13 Vital Blogging Tasks for When You Can’t Be Bothered Writing

50 Intelligent Opinions

Sometimes writing a new post just isn’t going to happen. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of other stuff to do for your blog.

Successful blogging is so much more than just pumping out article after article. In fact, some of these other tasks can drastically impact your bottom line.

In this post I’m going to show you 13 things you can do on your blog when you can’t be bothered blogging.

Oh, and a bit of a promotion opportunity for you in number five.

1. Develop a list of blogs to comment on

Your commenting strategy is really important. A good one will help you:

  • Connect with A-list bloggers
    Good, regular comments will help get your face in front of the people you might be pitching guest posts to later on
  • Find new readers
    If you have something useful (and possibly expert) to say in the comments you will attract new readers
  • Increase your rankings
    Clever comments can also help your rankings in Google grow and mature (remember each comment is a backlink)

I recommend that you create a folder in Google reader that is called “Blogs to Comment on” or something like that and take note of the time of day that the publish new posts. Try to get there every day and add some value.

2. Research new post ideas

If you can’t be bothered writing you may as well come up with some new post titles and ideas.

Some of the best ways to do this include:

  • Scouring Digg
    Head over to Digg and take a look at the posts in your niche that are getting votes. Find out why.
  • Visiting the big boys
    Check out the big sites in your niche and have a look at their most popular posts. Try and see whether there is something there that you can improve on.
  • Finding problems
    Think about problems that you yourself are having (or had) in your industry and write about ways to solve them.

Make a list in a Doc file or something of all your ideas and constantly add to them. Even if you only have half-baked ideas. Some of my most successful posts came from half-baked ideas.

Sometimes I think that Blog Tyrant itself is a half-baked idea.

3. Make backups and fix your security

A little while ago I wrote about how to stop Facebook hackers and had a pretty interesting response. Some people posted some really cool ideas about how you can keep WordPress secure so I suggest going through and trying to make sure everything is nice and safe.

Go into your WordPress Dashboard and hit Plugins > Add New > Search and look for one called WordPress Database Backup. You can have it all done automatically.

For more information about backups you should take a look at the WordPress Codex.

4. Update old posts to include new links

Interlinking your posts is really important. Not only does it improve your SEO but it also helps readers stay on your site (become sticky).

When you are an established blog it is easy to link back to all those awesome old articles but those awesome old articles themselves might not have many links at all. It is a good idea to go back to them all and add new, relevant links with some sexy anchor text.

Remember, the anchor text you use should be relevant to your readers but also relevant to your rankings. Don’t link words like “here” and “this post” but instead use a phrase of keywords.

5. Develop a VIT (Very Important Tweet) list

A few weeks ago I had the idea that I should develop a list of really awesome articles from around the web and compile them into a Tweet list.

The idea here is that you want to be giving away lots of value on Twitter. And by Tweeting articles and tools from other bloggers and people in your niche you are able to give your readers something cool as well as establishing a relationship with the authors.

I’ve developed a list of around 50 articles from all sorts of niches that I think my readers would find valuable and useful. Rather than just Tweeting them out once and forgetting about them I save them so they can be retweeted again in the future if it seems necessary.

NOTE: If you think you have an article that would help my readers post a comment with a link and I’ll consider it for my VIT List.

6. Remove all the distractions

Take a look at your sidebar. Is it full of stuff that never gets clicked? Little icons for all those different social media accounts? Yep, they don’t get clicked.

One of the best things you can do is go around your blog removing all the things that are distracting people from your offer or email sign up area. Keep the Facebook and Twitter but other than that you don’t want too many other things.

One thing that you CAN add to a sidebar that you might not have already is a nice About section that introduces your blog. Pat Flynn does that well.

7. Update your social media accounts

When was the last time you looked at the profile page of your Twitter account? What about the Info page of your Facebook account?

