Having a blog or website can take over your life as it requires a never ending stream of new posts to feed an audience hungry for information. Write smarter and faster, and get more done in less time.
How many times a week do you post on your blog or website? It can be a success with just one post a week or even just a couple a month, but it will take a long time to grow and become successful at that rate.
If you want to grow your site quickly, you need to post as often as you can. The amount you can post will depend on two factors, one is the amount of time you have to spend on writing articles and the other is how efficiently you use that time.
If you have just an hour a day to work on posts or a few hours a week, you need to make the most of that time.
Even if you have a lot of time on your hands, you cannot afford to spend all day working on a post, partly because there are many other tasks that need to be done, both on your site and in your personal life.
Here are some tips that will enable you to save time and effort when writing posts for your site. Can you complete a blog post in one hour? Yes! Here is how to do it.
1 Save ideas in notes
Before you start writing a blog post you should have an idea of what you will be writing about. If you don’t know what to write about, spending half an hour trying to come up with an idea is half your time gone if you want to finish in an hour.
A notes app should be used and this is best if it works everywhere – on your computer, phone and tablet. An idea for a blog post could come to you at any time, whether you are at home, out, travelling, in bed or the shower, and you need to write it down as soon as you can in case you forget it.
Not only will ideas for post topics come to mind, ideas for the contents of those posts may occur to you. These can be added to the notes.
If you are an Apple fan and have a Mac, iPhone and iPad, the built in Notes app is OK. If you have a PC or a mix of devices, Google Keep (keep.google.com) is a useful tool. Microsoft OneNote (onedrive.com) is liked by many and Evernote (evernote.com) is a popular choice.
2 Know your subject
It is a lot easier to write about something you know than a topic you don’t. The fastest posts to produce are those where you talk about something familiar to you, such as a task you regularly perform or a problem you have solved.
Everyday life is a source of blog posts and you can write about the things you do. If you just hosted dinner party for 10 people, your next post could be “How to host a dinner party for 10 people,” or if you just renovated an old chair, your next post could be “How to renovate an old chair.” It is easy when you have already done it.
Some subjects are complicated and require research and there is no getting around that. Research as and when you can and save links and notes so that when you start writing you have everything you need.
Research can consume a lot of time, so you might want to put a time limit on it. For example, research for 20 minutes and write for 40 minutes.
3 Narrow the subject
As you start to write a post, thoughts and ideas may pop into your head. There could be an extra section on this, you need to cover that, you should include something else.
The post can expand beyond the original concept and you could still be writing two or three hours after you started.
Ignore ideas that pop into your head and don’t expand, narrow the focus instead. Focus on doing one small thing well and add other ideas to your notes and cover them in other posts.
For example, instead of writing about how to renovate a house, focus on a single room, or even focus on a single piece of furniture, and do it well.
4 Create subheadings
This is one of the most important tips and instead of sitting down in front of your computer and starting writing, you need to plan it.
Write a series of subheadings or perhaps bullet points first. Then fill in the text afterwards.
This article is a good example and I came up with the 10 subheadings first, then typed in the text for each section. You are really just filling in the blanks and it breaks down a complex subject into a number of small steps.
Each section in this article is just 100 to 150 words. I don’t have to write a 1,500 article, I just have to come up with 100 or so words and this is a lot easier.
5 Style the text afterwards
It may be tempting to style the text as you go, for example, choosing heading styles, bold, italic, colours, indents and so on. Pictures may be required too.
This is a bit of a distraction and when you begin typing it is best to continue typing. Keep the text flowing and the ideas coming. Stopping to style tex breaks the flow.
Sometimes you may change your mind about styled text and then you have to undo what you did anyway.
When an article is written, it must be proofread and checked for errors. As you go through it, add any styling necessary.
Learn the shortcuts, such as Ctrl+B for bold and Ctrl+I for italic (use Cmd on the Mac). To add a link to some text, select it and press Ctrl+V (Cmd+V on the Mac). This adds the URL on the clipboard.
6 Write directly into WordPress
Where do you write your posts? Some people write in a word processor like Word or Google Docs, then they copy and paste the text into the post editor in WordPress.
If you write directly into WordPress post editor you save a step, and avoid problems posting text containing formatting information. It is faster.
On rare occasions, there is a glitch when hitting the publish button and you can lose the whole post. This is becoming more rare and WordPress is more robust these days.
As a precaution, I press Ctrl+A then Ctrl+C (use Cmd on the Mac), to copy the whole post, then I press the Publish button. If there is a problem, you can create a new post and press Ctrl+V to paste in your post, without the need to write it again. You can also create backups as you write by clicking the Save Draft button.
7 Avoid distractions
Many things can distract us from the task of writing a blog post and if you want to finish quickly, you need to focus all of your attention on it.
- Set your phone to silent and put it face down so you cannot see the screen.
- Turn off the TV or radio so your mind does not wander.
- Avoid the temptation to check Facebook for status updates.
- Do not check your email.
- Do not check for instant messages.
The internet is a huge distraction, so avoid the temptation. There should be just one tab open, the WordPress post editor.
8 Allocate time
You may find it useful to allocate time for tasks, such as 15 minutes for research, 40 minutes for writing, and 5 minutes to proofread and check the post before publishing it.
The pomodoro technique is useful and there are apps for the phone and computer you can use. In a nutshell, this basically sets a timer for 25 minutes and you work until the alarm goes off. There is then a 5 minute break, followed by another 25 minutes working. Do not stop during the 25 minute work session.
If you have never tried the pomodoro technique, you should because it focuses your mind on the task at hand.
9 It’s never perfect
Striving to make a post perfect can bust your one hour time limit for writing a post. There is always a bit more you can add, a section you can rewrite, some sentences or paragraphs you can tweak, and so on.
At some point you have to say that the post is done. It may not be perfect, but it will probably be good enough. Publish it!
The more you write and the more you try to stick to a schedule, the better you will get. You may not achieve your target of writing a blog post in one hour on your first attempt, so don’t give up.
Your speed will increase as you practice. Try to write twice a week and use all of the above techniques to maximise your speed. It will come to you eventually and when you can produce posts faster, you will have more time for other things.