I’m really excited about this week’s guest post. Today Tristan from Blogging Bookshelf discusses eight core principles to building a successful blog. I enjoyed this post because it gives a number of lessons that you can use to combine blogging with a whole lot of passion. Take it away Tristan…
Having a blog as a business is the ultimate lifestyle-enabling goal for a lot of people, and it’s understandable. I mean, how great would it be to just write a post once a week, sit back, and let the traffic and dollars flow in while you’re relaxing on a beach in Thailand? Pretty great, right?
Well, while it’s true that there are some bloggers who manage to do just that, the reality is much harsher and doesn’t involve nearly as many sunny beaches.
Maintaining a blog can be a very stressful experience. You’re expected to write quality content time after time while trying to get as many people to read your blog as possible while building quality relationships with your readers and other bloggers. That’s a lot to juggle! But if you do it right, blogging can be more of a stress-free experience. Below are 8 tips to help you out.
1. Blog about what you enjoy
This is simultaneously the most basic and most essential point here. All of the work required for maintaining a successful blog won’t seem like work if you blog about something you love. As cliché as it is, if you aren’t blogging about something you’re passionate about, your blog won’t get far. You’ll have trouble staying psyched enough to write quality content. It’ll be hard for you to spend a lot of time promoting your site. You’ll lose interest and will end up quitting, having wasted a lot of the time in the process.
2. Have a list of topics to write about
“Crap, I haven’t written tomorrow’s post yet! What should I write about?” Sound familiar?
Scrounging around at the last minute for post topics is a sure-fire way to give yourself a hemorrhage. You can eliminate this problem entirely, however, if you keep an idea notebook.
Steve has stressed the importance of his idea notebook many times before and I couldn’t agree with him more. Having one centralized place that contains all of your post ideas is essential for a stress-free blogging experience because it means you don’t have to constantly be scrounging for ideas. Just have the notebook with you at all times and write down those sudden bursts of inspiration that you have. When the time comes to write a new post, you’ll have plenty of ideas to choose from.
3. Schedule posts for future dates
Write your posts ahead of time and schedule them to be posted at a future date (this is an option in all WordPress and Blogger blogs). This alleviates the stress of having to get something out the door fast for tomorrow. This also gives you time to think of new things to add to your posts. Even if you don’t add anything else, you should re-read your post before it goes live to catch any mistakes and make sure there’s nothing you need to change.
4. Have others work for you
You don’t always have to be the one doing all the work, you know. There are two main options for having other people write posts or promote your blog, and Steve does both of them here. The first is outsourcing. Steve has mentioned this multiple times before, so I won’t go into detail here (see below for some of Steve’s previous posts on the subject). It’s enough to say that you can have other people do the work you don’t want to do, whatever that may be:
Steve on outsourcing:
- Three Outsourcing Services I Highly Recommend
- 8 Tips for Hiring the Perfect Outsource Worker
- A Tale of Two Outsourcers
The second option for having other people do your work for you is having guest authors on your blog. Guest posting is great because it benefits everyone involved. It’s great for you because you get content for free and don’t have to worry about one more post. It’s great for the guest poster because he/she gets traffic back to his/her own site. And it’s great for your blog’s readers because they get to see a different perspective.
5. Take a break when you need to
If you’re feeling stressed, stop doing the thing that’s stressing you out! This applies as well to blogging as anything else. If you’re overwhelmed and overloaded from blogging, stop blogging for a week. Or if one particular task is stressing you out (if you’ve spent all day working on your ebook, for example), take a break for 15 minutes or 30 minutes or an hour or two and do something else. Go exercise or enjoy a nice meal. You’ll be ready to attack your task with renewed zeal when you return!
6. Do something every day
One of the biggest causes of stress is procrastination. Putting off that epic post till the night before you promised it is bad form, will stress you out, and will result in a sub-par post. If you’ve got big projects that are weighing down on you, chip away at them a little bit every day. This way you’ll get them done on time, you won’t be stressed, and the quality of your content won’t suffer.
7. Write a lot when you’re feeling it
Sometimes you’re just in the zone, are excited about your blog and you’re niche, and feel like you could write for ever. Great! Keep writing, then! When you’re feeling it, write as much as you can. Then you can schedule the posts (remember tip #3?) for a future date and time. Ta-da! Stress reduced!
