I recently asked my readers what some of the biggest blogging time wasters were when they first started blogging. You see, there are a lot of things you could do blogging related. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they benefit your blog or help you grow.
I was blown away by their responses. After reading through all of the time wasters, I noticed that most time wasting activities could fit into eight categories. I also realized that these time sucks weren’t only limited to new bloggers. Bloggers of all stages might be fall trap to these:
- Wrong Content
- Social Media
- Comparison Trap
- Fretting over details
- Striving for perfection
- Lack of planning
- Not doing
Read through the article and see if you too are wasting your blog time on these things. Evaluate each one and see if it is helping you grow, learn, or build your blog. If not, ditch it!
Not going to lie, this post is pretty beefy and covers a lot of information and tips from other bloggers. Make sure to save it to Pinterest so that you can reference it later.
Time Waster #1: Publishing the wrong content
From writing content that doesn’t resonate with an audience, to too much content, or too fluffy content, beginner bloggers spent too much time on the wrong kind of content. Don’t take it from me though, here’s what they have to say:
Something that I did when I first started my blog was try to please everybody when I was writing. I wrote very generally and didn’t want to offend anybody.Samanatha, Photography by Samantha Marie
Now I write what I want and write how I speak. I write about topics that are going on in my life and topics that I think will be relevant to my followers” Samanatha, Photography by Samantha Marie
My #1 waste of time as a new blogger was writing posts that no one wanted to read!Madeline, Where is the Damn Corkscrew
Ever since I started asking my readers, friends, and family what kinds of topics they’d like me to explore, I get so much more engagement per post. This takes some time and is an ongoing work in progress, but every single reader conversation I’ve had ends up paying off in spades” Madeline, Where is the Damn Corkscrew
The biggest time waster I had when I first started blogging was writing posts that were not interesting to my audience. I didn’t realize that I should have been writing posts that aimed at answering their questions and solving their problems. I didn’t even know where to look for questions they had. Once I learned that I was not solving any problems, my blog made a complete 360 degree turn. “Lori, DIY Home DecoLori, DIY Home Deco
Even if you know what type of content your audience will love, you could still be wasting time blogging. Posting for the sake of posting is not always the best use of your time:
One thing I’ve done that I would say is a no no is to completely wing a blog post and have no planning behind it. 90% of the time, and this is my personal experience, that blog post will be garbage. I did that a lot in the beginning and when I go back and read my posts I’m like what was I thinking! I still struggle with it and planning isn’t my strong suit but I’d like to say I’m getting better! So plan ahead and don’t just wing it.” Kayla, Mamma Llamma BlogKayla, Mamma Llamma Blog
As a new blogger, I was told to churn out massive amounts of content. I spent lots of time writing and creating new posts. It was therapeutic… but a huge time suck! Since then, I’ve learned it’s not so much about quantity as it is strategy and focused more on posting strategic content. . One of the greatest tips I’d give new bloggers!”AJ, Arabah JoyAJ, Arabah Joy
A lot of bloggers go through this:
I also didn’t focus on figuring out who were my main readers and what my niche was. I was writing about everything and anything, big mistake!” Ros EmelyRos Emely
I would like to add this caveat: sometimes we need to write in order to discover what works. That means you’ll fail sometimes or you might regret publishing something down the line, but these things do help you learn.
So, yes publishing the wrong content can waster your time in the big scheme of things, sometimes it just part of the natural growth as a blogger.
Solution: Create an ideal audience profile. Write your content for that person and take Lori’s advice and make sure you are helping/inspiring them in some way. The Successful Blog Plan has a whole section on creating your ideal profile.
Time Waster #2: Social Media
Social media itself isn’t a time waster. It’s how you use (or don’t use it) that can end up wasting your time as a new blosucgger.
One social media time suck that stuck out in the responses: Share Threads
As a new blogger, the number one thing that I wasted (way too much of) my time on was trying to keep up with all the Facebook reciprocal groups.
I needed to promote my blog somehow, so doing so in the Facebook reciprocal groups seemed like a great way to do it, but when I realized how much time I was actually spending doing this, for only an extra 10 views a day, total waste of time!
Once I stopped posting to all those groups and started focusing more on writing better content and finding new (less time consuming) ways to promote my blog, my traffic started to go up, and up, and up! I was ecstatic!” Amy, Deliberately HereAmy, Deliberately Here
Some time wasters for me when I was starting out were a lot of the Facebook group click thru threads. The only threads I find beneficial now are mostly Pinterest threads since I get majority of my traffic from pinterest. Social media threads are beneficial if they are niche specific. Any thread that is niche specific is beneficial to grow your audience but that’s about it.
