18 time-demanding tasks you must do for your blog + 1 bonus tip
So you didn’t give in to those start-a-blog-in-15-minutes posts around the web. (Okay, the low point was the 5-minute-blog. I hope you haven’t run into it.) But you decided to start a blog. Great! Good choice. Let’s see what that 15 minuteis about.
First, you have to choose a domain name and a hosting plan that best fits your plans and strategies. This may take up 5 to 30 minutes depending on the availability of your chosen domain. If you have to choose a different one to your original desire that may take some time. And possibly we are already out of 15 minutes. 😳
When finally that’s all said and done, you’ll probably install WordPress on your brand new site within 10 seconds, aaaaand… the loooong journey begins! Set your timer if you wish, but I guarantee that you won’t launch in 15 minutes.
Find technical support!
I have to tell you that I’m kind of techie, had my self-hosted sites and have learned the technical side of running a blog too. It still sucked up lots of my time to get ready my blog for launch. Even though I’m not going for perfection as I usually would, knowing that I can tweak it later. So when I say it takes lots of my time, that means it will take up lots of your time too. Especially if you are a total newbie and you need much technical support.
You canfind any technical advice around the web or Pinterest.This listis a good starting point.If you knowwhat you want to do, andwhat to search for, you’ll find anything. But to learn what you should do, what you should search for can become overwhelming. If you are like me you’ll check out several posts and lists to find the best piece of advice but reading all the different; sometimes contrary tips can be confusing. Don’t get discouraged!If you have your plan and you stick to it, you can minimize the overwhelm, and chances are better that you’ll make good decisions.
So let’s jump on the east-west train but first here is the bonus tip:
Work behind the scenes!
I give you a piece of advice I got nowhere before! (Seriously: if I hadn’t used this feature years ago, I would have never known about it based on my recent research. Along with all the other things I haven’t heard anywhere.) So my piece of advice is this: very first you should install the WP Maintenance Mode plugin and set up an “under construction” front-end to be able to work on your site behind the scenes. Otherwise, anybody can see the process of your giving birth to your blog. Here is a tutorial on how to use it.
What are the things you want to do behind the scenes? Let’s see what will take your time before deactivating the maintenance mode.
When you start working behind the scenes, you want to “make your house a home.” You want your blog to look that it represents YOU, which is the best starting point though you may need some adjustments to optimize to reaching your goals too. Meaning: what you like most is not always ideal to generate traction. You have to find the best to satisfy both YOU and YOUR GOALS.
1. Theme. One of the first things you’ll do is set up a theme. To find the right one can take an incredible amount of time. You’ll try several ones before finding the right one. I have to tell you, that demos will always look different than your site with the chosen theme. It takes a lot to make all the adjustments that are needed and sometimes it requires some coding knowledge too. Eg. If you’re happy with the basics but want to customize it to be more like YOU so want to change colors, fonts, etc. You won’t find a theme that you can use as it comes. Well, this process takes as long as you spend on it. From hours to days!!! You should be happy with it, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.You can always tweak it later even without using maintenance mode.
2. Plugins. Other than the one above I don’t want to recommend which ones to use. I think there are people out there who know much more about plugins than me. But I can tell you this is also a pretty tough one. If you know what to do, it can be significantly faster than the theme thing. Thoughthis time I had a lot of struggle setting them all up. A few of them didn’t want to work for anything and to find solution took a lot of time. One tip: if you see a recommended plugin, check out the time of the latest update before installing. If it’s older than a year, I won’t bother with that plugin.
This is the essence of your blog. Your success highly depends on this. Your content covers a few things.
3. Pages. First, you need to set up some pages. The most essential one is your About me page where you can address your target audience and tell them who you are and what you blog about. You need a Contact page, and other topic related static pages may come handy too. If you have a good look around you’ll find that the options are endless, but my suggestion is: just keep it simple. You make these pages only once and tweak them here and there later as needed. Give yourself the time to write them really well in the first place.
4. Posts. Let’s admit it: writing quality posts takes time. Lots of time. You need to do your research, then actually write that post, edit it, insert the right pictures, check your links, etc. before you can hit on the “publish” button. If you’ve ever tried to write anything you’ve got the idea of the process. What you do here is the core of your blog, the essence of your success.This should be the last thing you try to save time on.
5. Graphics. You’ve probably heard that it’s essential to use high-quality images and graphics. That’s increases the value of your posts and makes it easier for your readers to adapt your message. Not to mention that search engines like them too. So you have to invest your time either in making high-quality photos yourself or find pictures online you can use for free or buy. Both equally takes decent time.
