How to Create Blog Content That Saves You Time in the Future [8 Tips]

One of the most overlooked aspects of successful niche blogging is updating old content. It isn't sexy but it's at least 25% of the content creation process. For large sites, it can be even more. 

Although you'll always need to be updating old content to maximize your site's earning potential, there are things you can do in advance to ensure you spend the least amount of time possible on updating going forward.

Tip #1 Simplify Your Design

The majority of your time should be spent on updating parts of the actual content and link-building but the natural instinct will be to optimize design. 

However, the ROI on design is far lower than other types of updating.

Unless you're a professional designer, your first blog posts will never look exactly how you want them to look. Instead of design work, you will be able to focus on things like content relevance, internal linking and general lengthening of posts that need a boost. 

Here are some things you should simplify.

Thumbnails - This was the biggest time suck for me. I focused far too much on how my thumbnails looked and re-did almost all of them at least once. This was hundreds of hours.... h-u-n-d-r-e-d-s.

There is no shame in using basic stock photos or simply not using thumbnails at all. 

My favorite blog, JamesClear.com, doesn't use any thumbnails at all and is super light on graphics. My second favorite blogger uses custom thumbnails but they are extremely simplistic but always on brand, regardless of how long he doesn't spend on designing them. 

aida-action-animated

This GIF for example is one of his thumbnails. It's so bad that it's actually really good. It's like the less he does, the more on brand they are.

Fonts - Although I'm a huge fan of beautiful typography, I'm not a believer in using fancy font combinations on blogs. There are simply too many drawbacks. Stick to a basic Google safe, sans-serif font like Arial or Montserrat (what we use on this site). For headers, you can just use a larger, bold version of these. Not fancy, but very sound design wise.

Color Schemes - Studies have shown that it's far easier to read dark text on a light background (source) . Although it's tempting to create a nice "night time" effect with a dark background and lite font color, a few style points is probably not worth it. Create a brand kit from the color scheme of your logo and commit to it.  The only time to change it is if you made an egregious mistake early on and have some sort of neonic abomination as your color scheme.

Say it with me..."Less is more."

Tip #2 Use Templates That Can Be Edited in Bulk 

Even though it's not always the most efficient use of your time, you're going to want to edit your designs. It's perfectly normal to want to be proud of your website's aesthetic

Thrive Theme Templates

A great way to control this and make big site-wide changes without going post by post is to leverage templates that you can edit. 

Thrive Themes provides the ability to dynamically customize your page and post templates so the changes are implemented across every URL using them. 

Tip #3 Use Categories and Tags Correctly

Categories and tags are important for several reasons but the most important is for better optimizing your lead generation . For example, if you have 5 categories, you'd want to have 5 separate lead magnets that target each of them in a relevant way. 

By having proper tags and categories in place early, you'll be able to run lead magnets effectively. 

We use Thrive Leads for this and setting rules to target special categories and not others is quite simple. 

Likewise, I like to create tags such as "No Pop Up" that I can use as exclusion rules. If I'm selling a high ticket product for example, I might not want a pop up to distract the readers, so I'd create a rule to ensure there are no pop ups on those pages. 

Spend some time drafting out your categories and tags. Don't use too many categories and be sure that each tag has a purpose or don't use it. 

James Clear Minimalistic Design

James Clear has 8 well-defined categories and an extremely minimalistic design.

Tip #4 Measure Twice, Cut Once

Peter Drucker

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

Peter Drucker

Spend more time on your blog topic research. Many posts will be little more than a lesson for you in the writing and SEO process.

Tip #5 Use SOPs

Be sure to have an SOP (standard operating procedure) in place that ensures you never miss a step when you're creating your content. If you do everything right the first time, you'll have way fewer changes to make going forward. There's a reason doctors use checklists!

You can make these with a fancy software or something as simple as a Google Sheet.

Blogging Checklist

Free 28 Point Blog Post Checklist

Serious Sales and Traffic Require a Serious, Repeatable Process!

Obviously, start with the free checklist we have here at 21dayblogs.com 🙂 

Tip #6 Focus on Evergreen Topics as Often As Possible

Although every competitive search term will need to be optimized, some topics require far less work.

For example, a post such as "How to Create a Facebook Page in 2013" is totally irrelevant in 2021. These types of pages serve a purpose but if you have an evergreen topic you could be covering first, cover that first.

Tip #7  Don't Commit Too Much to Trendy Plugins

Nothing stings quite so bad as needing to go through all of your past content to remove things that no longer work. 

I've done this many times with plugins that seemed cool at the time but ended up costing me days of effort to remove the short-codes when they stopped working or I decided to switch to something different. 

When possible though, it is worth using short-codes for things like inline opt-ins since you can edit them in bulk dynamically. Just be sure the tools you use will be around for the long haul. 

This will be especially true for your content editing tools. I highly recommend choosing and sticking to a program like Thrive Architect or Elementor. Don't waste time bouncing around editors, it just won't be worth it. 

Tip #8 Use a Link Tracking Tool Like Clickmagick 

Clickmagick Link Tracking

Have you ever had an affiliate change their affiliate program and your links all become 404s? It stinks. Clickmagick makes it easy to not only see which links are being clicked, but to quickly adjust where they re-direct to in the event a link goes down or changes. 

Sources

On dark and lite color and readability: Reference: Bauer, D., & Cavonius, C., R. (1980). Improving the legibility of visual display units through contrast reversal. In E. Grandjean, E. Vigliani (Eds.), Ergonomic Aspects of Visual Display Terminals (pp. 137-142). London: Taylor & Francis

Google Font Pairs: https://govisually.com/blog/2020s-top-20-google-font-pairs-for-your-next-project/

 

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