The title of this blog post is a loaded question.
I’m assuming that you agree with me that publishing more content is the most important thing you can do for your content business (aka blog or niche site).
I’m going to roll based on that assumption.
If publishing content isn’t your priority, this isn’t for you. This blog post is geared toward content publishers like yours truly.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you do nothing today other than publish one or two killer articles you can chalk it up to a productive day.
Because a content business needs content.
But, what if you just don’t feel like writing today? What can you do?
There are some days I don’t feel like writing. I don’t push it. I just go with the flow and dive into other important tasks.
Here they are.
Table of Contents
- 1. Keyword research
- 2. Improve existing content
- 3. Conversion Rate Optimization
- 4. Adding schema markup to articles that could use it
- 5. Create some charts and tables for your site
- 6. Test ways to improve average time-on-site
- 7. Look for affiliate/additional earning opportunities
- 8. Experiment with different pin designs in Canva
- 9. Write a fun opinion piece
- 10. Learn something
- 11. Improve Site Speed
- 12. Guest Posting Outreach?
- Take a day off
1. Keyword research
No matter how long my list of articles to cover is, there is always room for more. Or there are better opportunities.
Regardless, time spent finding great article topics is time well spent.
What’s a great article topic?
For me it’s a keyword or topic that has very little competition yet some monthly search volume.
How much monthly search volume?
I don’t require much. 10 will do. 20 is nice. 100 is sweet. 500 is a gem.
The key is that the keywords aren’t terribly competitive. That way I can rank for them quickly and start earning. Moreover, I don’t have to worry as much about competition knocking me off. After all, there aren’t many bloggers interested in writing a 1,500 word article for a keyword that reportedly has 20 searches per month. What many folks don’t know is that 20 is wildly underreported. May keywords with 20 searches can often pull in a lot more traffic than that.
My Long Tail Deep Dive shows you my 11 methods for finding great keywords and article topics.
2. Improve existing content
Updating and improving content is always a worthy endeavor. Okay, this requires some writing, but the writing doesn’t need such a huge commitment. You can add one question and answer to a blog post which can make it a tad better.
This is definitely time well spent on any blog. I could spend the next 2 years doing nothing but improving content. I’m not going to, but I could.
3. Conversion Rate Optimization
If you have pages that successfully earn affiliate commissions, tinker with some changes in an effort to improve clicks to the merchants to earn more affiliate revenue. A few tweaks in the right direction can add some good revenue to a site.
Once you stumble upon a winning mix for one page (test on a page with decent traffic), deploy that layout/strategy to your other affiliate pages.
Maybe it’s using buttons instead of text. Or maybe it’s adding product images to the content. It could be anything.
Or maybe it’s creating a quiz that pre-sells products. These can be very effective. They take time so if you have a non-writing day, make some quizzes.
4. Adding schema markup to articles that could use it
Whatever you do, don’t manipulate schema markup. In other words, if your article is not a review, don’t input review schema markup just so you can have fancy stars next to your article in Google search. Same with recipe or any schema markup. Google does not like that.
However, if you have a fleet of how-to articles on your site, take a day and add schema markup to them.
IMO, schema markup is important so this is time very well spent.
5. Create some charts and tables for your site
I love charts and tables in content almost as much as I love using images in content.
You’d be surprised how easy it is to add some data-based graphics such as charts and tables to any article. It doesn’t have to be complex. Simple is fine.
For example, for this article, if I were inclined, could include a table breaking down how much of my time is allotted to each task set out this article. I suspect many people would find that useful.
Not only are such graphics and types of content great for users, they can help attract links naturally.
6. Test ways to improve average time-on-site
This can be big if you have a win. I consider time-on-site a very important metric. I believe Google pays attention to time-on-site. I also equate longer time-on-site with better user experience. Finally, if folks hang around on my sites longer, I earn more ad revenue. There really is no downside to increase average time-on-site.
