Automate your small website chores and find more time for growing your business.
When you stop to think about it, much of our daily productivity gets eaten up not by big-picture projects, but rather by those small, time-consuming chores we simple have to complete.
From checking and replying to comments, to reading emails or formatting a blog post before it goes live, the tiny tasks end up taking up and wasting lots of time—time we all wish we could have back.
It seems a lot of bloggers and internet business owners blindly accept these common website chores as part of the job. But this is a fatal mistake for any business owner, as it caps their focus on growth and progression.
Thankfully, it’s 2017 and we live in an age where you can automate almost any task so that you can be more productive and focused on growing your business.
Here are some simple ways you can automate common, time-consuming website chores and instead focus that time on your creativity and big ideas.
1. Effective Outsourcing
Outsourcing is not new thing, but while a lot of business owners know about outsourcing, and may have even used it from time to time, it seems they still aren’t using it to its full potential.
Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week, says if your response to the question, “how are you?” is, “I’m ok, I’ve been very busy,” then you aren’t being effective with your time. You needn’t be busy when there are so many solutions around for automation. Anything that can be achieved without you on deck should be outsourced.
Can you live without having to:
- Check comments and reply to them
- Read customer emails and reply to them
- Create or think up “every” topic that you blog about
- Upload content to your website
- Format content on your website
- Create briefs and tasks for outsourced workers (yep, outsourcing can be outsourced too!)
- Manage and schedule social media posts
The list could easily go on, but you get the picture. All these small, “chore-like” tasks can be outsourced, and if they haven’t been delegated to other workers, they’re sucking up your time and energy.
Lots of business owners who are concerned about cash flow or unwilling to invest in outsourcing have the wrong mindset. How do you ever expect your business to grow if growth isn’t your main focus? Plus, the cost of outsourcing these kinds of tasks is minimal, using sites such as Upwork can help you find very cheap yet highly qualified and experienced people to assist you with these chores.
2. Automated Services
Automated services are a little different than outsourced workers, but combining the two can free up even more of your time. These services consist of online or downloaded software that can run tasks for you. For example, Hootsuite can be used to schedule and manage all your social media posts.
Once you’ve uploaded all your content, you simply configure Hootsuite to post it at specific times. This type of tool still involves some manual work, but it means you don’t need to be present at the times you wish to publish posts.
Other tools useful for business owners, especially when dealing with outsourcers, are organizational services such as Trello. Trello allows you to create “cards” with due dates, notes, and comments. If a task needs completing by a staff member or even yourself, you can set a card in a relevant “column” on Trello, give it a due date and description, and away you go.
On the day that the task is due, Trello will even email you to alert you that the task needs completing that day. Tools like Trello eliminate the need to create countless “to-do” lists or scattered notes that get forgotten. They keep you and your workers on task, which allows more time for productivity.
One important note on using automated services is that usually a lot of data is at stake, such as accounts and content. It’s worth using a secure connection when dealing with any third party services so that your personal and business details are protected.
3. FAQ Sections
Frequently asked questions sections are huge time savers. If your current website doesn’t have one, insert one ASAP. Even if you do currently have an FAQ section on your site, it’s worth adding more points and commonly asked questions to the section, as it will reduce time spent responding to emails and support requests.
Either ask your customer service reps or scan through your support tickets to see if anything keeps coming up that isn’t in your FAQ’s. Add anything that will save you time. Services such as Zendesk offer ticket support solutions, FAQ’s and even forums dedicated to customer service. Filling these sections out with as much information as possible enables you to nip common questions in the bud before they become long, time-consuming interactions.
Overall, automating common website chores comes down to finding the right process. Whether it’s outsourcing, IT tools, or FAQ pages, removing yourself from those day-to-day tasks that eat up your schedule is essential for the growth of your business.