The most important tasks for bloggers — and what is not important?

I've been reading Simple Blogging: Less Computer Time, Better Blogging, an ebook by Rachel Meeks of Small Notebook (and — full warning — I went ahead and signed up for the affiliate account, because I am an affiliate junky).

Even before downloading it, I had started thinking about what's essential for bloggers to do, and what can be trimmed. Part of this is in preparation for nesting and my babymoon period. Part of this is my general drive to simplify clutter out of my life. Part of this is my knowledge that sabbath rests are necessary to my wellbeing. Part of this is a long time coming, just because I've been feeling overwhelmed by how much time blogging takes up for me.

This article by Melodie — "My Kids Have Taught Me That It’s Time To Stop Blogging" — when she reluctantly yet joyfully decided to step away from Breastfeeding Moms Unite! was also a catalyst. Blogging is not a job for me in the sense that I earn much money from it. For the amount of time I put into it, I've calculated that I'm earning about 40 cents an hour. Hmm. Forty cents for an hour I could be spending writing my novels, caring for my home, helping my husband in our family business (which makes considerably more per hour), or, not to be all maudlin about it, enjoying my kid's (and, soon, kids') fleeting and precious childhood.

Now, blogging has become a passion of mine, and I recognize that the point of blogging does not have to rest on earnings. I so very much enjoy the community that has surrounded me in this blogging journey, and a lot of what I do as a blogger is with the intent of giving back to that community, and that makes me happy. That said, when I'm feeling stressed and on edge and staying up till 5 in the morning to finish linking up Wordless Wednesday posts for two sites or beating myself up because I have yet to finish a product review I've had three months to write and still don't really feel like doing or hiding fitfully from the overflowing email inbox that's overwhelming me with Tasks To Do, I have to ask myself: Is this what I'm actually passionate about?

So I thought I'd ask YOU — fellow blog readers, fellow blog authors — what you consider to be the essentials of blogging, and what a blogger can let slide.

I put together a little poll to select and then rank and then compare basic blogging tasks:
  • Content: frequently updated vs. meaningful (not that they have to be in conflict, but I think many of us would agree we can choose one or the other — not Amber, of course)
  • Posting schedules: Does consistency matter? What about having expected weekly or monthly memes (e.g., Wordless Wednesday)?
  • Courtesy/interaction with readers: How important is it to reply to comments and emails?
  • Courtesy/interaction with other bloggers: How important is it to comment on other blogs and promote other bloggers' posts?
  • Social media interaction: How important is it to have an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, or similar platform?
  • Writing opportunities: How meaningful is it for bloggers to provide blog carnivals, book deals, and other outlets for fellow writers?
  • Product reviews and giveaways: Love 'em? Hate 'em? Indifferent?
I'm going to assume that most of us would love for bloggers (themselves or others) to do all these things, and to do them well — but I'm also going to assume that for most of us (all of us?), that's an impossible task — particularly if, as parenting bloggers, we are also, you know, parents. So we have to choose what to keep and what to let go.

You can answer this poll from the perspective of a reader or a writer or both.

All of the questions are optional, so if you don't feel like doing the whole survey, it will still let you submit your answers. Feel free to choose what types of questions appeal to you.

There's also a space at the end to add your own thoughts — or, if you're not a survey person at all, feel free to just pop them into the comments on this post. This isn't even including incidentals like site design, putting images into posts, plugging a site on blogrolls and other linkups, attending blogging conferences, or starting ever more websites (ahem). If I left something off you think is crucial (or just expected of bloggers), be sure to make a note.

The above is a snazzy pop-up version of the survey, since I couldn't get the form version to embed correctly. If, say, you're on a phone, and you want a plain link, here you go: http://hobomama.polldaddy.com/s/blogging-survey

Let me know what you think: What should bloggers do better, and what can bloggers let go?

Disclosure: Simple Blogging links are affiliate links.
I try to seek out only products I think you would find relevant and useful.
If I don't like a product, I won't be recommending it to you.
See my full disclosure policy here.


teresa said...

I did the survey and just wanted to say that I hope you do a post with the results. I'm curious about this too.
I think I'm getting the book you recommended. I need that.
I have no issue with affiliate links. I like the disclosure, and it makes me feel happy to be able to get it through someone I like.

Momma Jorje said...

I hope to see the results as well. I never mind affiliate links, so long as it doesn't seem like the entire point of a blog is just to get me to buy something. I like honest reviews and giveaways, but they're not something I seek out in a blog.

I feel like I'm such a noob when it comes to blogs, especially when reading the pros (as I see them). (Pros: HoboMama, CodeNameMama...)
I like seeing the cooperation and community among bloggers and like to feel like I am a part of it.

Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings said...

I want to read that book! I am having huge challenges with time management around blogging and more often time online in general. I know I need to work on setting some limits and priorities. And sticking to them!

As I pretty much said in the survey, I strongly believe that inspiring, quality content trumps pretty much everything else in the blogging world for me. It's hard to make decisions like this because not following everyone who follows you, and paying back link love, etc, can feel unfriendly, but really, there is only so much time in the day, you know? I think most people understand that. Especially parent bloggers! If you are spending all this time on the computer, you are not doing the cool stuff with your kids that you will be able to blog about later!

Its a balancing act, for sure. One I am not doing very well at, currently, but am hoping to figure out as time goes on. Very interested in the results of your survey!

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