6. Newsletters. If you take it seriously and listen to real successful bloggers, you will start to build an email list. To that list, you will send newsletters, updates, gifts, sale offers, and all sorts of things. It should have an even more valuable content than your blog. Things that they can’t get out there on your blog. It needs your creativity and productivity even more. You need to create opt-in forms, thank you notes, landing pages, auto-responders, the actual personal letters to your subscribers, etc. It’s best if you can offer something for free when signing up. Like e-books, printables, e-courses, webinars, videos, etc. You need to create those. Should I say it takes time?
I tell you a little secret: I’m going with Mailchimp again for my newsletters. Yes, because it’s free to start with and I quite like it. So I did know what I was doing when setting up lists and autoresponders yet it took HOURS to set everything up reasonably. Still, I will make tons of major and minor adjustments along the way before I’ll be satisfied with my mail-list system.
7. Products. I mentioned them at #6. You can create products for sale too. Needless to say, quality how vital is in these products. You don’t want one-time customers; you want first-time customers. It doesn’t have to be digital products, only your creativity and the interest of your target audience defines what you can do. But this is a point again where you should not try to save time. It’s worth the investment.
Somewhere along the way while creating your content, you can decide to deactivate the maintenance mode. The rest can or should be done when your site is up already.
8. Answering comments, e-mails. If your content makes people related to you and to stick around your blog, you’ll soon get comments, e-mails, replies to newsletters, etc. These are invaluable contacts and to build them up you have to answer the people who reach out to you. They can give you support, and even become your potential customers. Don’t underestimate the importance of personal contact!
9. Making and keeping contact with other bloggers. This is also important in building a community. You can write to them, comment on their blogs, join their FB groups, or ask them to write a guest post on your blog. And so on. It’s all up to you. But investing time in this too: it will bring people to your blog.
To reach people you have to let them know you are out there. You have to promote your blog and your products. There are many ways to do so. I mention only the most time-consuming ones.
10. Pinterest. The best platform to promote your blog or product. And I have to tell you that building Pinterest-presence can take just as much time as working on your blog. The only difference is that here you have more options to shorten the tasks. Pinterest deserves more than these three sentences, so a lot more about it later on.
11. Social Media. Well, I have to admit I quit all social media many years ago because it was time-consuming and had the suck-in effect on me. Seemed better to leave altogether. But I’m considering to open a business account on some platforms again because according to successful bloggers an FB group can be a tremendous support. So many information is available only in these groups. Probably worth a try. I’ll just have to resist the suck-in effect.
12. Ads. Well, after signing up with an ad network, you have to place your ads on your site. But if you want to make the most of it, you have to experiment what works best on your site. And that’s what will take your time until you find you’re optimal.
13. Affiliate links. If you join affiliate programs or networks you have to find products you can promote and the best ways to generate great traffic. Mostly you’ll write posts about the products you want to promote. The same applies here as at # 4, 8 and 10.
14. Selling your products. We already talked about this at #7. I mention here to make you realize that it won’t sell itself. You have to sell it. I see this a lot on blogs: there is a nice shop that tries to sell itself, and the blogger does nothing about selling her products. Put your time into selling too.
15. Finding sponsors. Some bloggers apply to write sponsored posts to make money. It is essential that you do your best here, for both of your sake. Doing things right takes time, doesn’t it?
At the backstage
Finally, let’s see what things you’ll be doing behind the scenes, at least if you want to have a successful blog.
16. Reading blogs. To get inspired, to make observations, to get to know your competitors, to get ideas for your blog, etc. There are thousands of reasons why you should, and you will read blogs. Probably you will comment on them too. 🙂
17. Analyzing. You will study all your analytics programs. Google, Pinterest, Tailwind, Buzzsumo, etc. You’ll make your observations to improve your blog. To create more targeted content, to draw traction and get more traffic, to get more followers, etc. If you leave this out of your to-do list and plans, your blog will stay on the spot. But you want growth. So you must analyze.
18. Taking courses, webinars. In other words: educating yourself. Because you want to know how others do blogging, use Pinterest, get traffic, generate sales, etc. You want to learn to form others’ experience too. That is essential. But don’t be afraid to experiment things for yourself to find the way that works best for you. As I said in this post: there is no surefire way to success. Find yours!
Ok. So blogging IS a full-time job, make a full-time income out of it. Don’t give up! It is worth it!
I'm a wife to a wonderful man and mother of 10 amazing kids. I'm constantly working on being the mom I've always wanted to be and to make our house to be our dream-home finally. My goal is to help and encourage you to be the best mom you can be.