This is a first for me…I’m letting you in on a bit of the “man behind the curtain” by writing a post about blogging. If you’re not a blogger, this post probably won’t mean much to you…but if you are one (or have ever thought about starting your own blog), read on for a small peek into some of my blogging brain!
A quick Pinterest search will reveal literally thousands of resources for beginning bloggers. How to start a blog, how to build your blog, how to grow your following, blogging printables, social media tips, photography lessons, optimum blog design…and on and on. When I was starting out, I read TONS of those articles and felt like I had to implement them all into my blog in order to be successful. I quickly found myself burning out and not enjoying the whole blogging thing, as I was putting way too much pressure on myself to follow all of those “rules of blogging.” It led me to become obsessed with the numbers instead of blogging for fun…that’s when I knew it was time for a change.
I decided to share my story to add to those thousands of resources in the hopes that by sharing a bit of my behind-the-scenes thinking, you’ll be able to let go of any self-imposed “Pinterest Perfectionism” and allow yourself to discover what works best for you – and do it.
I had blogging burnout.
I began blogging when I was a stay at home mom to my 6 month old daughter. I didn’t know it then…but life was SO easy! She was taking two to three regular naps each day, and even when she was awake she didn’t require constant entertainment from me. I grew into a pattern of “me time” during her morning nap (blogging, surfing Pinterest, working on projects) and “productive time” in the afternoon (mostly household chores and prepping for dinner) As I really got into blogging, I began investing more and more time into it – writing posts, reading other blogs, reading about how to grow your blog, etc. I put together a blog binder with an editorial calendar and began posting 3-4 times a week. As my numbers slowly grew, I started picking up some small sponsored posts and feeling terrific about actually making enough money to support my “blog habit.” That lasted for several months – right up until about the time that my daughter dropped her morning nap. Boy, was that a difficult adjustment for me. I continued with the same schedule for a month or so but quickly began to feel burnt-out on the blog front. All of a sudden, I realized that I was not enjoying the whole blog thing as much as I was when I started – something had to give. I was making literally pennies an hour for everything that I was putting into the blog, and if I wasn’t doing it for the money, and I wasn’t enjoying it, why was I doing it at all? I needed to spend more time focusing on my daughter and taking care of our home – that was the priority. It was then that I decided I’d throw away the posting schedule and give myself permission to only post when I had something I WANTED to post about – even if that meant only posting 3-4 times a month. That was an extremely freeing decision for me. And surprisingly, without a posting schedule, my blog continued to grow at an even faster rate.
[Tweet “Blog tip: Avoid blogging burn-out. If you aren’t enjoying your blog, something needs to change.”]
Inspiration doesn’t strike on a schedule
So how do I decide how often to post? There’s not much to it – I write a blog post about a project when I’m inspired to create something that I think is worth sharing with people. That’s the whole concept of this blog, anyway – “living an inspired life.” It is rare that I create something strictly “for the blog” – most posts that you see on unOriginal Mom are usually something that I am making anyway for my home or my family. For example, I am not really big into St. Patrick’s Day, and I don’t decorate for it at our house, so I think it would be silly of me to create something that I won’t use just to showcase on the blog. I don’t have any kids in school yet, so I don’t really make “teacher appreciation” projects – I wouldn’t have anyone to give it to. The couple of times that I have created something with no purpose in my real life, those posts haven’t been very popular anyway. The only real exception is when I’m writing a sponsored post, which usually means there are specific post requirements…however, I make it a rule to NOT apply for a sponsored post unless I’m inspired by the product in some way. I’ve found that not only do “inspired” posts do much better on the blog, I am much more excited about writing them – so it’s truly a win-win.
[Tweet “Blog tip: inspiration doesn’t strike on a schedule, so why should you post on one?”]
I believe killer content beats filler content
For about the first 8 months of blogging, I posted a series called “Original Fridays.” It was a place for me to showcase neat things I’d come across in browsing other blogs through the week. For a while, it was a terrific way for me to connect with other bloggers and provide some extra inspiration to my readers. But then, I found myself frantically searching Pinterest late Thursday night to grab a few random photos to link to on my Friday post. It became more of an obligation to put together each week instead of sharing true inspiration with my readers. That’s when I decided it wasn’t worth the stress of throwing together a last-minute post just to fill my Friday post slot.
