All else being equal, speed can give you a competitive advantage in this business.
While I may drop the ball in many areas, being slow is not one of them.
I make decisions fast. They aren’t always the best decision, but at least I decide and do something.
I write content fast. It’s not literature, but it’s decent and it does what I need it to do. I’ve written 6,000+ words in a day. That times 200 days in a year is 1.2 million words. Assuming I targeted decent keywords, that should result in a full time living.
Here are ways I get more done in less time.
Plan one big push per day
In the past I expected to get more done every day than I could or did. I guess it’s the optimist in me.
These days I know what I’ll get done. It’s usually one big push per day. What I mean by that is I will be able to focus and produce a lot in one 3 to 4-hour chunk. After that, I’ll deal with stuff that needs to get done but it’s more on the admin side of things such as email, reviewing my sites and tinkering.
Big push tasks include:
- Writing/publishing content
- Keyword research
- Course creation/updating (basically content creation)
- Training VAs, writers, etc.
The above are the most important parts of my business. I dedicate at least 3 to 4 hours uninterrupted to those tasks daily… usually in the morning. Sometimes I do more than 4 hours but not often. After I eat, work out, deal with admin stuff, the day is pretty much done.
Content Briefs – Don’t order content without ’em
I create and rely on content briefs (article ordering templates) for almost every article I order. If it’s a new type of article and I expect I’ll order that type more than once, I create a template in whichever content service I’m using. These templates save me and everyone else involved in content workflow a ton of time.
Most content sources will work with a template. If you’re using a self-directed platform like WriterAccess, you can save templates. If you’re using a service, you can provide the service your templates that they in turn provide to writers.
One of the best things you can do is craft templates for you content orders.
New Fat Stacks Bundle Course ALERT
Speaking of content sources, today I added a new module to the Fat Stacks bundle. It’s a case study where I ordered the exact same article from 27 content services. I provide my notes and uploaded every article written by each content service so you can judge each service for yourself. If you’re a bundle member, it’s free of charge – just log in. If you’re not, get the bundle to see this case study.
If in doubt, write and publish
I’ve heard from people who agonize far too long whether they should tackle a keyword. I suspect by the time they make a decision about it, they could have written the article.
I often finish an entire article in one to two hours. An article doesn’t need to take 2 days. Sure, some do but many don’t.
I do NOT expect to rank every article. If a keyword looks reasonably good, I go after it.
On a similar note, if you’re not sure what you should do at any given time, write and publish an article. That is the most important thing in this business you can do today. If you’re a link builder, that too is valuable. I don’t bother much with link building (other than some experiments here and there) so I focus on publishing content.
There is no need reason to ever sit and wonder what there is to do. Find keyword topic. Write article. Rinse and repeat.
Use the same theme/plugins on every website – assembly-line website creation and maintenance
I have a lot of sites (income reports discuss only portion of my portfolio). One simple way for me to build and maintain many sites is using the same theme and plugins on every site. I build them all the same.
When I need to make changes, I open the backend of all sites and make changes in an assembly-line fashion.
Currently, I use Astra Pro theme on all sites. It doesn’t matter which theme you use as long as it’s the same on all sites.
Write in Classic, publish in Gutenberg
I like Gutenberg but it’s slower than working in Classic editor. There’s no denying it. Me and my team (those who prefer Classic which I think is everyone) now write and craft content in Classic. We then convert to blocks in Gutenberg and add any Gutenberg styling we need at the end such as buttons, TOC, schema, etc.
Writing and adding photos in Gutenberg is so clumsy. Far too much mouse clicking required.
Converting to Gutenberg blocks works flawlessly so that’s what we do.
Checking stats doesn’t make you more money
It’s no joke. Checking Analytics or revenue accounts won’t get you more traffic or make you more money.
It does the opposite. It wastes time. It’s an emotional roller coaster. There’s no need for it. Checking them one to three times a week is more than enough.
Take the guesswork out of content optimization
Guessing slows things down. Guessing leads to indecision which is doing nothing.
I like any software that removes guesswork.
Content optimizaton software does that. I’m a big fan of it.
I use MarketMuse to help me and writers to quickly ensure content is thorough for each keyword. SurferSEO, which is cheaper, does pretty much the same thing. I use Grammarly to help minimize spelling and grammar errors.
These two tools save me and my team and writers an absolute ton of time. They help take the guesswork out of writing and editing. I know neither are cheap but if you’re publishing decent volume they are worth using.
The only advice I can give to increase your writing speed without compromising quality is to write a lot. The more you write for your site, the faster you’ll get.
Oh yeah, another tip. Create detailed outlines first. If you have a detailed outline, the article writes itself.
FYI, Frase.io is making huge strides in the content outline department. Its content outline builder is amazing. I use it frequently. I haven’t asked writers to use it yet but I’m thinking about it. I use it for my work all the time.
Avoid scheduling anything
I’ve mentioned it many times how much I loathe having anything on my schedule. There’s a simple reason for that… It dramatically reduces how much I get done.
What I’ve found is that if I’m an hour out from the scheduled event, I won’t start anything serious. I put it off. This is not good because anything serious is usually the good stuff.
I also find it’s hard to get back to serious work after a scheduled event such as a phone call, video call, etc.