8. Use passive traffic strategies
Some traffic strategies are better than others as far as long term traffic streams are concerned. For example, guest posting on other blogs is great for getting immediate traffic and building relationships, but you won’t get much traffic back from those comments in the long term. Some more passive (that is, do them once and forget about them but still get traffic from them) traffic strategies include posting videos on YouTube and articles on Ezine Articles.
Over to You…
These 8 strategies have worked well for me in the past, but they’re not the only ones out there that work. What has helped you reduce stress in your blogging? What additional steps can we all take to make our blogging lifestyle more relaxing-on-the-sunny-beach and less I-want-to-stab-myself-in-the-face?
Steve’s Note: Tristan recently launched Blogging Bookshelf, where he dispenses smart blogging tips for smart people. Be sure to subscribe to the Blogging Bookshelf newsletter to get your FREE copy of 101 Ways You’re Killing Your Blog.
Also, as a reminder I do a guest post almost every Thursday. If you’re interested in writing an article for this site, send a message to this email address: stevescottsite[at]gmail[dot]com.Take Action. Get Results.
51 thoughts on “8 Ways to Enjoy Stress-Free Blogging”
Nice to see your guest post on Steve Scott Site! You’ve covered some great points here.
Indeed, it is very important to not get stressed out. If I may add a couple of points towards enjoying stress-free blogging,…
9) Do not blog for money, at least not as the only source of income. Take blogging as a means of meeting some great people and learning a lot along the way. (But well, I see that your post in in the context of having a blog as your business, so this point may not be applicable in the business context).
10) ENJOY the whole blogging experience 🙂 (It’s different from blogging about what you enjoy)
Thanks for commenting, Mark!
9) Yeah, I’m going to have to cheerfully disagree with you on this one 🙂 I fully agree that blogging as a business can indeed make blogging more stressful, but I don’t think that people shouldn’t try blogging as a business because it will add stress to their life.
In fact, blogging for a business is, for me, far less stressful than having a “real job” ever was! Wow. Never thought of that before, but it’s totally true!
10) YES. I like this one! Blogging is a lot of fun. I think that you can even find beauty in things like SEO and commenting! I think the trick to enjoying the experience is to keep in mind why you’re blogging in the first place. And maybe then all of those little components of blogging that you don’t enjoy might take on a nobler light 🙂
Thanks for the great comment, Mark!
Tristan, just to clarify, I never said people shouldn’t try blogging as a business just because it will add stress to their life. The point is that any business will have associated stress. And that’s exactly why I said that, to truly enjoy stress-free blogging, you should not do it for the money. And that was the purpose of your post – to identify ways to enjoy stress-free blogging, wasn’t it? 🙂
9) I am somewhere in the middle of this. Money is definitely a long term goal, but I also think you need more than just that. (as I am sure Tristan would agree) The idea shouldn’t be “absent” from your head, but it isn’t something you should dwell on and gauge every move as “what does it do for my bottom line”
10) yes. it is definitely an enjoyable experience and should be treated that way. If you lose the passion for any length of time it is something that shouldn’t be bothered with. (after of course you try your damndest to rekindle the passion)
Yes, Steve! Making money from blogging is just fine. In fact, it gives that extra drive to do more and take your blog to the next level. But like I said earlier, it should ideally NOT be your only source of income. Because, then it comes very close to being on a full-time job that has no security, which can cause much stress.
One thing that I’m about to ramp up on is guest posting – I’ve been hesitant overall on doing them because I only want to deliver value – you nailed this one Tristan.
It’s time to get serious about blogging. Time to step up the game.
Does this mean a post every day? Probably not for my blog; really depends on your community and what you’re talking about. However, feeling really inspired by everyone since we’re all hitting our stride.
Thanks for the comment, Murray. Guest posting is something I’ve been hesitant to allow on my blog so far. I think that when a blog is still new, it’s important that your own voice is firmly established and that you’ve set the bar high in terms of the quality content you expect. I definitely plan to allow it in the future, though.
