Today we start with a look at how to work with a virtual assistant to manage your blog.
Why Business Owners Struggle with Their Blogging
As I’ve discussed before, as entrepreneurs, time is our MVC (most valuable commodity). However, as with most business marketing and growth strategies, when it comes to blogging there is a certain amount of hard work involved. It’s not as simple as writing a 500-word post and hitting the publish button.
To really catapult your blogging to a level that will make a difference, you need to keep a number of different things into mind, including:
- Find time to blog.
- Interpreting Analytics.
- Getting feedback from readers.
- Dealing with technical issues.
- Coming up with ideas for content.
- Finding readers.
In addition to all this, very few small business owners start out as writers and most of the time, blogging does not come naturally to them. Even if you’re tech savvy, when will you find the time to manage your blog between answering your emails, sitting in meetings, talking with clients and growing your business?
Thus, it makes total sense to ‘go virtual’ with your blog management, by learning how to work with a virtual assistant to manage your blog.
Having Your VA Manage the Technical Side of Your Blogging
So, let’s start with the technical aspects involved in the day-to-day maintenance of a WordPress blog. I’m highlighting WordPress here as it’s the blogging platform that I use, and is by far the easiest to manage, and the most robust to use because of all the fantastic plugins available at your arsenal.
- BackingUp Your Blog – It’s amazing that considering how much time and energy goes into putting together a blog post, how many bloggers actually don’t backup their blogs on a regular basis. I use BackupBuddy to backup all of my sites. You can have your VA install the plugin, then configure it to do either regular full updates, or just database backups. For a step-by-step guide to using this plugin for your backups (the one that my VA used to set everything up), check out this tutorial by Corbett Barr, over at Think Traffic.
- Keeping WordPress Up-To-Date – It’s important to make sure that your version of WordPress is up-to-date all the time. This is one of the biggest security issues with running a WordPress site. So, having your VA check for new versions, or simply making sure they keep an eye out for status updates on the WordPress dashboard itself is paramount. It’s best practice to upgrade to a new version once it’s been officially released, but I would suggest you have your VA wait for at least 2-weeks, to make sure that the version is stable and won’t cause anything strange to happen to your site.
The aforementioned BackupBuddy even reminds you to backup before updating your WordPress software, as you’ll see in the screenshot below – this reminds your virtual assistant to keep everything fully up-to-date, in regards to the ‘engine’ of your blog.
- Updating Plugins – Plugins add bells and whistles to your site, such as the SocialBar that you see floating to the left of this post (go on, share it with your friends!). The best ones are regularly updated to fix security issues and maintain compatibility with different WordPress versions. It’s a simple (yet, time consuming) task to have your VA to check for updates regularly. Here’s a big tip that I just started doing lately myself – as well as having your VA update the plugins you are using, it’s equally important to have them delete unused, or inactive plugins. Not doing so can potentially slow down your site. And nobody likes a slow website, right?!
Here are the plugins that I use on this blog (related to blogging, I have more for podcasting, etc., which I’ll discuss in a future post in this series), and I suggest you use on yours, too. Your VA can simply search for these plugins in your WordPress dashboard and install them directly:
- Akismet – spam controller. Invaluable.
- Backup Buddy – as discussed above.
- Pretty Link Lite – allows you to create short, personalized links for long, ugly URL’s.
- Scrolling Social Sharebar – allows instant social sharing of your blog content.
- WordPress SEO (By Yoast) – the best all-in-one SEO plugin for WordPress bloggers.
Now that the tech side of this blogging malarky has been taken care of, and you’re already hands-off when it comes to it all, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. And that means… content.