5 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers

Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers - ProBlogger.net(Just wanted to say Howdy from those who have wandered thru from ProBlogger.net. Be sure to check out the full list of submissions.)

Darren at ProBlogger.net has a group writing project going this week. He’s asking readers to post their Habits to Highly Effective Blogging. I thought: Let’s give it a go. At first blush, I didn’t feel qualified. I’m new to this whole paid blogging thing. (Got my first paycheck this month, thank you very much!) Then I re-read the project title. “Effective” Ah, now that I can contribute to. Bald Man Blogging has, after all been around for nearly three years. (Not the domain; just the blog.)

Currently I’m juggling six blogs – including this one and one not-yet-launched. On five I am the only author. So, this spring has been a crash course in “effectiveness.” I’ve got to get the most bang for my blogging buck. (Did I mention I’ve still got the day job?) So here’s what I’ve learned about being an effective writer.

Develop a Routine

Is it just me, or is the web FULL of distractions? Email, IM, forum chit-chat, flash games, news, RSS feeds, etc. Distractions are everywhere. Many of those same distractions, however, provide ideas for posts. So, you can’t just cut them out. What you need is a routine that mixes in writing, reading, and playing. Here’s how I start each morning.

  • Look at stats. I like the pretty numbers, but more importantly I want to know what happened yesterday. Was there a sudden jump in traffic? Did a post hit the big time? Did I get a new inbound link?
  • Look at WordPress Dashboards. I moderate comments (Ah, the Spam Assault of 2006…) and again, check inbound links.
  • Look at the actual blogs. I like to make sure nothing exploded. This is also where I respond to comments.
  • Open three tabs in this order: b5media internal forums, gmail, Bloglines. I work thru each tab closing them as I go and opening new ones as I see fit, for example Bloglines items that I want to dig into. Closing those first three tabs are key for me. It I don’t, then I may never make it out of this loop. There’s always something new in one of them.
  • Work thru that new set of tabs, commenting or whatever, until I get to the last one. When I’m done with it…
  • Open the WP Dashboard for Blog #1. I’ll also open Bloglines in a new tab, because I maintain a Bloglines folder with resources. (This sometimes kills me, because I get distracted in unrelated feeds.) Now I write. Whatever I need to. One post or ten posts. I don’t set goals other than be up-to-date. I like to have a post go live every day. If things are flowing, then I may crank out half a dozen. If they aren’t, they I make sure I’m at least up-to-date.
  • Once I’m done with Blog #1, I start over with those three tabs from above: forums, gmail, Bloglines. (I have them set up in a bookmark folder called “Re-start.”) Work thru those, then tackle Blog #2. Generally, all six blogs have received attention by the end of the day.

Change Your Routine

This is about constantly learning and growing. I’ve just recently started working with the routine above, but sometime in the next couple months I’ll change it. At least a part of it. I’ll adjust something to see if it works better. If it does, great! If it doesn’t, great! I just go back to the old routine and have learned something for the future.

Read, Read, Read

The mind requires stimulation. I have a collection of 50 or so feeds of personal interest. Plus a couple dozen that are specifically to feed [pun intended] sundry blogs. I also keep track of all the b5media blogs. I’ve got the usual friends and familiar voices in Bloglines, but I also try to include several from outside my box. You never know where an idea might come from. Diversity breeds insight. Conflict creates change. And change is an opportunity to grow. In addition to Bloglines, I have a few books and magazines laying around the house.

Jot down Ideas… Now!

This one is fairly new for me. Too often I get a great idea, but it’s gone before I get around to doing anything about it. These ideas often come while doing “something else.” have to get the idea down before it flits out of my mind.

So, when an idea pops into my head, I try to drop whatever I’m doing, jump into the relevant WP Dashboard, and start a “holder” post. All I really want is a Title, something to remind me of the idea when I get back to that blog in the routine. I might jot down a couple quick notes as well, if the idea has some flesh on it. Save the post as a draft, then back to the routine. The goal is to save the idea with minimal interruption to the routine.

Do What You Can, Get Help with the Rest

Last but not least, ask for help. You don’t have to know it all. If fact, I think it’s better if you don’t even try. Know what you know. That is, get really good at whatever it is you can and want to do. Then, ask for help on the other stuff. You can’t master all things.

