Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Because like you, I have a life.
So when Rachel Meeks, author of Small Notebook (one of my favorite places to read about getting a handle on a crazy life), announced she had written a book on simplifying blogging, I was excited.
The bullet point said it all: “Don’t have 40 hours a week to spend on blogging? The Simple Blogging E-book helps you grow your blog with less time on the computer.” I don’t have 40 hours a week to spend, and I want to make the best use of the time I have, without being chained to my computer.
There is a lot of information out there on how to blog. This book is a concise summary of those techniques, aimed at the thousands of people out there blogging around their lives.
The ebook is broken down into 17 chapters. Each chapter is concise and to the point, covering a specific aspect of blogging and managing online time. At the end of each section is a set of questions to get you thinking.
Finding Your Purpose
Too often I see blogs that wander hither and yon, never settling. I’ve been guilty of it too, in my now-defunct sister blog. It takes up an amazing amount of energy if you don’t know what you are focusing on. This chapter takes you through the process of deciding what to focus on.
How To Write Faster and Better
The next two chapters focus on writing. Blogging is all about writing. But it can also be about procrastination and perfectionism. In this section, she talks about some tried-and-true strategies for making it easier to produce content. The number one thing I need to take away from this: editing. I’m not the best editor in the world, and I want to improve my writing, paring down the fluff to get to the true meat of what I am saying.
It is really easy to get caught up in design. It is also really easy to use something that is truly awful. I speak from experience. In this chapter she talks about the basics of blog design and how to make it work for you.
Getting Attention, Building Community
A blog is nothing without readers. (Unless you intend for no one to read it). In this next chapter Rachel talks about how to (and not!) link up with readers and other bloggers. This includes the basics of good headlines, and how to comment (and deal with comments). I was reading this part as I got treated to a royal dose of abuse (thankfully caught by moderation), and it really helped me get past it.
I can always find something to do on the blog, even if it is just responding to emails. Emails come in fast and furious. The email strategy section is a really good one, and applies to anyone, not just bloggers.
Balancing activities means time management. This is no ordinary make-a-list and check-your-schedule section. It’s about momentum, expectations, where to cut back, and how moving ahead on something big is actually a great boost. I really took her section about paring down blog reading to heart, and I am able to keep up now.
Families figure into blogs. They might be the subject of the blog, highlighted in a few posts, or just around when you are trying to write. Rachel gives strategies for all three of these. I took away the shifting priorities. Coming off of NaNoWriMo, I have a hard time putting my family in front of my writing.
Success and Taking Breaks
One of the behind-the-scenes blogging activities involves checking the various statistics to see how the blog — and you — are doing. This chapter deals with how to look at statistics without being obsessed.
And following on the obsession topic, she follows with how to take a break. I decided last year to take week-long breaks (there will be one coming up here soon), but I always have content to cover it. She was brave enough to walk away for a month and gained some insight and perspective.
The last section is stories from successful bloggers in various niches.
I realized after reading this book that there is a need in the world for information on how to blog in the way that most people blog. That is after hours, in free moments, sandwiching it in with family and work.
While I love other courses I have toted on this blog, Simple Blogging made me see that these might not be the place to start for the beginning blogger.
I liked the tone of this book, as well as the organization and information provided. I wish it had been around when I started blogging.
If you are interested in starting a blog, or want to get better at blogging, give this book a try. It’s very good.
Book: Simple Blogging
Author: Rachel Meeks
Rachel Meeks, the author of the ebook, provided me with a free copy of the book enable me to write this review.