Don’t ever come to a point where you are relying on those threads either since direct link clicks hurt your traffic analytics when you are trying to join reputable ad sites or affiliate marketing platforms.
Basically any Facebook group that wasn’t a blogging mastermind group, a pinterest group or a group I gained access to through a course has become pretty useless. And a lot of courses are useless too… don’t buy up the first couple courses you come across. Take your time to read up on each before purchasing any. Or you will end up wasting a lot of money and time.”Dainella, I like to DabbleDainella, I like to Dabble
Trying to keep up with too many social media platforms is also not always time well spent.
Diving into the social media game too soon and too heavy. Because I’m a fashion blogger, I got into Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest right away. I did all sorts of crazy things last year trying to build my instagram—making 9-grids, hash tagging, worrying about shadow banning, joining like and comment pods that fizzled after a few weeks. I was trying to grow on all three platforms and was researching others trying to figure out how to get the edge. Meanwhile, I was learning about facebook groups, and trying to grow my facebook page.
What a hot mess that was! Each platform is different—it can take quite a awhile to get an understanding of them and where best to spend your time.
Further, every time I’d get things moving, the platform would change their algorithm and I’d be back at square one. I’ve paired things way back, I focus on my blog content first and foremost, growing my own mailing list and social media comes second. I focus on learning one at a time rather than trying to learn them all at once. When I get a general understanding and a decent system going, I move on to the next. Nina, Sharing a JourneyNina, Sharing a Journey
The biggest time waster for me as I began my blogging journey was trying to do everything all at once. I should have focused on two things like SEO and Pinterest and then move on to other tactics.Katy, Untold Morsels
And what on earth was I doing on Snapchat?!” Katy, Untold Morsels
Solution: Pick one or two social media platforms to focus on. Don’t try to do them all. Focus on sharing quality content and real engagement. Skip the share threads and focus on finding people that match your ideal reader (in solution number 1). Stop flying by the seat of your pants and create a social media plan that works.
Time Waster #3: The Comparison Trap
This time waster was the most common response I received from bloggers. It seems like everyone has been caught in the comparison trap, myself included. I’ve saved most of their responses for a future post, but Laurel and Roshonda sum it up really well:
Well…. one thing I did that didn’t help at all was focusing on other people’s blogs. I was so caught up in trying to be like other people but when I was myself, I got the most views! So my advice to starting bloggers (which I still am one) is to be yourself and the audience will come to you! Being yourself is the best person you can be. Laurel, Living the Laurel Life.Laurel, Living the Laurel Life.
The one thing I wasted a lot of time on was not really focusing on my blog and/or the reasons why I started the blog in the first place. I lost a lot of time watching other bloggers and if I can be honest, trying to mimic their style and verbiage thinking that’s what I needed to do in order to grow my blog and get traffic. My word of advice to any new blogger would be to “keep their focus” on their own blog (at least for the first month or two) trying to make it presentable, thinking of topics to talk about and looking at what will make their blog unique. We all have a gift and we all have something important to say, my blog may not be like anyone else’s and someone elses will not be like mine – but that’s what makes the bloggerverse so unique, because it’s filled with different stories, genres, backgrounds, colors and purpose. Roshonda, Just Sum InspirationRoshonda, Just Sum Inspiration
Solution: Just stop comparing yourself to other bloggers. Easier said than done. Stop reading if you have to. Unfollow if it makes it easier. Or tell yourself this, “I can see another person’s success without feeling jealous or feeling like I need to do things like they do.” You do not have to be like other bloggers. Comparing your chapter one to their chapter 30 will just make you sad. You, you are what sets your blog apart. Focus on doing your thing. 🙂
Time Waster #4: Research
This one. This one might be the death of me. Or, at least it’s my biggest time suck.
I research things to the core. When I’m trying to learn something new, when I’m looking into buying something, etc.
I research. And then I hit analysis paralysis.
It’s a real thing.
Here’s what others said:
I’ve wasted so much time on researching how to do things instead of doing them.Mae, Nerd and Change
I’ve tip-toed around so I don’t make mistakes, and by doing this its been taking much longer for me to get things done on my site. Mae, Nerd and Change
I focused WAY too much on researching how to start a blog and how to do things. There is so much information out there and I overwhelmed myself and took time away from doing what is most important: creating content!!Sara, Imperfectly Balanced SaraSara, Imperfectly Balanced Sara
Solution: Research can be the easy out. Because you feel like you’re doing something productive but really you’re not getting anywhere. Pick one thing, research it and then implement immediatley. Implement and action are key.