These things are vital for attracting new business but most bloggers (myself included) totally forget that they exist once they are set up for the first time.

Go and make sure all of those social media profiles are still aligned with your blog’s current theme and goals.

8. Start the hunt for a good Virtual Assistant

A Virtual Assistant (or VA) is one of the secrets to running a big business from home. If you want to get to all those projects that are going to make you that long term income you really need to learn to outsource.

I’ve been outsourcing for about 5 years now and have a few insights to pass on. This is actually going to be a topic of a few blog posts soon so make sure you are subscribed to the updates if you want to hear all about it.

9. Update and tweak your About page

The About Us page is one of the most important pages on your blog. Its where everyone goes as soon as they have read a bit of your stuff and want to get to know you better.

I’m guilty of not doing this but you should continually tweak your About Us page until it is a gleaming beacon of sexiness.

Take a look at some of the best About Us pages (that’s how you interlink) and see if you get any ideas.

10. Develop a five year plan

It astounds me how many bloggers have no five year plan. Actually, it seems like most bloggers have no plan full stop.

If you want to quit your job and work from home you need to make money consistently, year after year. And for that to happen you need to develop a plan. Some questions you should be asking are:

  • What am I going to sell?
  • How am I going to grow from 1,000 to 10,000 to 50,000 subscribers?
  • What do I do if I get banned from Google?
  • Etc.

Make sure you know where you want to be at all the major anniversaries of your blog. Develop plans for the week, the month, the year, the decade. Make them happen.

11. Perfect the “above the fold” area

Above the fold refers to everything that a visitor sees on your site before they are forced to scroll down. It is the most important part of your site.

Some of the things you can do to improve this area are:

  • Remove the clutter
    As mentioned before, you need to remove the clutter and get the focus on your content and your list.
  • Reduce your header size
    All the old readers of Blog Tyrant would remember when the header was at least four times as big as it is now. I made it as small as possible so as to show as much of the first post and email subscription areas.
  • Remove ads
    We don’t want ads in this spot unless you are running an Adsense site. This area should be dedicated to content and related matters.

Your top half of your site is extremely important. Please make sure you give it the attention that it needs.

12. Experiment with new tools

New tools are something that seem like a bit of a luxury but, in fact, can actually add a lot to your business.

The thing about blogging and online business is that we have to have our heads around like 500 different topics. By the end of our careers its like we have college degrees in marketing, sales, business admin, accounting, graphic design, etc.

So you need to get started with these tools early (or get your VA on it). Some tools that I highly recommend you start master include:

  • Market Samurai
    The best tool you will ever get if you want to research keywords and write posts that actually get traffic from Google.
  • Photoshop or equivalent
    An image editing software is vital for a blogger. This post on blog images has some excellent recommendations in the comments.
  • WordPress plugins
    Start searching around for different problems you have on your blog and then add the word “plugin” to the end of it. I have found so many amazing and helpful plugins for WordPress doing this.
  • Camtasia
    Camtasia is software that allows you to record your screen and do tutorials like the ones I do occasionally.
  • Audacity
    The only editor you will ever need for making wicked podcasts. Oh, I do one of them too.

If you don’t feel like writing try and get into some other type of content delivery. Videos are going to be so important for bloggers over the next ten years as smart phones and tablets become the “PC” of choice for most people.

13. Set up a split test

Split testing is, quite honestly, what makes the difference between some online millionaires and everyone else. It takes the guess work out of making money.

Take my side bar opt-in form as an example. Aweber allows you to create a split test whereby you run two versions of the same sidebar ad at once.

So, 50% of the time you will see one opt-in and 50% of the time you will see another. This allows you to change things like the text, colors, headings, etc. and see which one performs better.

When you start doing this with whole landing pages, check out areas and so on you can really influence the amount of money you make.

What have I missed?

What other things can a blogger do when he/she doesn’t feel like blogging? Please leave a comment with your non-Battlefield 3 suggestions. And don’t forget the opportunity in number five!

