For the past two weeks, I’ve needed to take an unplanned sabbatical from the Frugal Entrepreneur to focus on my family. While away, I spent some time thinking about the blog and evaluating my progress. Since the topic is on my mind, I wanted to come back with a post on avoiding blogging burnout.
Avoiding burnout while maintaining a blog for your small or home-based business is a topic that many a blogger has attempted to write about. The problem, however, is that everyone’s situation and needs are different. That said, some of the tips I’m bringing here (many I’m either using myself or working towards) may work for you, while others may not. They are meant to get you started in the right direction. The goal is to find the right kind of balance to suit your particular circumstances.
1. Stay in touch with the long-term goals of your blog. Some blogs by nature will need content on a daily or almost daily basis, while others may require only 1 to 2 posts a week. It will very much depend on what you are trying to get out of your blog as well as the blog’s topic and your available time and resources. While you will likely have to make some adjustments along the way (especially at the beginning) if you remain focused on your long-term objectives, it will help you to make any content-related decisions and to evaluate your progress.
2. Make sure your goals are realistic. Blogging is certainly not a new area. For as many bloggers who have quit, there are many, many people who are currently maintaining successful blogs on various topics and with a variety of goals in mind. Before you delve too deeply into your business blog, do some research and ask questions from those who know because they’ve been through the process you’re considering undertaking. How long did it take them to reach their goals? What was the process they went through? Make sure that your goals are in line with the current realities of the Internet as well as your available time, resources, and talents. And make sure also that you are setting aside time to evaluate your progress along the way so that any necessary changes can be made.
3. Seek out guest posts… but do it right. There are so many benefits to using guest posts on your blog: not only does it give you a break from producing content, but it provides your blog with more content variety and fresh perspectives. You can also use guest posting to make valuable connections with other bloggers, and open up possibilities to do your own guest posts in the future.
But in order to profit from publishing guest posts on your blog you need to do it properly. This means timing: if you are just starting your blog you need time to build up a readership, and get your blog indexed with the search engines and maybe earn page rank. Doing so will help you to attract good guest posters, which is my next point… This also means quality: when you are ready to accept guest posts make sure you have clear submission guidelines published on your site. You don’t want to be spending too much time editing another’s post and you don’t want to publish junky or spamy content.
***Quick tip: If you are looking for guest posts, then head over to the Articles Gallery at myblogguest.com There you’ll find a database of guest posts looking for a home.
4. Plan ahead. For those of you who are good at planning and who have a little spare time on occasion, then you can cover both the expected and unexpected down times by pre-scheduling future guest posts or by writing your own posts to publish later. (WordPress has an option to publish a post at a per-determined future date).
5. Use “round-up” posts. Many pro bloggers, especially those who produce content more than four times a week, have at least one “round-up” type post- usually reserved for Fridays or over the weekend. These posts typically consist of a collection of interesting links that they have happened upon over the past week. Not only does this give your blog a bit of content variety, but it virtually ensures that you will have at least one post a week taken care of. For an example of this, see the Duct Tape Marketing Blog.
6. Accept that there will be ups and downs. This is not exclusive to blogging; it happens in all areas of life. The main point to remember is to know how to handle each period. When you are in a slump you can rely on strategies such as: publishing guest posts, reducing the amount of posts you put up per week, seeking inspiration from social networks or other bloggers, or taking a total break from your blog for a week or two. And don’t worry too much about losing readers. If your content is good, they’ll come back. It’s better that you take a break from time to time, then start to put up posts that are obviously just being published for the sake of having content.
Moreover, try to pace yourself during those ups… or you’ll quickly find yourself right back in a slump.
7. Get assistance. If you need to put content up on your blog a daily basis or if you need to spend an inordinate amount of time networking, commenting, and guest posting, then you may want to do yourself a favor and hire someone to help you. Here are some ways you can use hired assistance: hiring a freelancer to write content and using a virtual assistant to transcribe or edit posts, maintain a list of post ideas, conduct topical research, or maintain other aspects of the website, such as answering and forwarding emails.
In short, to avoid singing the business blogging burnout blues, make sure you keep your eye on the big picture, do some measure of planning, and remember as important as your blog may be… you’re human.