This site is a good example. I quickly realized that I didn’t know enough to do a design myself, and it would take me too long to learn. So, I asked for help. Now, I can do what I do, and say thanks for the help.

Bonus Benefit: Asking for help puts you in contact with other people. More contact = more ideas. More ideas = more potential posts.

21 thoughts on “5 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers

  1. Awesome post! This helps with the problem I’ve been having; I always have soo much to do, but I end up wasting time on pointless distractions. I would like to develop some sort of routine, I think it would help me quite a bit.

    Thx

    -Colin

  2. Hey, good article, but it was a bit hard to read, because of that line in the middle of the text. I think the comment form is stretching your layout. And it happens “onload” for some reason. So when I load it, it’s fine for a split second, but then it gets busted. I also couldn’t find your email anywhere, so I submit this via comment. Sorry.

  3. Colin,
    Thanks for the encouragement. The routine is the only thing that gets me out of the loop and into “real” work.

    bonnie,
    I’ve been told I sound like a girl, so maybe that’s the link. :p

    Hsien, :D

    Roman:
    The design is still a work in progress, but I appreciate the feedback. Can you give me a few additional details, e.g. what browser you use, to work with? My email is: coryaldrich [at] gmail [dot] com.

  4. I have been using many of these methods for a long time in my daily life, but I haven’t really had much chance to apply them to blogging. The one thing I learned in college working hard on my Creative Writing degree is to keep a pen and notebook with me ALWAYS. I get made fun of so much for that, but it does help in so many ways. Most of my notes don’t even relate to writing (I had to price materials for fencing yesterday). For me though, the biggest and hardest thing to do is set aside the time each day to write. Usually for me that is right before bed when I’m too tired to self-edit. Regardless, you seem to have found a pretty good working forum so keep at it. I enjoy reading and commenting on it.

    RG

  5. Some great ideas here, I’ll have to try to remember them! Just browsing through, one I noticed was the jotting down ideas.. Great idea! Along with the not getting ditracted. That has to be my hugest problem.

  6. Wow. Great blog. Some great ideas. Three years. That’s a long time. I hope I can make it through my first year.

    Thanks for the great ideas!

  7. Rantz,
    I should probably keep a notebook stashed in the car, too, for when I’m away from the computer. You never know when inspiration will strike….

    Bryan & May,
    Here’s hoping I’ll be around to celebrate YOUR 3rd blog-iversary.

    Mike,
    I have to remember there’ a balance between productivity and creativity. Focusing on the task at hand is great for getting things done. On the other hand, letting your mind wander and be distracted is great for discovering something new. Creativity is all about making new connections between things.

    Andrea,
    Thanks for the “spin.” Normally I’d just say I got distracted and gave up two habits early. :D

  8. Yeah – great ideas.
    I agree with the “read, read, read” idea but have trouble setting aside enough time to do it all. I’ve commented on your article on my blog.

  9. Pingback: Trevor Hampel » Blogging with the Bald Man

  10. Trevor,
    I’ve found that one of the biggest lies being sold today is that you can have it all. Truth is you can’t have it all. Everyone must make choices, and those choices often involve letting go of good things… hopefully in favor of better things.

  11. Pingback: Bald Man Blogging » Design Help Needed

  12. Good tips but I am still over here wondering how to make money from blogging. What to write about? Where to write it (I do have a Blogger.Com account)?
    Very confused when I started my blog, almost threw my computer out of the window…now I am once again at the ledge with the computer..it’s either me or IT!!!!

    EllayWest

  13. Ellay,
    First, if anyone told you money grew on a blogging tree, shoot them. ;) But seriously, it can be done; but it’s a real business that requires real work. No one is just throwing money at bloggers.

    The best place for you to go, if you haven’t done so already, is Problogger.net In particular take a look at Darren’s introductory articles (top left; dark gray box). They’ll get you pointed in the right direction. After that it’s a matter of perseverance, patience, and practice.

  14. Hello!
    Thanks for the tips.
    I am just getting started in the blogging arena and I think that you are right on the money with your 5 habits. I need to develop consistency and persistence and my blogging will go to the next level.
    Thanks again!

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