Guys, I’ve officially been blogging for 3 years. THREE. YEARS. I celebrated my blogiversary back in September, and while I can’t say there haven’t been times where this has felt like job, I don’t regret all the time and effort that has gone into it. To be honest, I love doing this. I love hearing that one of my posts has helped one of you save a little more or inspired you to go kick some a$$ in this world. And while I’d like to do more (I have SO many ideas that I want to put into action), I also have a full-time job, friends, family, a house to maintain (why are there so many leaves??) and a new boyfriend. And balancing all of that can be hard.
On top of an already busy schedule, the controller at my company is retiring in one week, and I am being promoted to her position. Yes, that’s big news. Yes, I’m slightly freaking out. But at the same time, I’m really excited for the opportunity and can’t wait to put some of my ideas into action. The bad part? It’s monopolizing my time.
As anyone who has been through a job transition knows, your life is basically crazy town for a few months while you get through all the kinks. You’re training someone else to do your job while trying to learn someone else’s and also figure out how to manage people when, in my case, you haven’t managed people before. I’ve been working 10 hour days for I don’t know how long, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to settle down anytime soon.
Thus, here’s my formal apology if I don’t respond to your emails quite as fast as I (or you) would like for me to. If I don’t put out a new post every couple of weeks (I promise, I’m going to try). If, for my blogger friends, I’m not commenting on your awesome posts. I’d love to get to it all, but sometimes I’m so drained from my day, I just want to sit on my couch with a glass of wine and watch an episode of New Girl on Netflix.
I realize that some of you who haven’t run a blog before may be thinking that it shouldn’t be that hard to keep up. I mean, really, you could knock out a 10 page term paper in one all-nighter in college – how hard is it to put out one post in 2 weeks? And I get it. I’d probably think the same thing if I wasn’t in the midst of all of this muck, but, guys, it is so much more than just writing an article. And I want to give you a behind the scenes look into what it really takes to run a blog.
So, if you’re interested to see what takes up 10-20 hours of my week outside of my full-time job and what the blogging world is really like, read on.
CREATING BLOG POSTS
This is really the bread & butter of blogging (obviously). My main goal is to continue to come up with content that I love to write and you love to read. And in all honesty, this can be difficult at times. I am constantly writing down ideas (okay, putting them on a list in my phone) when I see something that sparks my attention, and then I pour over those ideas and create a blog schedule for the next 3 months of the posts I want to write. And then I write. And I try to write posts that are not only in-depth and entertaining, but also helpful and easy to understand. I realize not everyone went to school for finance, and I try to make those sometimes complex issues easy. Which can take up quite a bit of the page. And my time. Especially because I’m a perfectionist.
In addition to that, I also have to come up with social media pushes for Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest for each post plus think of a catchy title that will actually pull you all in to read it. Which is also difficult for someone with the creativity of an accountant. Bear with me.
I’ve kind of backed myself into a corner with this one because I have to create two images per post: one to use as my title and one for Pinterest. Why? Well, my title image fits in more with the color scheme of my website whereas Pinterest images, in order to catch more attention, are a little brighter and bigger. In fact, many bloggers create multiple Pinterest images per post to see which pulls in the most traffic. I’m not there yet, but it’s a goal.
Once everything is done offline, I then upload the content to my site using Squarespace, which is my webhost. And unfortunately, I have to do it twice. While I love Squarespace for umpteen reasons, the one limitation they have is that they don’t automatically pull a blog post into a category. For instance, if I upload a post to my homepage (i.e. “Latest Posts”) and categorize it as a Budgeting/Saving article, it doesn’t automatically pull that onto my Budgeting/Saving category page. Thus, I have to manually add it there, too, meaning I have to pull in my images, change formatting, etc. all over again. Yes, It’s a pain in the a$$ because it takes more time out of my day, but sometimes you just have to deal with it. And that’s what I do.
Here’s the thing about blogging most people don’t realize: it’s a lot of work. And while it’s a great hobby, it’s also nice to earn a little bit of money from it to make it worth the hours put into it every week. In order to do that, however, you have to first increase traffic to your site. That’s where social media comes in.
