I’ve been blogging for a while now. Over the years, I’ve built a few blogs, grown a decent following and have been able to make money blogging from a few different income streams. And the entire time I’ve held full time jobs, went to school in the early stages and worked as a freelancer.
A lot of you are probably in similar situations where you’re trying to start blogging but you’re concerned about whether or not you have the time. I’m here to tell you that not only is it possible, but it’s pretty common.
Some of the most successful bloggers out there started their sites as a passion project or side hustle. They worked on their blogs during their off-hours and grew them into new businesses. You can do the exact same thing.
Here are my top tips for how to become a successful blogger in your free time.
1. Make Your Blog a Priority
First and foremost, you need to make blogging a priority. Otherwise you’ll keep putting it on the back burner and it’ll become an afterthought. Instead of treating your blog as a hobby, start thinking of it as a business.
That means opting to write a blog post instead of watching an episode of House of Cards. Or spending an hour engaging with influencers on social media instead of looking through photos of food on Instagram. If you want to be a successful blogger bad enough, you have to be willing to make it a priority in your life.
2. Make a Blogging Schedule (and Stick to it)
When I first launched this blog, I committed myself to writing three articles a week. I did this for months while working full time and freelance writing. No matter what was going on, I put out three articles a week because that was the schedule I decided on.
You don’t have to publish as often as I did. The key is to find a cadence that works for you, and something you can stick to.
When you’re working full time and have a ton of other things on your plate, knowing exactly what you have to produce each week for your blog is really helpful. It’ll allow you to plan out your week or month with your blog in mind, instead of struggling to remember the last time you made a post.
I recommend posting at least one new article a week. That’s more than doable during your free time.
You can set a reminder in your phone or with an app like Todoist so you know when you need to publish something on your blog.
It might take you a little while to find a schedule that works for you, but that’s no big deal. Start with less than what you think you can do, and add on more if you have the time.
3. Become a Faster Writer
When you’re short on time, you need to learn to become a more efficient writer. Depending on how good of a writer you are, this might take some practice.
Perrin Carrell wrote an in-depth guide on Authority Hacker about the writing system he used to write 12,000 words a day at one point. Even though you won’t need to produce nearly as much content as that, systematizing your content creation process is helpful.
Here are some of the key takeaways from Perrin’s guide, plus some of my own tips:
- Learn to type faster
- Do research before you start writing
- Create an outline
- Write your introduction last
- Don’t try to edit as you write
- Write freely
- Add images and styling after you’re done writing
Something that also makes it a lot easier to write quicker is to write about topics you actually know about. I can write articles about blogging and marketing pretty effortlessly because that’s what my background is in. But if I had to write an article about how to build a custom computer it’d take me a lot longer because I know diddly about that.
Sharpen your writing skills and you’ll be able to produce content a lot quicker.
4. Spend Time Promoting
Creating content is great, but it’s useless if nobody knows about it. This is where a lot of bloggers go wrong. They spend all their time creating content and absolutely none promoting it. You need to spend just as much time, if not more, promoting your content as you did creating it. This is particularly important when you’re just starting out.
When your blog is new, you won’t be getting tons of traffic from search engines so it’s going to be up to you to get the word out. That means using social media, email outreach, forums and every other tactic you can think of to promote your site.
Darren Halpern over at SocialTriggers.com recommends spending 80% of your time and effort on promoting/distributing content and 20% on creating it. You don’t have to follow that exact formula (I don’t) but even if you can get it to 50/50 you’ll see awesome results.
Once your blog starts to become a little more popular and you build an email list, your content will spread a lot more organically. But you should still dedicate time to content promotion.
Above all else, you need to be willing to hustle and grind. That could mean working 5+ hours a day in addition to your full time job, or having less leisure time. If you really want to become a successful blogger, it takes a lot of hard work.
The cool thing about blogging though is you can work it into your everyday life. If you take the train or bus to work, use that time to engage on social media. Read blogs about SEO tactics while you’re on the treadmill. Do email outreach while you’re watching your favorite show on Hulu. You can fit blogging into your schedule if you’re passionate about it.
Forget all those “get rich quick by blogging” ads and $1,000 courses you see. There is no substitution for hard work.
Until next time, keep hustling.