Photo credit: thrig

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50 Comments... Leave yours.

  • Magz Parmenter December 20, 2011 at 9:33 am

    hiya BT,
    Thanks for another post chock-full of great info to get cracking on.

    I recently re-did my ABOUT page and would love your (and other readers’) opinion on it. I am always open to changes to make it better.

    http://tangerineturtle.net/meet-magz/

    Thanks!
    Magz

    1. Magz Parmenter December 20, 2011 at 4:39 pm

      Thanks BT… A mission statement… Now that’s something to think about (and possibly your next blog post?)

      1. Magz Parmenter December 20, 2011 at 4:42 pm

        Do you mean at the top of the page?

        1. the Blog Tyrant December 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm

          Yeah. Where you have freelance blog writer, etc.

          I’d use that space to say something clever the says who you are and what you do in 50 words.

          1. Magz Parmenter December 20, 2011 at 5:55 pm

            I’ll work on that. Thanks for the feedback. What are your thoughts on a video on the About Page? I was thinking right at the top (maybe in the space we’re talking about?)

    2. Rachelle December 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm

      Under the email sign up you have a very nice grey box with italics.

      I think you should use that up top first thing, it’s lovely.

  • Leigh December 20, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Real people User Testing is super important – if you have any non-standard layouts.

    Try to get at least 5 people who would be ideal for your site content. Meet up in meat-space if you can because you will want to sit next to your user while they navigate your site.

    Give them a task list like:
    sign up for the newsletter or
    find the xyz widget or
    find this specific article

    Then, SAY NOTHING but watch your users try to accomplish the task – what you imagine is very easy… may be rather difficult for your user.

    People develop mental maps on how websites work based on the type of sites they frequently use – learn your users mental map and don’t mess with it.

    There is a new feature on my site that perhaps people do not know how to use – so that’ll have to be worked on – I love the module because it’s so clean but it has non-standard functionality. Maybe I could do a short video on how to use it? But whatever – it needs to be dealt with.

    1. Magz Parmenter December 20, 2011 at 9:48 am

      Good point Leigh!

      Will give this some thought and have a go.

      I’m sure the info will be invaluable.

      1. the Blog Tyrant December 20, 2011 at 10:01 am

        That is a really good idea Leigh.

        Magz its 1.30am here so I’ll take a look tomorrow.

        1. Magz Parmenter December 20, 2011 at 10:06 am

          Get some sleep Mister!
          Talk to you tomorrow.

          1. the Blog Tyrant December 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm

            Magz it looks great. I’d change that big blue text from keywords to a mission statement.

  • Tushar@BloggersEthics December 20, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I need to improve the ABOVE THE FOLD area. Although I am using a free theme right now but still, lot of improvements can be made. Thanks for this wonderful post

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 20, 2011 at 10:59 am

      Can be tricky on a free one. Perhaps you need a new Tyrant Theme? ;-)

      1. Rachelle December 20, 2011 at 6:50 pm

        Yes I think I need a tyrant theme too!

        1. the Blog Tyrant December 20, 2011 at 7:25 pm

          Let’s get on that! When you aren’t so freaking busy.

  • Gregory Ciotti December 20, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Only things I would add are REALLY take a look at your analytics once in a while (not just “Ooh I have more visitors, really look at traffic sources & trends).

    The other thing would be I also use StumbleUpon, Reddit, & Google Hot Trends for researching new post ideas.

    Great round-up, one thing I had a question on (somewhat unrelated): have you ever dabbled in doing slides for SlideShare for traffic?

    The concept is similar to YouTube: create a slide for a post and then traffic comes in from SlideShare as well, but I’ve yet to see people using it a lot despite the fact that SlideShare is claimed to be a “silent” upstart in content marketing.

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 20, 2011 at 11:00 am

      Dude I’ve never even heard of it. You tried it?

