10 things bloggers can do when they’re struggling to write
You’d think that lockdown was the ideal time to get loads of content on your blog. It turns out that it’s quite the task to write articles when your stomach is filled with a sense of impending doom.
But being totally unproductive isn’t good for our mental health. It’s good to get into a routine, even if it’s just planning which episodes of The Office you’re going to watch.
If you can write content, go for it. But there are a few other tasks you can do that can help you immensely, but just…aren’t normally priorities. Or, you can get systems in place for when you inevitably go viral.
Ugh, ‘going viral’ is one of those phrases that just…isn’t the same.
A weird benefit of some of these tasks is they’re kind of a ballache. You’ll end up so intent on sorting out your website that you won’t have time to think about, er, other things.
1 — Monetise
I’m afraid you’re not going to be making money yet (unless you’re already a seasoned blogger) BUT you can get those systems in place, whatever they are.
- Email companies about sponsored posts. If your traffic isn’t there yet, make a list of companies you’ll contact in the future
- Join affiliate networks
- Create a resources page, and add your links. Go through your posts and add links to your resources page.
- Come up with content ideas that drive affiliate sales — product reviews, listicles, top tens etc
- Create your own product — plan that ebook, set up your email list & lead market, create printables. There’s loads of info on Pinterest about getting starting with this.
- Apply to ad networks if you have the traffic. Apply to AdSense if you don’t. I’m approved by AdSense even though I don’t actually display ads. It takes five minutes, and you never know when it’ll come in handy
- Start a youtube channel — niche channels still have the potential to make you money *fairly* quickly. Note the word ‘potential’
2 — Improve the speed of your website
I check mine use Google PageSpeed Insights. If you change themes it can return errors for a couple of days. Pingdom is another option.
- The best way to do this is to switch to a theme built for speed. I like GeneratePress- there’s a free and a paid option, but I like the free one.
- Get rid of unnecessary plugins
- Get a caching plugin, an image compressor, and lazy loading. I use WP-Optimize, Autoptimize and WP fastest Cache.
3 — Rewrite your posts
Use Google Analytics to identify your least popular posts. Critique them. Are they actually necessary, or did you just fancy writing about that topic?
Read it through from an SEO perspective and ask yourself if it can be salvaged. Take a look at the keywords. Is anyone searching for them? Are too many people searching for them? Can you niche down further?
Sometimes posts have to be scrapped. Scrap ’em. Others can be rewritten so that they serve their reader better, and can rank in the future.
4 — Check your site’s navigation
Is your site easy to navigate, or do users have to scroll endlessly though each post?
I use two plugins to help navigability: Content Views and Recent Posts Widgets with Thumbnails.
Content Views creates free content galleries. I have an ‘every post ever’ tab on my menu which takes the user to a page displaying every post ever.
It’s not the most stylish option out there, but it does what it’s meant to and it’s a great way for users to find an article they want quickly.
Recent Posts Widgets with Thumbnails, er, adds a widget that I put in my sidebar which shows recent posts with thumbnails.
Bad navigation means you will lose pageviews. Luckily, you can fix it in less than an hour.
5 — Create a content calendar
Spend the day conducting keyword research
Keyword research is one of the foundations of a successful blog, and it doesn’t need to be hard, and you DON’T need to pay for Moz or SEM rush or anything. Though you can always take advantage of any free trials — it won’t hurt.
A way to make blogging seem less…vast is to limit the number of blog posts you plan to write — ever. Set yourself the challenge of producing, say, 200 posts. Those posts must cover every aspect of your blog, and answer all your reader’s queries.
Obviously, there is no limit to the number of posts you can write, but limiting yourself like this can force you to flesh out your posts by adding in information you had planned on putting in a stand-alone post. Adding 800 words to a 1,500 worder may help it rank more quickly.
Once you have your topics decided, work them into a content calendar. If you come across any useful information or sites, link to them in your calendar on the right day. I use a paper planner, but I leave links in Googe Keep so they’re there when I need them.
6 — Conduct research
On whatever you like. Sit on Youtube and learn. I watch videos on caring for house plants and content creation, and it feels like downtime, but technically, it’s work.
7 — Clean up your Pinterest account
- Claim your site — I used a plugin (simple site verify) because I’m lazy.
- Hide any boards that don’t relate to your niche. If there’s a tenuous link, keep it public.
- Create boards. Remember that the whole point of your public Pinterest boards is to provide either information or cool pictures that people in your niche will find useful or enjoy
- I save Instagram posts to Pinterest because a) Pinterest likes new content and b) because all of the advice about only saving pins that go to high-quality
- websites defeats the purpose of Pinterest. A lot of people use it to look at pretty pictures. If I see a cool plant on Instagram, I save it to Pinterest — if I think it’s cool, other plant lovers might too.
- If you have time, make a few pins in Canva and add them to your posts. Pin them to your boards.
- …use Pinterest like a normal person. That seems to be what the algorithm is favouring nowadays.
- Don’t buy a Tailwind subscription thinking it’ll be the provider of endless traffic. Nope.
8 — Learn Canva
Seriously, it’s a great skill to have. You can put it on your resume. You can use Canva to create graphics (for free) for so many things — Pinterest pins, the featured image on your blog, Instagram posts, party invitation, business cards, flyers, WHATEVER.
I recommend just signing up and playing around. It’s fairly intuitive, and there are loads of templates to start you off
9 — Start (or plan) a new blog
Our interests and passions ebb and flow. If you have a great idea for a new site, go for it.
Leave your old blog alone and start another. If you can’t afford that, then do your keyword research, content strategy, and start writing posts in Google Docs. You can upgrade your hosting later.
10 — Check out your competition
Plug your keywords into Google and see who’s sitting at number one. Don’t bother with backlink profiles or anything, just go and use their site. Read their posts, see how they’re monetising, and think about how you could make better articles than them.
I hope this is a helpful list, but if you would prefer to catch up every episode of Grey’s Anatomy, do that instead!