Someone left an interesting comment on one of my posts yesterday. I asked people what posts of theirs get retweeted most, and this person replied and said that guest posts get the most RT action because you’ve got 2 sets of loyal followers coming over to read and retweet the post. That was a great point that I hadn’t thought of before.
I am with you. I love having guest posts one day a week, but I need to get MYSELF to go out and guest post more often. Doing more guest posting has been on my ‘to do’ list for a long while, I just need to get out and do it. (no more excuses…lol)
Tristan, I use several of your methods to end blogging stress.
1. I have a very long list of potential blog topics (at least 50).
2. I almost always write my blog post at least a day in advance, and often several days in advance.
3. I have a regular blogging schedule, so I know that on a certain day I will post.
4. I’ll frequently start cranking on a post when the inspiration strikes, and I won’t let myself stop until I have a complete rough draft.
Hey John! Writing posts in advance is something I really need to be better at. I tend to stay up to 2 or 3 in the morning writing my posts right before posting them! This is a bad practice because 1) I’m tired and have noticed that I make more writing mistakes, and 2) I don’t give the post time to settle and time for me to come up with new things to add to it.
Glad to see you’re on top of this whole stress-free-blogging thing! Thanks for the great comment!
I agree with John for sure. Getting ahead and having set days helps a lot. Makes it all much less stressful.
This comment is for Steve and to Tristan also, as he is the writer of the post. Steve, your guest post selection is amazing.
Tristan, you have a great written an awesome guest post. It is full of effective advanced tips for blogs, and is written in a very simple way to be followed easily.
We do need contents like these to move our community of bloggers from better to best.
Thanks, Fran. I think the best posts are easy to follow and digest yet provide solidly useful information, so I really appreciate that comment. I’m glad you liked the post and found it useful. Thanks for commenting!
And I agree that Steve is a stud at selecting guest posts 🙂
Thanks Fran and thanks Tristan! I appreciate your words, but it isn’t me, I just have such good people reading it who ask to guest post. Just lucky I guess! 🙂
Money tips here.
I’m big on taking frequent breaks. As you mention if something really stresses you out why do it?
I also keep an idea notepad and make sure to visit a number of blogs each day to check out the ideas of fellow bloggers. I’ve received more than one inspirational idea by reading another post. This is also a win-win scenario; I add value to their post in the form of a comment, they are likely to check out my post and we both exchange creative ideas that might be the seed of future posts.
Thanks for sharing your insight and have a powerful day!
EXACTLY, Ryan. I think that the blogger-reader commenting relationship is one of the greatest in nature, like those little birds that clean ticks and parasites off of rhinos.
The blogger loves getting comments because it’s validation for his/her work that translates into motivation. The person who leaves the comments gets the satisfaction of contributing to a great cause, so to speak, plus gets all sorts of ideas for his/her OWN future posts.
I mean… It’s just awesome! So, having said that, I really do appreciate you commenting here!
Hey Tristan and Steve – my favorite is #6 do something everyday. I always tell my fitness clients this exact thing: DO something, ANYTHING everyday that will move you closer to your goals. It seems to work there and it definitely works for me with my online biz too.
Nice list and thanks so much for visiting my blog!
Susan, your workout analogy is PERFECT! It’s so true! I’m sure it’s incredibly daunting to lose a hundred pounds and it can seem like too much, but by doing something every day, you really can chip away at it! (I know this is true, I watch Biggest Loser 🙂 And the same definitely applies to blogging.
Thanks for taking the time to comment!
I totally agree with Tristan that your analogy is PERFECT in so many ways. Fitness is all about doing the things that are not always pleasant, though they can sometimes be FUN, for sake of the long term good.
The same is true in blogging and any sort of business, really. Do something everyday. Make headway. Never quit. All of these are the things that lead to long term success.
Anyone who tries to tell you there is a “magic” pill that will get you in shape, or a program that will magically make you millions is full of it and wants to separate you from your money.
Sometimes it is good to work smarter, not harder, but there is always work involved in anything in life that has any worth.
Great comments both Susan and Tristan! Thanks!
Scheduling posts was something I did at the beginning because I didn’t want to spend every single day composing and publishing posts. It’s an excellent way to keep your blog updated when you aren’t around. Of course, I am on my blog daily 24/7 to respond to comments and do other maintenance (i.e. my free marketing forum).