      1. Vidya Sury December 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

        Slideshare is interesting – has been around for a while, but got a neat facelift recently, I think. Earlier it used to look a bit messy. Turns up in the search results in a big way. Lots of junk-presentations there, though.

        This post is a keeper and I am going to include this in my e-library. I’ve already got a few of your super-post links in there. I felt pretty good to know I was already doing most of these things :-) – great for building a community and a loyal following.

        1. the Blog Tyrant December 20, 2011 at 5:40 pm

          Thanks for the kind words Vidya.

          Does your name mean Knowledge?

        2. Gregory Ciotti December 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm

          I think that’s the key, making the presentations look good and getting some exposure with them by inserting them into guest posts.

  • Marcus December 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    What has helped me the most is to network with like-minded folks in person. I’ve become a co-organizer of an online entrepreneurs group. More important than the connections and advice is the camaraderie. It’s a HUGE motivation boost to be around people who are also into becoming successful on the Internet.

    I can’t imagine how hard it would be if I totally had to go it alone. Most family and friends don’t get what I’m trying to do. Definitely check out Meetup.com to see if there’s a group in your area you can hook up with. That’s the best thing non-writing blogging task I’ve done so far.

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 20, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      Great stuff Marcus.

      There are a few guys in my town making a lot of money from online businesses and I often thought about getting them all together at Chinatown for a lunch and a chat.

      Might get on that.

      1. Marcus December 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm

        Nice to see your reply. I just got back from our latest meetup last night.

        One thing that’s helped attract new members and retain old members are the “post-meeting recap” reports I write.

        Here’s the most recent one: http://bit.ly/sxnRD9. My reports are like the comments I write here on Blog Tyrant. Only even longer, ha ha! If you to go the Discussions page, you can all my past recap reports.

        I do have some general rules when I write them:

        –Don’t reveal incomes.

        –Don’t reveal niche keywords.

        –Don’t promote other members’ sites. This might change later, but for now I think this keeps things unbiased.

        –Do include links to good blogs, tools, and resources. (No affiliate links, though.)

        So far, I’ve been blown away at how generous people are at sharing what they know. What works, what doesn’t, and naming which tools they actually use. Every meetup has been a goldmine of information–which is why my recap reports are so long.

        If you do arrange a meetup, Blog Tyrant, I’d be interested in reading what you guys discuss. I’m sure you and your peers have awesome stuff to share.

        1. the Blog Tyrant December 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm

          Nice work Marcus. That is a really good recap.

          Instead of reading about what we discuss you should fly down and join in!

          Its only Australia.

    2. Magz Parmenter December 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      This is definitely something I’d like to do in my area.
      Thanks for the reminder.

      1. the Blog Tyrant December 20, 2011 at 6:08 pm

        From above:

        Absolutely do a video. It is a must nowadays.

  • Rachelle December 20, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Neatest thing I did was request a press pass for some expensive industry events I got them and went to the event and blogged about it later.

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 21, 2011 at 12:00 am

      Sweet!

    2. lisa chiodo | renovating italy December 21, 2011 at 6:28 am

      My husband and I did that years ago as Photography students and got press passes to the Sydney Mardi Gras it was incredible….

      1. the Blog Tyrant December 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm

        Sneaky….

  • Brisbane Entrepreneur December 21, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Hi, First time reader and very interested in your topics. Great stuff! As a business owner I tend to juggle lots of things – so a succinct task list to do during ‘blogging time’ will be very handy indeed!!

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 21, 2011 at 3:37 am

      Glad to see some more Aussies around here!

  • Khurram December 21, 2011 at 4:47 am

    Great Article, BT!

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 21, 2011 at 8:34 am

      Thanks!

