In recent weeks since I launched my third blog I’ve received several emails and comments from friends with a variety of questions about how I find time to maintain all three blogs, so I thought it would be appropriate to cover the subject with a post here.
First of all, to give you the background of my situation, I do some web design and freelance blogging in addition to running my own blogs. Of the three blogs, this one gets the least amount of my time because it’s a bit more of a personal project and I feel like it has less income potential than the other two. My other two blogs each require several hours per week for writing and staying on top of comments and emails from readers.
I’ve been blogging for a little over a year and running multiple blogs for about six months. Here are some of the keys to keeping multiple blogs active and regularly updated.
1. Plan ahead
Without planning ahead I would be lost. With three blogs I would constantly be forced to decide which blog I should write for, and frankly I think at least one of them would have been given up on at this point. Personally, I don’t plan in details very far in advance, but always at least one week ahead. I do a lot of my writing on the weekends, and when the weekend starts I have specific posts for each of my blogs that I need to get done by the end of the weekend. Most of those posts will already be outlined at this point, and since the basic structure is already set I can sit down and write a good number of posts in a day.
For the typical week I’ll have three posts to write for Vandelay Design, three for DesignM.ag and two for Traffikd. Additionally, I’ll usually have another two posts that need to be done for freelance projects. With multiple blogs time management is essential. Any wasted time will result in less posts or reduced quality of content. For me, effective time management is not possible without planning ahead.
2. Take advantage of your most productive time
I think all of us have specific times that we’re more productive than others. If you’re a morning person, take advantage of this and get as much as possible done during your strong times. Avoid tasks like replying to emails, checking stats, going through your feed reader and commenting on other blogs during your strong times. Save these things for those times when you’re not at your best so you maximize productivity. In my situation this goes back to my previous point about writing a bunch of posts at once. If I can get a lot of them out of the way while I’m in a productive mode, the hardest part of my work for the week is done.
3. Make each post count
When you’re running multiple blogs, most likely your blogs aren’t going to have tons of posts. This is fine, but you need to make each post count. From my experience, posting three times per week with interesting and useful posts is more than enough to allow you to build a blog, but three sub-par posts is not going to get the job done. One of the major struggles for bloggers who maintain two or more blogs is keeping up the quality of all of the blogs. In my opinion it is better to reduce the quantity than it is to reduce the quality.
4. Have a “to do” list each day and stay on track
This really is part of planning ahead, but it’s on a day-to-day basis. I’ve found that a to do list can drastically improve my productivity. Without one I can quickly get distracted by something that may be somewhat productive, but not nearly as critical as other things that need to be done. Personally, I like to create a to do list either the night before or at the beginning of the day. I usually include the essentials for the day, and then I also throw in some “stretch goals” that I’d like to be able to accomplish, but they’re not as likely to be able to get done. At the end of the day I can easily gauge how productive I was.
5. Keep a list of post ideas
I mentioned that when the weekend starts I already know what posts I’ll be writing. That saves me a lot of time, and I think it helps the quality of content also because I’m not deciding on topics at the spur of the moment. I keep a brainstorming list with me at almost all times and I write down any idea I have for a potential post. Throughout the week I’ll keep an eye on the list to see what might be best for the next week, and then sometime Friday I’ll probably star the ideas that I want to work on over the weekend. Having a list of ideas in a notebook or a journal is critical for me, and those notes are very valuable possessions for me.
6. Get your cycle down
The process of brainstorming, writing, and scheduling posts is pretty consistent for my blogs. It took some time to settle into a good system, but it saves me time each week now that I have the process down. Each person works differently, but if you can identify the best cycle of system for you, your productivity will see a big jump.
7. Don’t post on weekends
This certainly isn’t a rule, but from my experience weekend posts aren’t a good idea if you’re only posting a few times per week. Traffic levels will be down on the weekends, and it just comes back to making each post count. If you have enough posts to also cover the weekends, fine, but don’t feel like it’s necessary.
8. Schedule time off
Over the past year I’ve learned that I need to schedule time off and plan for it, or it just won’t happen. We’re all human and we need some time away from running our blogs. If you schedule your time off in advance you can plan around it and be prepared by the time it comes.
This is something that I may need to start implementing myself, but I haven’t at this point. There are a growing number of blogs that are hiring freelance bloggers to handle some or all of the posting. If the blog is making money, this can be a great way to keep great content coming without relying on yourself for all of the posts.
What’s your experience?
If you have multiple blogs I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.