But these days, I really understand the importance of scheduled posts as well as guest posts because time is a precious thing even more with an established blog. I really appreciate my guest posters more than they can imagine 😉
Also, I come up with and share lists of blog topics all the time to make sure that ideas stay fresh and there is always something to talk about. Great post!
Thanks for the great input, Brandon! And I’m glad you liked the post.
I’ve written 8 guest posts in the last month (well, actually 9, but one hasn’t been published yet) and it’s been absolutely awesome for my blog! I highly recommend it!
8 guest posts. Wow! I am jealous. That is awesome. No better way to get the word out there than to be everywhere!
Wonderful post, Tristan!
These are all valuable tips that any blogger can use and benefit from.
I use an old composition notebook for post titles. For some reason I always get these titles floating around in my head so I just jot them down. When I need an idea, I read through the list of titles and grab something. It’s a great little technique for getting ideas to flow.
# 1 is absolutely critical. Get this wrong and you’re dead in the water. Without the passion for the topic, you have nothing more than a chore that will soon get old.
Again, solid stuff for any blogger and I enjoyed reading it.
Thanks, Jimi! The same thing happens to me… I’ll be in the shower or at the store an an AWESOME post idea that I need to write down. Sometimes I don’t have a notebook with me, so I borrow someone’s pen and write it on the back of my hand!
Thanks for taking the time to read the post and leave a comment!
“Take a break when you need to” – but not just when you want to. I am at a point wherein I need to pull back a little and see which path do I really want my blog to go. This is why “taking a break” is important. Blogging entails more work that I imagined.
Yeah, blogging is hard work, isn’t it! But props to you for jumping in and seeing if it was something you wanted to do. And there’s nothing wrong with changing the direction of your blog. I’ve already done it with mine a couple times! Good luck, and thanks for the comment!
I think it is very natural to want to tinker a little. Just avoid being precipitous. I constantly debate the fact that my “topic” is a little broad. I am really passionate about all the aspects I talk about, but I feel I need to focus a little more.
I think until you are an “A” list blogger everyone might go through a little, second guessing wondering if they can’t do it “better”
Very nice post! I like the steps you mentiond. Scheduling posts is really helpful as well as having articles written incase of an emergency. Thanks for sharing
You’re welcome, Dia! It’s always nice to have a couple posts in reserve for those rainy days. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the comment!
I like this, I blog on subject that I like and feel others will value it. Does it have money making build in to it? I do not know right now, I am simply enjoying the process but sometimes it gets too much! Then I read this post and all is well.
Enjoyment always has to come first. It is good (in my opinion) to have some sort of monetization plan in the back of your mind, but if you err it is better to err on the side of not caring at first. You can always monetize later, but if it is all rapacious greed from the start it will show clearly.
Yup, I agree, Steve. Sometimes the process of building a blog can indeed be overwhelming. That’s why choosing something you’re passionate about is so important; you’ll burn out a LOT faster if you don’t.
I’m glad you found the post helpful, Preeti. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!
@ Tristan I just wanted to drop in with my thanks for a wonderful post. You really knocked it out of the park and continued it with some great interaction in the comments.
I appreciate all the effort! You rock!
@everyone else. If you haven’t already been, head on over to Tristan’s site and check out some awesome posts. Go ahead and add him to your feed too if you haven’t already. I promise I won’t get jealous! 😉
Thanks, Steve! It was a lot of fun, and I really appreciate the traffic and new readers you sent my way.
Interacting with people in the comments really is one of my favorite parts of blogging. It’s tons of fun, eh?
And thanks for Steve Scott Seal of Approval (SSSoA)! Hopefully this won’t be the last time I guest post here 🙂
Blogging about things you really enjoy and have passion about, is a requirement. If the topics you write about have nothing to do with your passions, staying motivated will turn into a daunting task. And exactly motivation is what plays a significant role for every blogger out there.
The second point can save quite some headaches as well. Some time after starting my current blog, I decided to make a basic list of blog post ideas. I’m using it to date and thanks to it, the flow of content is not going to stop any time soon.
Nice article! The rest is all valid as well.
