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We blog because we love it. But whether blogging is a hobby or a full-time career, it’s not always a walk in the park.
Writer’s block. Time management. Distractions.
No matter what your kryptonite is, these obstacles can slash your productivity and affect the quality of your blog.
But it’s not all bad news. There are tons of resources out there to help bloggers stay focused, inspired and productive. Check out these tech solutions for common blogging problems – from disorganization to distraction and everything in between.
The problem: Disorganization
Bloggers are creative types – and sometimes that means organization isn’t our strong suit. Keeping track of topics, tasks and deadlines can be hard. Staying organized is important for a better blog – and a happier, stress-free blogger.
The solution: An online task manager
Online task managers can help even the most unorganized bloggers put their to-do lists into neat, logical order. Keep track of meetings and deadlines. Write down ideas and topics in one easy-to-access place. Schedule blog posts weeks or even months out. Set custom reminders at intervals that work for you.
With tons of online task managers on the market, you might have to explore a few to find one that fits the way you work. Look for one that can sync mobile and web platforms, and one that allows you to share tasks for better collaboration. Here are four worth trying:
They all made PCWorld’s 10 best to-do list apps.
The problem: Writer’s block
Writer’s block: the perennial enemy of every blogger. You never know when it will strike, or how long it will last – but you can be sure that a bad case of writer’s block affects the content of your blog and your ability to create timely, engaging posts.
The solution: A content aggregator
One easy way to nip writer’s block in the bud? Have a constant stream of inspiration – whether that’s news articles, funny videos or creative images. Use online aggregators to collect stories from your favorite websites in one convenient feed. Scroll through it whenever you need a dose of inspiration.
Which content aggregator will be best for you? That depends on what you blog about and what you’re inspired by. Here are two to consider:
- Feedly aggregates content about technology, business, gaming, photography, sports, design, fashion, cooking, and more.
- Bloglovin’ gathers posts from all your favorite blogs and allows you to separate them into categories.
The problem: Distractions
Blogging takes place online. And sometimes, that’s a great thing. It’s easy to research the topics you’re writing about, check out other blogs and interview subjects for posts.
The only problem? The Internet is also a source of unlimited distractions that can take time and attention away from your blog.
The solution: A time management program
Stay focused on your work with an online time management program. Whether you blog on a tablet, a laptop or a desktop computer, time management programs can help keep your attention on the tasks you need to finish – and away from those pesky interruptions. You’ll be more productive, and you’ll still have time to take (scheduled) breaks.
Check out these two time management programs:
- Start with Rescue Time, which runs in the background of your devices to track the sites and applications you spend the most time on. Get a weekly report of the sites that distract you most.
- Then, use the Chrome extension Stay Focused to limit the time you spend on those sites – or block them altogether.
Are there certain sites you just can’t stay away from? Try two others:
These are useful while you browse to save articles, videos and webpages for later.
The problem: A small audience
You’ve got an attractive layout. An interactive format. Great content. The only thing missing? An audience.
There are hundreds of millions of blogs on the web. Tumblr alone is home to over 100 million unique blogs, and WordPress hosts over 70 million sites. With those numbers, it’s easy to get lost in the fray – and hard to be seen by a large audience.
The solution: Analytics software
The first step to building a bigger reader base? Find out more about your existing audience. Who they are. Where they’re coming from – both around the globe and on the Web. What content interests them. No matter the budget of your blog, there are analytics programs you can use to learn more about your audience.
Knowing your audience allows you to provide more of the content they want, and grow your reader base along the way. Many blogging platforms come with basic built-in analytics software. But there are also a variety of analytics programs that can provide a much deeper understanding of your audience, at little or no added cost. We recommend three:
The problem: A limited skill set
Bloggers tend to be jacks-of-all-trades. Writing. Editing. Marketing. Publicity. We do it all.
Bloggers are good – but we’re not experts at everything. And sometimes, we need a little extra help to make our blogs stand out.
The solution: Freelance services
Professionals on-call, just waiting to help you with your blog? It sounds too good to be true. But if you want to add something to your site that’s a little outside your skill set, freelance services could be just the thing you’re looking for.
The Internet makes it easy to find freelance professionals in a variety of fields, from web development to filmmaking to SEO optimization. Need an infographic or video to spice up a post? What about a custom-designed logo for your blog? The following four sites can help you find skilled, professional freelancers willing to work on projects at a range of different rates.
And often, you can see the final product in a matter of days.
What blogging roadblocks do you encounter most? What tech tools do you use to combat them?
This post is a guest contribution from Elizabeth Phillips, a freelance content writer for Verizon Internet. In her free time, she enjoys writing about anything and everything related to marketing, blogging and social media. Elizabeth can be found typing away on her laptop in Philadelphia, PA. If you’re interested in contributing to the Shareaholic blog, read our guidelines, then send us a message.