I thought about titling this post, “How I Work 15-20 Hours/Week While Travelling Full-Time”, but I decided that it sounded a little too douchey (you’re welcome).
The reality is that it doesn’t matter if you’re travelling full-time, part-time, or not at all: We’re all on some sort of time crunch. Whether you’re a digital nomad like me, blogging on the “side” of your day job, or just a living-breathing person in today’s day-and-age – you’re BUSY.
One of my biggest suggestions for growing a successful blog while a time crunch is to automate, automate, automate. You should be automating as many things in your blog and biz as possible, so that when you do have time to work on your blog, you can focus on the things that require your creativity, brain power, and personal touch.
Today I’m sharing my top 3 automation tools for bloggers, plus some bonus tips to help you save more time. If you’d like to get WAY more stuff done in WAY less time, this post is for you!
Top 3 Automation Tools for Bloggers
Without further ado, here are my top 3 automation tools for bloggers, in no particular order…
An email autoresponder is an absolute must-must-MUST if you’re a blogger who’s serious about making an income online. It doesn’t necessarily have to be ConvertKit, but it does have to be something.
With an autoresponder in place, your email list will run all by itself on autopilot, without you lifting a finger. Your autoresponder can deliver automated emails/series of emails, send out scheduled broadcasts on certain days at certain times, and deliver each email in your sales funnels on autopilot (making you money!)
I’ve talked in detail about why I love ConvertKit many times before — see this post on the 7 reasons all serious bloggers should be using ConvertKit as one example. One of ConvertKit’s main perks is how easy the automation is. Setting up a welcome series, sales funnel, email course, and “tags” for your subscribers is as easy as snapping your fingers.
Do I have you sold yet? Sign up for ConvertKit here!
…Then head over to my ConvertKit 101 blog post here to learn how to set up your automations. I promise you won’t be disappointed. 😉
Pinterest is one of the back-bones of my blog and business, and I highly suggest making it one of yours as well.
More traffic, more email list growth, and more income… all with one platform? Yes please!
To be successful on Pinterest, you need to understand the Pinterest algorithm inside and out. And one thing the algorithm definitely favours is regular, high-volume pinning (basically, pinning often and pinning a lot!)
I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like setting aside 10-minute blocks 6 times every day to hop onto Pinterest and pin. But with BoardBooster, you don’t have to!
I’ll be completely honest with you. Since I started travelling about 6 weeks ago, I’ve been on Pinterest maybe… twice. But my account continues to grow! And it’s all thanks to the magic of BoardBooster.
My two favourite BoardBooster features for automating your Pinterest account and traffic are “Looping” and “Campaigns”.
Looping takes existing pins on your Pinterest boards and re-pins them to the top of each board. This allows your newer followers to see your older pins, essentially giving them a “second chance” to be seen, re-pinned, and clicked on.
Campaigns are great for sharing your newest blog posts and your older blog posts to relevant group boards you belong to. You’ll want to set up a Scheduled Campaign to share your new blog posts, and a Random Campaign to share your older blog posts.
A Random Campaign is the most automated feature, because you literally don’t have to do anything once you’ve set up the campaign and it continues to run. A Scheduled Campaign is almost fully-automated, but it does require you to add a pin to a secret board on your account to kickstart the campaign.
Start your free BoardBooster trial here!
To learn more about looping, campaigns, and my other favourite BoardBooster features, check out this post on why BoardBooster is the best Pinterest tool ever.
So that’s your email list and Pinterest sorted, but what about your other social media platforms?!
Recurpost to the rescue!
Recurpost is ideal for automating your Twitter and Facebook accounts (Facebook groups, Facebook pages, and/or your personal profile). It can also be used for LinkedIn, but that’s not something I’ve personally tried yet.
The beauty of Recurpost is that once you set it up, you never have to touch it again. Your Twitter and Facebook accounts continue to share relevant content and updates, making you appear active on social media every day (which is great for growing your following!) but you aren’t actually doing anything.
Recurpost is similar to tools like MeetEdgar and SmarterQueue, but the reason I love Recurpost so much is that it’s totally free! Until you add more than 100 social media posts to your Recurpost libraries (which I haven’t needed to yet, and don’t see myself ever needing to), you can stay on their free plan.