If it’s been a while since you’ve taken action, you know you’ve been researching too much. Research, act. repeat. Don’t get stuck in the research zone. Spend more time on ACTION.
I’ve cut out a lot of the research for you with the start a blog checklist –
Time Waster #5: Fretting over details
Worrying about equipment, tools, design, themes, and every other little detail can seem important. And then you get down the road and realize you don’t have much to show for all the time you’ve spend fretting.
We tend to look at our favorite bloggers and YouTubers and think that we need to have everything that they have to get the same results. I wish I could tell my younger self to just work with what I have and keep creating. I realized that the process of creating videos and post was that much more fun; because not only did I have to put in more effort but I got to be even more creative with just the things that I had on hand. Kylah, New VibezKylah, New Vibez
I have frequently thought: if only I had a better camera or a different microphone or a better social media scheduler… the list goes on and on. Work with what you have and don’t let what you don’t have hold you back from creating awesomeness.
Another thing you should let hold you back:
My biggest time waster was redesigning my blog every week trying to get it to look perfect. While a nice looking blog can definitely be helpful, constantly redesigning it was a huge waste of time. Instead, I could have been spending that time being more strategic and focusing on tasks that would actually grow my blog. Allyssa BarnesAllyssa Barnes
“As a new blogger, you want everyone to engage and love what you post. One of the biggest time wasters I found when I was a new blogger, was spending to much time on my blog theme. I was so concerned with everything looking perfect.
Don’t get me wrong you want your blog to look nice and represent who you are, but that is definitely not the most important thing. You want a clean and simple design in the beginning, and as you grow so will your blog. Focus on sharing and publishing great content.” Brittney, B Socially GreyBrittney, B Socially Grey
One thing I wasted a lot of time on at first was the look of my blog. I spent more time trying different themes than I did creating content. I think content should come first and then later you can adjust the theme of your blog to get it exactly how you want it. Chelsea, Just Sea for YourselfChelsea, Just Sea for Yourself
Themes and appearance are just one of the small details that can hang us up, there are more!
As a new blogger I would get bogged down by minute details… like changing my logo a dozen times and adding new WordPress plugins, even if I didn’t know what they did.” Kristy Robb Restyle
Another small detail that looks beneficial but can really take up your time? Checking stats.
The second big time waster I used to do was always checking my analytics. While it is good to check your analytics every once in a while to get a feel for your audience, I was spending so much time just sitting on my analytics/pageview’s page.Amy, Deliberately Here
I would reload it every few minutes and totally freak out whenever I got another view! But, even though it was a great feeling anytime I got a view, obsessing over my pageviews was a huge time waster that I could have instead used for writing content and promoting my content! Amy, Deliberately Here
At first I was constantly looking at the stats of my blog. This was also a waste of time because growing as a blogger is exponential. What I do is not about that stats.Anjana, Moon Light and Macaroons.
Anjana, Moon Light and Macaroons.
Solution: Move on. Let it go. The little details are sometimes the easier aspects of blogging and so we gravitate towards them. If you catch yourself fretting over frivolous things, it’s time to do something else.
Time Waster #6: Striving for perfection
Okay, I am also guilty of this one. I did mention in a past post that I need to work on being more intentional with my time.
Perfection. We all want it. It’s good to aim high. But more often than not, striving for perfection holds us back.
Something I did as a new blogger that was a waste of time was that I spent waaaay too much time over analyzing my pictures and my posts. People just want to know what you are doing, they don’t care about the exact hue of your picture. Kim, Think GypsyKim, Think Gypsy
Putting everything out there truly terrified me. What if it wasn’t good and I just published terrible content?Corrina, Trendy and Tired
I have found out that being real is more important then perfect. People want to learn who you really are and being fake takes way too much time and energy anyways! Corrina, Trendy and Tired
Solution: Well, I haven’t really found one yet. Just kidding. Sort of. Sometimes you just have to push publish before your ready. Give yourself grace and accept what you have. Don’t be afraid to let people see your weaknesses or journey; if anything it might endear them to you more. You do not have to be perfect to be a blogger. It’s not in the job credentials.
