How to be ridiculously productive by automating your blog tasks

(Last Updated On: March 7, 2017)

How does a busy blogger get everything done? One secret: she automates routine blog tasks to free up her time for bigger projects.

In terms of blogging, think of automation as a “set it and forget it” system. You invest time in setting up an automation system, then the system runs without you needing to be present.

Pretty awesome, right?

The secret to getting more things done on your blog? Automate your routine tasks! Click through to learn which tasks you can automate and how to set up your automation systems.This post includes affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy something using my link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read more on my disclosure page.

Automation Makes You More Productive

In general, automation saves you time by removing you from a process. Once you’ve set up an automation system, it will run by itself while you eat bonbons on your couch. And by eat bonbons on your couch, I mean get everything else done on your endless to do list. 🙂

It also gives your mind a break by allowing you to focus on fewer tasks. You don’t need to jump from social media marketing to sending your list an email, to writing a new blog post. Your automation system can take care of some of these tasks behind the scenes.

An Example of Automation

Here’s one example of how solopreneurs can automate social media marketing:

Set up automation on a social media scheduling tool like Boardbooster. For the full video tutorial, check out this post!

  1. You create a hidden board on Pinterest and pin your most popular blog posts there.
  2. You set up a schedule on Boardbooster to pin from your hidden board onto the group boards you’ve joined.

From now until the end of time, BoardBooster automatically pins from your hidden board to your group boards on a schedule you set. You don’t ever need to log-in to BoardBooster or Pinterest to manage it. The pinning just happens, over and over until you tell BoardBooster to stop.

Through this exact automation set-up, I pin 500x/month, without lifting a finger! It definitely makes me feel like an all-powerful goddess of productivity.

Popular Automation Tools

Automation almost always requires tech tools, which replace the manual effort you would otherwise have to put in. Here are some of the most popular tools, some of which are free.

IFTTT

Connect your favorite programs and apps, then create recipes that tell each program or app what to do. For example, using IFTTT, I tell twitter to tweet a link right after a new blog post is published on my website.

Smarter Queue

Add your favorite social media platforms to Smarter Queue. When you find content you love, add it to your queue and Smarter Queue will share that content on a schedule you’ve set up.

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Zapier

Like IFTTT, Zapier lets you connect your favorite programs and apps to one another and set up automatic processes. Zapier allows multi-step connects and is much more complex than IFTTT. This post from Brittany helped me set up my first zaps.

notebooks

Tasks You Can Automate

On your website

If you offer services, create a Hire Me page to automate some of your client acquisition. You’ll still need to pitch clients and sell yourself, but over time you will start to attract clients automatically through your Hire Me page without having to do any extra work.

Create a F.A.Q. page to automate your answers to common reader questions. You’ll save time because people will be less likely to email you with these questions. And if they do, you can direct them to the F.A.Q. page instead of taking time out of your busy to day to write a custom response.

For marketing

Use IFTTT to connect all of your blogging apps together. You can connect your blog to almost every social media platform, so new posts are shared automatically. You can connect multiple social media platforms together, too. For example, you can set up a recipe so when you Pin, the pin will also be shared on Twitter.

Create templates for your blog posts and images so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you design a new Pinterest pin or Facebook image. I use Canva for Work to create image templates, but many programs, including Photoshop, have this feature. For blog posts, check if your theme lets you save templates. I use Divi by Elegant Themes, and I’m able to save all sorts of custom templates, including the template for my blog posts.

Schedule social media posts in advance. I adore Smarter Queue because I can add content and then mark it as “evergreen,” which means Smarter Queue will repost that content for me in the future. It’s a great way to get fresh eyes on old content. I live in a different timezone than my target audience, so social media scheduling keeps my twitter and pinterest feeds active when my audience is active and I’m sleeping. 🙂 If you use my link, you can get a free 30 day trial of Smarter Queue.

For email

Create a welcome series. After a blog reader subscribes, your email system automatically sends them a few emails to tell them about you, highlight some of your best material, and promote one of your products. All this is done automatically. Once you set up the system, you never have to do anything else. For me, this welcome series has been instrumental in helping me build an engaged list of amazing subscribers!

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Create a free or paid ecourse delivered by email. Free e-courses and free challenges are great opt-in carrots for your email list. After you create a course, you can automate the delivery so new subscribers get the materials they signed up for on a regular schedule while you work on other tasks. To see this in action, check out my free 5-day course on mastering time management.

If you offer services or coaching, use a system like Calendly to automatically send your clients email reminders of appointments.

Again, if you work with clients, set up templates of common email responses and just tweak slightly for each client.

Use unroll.me to unsubscribe from many promo emails at once, and schedule the rest of your subscription emails to be automatically delivered all together once a day so you don’t get distracted by the constant flow of mail into your inbox.

coffee and list

At home

Automation systems for your home are just as advanced and useful as the business automation systems I mentioned above. Here are a few ways to automate routine tasks at home so you have more time to work (or to finally eat those bonbons on your couch).

Register for Amazon subscribe and save to have routine purchases automatically delivered to your house each month or each quarter. I use this feature to order cleaning supplies, diapers and wipes, toilet paper, and favorite foods (Goldfish crackers are top of our list).

More and more supermarkets offer grocery delivery. Order your food online at your convenience and schedule the grocery delivery in advance.

Set up autopay for your bills. You’ll no longer have to worry about missing a payment, and you’ll have one less chore to take care of each month.

Automation is a cheap and easy way to improve your productivity. As you’ve noticed I am obsessed with automating as many facets of my life and business as possible, mostly because it gives me more free time to eat bonbons on my couch. 🙂

Looking for more time saving tips? Sign up for Master Time Management, my FREE 5-day email course for bloggers and solopreneurs. Each lesson takes less than 10 minutes to implement!

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    • Sure thing, Valerie! I’m fairly new to automation, so my goal is to keep advancing and set up some more sophisticated automations in the future. The pressure is on because I’m pregnant and due in less than 2 months. 🙂 I want to automate as many things as possible to help my business grow even when I’m not able to focus on it as much. I’ll be sure to add another post once I figure out some new techniques!

  • Hi Emily,

    Landed here from Twitter. This is a very informative post. Automation has become a necessity today as we have plenty of work to do and very little time to spare.

    I really like the way you have segregated the tools based on categories and I am definitely going to try a few of these.

    Thanks for sharing this Emily and you have a great day ahead!

    • Hey Arpit, I’m so glad you found it helpful! I need to experiment more with IFTTT. It looks like there are tons of automations available there, but sometimes I get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices and end up not trying anything. I’ll report back if I find any awesome new options.

  • Hi Emily

    Love this post. Have just linked to it from the latest post on my blog, which is all about avoiding overwhelm as a busy blogger. Wishing you all the best for 2017. 🙂