Since adopting these 5 simple habits, my blog (and my approach to blogging!) has undergone a total transformation. Here’s what I did to jumpstart my blogging career!
Last year, I wrote a blog post detailing the 11 invaluable lessons I’d learned in my first year of freelancing. When I wrote that post, I didn’t think so much about the other people who’d be reading it, but instead thought about future me looking back on it to see how far I’d grown in my freelancing journey. I can be rather sentimental at times, and I love being able to look back at my blog’s archives and seeing where my head was at in college and beyond.
I wrote today’s post in a similar vein. Although Tall Girl Big World is by no means internet famous (yet!), this little blog of mine has grown exponentially in the last year and I attribute my recent success to the simple habits listed below. It’s very possible that many of my fellow bloggers have long discovered the “secrets” I’m dishing out in this blog post, but just a few months ago these were all new-to-me tips and over the course of a year I’ve become a much more confident and successful blogger because I’ve adopted the following habits.
I’ve written this post as much for me as for you, my dear readers, because I know future me will face blogging hurdles and may want to throw in the towel. And when that happens I like the thought of having posts like this to look back on to remind myself of all the hard work I’ve done and lessons I’ve learned since I started Tall Girl Big World all those years ago. With all that being said, let’s dive right into the simple habits that have completely transformed Tall Girl Big World and my approach to blogging overall.
Batch editing photos
Editing photos doesn’t come naturally to me. For years, I’d look at my favorite travel bloggers’ Instagram feeds and think, “How the heck did they make all their photos look alike?” It wasn’t until this past year that I got smart and started googling photo editing tutorials and downloaded Adobe Lightroom so I could more easily (and professionally) edit my own images. Because editing photos is a struggle for me, I prefer editing a batch of photos all at once. This way, I can more easily look at the newly edited images together and make sure they meet the same editing standards.
Plus, most of my photos are taken on my travels, meaning they typically share the same color scheme, lighting, and so forth. So after editing a few images I can save the edit settings from one photo and apply it to the rest of my travel photos. I still go in and make more tweaks to each image, but by editing images in a large batch like this I actually reduce the amount of time I would’ve spent had I edited each image one by one as the need arose. Having a backlog of pre-edited images makes scheduling blog posts so much easier!
Blocking out “blogging days”
As a full-time freelancer who works from home, I have the luxury of setting my own schedule. When I began freelancing in 2018, I set a few key personal goals that dealt with the type of life I wanted to create for myself. I figured that if I was going to abandon the security of a 9 to 5 office job, then I was going to ensure that part of my workweek would be dedicated to my primary passion: this travel blog. From the get-go, I set aside every other Friday as my blogging day — the day I’d commit to writing a set number of blog posts and work on other blogging tasks that needed tending to.
Knowing I have a blogging day coming up takes the pressure off me to be constantly churning out content in my free time, which in turn helps me produce better content (I don’t write well at all when I’m stressed). Once I’ve finished my freelance work for the day, I typically don’t have the mental energy to write or edit a blog post, so you can imagine my relief every time I remind myself that I have an entire work day blocked off later to check off my blogging to-do’s.
As I mentioned before, I know my blogging days are a luxury, even for a freelancer. But even before I began working for myself I liked to set aside blogging days, or at least blogging evenings. When I worked in an office, my blogging days were usually Sundays since that’s when most of my friends preferred staying at home and catching up on household chores. And during the summer when my weekends were packed with friend time, I’d tackle my blogging tasks over the course of two to three work nights so that I’d have free time on the weekends.
No matter how you plan your blogging time, I highly recommend blocking off a set amount of time each week. You’ll be able to hold yourself accountable this way and meet your blogging goals more easily if you’ve carved out that time beforehand.
Creating a content calendar
I’ve written an entire blog post on how to create a content calendar, so I won’t harp on about it much right now. But I will say this: a content calendar is a must if you’re serious about growing your blog. A content calendar will help you plan your upcoming blog posts, and it should be a living document that you continually plug new information into. Think: SEO keywords, publish dates, blog post statuses, and so forth.
I didn’t realize how disorganized my blog content was until I finally created a content calendar. But once I made one, I was able to plan ahead and tackle larger topics I’m passionate about, such as solo travel, blogging, life in NYC, and more. Instead of throwing together blog posts willy nilly, I was able to create a game plan for my blog — often months in advance! — and really buckle down on the topics I want to be an expert in. I’ll pop the link to my post about how to create an editorial calendar below, but please let me know if you have any questions about how to make one or why it matters!
Monitoring my analytics
When I began Tall Girl Big World, I’m pretty sure the only people who read my posts were my parents and my college roommate. I think I set up Google Analytics for my blog after a year or so, but I never paid my analytics much attention. I figured, if only a handful of people are reading what I write, who cares what my analytics are?
Well, I remained stuck in that mindset longer than I should have, so when my blog’s traffic began to finally trend upwards I had no clue what to do with the information Google Analytics spit out at me. I didn’t understand the significance of knowing where the bulk of my audience was based or why it mattered that most of my traffic was coming from search engines versus Pinterest. Views are views, right?
Once I started analyzing my blog’s traffic with the help of Google Analytics (and a few other tools like Google Search Console and SEMRush), I was able to make more informed decisions about the content I was producing and the ways I shared it online. Keeping a pulse on my monthly analytics means I can more easily pull out certain articles to update each month, share new Pinterest pins for, and more.
I’d be happy to write a post about the main metrics I use to measure the growth of my blog, but in the meantime let me know if you have any specific questions about how I use my analytics.
Scheduling posts in advance
I don’t know why it took me so long to begin scheduling WordPress posts in advance, but it has totally changed the blogging game for me. I used to think my blog posts were basically “done” once I’d written them. I somehow always forgot the amount of time it’d take me to edit the photos, add relevant links, create Pinterest pins, and format each post. I’d put off all of these seemingly “easy” tasks until the day before I meant to publish a post, and then I’d get stressed with the amount of last-minute work that needed to be done.
Needless to say, I’ve (finally) learned my lesson and now schedule 95% of my blog posts in advance. I’m currently trying to work my way back to scheduling content three weeks ahead of time. Three weeks always seemed like good timing for me — it was far enough out that the day-to-day pressure to create new content was lessened, but not so far out that my audience (that’s you!) feels disconnected from my life and my travels. I like to blog about what I’m going through at the moment, so I never like to have too many posts scheduled at once.
If you’re a blogger, I’d love to hear how you make blogging easier for yourself! There’s so much we can learn from each other, and I’d love to know what does and doesn’t work for you.
Tell me: What’s one way you stay productive in your everyday life?
More posts you’ll love:
- 5 Useful Tools Every New Blogger Should Use
- Suffering From Writer’s Block? How to Rekindle Your Creativity
- 10+ Travel Blog Posts You Can Write About One Trip
- 10 Ways I Stay Productive While Working From Home
- 9 Essential Blogging Tasks to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Writing
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