Blog Workflow & Time Management
After posting a picture of my to do list on Instagram I got asked the question if I would write an article about my workflow for running a travel blog. That idea kinda grew on me and I decided to write something down about my workflow combined with time management. Some people are great in managing their time and bringing fresh content on a daily or weekly basis, while others just come up with an excuse that they lack time… That’s absolute bullshit! You have time, you just gotta manage it!
The past couple of weeks I’ve been juggling myself between a lot of things and somehow I still managed to get everything done… I mean, just look at this crazy list:
- arranged my dad’s cremation
- arranged my dad’s heritage and all paperwork that came with it
- arranged cancellation of all my dad’s travel plans for this year (over 6 months worth of travel!)
- got involved in a new big travel blog project
- maintain a frequent flyer forum as captain (nice word for moderator)
- have written 15 new articles for a Dutch travel blog of which some are 2000 words
- have written 5 new posts for my personal blog (every post between 1000 – 2000 words)
- performed software & plugin updates on my own site
- created agendas for 3 different meetings
- send & replied tons of emails for the new blog project
- worked behind the scenes of the new blog project, arranging all kinds of stuff
- work a full time job besides all of the above
So don’t come fucking whining to me that you lack time! It’s all a matter of commitment and how much you want to achieve something in life. I hate slackers or people that look for excuses, get your shit together, simply move on and get things done </end rant>.
What I usually do is always carry around my iPhone with the Evernote app on it or a paper notebook with a pen, so that at any time of the day I can write down any idea that comes to my mind. This can be anything like something I need to do, a topic I want to write about, a great travel deal or error fare that I saw somewhere and so on… After the initial idea gathering I will collect all this information in an Evernote notebook and use a tag called “pitched” for any blog article ideas.
Afterwards I will create new posts in WordPress with the titles of my pitches and save them as drafts. I will make sure that I already set the SEO, focus keywords and meta description as it will save me time when I start editing the post.
To keep track of all pitches I create, I will also add a task with reminder onto my task list as I see this as my holy grail to keep track of all the work I do. Not only reminders for posts, but for all other kind of tasks that I need to take care of will be added. This will get synced to all my devices (iPhone, iPad & Macbook), so no matter which device I’m working on, I can track my progress.
The task list is my guide for deadlines to edit articles, gather pictures and put everything together in WordPress as a complete blog post. After a post has been finished and scheduled in WP, I will copy/paste the content into the note in Evernote to keep it there as a backup and I will change the tag from “pitched” to “scheduled”. After the post has been published on one of the blogs, I will change the tag to “published”. I still need to automate this workflow between WordPress and Evernote but I haven’t gotten around to yet, it’s on my to do list haha!
There are several ways to automatically sync content between WP and Evernote by using tools like IFTTT or Zapier that allow to automate these processes, so that you can save even more time. The same goes for publishing, most blogs use WordPress with the JetPack plugin these days which allow you to publish your articles to a number of social media. But I ran into some issues the plugin and decided to leave it for what is and invested in a third party plugin (NextScripts) to do this for me. NextScripts can be customized completely and if you purchase the additional API kit, it will allow you to automatically publish to all the well known social media platforms which is way better than manually posting all the links.
As for time management, well that all depends on you and how much time you decide to dedicate to your work related to your blog. I’m usually not a morning person but I noticed that I can be very productive during the early hours of the day. That’s why I always get up early and by the time I get to the bathroom I’m already checking all my emails on my smartphone and mark emails for follow up later during the day or simply create a task for them.
Second task of the day is to check all my social media and I do this on my phone while I’m on my way to the office (remember I work a full time job). I will do this a second time after work in a more detailed manner as I tend to save a lot of links in the morning so I can process them at night. A really helpful tool for this is Feedly as it allows to keep track of all my favorite blogs, read their posts and share them again on social media.
During a working day I won’t do much online stuff as I’m at the office and my employer wouldn’t appreciate me using up the time that he’s paying for to spend on projects outside of work. So the only time I can use is the is the time before I actually start work (8.40am) and my lunch break and during this time I will process all emails that I received until that point in time and look at my to do list and possible deadlines for that day. The only online communication I’ll have during the day is through iMessage or WhatsApp with other team members from the Dutch blog.
When it comes to actually writing and editing blog posts this is something I only do at night as words seem to come way easier. For some articles I write the text first, for others I have a general idea what I want to write about but I first go ahead and make a load of screenshots (for example when writing how to guides), edit the screenshots and upload these into WordPress. What most people tend to forget is to edit the so called “alt texts” for the pictures, you always need to take care of this as it plays such a big role in the entire SEO story! Yes it takes up time, but do you want your blog to show up at the top of the rankings when using Google search?
In between all the writing and editing I will continuously check several browser tabs and process forum posts on several online frequent flyer communities and respond to messages on social media. It’s all just a matter of maximizing your time and making the best use of it. If you’re passionate about something you’ll find a way to make things work.
People that run succesful blogs put their heart and soul into it, they will use every bit of spare time to create great content that keeps their readers happy. Because it’s one thing to be happy what you’re doing but you need to appreciate the loyalty of your readers, without them your blog doesn’t get any traffic. Speaking for myself I’m not anywhere where I want to be with my blog, but hey it’s only been just over 4 months that I started this project.
Time will tell where it will take me, but I’m confident good things will come in the long run…