  • lisa chiodo | renovating italy December 21, 2011 at 6:35 am

    fantastic thanks, I just passed this on to all my blogger friends via fb and our Queensland Bloggers group. Other things I do when I don’t feel like blogging are
    - sort and resize my images
    - check links are working
    - click back to all my followers who “like” something on my fb page and say hi etc
    - get up and make a cuppa like I’m about to do right now!
    ciao lisa

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 21, 2011 at 8:34 am

      Last one sounds good!

  • The Happy Homeowner December 21, 2011 at 11:48 am

    This post is fantastic; I appreciate how comprehensive it is. I certainly need to work on my header & above the fold section, but I use Blogger so I have a lot to learn!

    I recently wrote an article about how to maintain your financial plan during the holidays. Perhaps it would be a source in your VIT list (which I think is genius!)…

    http://www.thehappyhomeowner.net/2011/12/maintaining-your-financial-plan-during.html

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm

      Thanks! Will check it out for sure.

  • Allie | Ramblings of a WAHM December 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Dear Mr. Blog Tyrant,

    Thank you for reminding me of all the things bloggers need to do to stay on top. LOL.

    What an amazing list! I look forward to reading your posts on VA’s. I really may be looking unto them next year. I’m so done with the tedious tasks, I just want to write and socialize, you know, the fun stuff.

    I have not split tested yet, but I know it is very important. Yep, just another thing I need to do. Lol.

    The one thing I need to do is make my blog load faster. From what I gather, Google likes faster blogs. Is this true?

    This is definitely getting shared. TY.

    ~Allie

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 21, 2011 at 6:50 pm

      Hey Allie.

      You can see how fast your site loads here: http://www.iwebtool.com/speed_test

      Absolutely a good idea to keep it speedy.

  • Astro Gremlin December 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks for the “to do” list. I think my sidebar may have too many distractions. You make me realize that, although I spend hours looking at my site, the average user spends a few seconds. I may get (at most) one chance at getting a click and it should be one that really matters.

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 21, 2011 at 8:25 pm

      Hey Astro.

      I had a quick look – I would reduce it down to two or three items only.

  • Alan | Life's Too Good December 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Dear Mr Blog Tyrant,

    this is a really nice and well put together list. I am fascinated by this whole blogging world (the ‘blogosphere’?) that is all quite new to me but learning fast. At first I was distracted every 2 minutes but still happy to be learning so much, now I am introducing some focus and absolutely relate to your post above, I already know when I don’t feel like writing that there are several alternative things I could be doing – as well I push myself to try and explore something new each time (for which reason I’ve made myself a list of things to explore).

    I already know that #13 is somethng as my audience grows I need to understand more (not sure have that one on my ‘to-explore’ list yet but I’ll definitely add it,

    thanks again for the great post & best wishes for XMas & the New Year,

    take care,
    Alan

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      Nice work Alan. That is a good list!

      Hope to see you around here again.

  • martin December 24, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Hi Tyrant I have such a list and you can’t believe how important it can be when it comes to promoting your blog. Promoting your blog is all about the number of footprints you leave on the Internet. Visit more bogs, provide valuable comments and contributions and you are there. Blogging is both fun and challenging but it is completely up to you to make it valuable.

    Great work Tyrant

    1. the Blog Tyrant December 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm

      Thanks Martin. Nice to see you around here.

  • Diane Schwartz January 9, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I’ve been blogging for 3 years and have 33 followers and an average of 18 hits a day. (I started with 5 per day) I can only imagine what would happen if I started to actively implement a growth strategy. Thank you for the thoughtful list. I think a simple plan would help me to see more growth.

  • the Blog Tyrant January 9, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Glad it helped Diane.

  • Sharon Koenig January 9, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    You just reminded me of how much that I need to do. Seriously, you have a great list here and great advice. I feel like I am doing these things simultaneously. I’m a new blogger so I am constantly tweeking and trying new things. This post was actually really helpful for a new blogger like me. I haven’t heard of Audacity. I will look into it because doing podcasts is on my radar for the future. So much to do, and so little time. Thanks for the insightful post!

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