I’m a fan of Darren Rowse and he was probably one of the biggest influences on me moving from Livejournal to self hosted WordPress. I have most (if not all) of his blogging ebooks as well as some of his photography ebooks, but due to my own inefficiencies this is the first one I’ve finished even though I’ve owned it for two and half years.
The book consists of tips from a number of bloggers that could be useful for people at different stages in their blogging journey, such as starting out, moving from hobby to money making. However, I have to admit it was not what I am currently looking for; at the moment I want practical examples so I can make the most of my limited blogging time, rather than high level advice.
My favourite quote is from Heather Armstrong:
Aims of Blogwise ebook
From the description on the Blogwise page this book is ideal for people squeezing blogging in between lots of other activities.
“If you are juggling work, family, social life and trying to keep your blog going – this eBook will show you how the pros make every minute count.”
The book says it provides a “behind the scenes” view of some of the most read bloggers around the world and shows how they organise their lives. It sounds very insightful as these people produce large volumes of content, have tried and tested different approaches and have broadened their activities beyond their blogs so have experience of what is worthwhile.
“The nine bloggers featured in Blog Wise collectively have decades of blogging experience, tens of millions of monthly readers, are prolific producers of content and are actively engaging on social networks…but who also juggle being parents, business owners, authors and in some cases other employment.”
The book includes advice from nine bloggers who cover different genres including blogging, travel and fashion, and although I follow some of them, others were new to me. The majority of the people work as full time bloggers (as in they don’t have another conventional job) and some of them have multiple sites and teams working for them. Each blogger has their own section including information about their routine and approach to blogging.
Their introductions from the Problogger website are:
- Darren Rowse: owner of Digital Photography School and ProBlogger, author, social media addict and husband and dad to 3 boys.
- Amy Porterfield: author, prolific on Social media, contributor to numerous blogs, speaker, Mom and much more.
- Brian Clark: Founder of CopyBlogger Media which includes CopyBlogger the blog, StudioPress Themes, Premise, Scribe and more.
- Abby Larson: Founder of Style Me Pretty – a network of 12 sites which she manages with her husband Tait.
- Matt Kepnes: Founder of Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site – constantly on the road travelling
- Heather Armstrong: Founder of Dooce, author of numerous books, mother of 2 kids (and 2 dogs)
- Jeff Goins: blogging at Goins Writer, writing a book, husband and…. he works a full time job
- Gretchen Rubin: Founder of the Happiness Project blog, author of 4 books, wife and mother of 2 daughters.
- Leo Babauta: Founder of Zen Habits and numerous other projects, author, minimalist and father of 6 kids.”
Tips are highlighted at the end of each blogger’s section, as well as in an overall summary in the final section called “9 steps to improve your blogging productivity”. Instead of repeating these 9 steps these are the points that stood out to me.
- Reduce distractions – disconnect and use simple software such as textpad
- Annual plan split into monthly and quarterly goals
- Batch tasks (and reward yourself after completing the ones you don’t like)
- Write consistently every day and work through writers block
- Experiment so you have something to write about such as tutorials
The advice I’m looking for
I probably have 10-15 hours/week I can spend on activities around my job and children and that includes chores as well as hobbies; this blog is a hobby that does not generate any income (or not yet anyway). So it is difficult for me to relate to some of the tips from full time bloggers.
I want specific examples, the micro detail on how someone gets their blog posts out. For example,
- how do people use editorial calendars? I know people like them, but I’ve tried several in the past, and they have not worked for me
- how do you create a bank of posts so you can schedule in advance? I’m managing to write about four posts a month so how do I find the time to prepare extras
- are people’s writing processes linear or in batches? Is a post planned and finalised before starting on another one or are several drafted at the same time and then finalised.
The bonus Productivity Problem Solver included with Blogwise ebook is closer to what I was looking for; a list of problems and suggestions to help solve each one, however, they are still mostly high level without specifics. For example I don’t have any real goals for my blog, so the problem “I really need to set some goals for my blog. But where should I start?” is relevant. Brian Clark’s says
“It’s just figuring out what you are trying to achieve – what’s the end … and then work your way back. And then when you know where you’re trying to get you can break that into discrete chunks by month, even by year, and then it drills down into weeks, and days. What do I have to get done today? What’s important?”
There is nothing surprising in this answer and I know I would benefit from having goals, but I don’t know where to start; what makes good goals? I suppose I should start with a goal connected to engagement as I’ve decided recently I want to focus on increasing it, but I feel a bit lost when I start thinking of the detail.
Should you buy the Blogwise ebook?
Probably, but it depends. If you want specific efficiency examples then it probably isn’t for you, but if you want to read what it is like being a top blogger and how they organise their tasks around other commitments such as family then it is probably a good purchase. Although I’ve made it clear this ebook did not contain what I’m looking for at the moment, I still found it an interesting read and expect to reread it in the future when I’m sure I’ll pick out different tips as I’ll be in a different place in my blogging development.
What was you opinion on Blogwise? What is the best blogging book you’ve read? What are your efficiency tips?
Disclaimer: I bought my copy of the the book but this post includes affiliate links meaning if you purchased the book I’ll get a proportion of the sales price but it will not cost you any more.