nothing too embarrassing surfaces :). Mine tweet once every 20 hours as I’ve found once a day isn’t enough and twice a day is overkill.
Solution #3: IFTTT
With this genius tool, you no longer need to manually update your social networks. When you publish a post (blog, instagram, etc) an action triggers automatically when it’s pair is activated, allowing you to instantly share across multiple channels at once.
Each has its own set of triggers (the “if this” part) or actions (the “then that” side). Combine them just right and you can create a daisy chain of triggers and actions, where a single post could hit almost every corner of your Web presence. Pain point: My audience engagement is lacking or nonexistent.
Solution #1: Facebook Communities
Wait, don’t delete that Facebook account just yet! After 4 years of blogging, I discovered the power of Facebook communities. Beyond visibility and an increase in blog traffic, I find inspiration and form bonds I otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
Pain point: My posts aren’t being shared.
Solution #1: Click To Tweet
This plugin allows you to create tweetable snippets from your posts, to make it simple for readers to share your content on Twitter and bring more traffic to your posts.
Solution #2: Add sharing buttons
Adding social buttons prompts sharing, which improves exposure of your content to new eyes. Be sure to share the post of others too! Not only is it good karma, you are building your tribe and networking at the same time.
Solution #3: Add a Pinterest Hover Button
Posts with a pin-worthy photo and worthy caption are more likely to get pinned and re-pinned again and again.
Pain point: I have so many ideas in my head but not enough time to implement them.
Solution #1: Pocket
Gather inspiration and save to Pocket. Then draft posts with ideas, brainstorming and titles to flesh out at a later date. You can plug working titles in months in advance and work on the posts as time allows.
Solution #2: CoSchedule
A drag-and-drop content calendar for WordPress for a worthy $15/month. Schedule blog posts and automatically schedule social media post. With an editorial calendar, you can plan your blog posts, and your social media content, weeks or months in advance.
Pain point: I don’t know how to respond to brand partnership inquiries.
Solution: Canned responses
If you respond to emails with an almost identical response that you type out every time, simply insert your canned response and customize the email.
As for those generic requests that fill your inbox without using your name or offering to share the best content across their social media platforms. Respond with a polite version of: I would love more information on this collaboration. Would this be a compensated opportunity? Looking forward to making this a mutually beneficial relationship.
Pain Point: My site statistics are speaking a foreign language.
Solution: Google Analytics Dashboard
This convenient plugin allows for a quick glance at your stats including unique views, bounce rate, monthly visitors and more without needing to open a new tab. Take the time to learn more about the power of Google Analytics so you can find and focus on what’s working for your audience (and what changes you should make!)
Pain Point: I don’t have the time nor the energy to delve into the world of SEO.
Solution #1: WordPress SEO by Yoast
Attracting new visitors and converting them into loyal readers is crucial if you want to grow your blog. optimize your blog for the search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an area that most bloggers will never explore when there are so many other priorities to attend to. This WordPress plugin makes your job easier by improving your blogs’ SEO by adding descriptions, meta descriptions and titles making it easier for Google to find you.
Solution #2: Broken Link Checker
Dead hyperlinks are detrimental to both your readers engagement and SEO rankings. This plugin will monitor your site (blog posts, pages, comments) by checking both internal (local) and external (outbound) URLs.
Solution #3: Related Posts plugin
It is crucial that you make your content easy to find and navigate for both Google page ranks and your readers. Increase your readers’ engagement by adding Related Posts in the footer of each post.
Pain Point: Managing my WordPress platform with a constant need to update is overwhelming and time-consuming.
Solution: HostGatorOptimized WordPress
Since making the leap from Blogger to WordPress in February, I am impressed by the versatility of the platform. I recently discovered a brand new service by HostGator> which manages all core, theme, and plugin updates without any action in the admin dashboard on my part. I have so much more time for activities!
- Automatic updates of plugins/theme/WordPress
- Sitelock malware scanning and removal
- CodeGuard daily backup and restores (down to the file level)
- 24/7 live support via chat, phone, or email
- One click WordPress installs – no messy downloading and uploading of files.
- One click, easy to use website builder – drag and drop tools that make building a site super simple
Let HostGator manage your web hosting for you while you do what you do best, produce content.
Busy weeks are bound to happen as “real life”gets in the way and it pays to be prepared and organized in advanced. Save your sanity by conquering those overwhelming aspects of blogging once and for all!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.