Time Waster #7: Not having a plan
I learned that if I have a plan before I sit down at my computer then I’m not as easily distracted by social media, emails and other tasks. Because I also have a day job, I work hard to keep an editorial calendar and schedule in my “social media” time. Most of my blogging happens in the evenings and on the weekends so I have to be super-efficient with my time. I have found that batching photos and writing works best for me. I am also working really hard to remind myself this mantra: It doesn’t have to be perfect to hit publish. Simply getting it out there for others to digest is the ultimate goal and if I’m not careful, perfectionism can be paralyzing. Kristy, Robb RestyleKristy, Robb Restyle
I have started restricting myself from sitting down at the computer if I don’t have a plan. It’s way to easy to end up wasting hours on Pinterest, interacting on Facebook or catching up on emails. Don’t open up your phone or sit down at your desk without knowing exactly what you’re going to work on! Set a timer if you have to.
I found that I wasted a lot of time when I didn’t have a system in place. I now have days dedicated to certain tasks. I found that this gives me a map to follow each week and keeps me focused. Billie, Desire to DoneBillie, Desire to Done
Solution: Make a plan for your blog. Use the Successful Blog Plan if you need it. It will help you make a plan for social media, your content, and audience. Also have a daily and weekly plan in place for your blogging tasks. And always evaluate how things are working out for you.
Time Waster #8: Not doing…
Seems a bit backwards, but not doing some things could also be wasting your time as a blogger. If you’re busy doing the above 7 time wasters you might not have time for crucial blogging tasks!
The second thing I did that wasted my time was not engaging with followers, you need to interact and talk with the people following you or reading your posts. Once I started doing both of these I saw a huge difference. People are not going to visit your blog or website unless you are making yourself approachable and I say that lightly because they aren’t approaching you but more so interacting with you either way you need to make yourself known as a friendly face. Alexis, What a Nutty LifeAlexis, What a Nutty Life
Not using Pinterest
Something I did as a new blogger was I totally was ignoring Pinterest!
Listen, I’ve been blogging since 2012. Every week. New post. My site was getting no attention at all! I had the freebie, I had the SEO added, I was adding my new posts to my newsletters, and I was sharing on Twitter AND Facebook. For YEARS, nada.
I didn’t want to dive into Pinterest because it was “just another social media platform that I’d have to figure out!” I was so wrong because of it and I wasted years of time and potential income. Instead I was throwing my money away at FB ads and pouring hours a day into scheduling enough tweets to spread for days and weeks. I was killing my business and burning out!
Once I implemented Pinterest as the SEARCH ENGINE that it is, everything changed! My tribe found me and I found them! My website was getting more views in 2017 than it had between 2012-2016 combined!!
Best of all, Pinterest really confirmed that I actually WAS creating good content and that people were actually interested in my brand and message. I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t a bad blogger. I just wasn’t being found. And Pinterest made that happen. Selina AlmodovarSelina Almodovar
Not creating an email list
I would have to say there is two major things I did that wasted my time. The first one was not creating a mailing list, how are people going to know when you have new posts, tips, or really anything when you have no way to communicate with them? Alexis, What a Nutty LifeAlexis, What a Nutty Life
Almost every big blogger that started out 3-10 years ago will tell you that their biggest regret is not focusing on their email list sooner. Don’t let this be you! Start off focusing on your email list from the beginning.
Solution: There are a few things that are super important with blogging. You can boil it down to these: awesome content, your email list, engaging with your existing audience (no matter how small) and Pinterest. Okay, maybe Pinterest is my own personal opinion. The first three though really should be your main focus. If you’re not doing those three you probably are just wasting your time.
To sum it all up: there are a lot of things you could do as a new blogger, but not all of them will be beneficial in the long run.
1. Work on providing quality content for a specific audience early on. It might take some trial and error but the sooner you figure content out the better.
2. Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers! Don’t fall victim to that trap. You could spend hours seeing what others are doing, just do your own thing.
3. Research is good until it’s not. Take action!
4. Don’t fret the small details. Small things can end up taking up a big chunk of our time if we aren’t careful.
5. You don’t have to be perfect. Tell yourself that often.
6. Make a plan. A content plan, a plan for your blog, a daily work plan.
7. Make sure you don’t waste your time by not focusing on important things. You’ll kick yourself later.
Go forth and use your time wisely.
Constantly reevaluate your time to see if you’re getting a good return on time investment. Did that blogging activity benefit you in any way? Even if it did, was it worth if for the amount of time it took?
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