Exactly, Daniel. Motivation is nearly impossible when you’re not passionate about what you’re blogging about, unless money motivates you 10000% percent and you’re somehow able to channel all of that energy into something you don’t care about. And if that’s the case, there are faster and better ways to make money than blogging 🙂
Thanks for the comment!
Hi Tristan & Steve
Don’t know how I missed this post being published! Probably cos Ive been concentrating on unfollowing heaps of people on Twitter today lol
Brilliantly written and so well expressed guest post Tristan. No wonder I am seeing you everywhere. 8 guest posts and heaps of comments on other people’s blogs. You are really making your mark in the blogging community.
Really enjoying your insights into the whole blogging experience. Good job and well done.
Patricia Perth Australia
Thanks, Patricia! Yeah, I’m definitely trying to be everywhere, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Thanks for the compliments, your comments here and elsewhere, and for your continued support 🙂
I like this post a lot. Numbers 6 & 7 sound a particular chord with me. Having article drafts ready to go is great – even if they are not complete,if you can get the ideas down when you have them then you can research and fill out the gaps on days when you are feeling less inspired.
Almost missed this one..found it in the spam folder. Anyway thanks for stopping by and dropping a comment. I totally agree. I keep notebook with me at all times and have lots of ideas sketched out. I am usually a “few days ahead on many posts, in case something does happen. it works out well. Some days writing flows like water, other days it is like pulling teeth. It is certainly better to capitalize on the water days and have the ability to say, “it just isn’t worth it today” on the teeth pull days.
2. Have a list of topics to write about
This is perhaps my greatest tool for turning quality contents time after time, didn’t realize how useful simply writing down the titles of future posts could be until i gave it a shot. Just having them on paper helps your subconscious to work faster creatively pulling in the bits and pieces of the actual article way before you even sit to write it.
Great post, thanks!
Absolutely. If some idea isn’t at least scratched down somewhere it is likely to be gone byt he time you want it. Having a notebook full of port ides, title etc. makes the work easy as pie.
Some great points here. I’ve just been caught out big style last week, hence I only posted once instead of my normal 4-5 times, I had no quality internet connection.
We’ve just moved home and the internet has not yet been connected and last week I was out travelling and only had access to a very poor connection. So instead of worrying about it, I spent my time planning how to make my site bigger and better and focused on building some quality content/newsletters instead.
You can’t control everything and sometimes things do go wrong, relax and only worry about the things you can control.
Having a list of topics, especially if they are recurring, makes regular posting a lot easier. I use WordPress Draft Posts as my ideas notebook.
I used to just write the title of an idea, but found that when I looked at it later, I had forgotten what the idea was. 🙄 Now I write the title AND a few notes to remind me. 😉
I have certainly found that wasn’t written down is long gone. Title and vague outline are usually more than sufficient, but having “something” really helps.
Brilliant! I never thought of using the draft posts as an idea notebook.
I agree with you, Tristan, especially about doing something every day. One thing that really helps me is to have a To Do list. When I’m staring at my list, I’m more inclined just to knock out each of the items just so I can have the pleasure of crossing them off. 🙂
Also, the more time that has gone by between posts, the more pressure I feel to write a spectacular/epic/pillar post, which totally stresses me out. It’s better to post more often and not let the pressure build more and more every day.
When all else fails, I dangle a carrot in front of my nose. Get that post written and I can have or do ________ [fill in the blank]
Lists are definitely “pro” they are great for getting a jump start on idea creation. Without a list it is easy to wander astray and not be sucessful in completing all the projects you desire.
A list really helps to keep you on point.
Thanks for dropping by and commenting.
Steve, thanks for a great guest post. Tristan is great writer.
Tristan, I love the idea of of idea notebook. You never know when an idea will strike, but when you get to sit down to write about it, then it is like staring at the fill in the blank test in high school, and your mind does that…draws a blank.
Thanks for the comment Shane. You are right Tristan is a great writer and did an awesome job.
Thanks to Steve & Tristan for this wonderful post with practical tips. I was actually going through Trisan’s site and found link to his guest posts and reached here. But found a good blog also that way. Steve, your About page is Awesome. Wishing all the bloggers a very happy New Year..!
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