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Finding the time to blog

We’re big believers that most businesses could benefit from having a regularly-updated blog.  It helps showcase you as an expert in your field, gives you a chance to interact with your customers, and can really help get more of your content into Google (and therefore have them send more traffic to your site).

One good way to see how Google is reacting to your blog is with the “Index Status” page in Google Webmaster Tools. It’s a simple page where Google shows you how many of your pages are in their “index”.  In other words, how many of your pages have a chance to come up when someone does a search on Google?  As a general rule, you simply want as many pages in Google’s index as possible, and blogging will give you a slow and steady increase.  As a example, here is our “index status” over the past year:

index-status

It’s not a dramatic jump; just slow and steady growth over time.

Most companies that we talk to agree with that wholeheartedly, but we hear the same problem over and over — “I just don’t have time”. It’s a valid concern, as blogging certainly takes time.  However, there are a number of things you can do to help ease the burden so that it doesn’t eat up too much of your time.

Always look for ideas

There is a thought that you should only blog when you have something awesome to say. I agree with that, but for most folks it turns into “only when you have something awesome to say AND time to write it up”.  This is why you often see blogs that haven’t been updated in months.

The solution is to constantly be looking for awesome blog post ideas and jotting them down.  We keep our ideas for GreenMellen blog posts in Asana, but I’ll often toss ideas into Google Keep on my phone if I need to write one down quickly.

Follow lots of great sites

I shared a few months ago that I follow more than 500 blogs on a regular basis. You certainly don’t need to be as crazy as I am, but finding some good blogs in your industry can help get you going.  The combination of finding good content and writing down your ideas can work well together; case in point, this post was inspired by a post I read last month.

Start drafts as time allows

It’s one thing to have a list of ideas, but it’s so much nicer to already have a few posts started.  When I have time, I like to take those post ideas and start working on them a bit.  If I can get a few of them into semi-workable drafts, then it requires much less of my time to polish them up when it’s time to post.

Force yourself to write on (at least) a fixed schedule

On this blog we try to write at least once a week.  By keeping a list of ideas on hand and some drafts in your system, it’s not too bad.  By forcing myself to post at least once a week, then supplementing that with news-worthy posts as needed (such as the Google+ updates a few weeks ago), we end up with a good number of posts going out each month.

Answer questions

One of our favorite sources of blog content is to answer questions that we hear from our clients (and potential clients).  In the past year we’ve explained what a mobile responsive site is, why we chose Asana for our task management, how our logo design process works and what some of our favorite mobile apps are. These all came as a direct result of questions from clients, and we’ve sent those links out as answers when the same questions have popped up again from other clients.

Make it a priority, make it a habit

If you decide that blogging is good for your business, then act like it.  Make it a priority, and over time it’ll become a habit.  If you already have your ideas laid out, then a decent post can be written in about 30 minutes.  Posting once a week is a good place to start, so you’re not talking about a huge time commitment.

Go get started!

If you’ve been slacking on your blog, go spend a few minutes and take some steps to revive it again:

  1. Think of two or three ideas for posts.  Recent news in your industry, questions you hear repeatedly from clients, a showcase of recent work you did, etc.
  2. Write them down in whatever task management program you like.
  3. Go start a draft post for one of them.
  4. Pick a day to post it.  I have a recurring task that pops up each Monday that simply says “post blog entry”.  I don’t always post right on Monday, but that task will stare at me until it gets done.

As I mentioned above, the inspiration for this post came from one I read a month ago.  It was a collection of time-saving tips that was posted on ProBlogger, and I highly recommend you read their full post to get some other ideas.

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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