Maintaining a blog means different things to different people, and ever since I started taking things seriously (circa May 2020), I’ve realised that there are a certain number of blogging tasks required to put forth a respectable front.
Sure, when I launched the site in 2014, all I ever wanted was to share my inane ramblings. Sometimes I posted once a week, sometimes once a month. I was as casual as casual got.
But like any beginning blogger, I also wanted a readership. However, it would take another six years before I actually put any effort into this blogging thing.
Part of the reason why is because I’ve started experimenting with the blogging tips available all over the internet, and today, I’ll be sharing what those blogging tasks are, in hopes that you can take what’s useful and apply it to your own site.
So let’s get into it, shall we?
First, what are blogging tasks?
If you’re a blogger, you probably already have a list of your own. Log in, draft a story, check for comments, log back out. Mine have grown little by little over the past year, and I’m looking to add more to my plate as I get used to the workload.
For the sake of clarity, let’s just say that blogging tasks are things that contribute to your blog either through your direct efforts, or through the indirect investment of your time (such as SEO).
You should also know that it’s not enough to just write anymore. Blogging is still relevant in 2021, but with the caveat of needing more channels and media to round up the experience.
So it’s no longer sufficient to rely solely on your website. Social media is now important. So too are videos and audio. Mailing lists, infographics, backlinks—the list never ends.
The good news is, each of these channels have a shallow learning curve. The only thing that could stop you from growing your own blog is the amount of elbow grease you’re willing to put in. And nothing can take more effort than the first task in this list.
1. Work the crowd
I can safely say that I spend more time writing comments than I do writing my actual blog posts. But it’s the single most effective thing that’s helped me grow this blog for free. Also, it’s helped me make so many new friends too.
That’s why I’ve never missed a day of commenting on WordPress. My typical flow goes like this:
Reply comments: Not only do I reply comments on my post, but I actually take the time to browse their blogs to see if there's any way I can reciprocate. They've already taken the time to comment, so the very least I could do is check out their work as well. Browse my feed: Next it's off to the Reader, where I check out the blogs I follow. Most of these bloggers tend to be regulars, so I'm sure to come across a good post or two every single day. Browse new content: Finally, I move on to strangers' posts, usually by browsing tags relevant to my niche. I read and comment on at least 20 posts a day, and I try to leave as valuable a comment as I can, even if it's just three sentences. It's the reading that takes up most time here, as I abhor leaving two-worded comments or emojis.
Ever since I started my networking journey on WordPress, I’ve never missed a day. Not when I was in the hospital after tearing my abdominal wall, nor when I had a 15-hour shift at work. And I’m pretty proud of that.
2. Work your idea muscles
These aren’t necessarily blog-post ideas, though they do intersect from time to time. I got this idea from James Altucher, who recommends coming up with 10 ideas a day, just to work the mental muscles.
So I come up with a bunch of things that may or may not work.
Maybe I can host a book giveaway even though delivery fees to the US (where most of my readers are from) cost five times the price of the book. Or maybe I could host a critique circle through email. What about Zoom interviews with the regulars on WordPress?
Technically, this isn’t a task task, but it’s still related to maintenance and growth, and so any time spent here is considered a blogging task.
3. Look stuff up
Once I have a bunch of ideas to work on, I start the research phase, which may or may not take loads of time.
Sometimes, said ‘research’ involves recalling my own experiences. Other times, I actually have to trawl the web or read specific books to get what I need.
There’s no real method to this, but I can sometimes fall down the rabbit hole and spend too much time on irrelevant pursuits.
4. ‘Sketch’ articles
For every post that goes live, I have five more drafts that never see the light of day. Most of those drafts are what I call sketches. Pieces that I play around with just to get a feel of a story.
I try different angles, flows, introductions, endings, all without the intent of actually writing. And if any particular draft stands out, I go ahead and start writing the story for real.
I do this with pen and paper too. Try it. No-commitment writing is fun. This is separate from my other daily writing projects.
Frequency: Every few days
5. Whip stories into shape
All the drafting in the world isn’t going to help unless I actually put out real work, so this is where I edit my posts into something presentable.
It’s not the writing that gets me here, but the damned images. Who knew that searching, resizing, and uploading images into your article could be such a time sink?
And my problem with WordPress stems from the weird captions in the Block Editor, so I have the added step of using the Classic block every time I want to upload a photo.
All peripheral editing comes in here as well (slugs, tags, alt texts). Throw in the formatting and titles and you have a surprisingly long time spent on the nitty-gritty.
Frequency: Weekly (as per my posting schedule)
6. Set deadlines and schedule posts
I’m in the tough love camp when it comes to my writing. That’s because I had my own share of taking it easy on my blog. I know how that feels, and I don’t like functioning that way. So now I make sure that I put out a post every Tuesday, no exceptions.
In fact, the Schedule option is a pretty decent motivator.
What I do is schedule my first draft—uncapitalised sentences and all—the moment I start drafting. That leaves me with the choice of editing my post to completion, or letting it go live in that state.
I never double back once I click the button.
Sure, I can regret that choice sometimes, especially when work starts piling on the hours. But you know what I’ve gotten out of that? An unbroken posting schedule for more than a year now.
That’s how I’ve learned that deadlines work, self-imposed or not. Speaking of which, I’ll probably schedule this post now, even when I haven’t written the half of it.
7. Upgrade your knowledge
There’s always something new to learn about when it comes to blogging. Heck, there’s always something new to learn in writing on its own. I don’t think I’ll be able to learn everything, but I can at least be better than I was yesterday.
So here’s where I browse for any new books or courses on blogging and digital marketing. Even if I’m not actively learning, I’m browsing sites like Udemy to see if there are any topics I could be missing out on.
This is a great practice for me to determine what’s what in my chosen niche, which also means that I can provide valuable content to my readers in return.
Because there’s only so much ‘facts’ I can pull out of my ass. That’s why I also reach into other people’s asses.
8. Improve your old posts
Funny how I mention learning, because I just came across this interesting tip that I’m now passing over to you: Update your old content.
Not copy-paste the entire article and republish it, no. But has the information changed since you last posted it? Is there anything you can do to improve SEO? A title change perhaps? Or an answer to a common question from your comments?
Turns out, being a blogger isn’t just about hit-and-run posting. You also need to take responsibility of your entire archive, for both your readers’ comfort and for better platform optimisation.
Frequency: This is new to me, so uh… weekly?
9. Connect with the outside world
And by outside, I mean beyond WordPress.
Social media is an important part of blogging now, and being able to connect a face to your words gives your readers that added personal touch that’s needed in this oversaturated world of algorithm-based writing and visuals.
This is my weakness, and I’m working to build traction on Facebook and Instagram. Perhaps I’ll look into YouTube and Pinterest too, but those are entirely different cans of worms on their own.
Ditto advertising and marketing.
Frequency: Not as much as I hope to. Will ramp this up soon.
It’s a job
There are many other tasks you can employ in your blogging arsenal, such as newsletters, but these are the main blogging tasks that I do in my day-to-day.
Perhaps when my email campaigns run in full swing, then I’ll return to update this post. In the meantime, feel free to share what you do on the daily to maintain and grow your blog. I’m very curious to know.
Plus, now you know that I’ll definitely reply you the next time I log in.
If there was a #10, it’d be email newsletters, so here’s the button to join the community. Get exclusive content or interact with me by clicking on the button below!