Here’s how Recurpost works:
1. You add social media updates to your “libraries” on Recurpost. Basically, these are pre-written tweets and Facebook posts that you want Recurpost to share for you. As an example, you might have one library for your pre-written tweets and a separate library for your pre-written Facebook page posts.
2. You create a “schedule” for Recurpost, telling it what to share and when. For example, you might tell it to share 5 posts from your “Twitter library” to your Twitter account every day – specifically at 10AM, 1PM, 4PM, 7PM, and 10PM. You can have up to 10 “slots” in your daily schedule on Recurpost’s free plan.
And that’s it! Once you’ve added your Twitter and Facebook content and created a schedule, Recurpost will continuously pull tweets and Facebook posts from your “libraries” and share them to your designated social media accounts at the times you’ve set up. Day after day, week after week, and month after month!
There are more advanced settings you can choose to use (for example, if you have a tweet that you don’t want to be shared until a certain date, or that you want to stop sharing on a certain date, you can set that up) but we won’t dive into all of those today. If you’d like a full Recurpost tutorial, let me know and maybe I’ll do that in the future!
Sign up for Recurpost here.
My Top 3 Time-Saving Tips for Bloggers
Now that you’re all set up with ConvertKit, BoardBooster, and Recurpost, let’s talk about how you can save even more time. Here are 3 tips you can implement TODAY to see a dramatic increase in your productivity.
Tip 1. Set up canned responses in Gmail
If you find yourself spending a lot of time answering emails and/or wading through your inbox, this tip is for you. Canned responses work especially well if you have to respond to a lot of the same types of emails. With canned responses, it’s as easy as clicking a button and pressing “Send” and your canned reply is on its way!
I use canned responses to reply to…
1. People requesting to join my group boards on Pinterest
2. Brands/businesses wanting to collab that aren’t a good fit for me and my blog
3. People applying to join my affiliate program
There are an unlimited number of canned responses you can create, and these are just a few ideas to get the wheels turning.
Basically, you can use a canned response for any type of email that you receive often, and that doesn’t require a highly personalized response (although, of course, you can always insert a canned response and then adjust it a bit to make it more personal).
Ready to start using canned responses? Here’s a great tutorial from Amy Lynn Andrews to walk you through the set-up!
Tip 2. Store all of your affiliate links in a spreadsheet.
If you belong to a bunch of different affiliate programs, it’s next-to-impossible to remember all of your unique affiliate links off the top of your head.
Save yourself TONS of time and instead of logging into each program every time you need to fetch an affiliate link, start storing them all in one place!
To help you out, I’ve put together the Ultimate Affiliate Marketing Spreadsheet. Click here to download your free copy!
In this spreadsheet, you’ll record things like:
1. The name of each affiliate program you belong to
2. Your affiliate links for each program
3. The URL where you can log in and see your sales
4. The commission structure and amount
…And SO much more!
Click here to download your Ultimate Affiliate Marketing Spreadsheet fo’ free.
Tip 3. Create templates for your social media images.
This tip might seem pretty basic, but I’m still surprised at the number of people I see not using templates for their social media images. Templates will save you SO much time when it comes to creating and scheduling content for your social media accounts.
To design your templates, Canva is a great free program to play around with. I personally use Adobe Illustrator and I love it!
Each social media platform has different size dimensions and criteria for designing eye-catching images, so do a bit of research before creating your templates. At the time I’m writing this post (August 2017), recommended sizes for social media images are as follows:
Instagram: Square (1080px x 1080px works well)
Pinterest: A 2:3 or 1:2 ratio (800px by 1200px or 800px by 1600px)
Twitter: 440px by 220px
Facebook: 1200px by 630px
Once you’ve designed templates that you love, the next time you need an image for one of your social media accounts, it’s as easy as adding a new background image or color to the template, swapping out the text, and you’re good to go!
In summary, my top 3 automation tools for bloggers are…
And 3 big tips to help you save you more time are…
1. Set up canned responses in gmail
2. Store all of your affiliate links in a spreadsheet
3. Create templates for your social media images
Do you have any other tips or tools that help you automate your blog and save time? I’d love to know!