If I can anything that improves average time-on-site, I do so. That said, I am mindful on cooling it with plugins these days because I don’t care to slow down my site.
Recently I figured out a way to dramatically increase my average time on site. I deployed it on every niche site. The increases ranged from 58% to 330%. You can learn all about it here.
7. Look for affiliate/additional earning opportunities
I love Amazon. It converts like gangbusters.
However, Amazon isn’t the only game in town. Recently they chopped commissions which is a real drag. Fortunately there are many other merchants.
There are also many different types of products than just physical products. There are info products, software, consumables, subscriptions, lead generation, etc.
I’ve been published and monetizing websites for several years and I still stumble on new affiliate opportunities every year. Some are duds. Some work out great. You never know.
A day spent investigating and testing affiliate or additional revenue opportunities can be time well spent.
8. Experiment with different pin designs in Canva
Sometimes I feel like tinkering with various pin designs instead of writing. While I don’t dedicate too much time to this, my tinkering with pin design concepts increased my Pinterest traffic from 74K monthly visitors to well over 300K monthly visitors.
I find it relaxing looking for interesting images for pins curious as to what will work and won’t work.
I don’t care for writing the descriptions but that’s part of the process.
Sometimes a good break from nuts and bolts writing is pin design (or any graphic design with Canva which makes it so easy).
9. Write a fun opinion piece
There’s writing bread and butter content for keywords and then there’s writing fun stuff. Sometimes there’s crossover which is great, but not always.
If you’re not in the mood to write the bread and butter content but have enough gas in the tank for pontificating just for fun about something relevant to your niche, do it.
This is what Fat Stacks is for me. I don’t really go after too many keywords. Instead I just write about topics I consider interesting and hopefully a few readers think the same.
This article is an example. I never cracked open Ahrefs or any KW research tool for this. I stumbled on this article because I was tired one day and didn’t feel like writing. Ironically, when this topic came to me, I wrote it.
10. Learn something
It’s rare I spend a day reading about this stuff, but it happens. I actually make a point of not reading about blogging because I don’t want to get sidetracked from what I’m doing because what I’m doing works. It’s a solid strategy that I like and that works. I don’t need any bright shiny objects.
I mean no offense to my colleagues, but unless I’m analyzing their content from a marketing perspective, I largely ignore it.
However, if you’re new, there are plenty of knowledgeable folks out there that can help you out. If you already pursue a proven strategy, I suggest you stick with it but if you’re still at the “getting your feet wet” take some time to learn more about this blogging business.
11. Improve Site Speed
Site speed is important. IMO, site speed is far more important than fancy design. I used to be a plugin junky but in recent months I’ve ditched many plugins in an effort to speed up my sites. I believe visitors prefer speed over bells and whistles. I know I do when I visit sites.
In an ideal world we can hire site speed specialists to dive under the hood to clean things up and tweak until our sites are humming like a Formula 1 race car. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world and so most of us must figure the stuff out on our own. While it’s not easy to understand or learn, taking time to learn how to improve your site’s speed is well worth doing.
One very easy-to-follow and implement article I like and trust is Kinsta’s site speed guide.
12. Guest Posting Outreach?
This 12th option was a last-minute addition in light of my reconsideration of how effective “boutique guest posting” can be.
I’ve seen the light. I’m persuaded that high-quality guest posting can improve rankings. I’m not pursuing except maybe for Fat Stacks, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a place for it with your site.
Proceed with caution. Focus on quality.
Outreach for guest posts may be something you can do in place of writing. A few landed guest posts on the right sites could make quite an impact.
Again, this is not a path I’m planning on taking with my niche sites, but I’ve seen the evidence and for me to say that this doesn’t work is wrong.
Take a day off
If you’re not up for writing because you’re beat, there’s no harm in taking a day off. When I worked a full-time job and did this on the side, some days I simply couldn’t do it. These days I work a measured routine so I don’t burn out but I remember what it was like to have no fuel in the tank for anything. We have our limit. Blog within it.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.