Even bloggers who profess a quality-over-quantity focus stress the need for regular posting, if only to keep the blog visible within a niche. The question is, how can a blogger retain focus for what’s admittedly a repetitive task? Here are five ways that have proven useful for yours truly.
1. Stop Checking Your Blog’s Traffic Every Other Hour
Many bloggers—especially new ones—check how much traffic their blog’s attracting multiple times in a day. It may be nice to see a certain post break out, or enjoy the fruits of social networking attention, but as any analytics expert knows, traffic stats become only useful when viewed over a significant period of time.
In other words, trends that show what works and what doesn’t only become clear over at least a week. Definitely not within a day. Less fretting over stats means more time to concentrate on producing content, quality- or quantity-oriented. This is not a call to ignore the benefits of blog analytics, but a reminder to prioritize the bread-and-butter of any blog: blogging.
2. Make Experiences Relevant to Your Niche
Aside from being a great way to come up with post ideas, staying aware of how experiences relate to a particular niche is a friendly mindset that makes it easier to turn those ideas into readable posts.
A tech blogger figures out that a particular denim jacket he’s trying out features gadget-friendly pockets that are roomy without creating unsightly bulges. A fashion blogger sees that a particular suite of gadgets is available in one particular, stylish color. The point is that this “blog-aware” mindset creates unique realizations that are easy to translate into words, which are exciting to share with readers.
3. Set a Content Schedule
Though relevant only to certain niches, determining the kind of content for certain days helps create the reader expectation that turns into repeat visits. The expectation works both ways too, letting a blogger stick to a theme that provides a framework for research.
For example: while readers know that tip lists come out every Wednesday, the blogger spends the rest of the week coming up with ideas to match the theme. A clear plan is always healthy for focus.
4. Establish Clear Comment Guidelines
Big blog networks like Gawker dedicate a staff to comment moderation, since their “editors want to spend more time providing new content and less time moderating comment threads”.
Solo operators don’t have that kind of luxury, but even the most basic of comment guidelines—prohibiting profanities—means less time managing comments and thus more focus on writing. Profanities stick out during any quick scan of moderated comments, allowing quick clicks on the Delete or Spam links with a reasonable degree of certainty.
5. Remember Why You Are Blogging
Blogging—like anything else requiring regular output—is a very tiring activity. Hopefully the tips above will make this reality more bearable, but nothing resurrects focus like remembering the reasons that drove a blogger to start blogging in the first place.
There are numerous ways to categorize those reasons, such as the nobility driving advocacy blogs, the help-others sensibility that pushes people to share useful tips with others online, or even the selfish need to make money for established bloggers. Whatever the case—if those reasons remain appealing—they definitely return the focus to any wavering blogger.
This trip down memory lane is also a great opportunity for a blogger to review the direction a blog is taking. Is it still relevant to the niche? Is it actually providing the information long-time readers are looking for? This approach has led to many bloggers returning to their roots so to speak, reestablishing the focus that created the content that was key to establishing a significant presence.
How do you remain focused on your blog? Feel free to share by hitting the comments below.
I pick a blog topic that is of interest to me, it doesn’t have to be passionate. While browsing the Internet for other reasons, it is not uncommon to spot my blog topic with something new or perhaps a different slant spawning a new idea for my next blog. Be sure and jot down the idea and the reference so you can continue your original search and still have the idea for later blog composing.
I also tend to like to write short series of related blogs occasionaly, using a teaser lead toward the end of the blog that suggests something about the next related blog. This works best if there are only 3-5 in the series.
Engaging with friendly competition, be with people with the same interest with mine and setting goals; these are few of my ways how to stay on track.
For content schedule, do you think posting series of modules are helpful?
I saw blogs with this kind of strategy and no offense but they bore me. I believe discussing topics as brief, simple yet detailed as possible is more enticing than series of long articles to explain a particular topic.
As a reader, having the knowledge what to anticipate next from a blog is indeed helpful especially if it something to get excited with. Maybe some teaser will do for the next entry.
Andrew & Stefan: I’m wondering though if a plan is relevant to time-sensitive niches like tech and political news. Is it still possible to stick to an easy-to-follow, relatively rigid pattern?
Katrina: Yes, I remember when I started my first ever blog; I was fretting on the second day when I saw no one dropped by!
Regarding a schedule, how far ahead do you look?
Igor: That’s definitely another reason to blog, the potential to accomplish so much with just one mere blog post!
I just trained myself to focus on the task that bring me most results and pleasure at the same time. I realy have no problem with focusing, I enjoy blogging, that’s why I post every day, no excuse.
The first item puts a smile on my face. It is really exciting for a new blogger to get traffic, but your idea is true. Indeed, there are little things we do around blogging that takes our focus away from really blogging.
A schedule, also, helps a lot. It is like viewing your blog with a wider perspective. It’s not only thinking about each post you make, but the future of your blog as a whole. That bigger perspective helps one make a blog of a better quality.
As Andrew writes it’s good to have a plan and line out a few topics within a specific headline. By doing so you’ll always have content to rely on when you are low on creativity.
Having a plan works for me. Tends to be a weekly one split down into days.
And each day is split between content creation and marketing plus one of the days – strategy. When am I going?
It works for me and I drive myself to finshed as much as I can on my daily schedule.