This is the platform I first used to promote my blog, and it’s been wonderful for not only gaining traffic but also meeting & networking with other bloggers. Every Sunday I spend about 30 minutes to an hour scheduling my tweets for the week using a tool called Buffer. I try to mix in content from my site, other online articles from fellow bloggers that I’ve found beneficial, motivational tweets, helpful hints, and little reminders. Then, during the week, I check into Twitter a few times per day to interact with other bloggers and tweet out any random comments I may have.
Follow me on Twitter at @brittandtheb
I know for many of you Pinterest is where you plan your dream wedding or home, but you’d be amazed at how many resources are out there to help you with your finances as well. Just this last month I started using an app called Tailwind to help schedule pins for me, and right now, I spend a couple hours every other Sunday poring through Pinterest posts to see which I a) find beneficial and b) feel would be most helpful for my followers. I then upload them to Tailwind on a two week schedule, and I’m now pinning more than I ever have been before with less work. Win-win.
I’m just really starting to really get into the Pinterest world with my blog, so I’m currently in the process of going through all of my old articles and creating Pinterest images for them as well. Creating better images means you have a better chance of increasing your traffic, and this task is taking up quite a bit of my time right now. Like, a lot of my time. But I’ve seen some amazing results from fellow bloggers, so I’m hoping it pays off for me as well! If you have any hints, let me know ;)
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Follow me on Pinterest by clicking here.
I honestly haven’t promoted my blog that often on Instagram solely because I don’t have enough time right now to fully dedicate myself to 3 social media platforms. Thus, I usually just stick to promoting my latest blog post and sharing a few funny or inspiring quotes I see.
In the future, I plan to get into this a little more heavily, but I want to get on steady footing with Pinterest first. So for now, you’ll just have to deal with mostly personal Instagram pics.
Follow me on Instagram at @brittandtheb
Newsletters are great for two reasons:
1) It’s a great opportunity to share additional content with readers that can help them along their financial journey/career, and
2) It helps you further increase traffic to your blog by putting your content in front of people who may have missed any social media posts promoting your site
I put out a newsletter bimonthly, which means every other weekend, I’m writing a blurb for my latest blog post I’m including as the main feature in my newsletter, scouring for additional content to share, coming up with helpful tips for you to implement, and sharing posts from my Instagram & Twitter accounts. It used to take up quite a bit of time, but I’ve gotten into a fairly decent routine and am now down to roughly 1-2 hours per newsletter. If you have any ideas for things you’d wish for me to include in future editions, let me know!
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Believe it or not, I actually get quite a few emails every day regarding opportunities for me to guest post on other sites (see my latest on EliteDaily here >>> 4 Things People Who Save Money Want You to Know About Them), other bloggers requesting to guest post on mine, questions, comments….you name it. And going through and responding to these isn’t extremely time-consuming on a per day basis, but when you have to check it multiple times per day, it adds up to quite a bit of time over the course of the week.
If you haven’t noticed, there is a section for comments at the bottom of every blog post, and I LOVE whenever someone leaves me one on the site (hint, hint). It starts a conversation, and when one person voices their opinion, others tend to follow.
That being said, responding to those comments and commenting on other bloggers’ posts is also an integral part of running a blog and is an everyday task as well. You want to make sure your responses are well thought out and, as the writer of the blog, still contain beneficial information for your readers. You’d be amazed at how many great ideas and tips and thoughts in general spur from the comment section of personal finance blogs, and I highly encourage you to read them and join the conversation. Like HIGHLY ENCOURAGE you.
This is not an all-encompassing article, and there are many things I do regarding the blog that I haven’t listed here (and still more that other bloggers – I’m telling you, it’s a major time suck); however, it has been and I hope will continue to be worth every second I pour into it, and I hope that you continue to stick around for the next 3 years.
As always, if you have any suggestions for topics you’d like me to address in a future post, suggest away – this is and will continue to be all about you!