My solution is to avoid all calls as much as possible. I haven’t totally eliminated them but I do decline regularly.
Having 2+ monitors is a must if you care at all about getting stuff done fast. If you have only one monitor, one of the best investments you could make right now is a second monitor. I’m not joking. I have four Chrome tabs open as I type this up. One has my list of affiliate links to include in this email. One has my outline I created for this email (in Apple Notes… see next section). One window is Gmail (yes I monitor email frequently and no I don’t think it’s a productivity killer).
As I write I seldom have to monkey around with closing and minimizing windows. I have all that I need open at any given time thanks to 2+ monitors.
Google Sheets, Calendar and Apple Notes (free and useful)
Google Sheets pretty much organizes my entire business. I can access them fast from anywhere including my phone. I can grant access to anyone else I want as well. Sheets save changes automatically. There’s nothing like them and it’s free.
The one other piece of software I use to manage stuff is Apple Notes. Talk about a brilliant little app that works perfectly . It’s fast. I can access it from all devices. It auto-saves. I’m not kidding when I say I run a big chunk of my business is run on this free app.
Yes, I’ve tried other apps similar to Apple Notes but none come close to how fast and simple Notes is.
Google Calendar is slick as well. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. You probably use it. I use separate calendars for work vs. personal just to keep it a bit organized. Although, I avoid scheduling anything if possible.
Google Sheets and Apple Notes, both free, serve as my business management software. They’re simple. Fast. Effective. I find together they’re far faster and easier to use than fancy productivity/management software.
I’m a big fan of smartwatches. Apple Watch is my favorite. My favorite feature is text/email notifications. I seldom check my phone when wearing my watch. I can see if anything is important with a glance at my wrist which is much faster than opening up my phone.
This saves me time… a lot of time. It also helps me respond to important matters fast.
Deal with emails the first time I open them
I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We open an email. It requires a response but we don’t feel like doing it. We star it or mark it important, close it for later.
That’s an inefficient way to handle email. Whenever it is possible for me to respond, even if I don’t feel like it, I do it the first time I open it. That way it’s done. Sometimes, I need more info before I can respond. In that case I star it. If I can deal with it while it’s open, I do.
Star emails in Gmail
Another timesaver for me is to star emails in Gmail. For instance, if I see important emails come in when not at work, I star them.
When I return to work, I filter for starred emails. This way I filter out everything I don’t need to deal with. It saves me a lot of email scrolling plus helps me ensure I deal with important emails.
Loom for video instructions
I send out instructions to writers and VAs fast thanks to Loom video. I can have a screenshare going in 10 seconds with Loom. Once done, it renders almost instantly. I can crank out a 4 minute training video in 5 minutes.
Whatever you do, unless it’s a few sentences, use video for all training materials. It’s so much faster and those you make them for will appreciate it.
Automate image compression
I format content fast. I have the advantage of having formatted thousands of articles in my life, but I still do it fast. You only have to do a few to get fast. Part of it is using various tools to speed up the process such as AMZ Images for Amazon product images and relying on Rocket.net hosting to optimize all of my images. Shortpixel and Optimole are other solid image compression tools that automates it for you.
Crank out email content
I create niche site email letters fast (for the one niche site I do email). I don’t write long-form text-based emails for niche sites like I do for FS. Instead, I send out emails linking to posts that each segmented email list would find interesting. I just want to send readers back to the site. To speed up this process, I use Elink.io to create stylish email post grids in seconds.
Speed up affiliate link creation
I create affiliate links fast. Depending on the site and merchant, I have established methods for creating and inserting affiliate links in content fast. For merchants and URLs that I promote over and over, I use Thirsty Affiliates (the free version is more than sufficient). For non-Amazon merchants that I promote all kinds of of products, I use Skimlinks (much faster than applying for/using different affiliate networks). With Skimlinks I can create trackable, custom affiliate links in seconds. For Amazon, I use AMZ Images, Lasso or just the Amazon SiteStripe tool (for text links).
Social media posting
My team posts and schedules to Pinterest and Facebook fast. They use Tailwind for Pinterest and MeetEdgar for Facebook. While you can schedule posts directly on both Pinterest and Facebook, it’s faster using the software.
Coding help… if you don’t code, don’t expect to learn in the next 30 minutes
When I need coding help, I don’t waste 3 days trying to figure it out. I post a job at Codeable and usually hire the first person who claims they can fix it. I’ve yet to hire someone there who couldn’t fix my problem. While I’ve been using WordPress for many years, I never took the time to learn PHP or CSS sufficiently to actually code. I have no plans to learn coding.
Learn only what will help
I have no desire to go through every module of any course I buy. Yeah, I still buy courses but I usually buy to learn a few simple tips promised in the sales copy. Once I find those tips, I close it up and get back to work. It’s the same with business books – I don’t read ’em. No need. I know what I need to do and I certainly don’t lack for motivation.
Finally, I use Quickbooks for all my bookkeeping. It syncs with my biz credit card, Paypal and all bank accounts. Transactions import automatically. My accountant has access to everything. Basicially, Quickbooks makes it possible for me to almost avoid all unpleasant accounting stuff. Quickbooks is the type of software that saves me thousands of dollars in headaches every year but costs only $10/mo.
That’s how I speed up my processes.
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.
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.