Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Attempting a more minimalistic approach to blogging

I write quite a lot about my minimalist aspirations on this blog, and so I thought I'd share how I attempt to carry that over into my blogging - both my blogging process and the way that I approach what I publish on my blog and social media.

Tips for minimalist blogging

Not many gadgets

I don't own much blogging equipment. I have an iPhone which I use for both photos and videos. I take photos outdoors or using my homemade light box, which is a large cardboard box painted white with tissue paper sides and top - I don't own any special lighting or backdrops. Most of my work is done at my desk using a desktop PC. The only blogging thing that I pay for is Tailwind, alongside my domain name. I don't buy props for my photos or special outfits for the children, and I don't pay for a theme or any special apps.

Turning down review products

I don't do nearly as many reviews on my blog as I used to. Not only did I start to value my blog and my time more, I also became uncomfortable about promoting products that I wouldn't buy just to put a smile on child's face for a few minutes.

I'm offered a lot of toys, plastic collectables and so on. While I know that the children would love them, I also know from experience that they would become clutter very quickly and it feels like such a waste of resources. I try to avoid buying these types of toys myself, and it feels wrong to promote them on the blog.

I'm reluctant to accept products for review that duplicate something I already own. It feels a waste to accept something just for the sake of it just because it's 'free'. Although I confess I do have difficulty turning down books and craft materials!

Social media

I struggle with my relationship with social media. On the one hand I want and need to be active across several channels - particularly Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest - but on the other hand I know how easy it is to get sucked in, and I'm frequently berating myself for losing minutes and hours to mindless scrolling.

I would love to be able to log in to each social media account once during the day, post an update or two and spend a little time interacting. But when you post an update it can take a while before people see and interact with it, so it's difficult to avoid the urge to check back in shortly after to see if anyone has replied to a tweet or commented on a photo.

Once logged in, I find it very easy to get distracted, and it's definitely not something that I've mastered. One thing that helps is to get up and do something else when I feel the pull towards Facebook or Twitter - even just getting up to fetch a drink or put something away can be enough to break the urge. But there's definitely more work to do here!

Aiming for quality not quantity

I used to publish a new blog post almost every day. Some of my early posts are very short, just a picture and a short paragraph. While I enjoy looking back on them, I now much prefer to write more meaty posts. I aim to publish a new post three times a week, and attempt to post fewer 'filler' posts - I prefer to publish nothing that something for the sake of it. I would like all my posts to add some kind of benefit to the reader - whether that's a craft inspiration, some helpful information about a destination, or just something to enjoy reading. I do hope that I usually succeed!

Minimalistic approach to blogging
Photo credit - Goran Ivos via Unsplash

Using a feed reader for other blogs rather than subscribing by e-mail

I don't subscribe to any blogs by e-mail. Instead I follow them through a feed reader, currently Feedly. I scroll down the list and remove the posts that don't interest me, then set aside some time to open up the ones that I want to read. I follow quite a few blogs this way, and I find that by checking in a couple of times a day I can keep it under control.

That's why I've never set up a personal blog mailing list for my own blog (although the option is there to subscribe by e-mail via Blogger). I don't think I have many e-mail subscribers, but I like to think that at least I'm not sending unwanted content to many people's inboxes.

Scheduling and planning

I have an editorial calendar system for my blog which works very well for me. It means that I can space out my content to publish a variety of different posts, and it means that I can work on posts well in advance when I have the time. I feel a lot more creative when coming up with new ideas if I'm not scrabbling about at the last minute. I've recently been working on some Halloween content for later this year, and it feels good to know that when the time comes I'll relevant posts all ready to go. Of course I do leave gaps for spur of the moment posts, and sometimes those are both the quickest to write up and the most popular!

Blog design

I've never been very good at blog design I must admit, and this is probably something that I could work on. My sidebar is a little cluttered. I do hope that it reflects a little of my personality though - I may be an aspiring minimalist, but I'm never going to be perfect!

Main photo credit Harry Cunningham via Unsplash

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