Especially in the age of Pinterest, I find I get much more mileage out of one “killer content” post rather than 3 “filler content” posts. And those posts are the ones that bring in new readers to my blog. This is just my interpretation, but I find that most blog readers are subscribers to multiple blogs, so they are never sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for a new post from me – they’ve always got stuff to read. The key is to first draw them with great content, and then get them to expect that every time they get a “new post” notification from unOriginal Mom (either via email or social media update) they know it’s going to be a great post worth reading. That will keep bringing them back.
As I’ve built up a “library” of quality content posts that continually see good amounts of Pinterest traffic, my numbers have slowly but steadily increased. In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I’ll tell you that right now my blog is averaging about 100K pageviews per month. When I started blogging (and was beyond ecstatic to hit 5K pageviews a month) I never dreamed I’d ever grow to see that number. I know it doesn’t make me a “big” blog, but I’m really happy with it – and even happier that it continues to grow.
[Tweet “Blog Tip: killer content beats filler content. Don’t waste time writing stuff that’s not worth it.”]
This is not my full time job.
If blogging was my full time job, you can bet I’d be posting on a much more structured schedule. I’d still be following the same principles of “killer content over filler content,” but I’d have so much more time to put into developing posts on a regular basis. But the bottom line is, my full time job is taking care of my kids (yes, I’ve got two littles now!) and that in itself takes more hours than there are in a day! I have grown to make a very small part time income from this blog, which is terrific, but my I’m not in the blogging game to make money – I’m in it for a fun and enjoyable hobby to do in my free time. Ultimately my priority is my family and the life stage we’re in right now just doesn’t allow for much free time to spend on myself.
How to schedule…without a schedule.
So, you want to try this whole “blogging without a schedule” thing too? First, a bit of clarification – blogging without a specific post schedule is not the same thing as blogging without a calendar. I do keep track of my scheduled posts and deadlines with a system that helps keep me organized, even without blogging on a schedule. I keep a Google spreadsheet to help me keep track of my posts – one tab for post ideas, and one tab for a posts “in the pipeline.” Even without a strict weekly schedule, I still do have some deadlines…the monthly Silhouette Challenge posts that I like to participate in, any sponsored post deadlines, or blog hops/giveaways I may be signed up for. To keep from missing any of that, I just keep a list of dates on that Google spreadsheet along with how far along that post is…I’ve got columns along the top for project completed, photos taken, photos edited, post written, post scheduled, social media scheduled.
I would highly recommend signing up with Co-Schedule (<–that’s an referral link but if you don’t want to use it, here’s a direct link…either way I’d really encourage you to check them out!). Co-Schedule has been a HUGE time saver for me, as I can schedule my posts and social media promotions for a specific day, then decide to change the post date and just drag it to a different day on the calendar – and all the social media posts go with it. As I’ve got a few completed posts “in the pipeline” I really like to be able to spread them out – so I may have a post scheduled for next Monday and Thursday, but then I finish a new post that’s more seasonal and would do better to publish earlier – so I can easily schedule it for Monday, then push the Monday post to Thursday, and the Thursday post to the week after that. It’s so easy!
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to blog. Blogging without a strict weekly schedule is what works for me – but don’t assume it will work best for you. What it all boils down to is you have to discover YOUR best blogging method, and don’t get caught up in the numbers, or what somebody else tells you to do. Ultimately, your blog will grow the fastest and you will be the happiest when you get into a “groove” that works best for you to create that killer content – and the readers will come.
Psss! Want more fantastic and practical tips on growing your blog? Check out this incredible eBook (aff link) by Abby Lawson, from Just a Girl and Her Blog –
If you’re a blogger, what have you had to “let go of” to maintain enjoyment in your blog? Or if you’re a reader, I’m curious to know (and be honest) – do you prefer a set weekly schedule of more frequent posts, or would you rather be reading fewer posts of higher quality?
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