One of the little tricks that I use every morning when I first log onto my computer that gets me off to a flying start is to open up my ‘StartUp Folder’ on Firefox.
This is a bookmark folder that contains 15 or so key sites that quickly give me an indication of what is going on across my blogging business. Within 60 seconds I know what’s hot, what’s broken, where there’s a fire that needs to be put out and where I can give things a nudge to make them go viral.
Here’s how it works.
Firefox (and other browsers) allows you to arrange your bookmarks via folders and place these folders in your bookmark toolbar across the top of your browser. These folders can be accessed in two main ways:
- by clicking the folder and selecting a bookmark from the drop down menu
- by right clicking the folder and selecting ‘Open in All Tabs’ (if you have tabbed browsing turned on).
It’s this second method that I use every morning (and 2-3 times per day).
Inside this folder I have the following items bookmarked:
- Google Reader (my RSS reader)
- Earnings Stats – AdSense, Chitika, Amazon, Clickbank (and two or three others)
- Metrics Stats – Google Analytics and Sitemeter for my key sites
- b5media Pages – Dashboard (we have a cool dashboard that gives us a glance at the whole network’s performance on one page) and Forums
- Blog Pages – I have it set to open to ‘awaiting moderation’ page in the back end
- Forum – DPS Forum
I find that by opening all these pages at once in tabs I’m able to quickly get a handle on what’s going on across my blogs and am able to immediately set my agenda for the next session of work.
For example I logged on this morning to find a post had gone up on the main page of Digg and was able to modify that post to make the blog more sticky. This afternoon I noticed a hot topic in forums that I needed to step into. Last night I noticed one of my blogs was down on traffic and was able to track down a little problem in one of my templates that was slowing things down.
PS: I also use these types of folders to cluster other types of websites together. I have one for ‘metrics’ that opens up all of my blogs stats, one for ‘affiliate programs’ which opens up the earnings for all affiliate programs, one for ‘blogs’ which opens the front page of all my blogs, one for ‘edit blogs’ which opens the admin/back end of all my blogs and one for ‘b5’ that contains key pages from b5.
While I use many of these bookmark folders via method #1 above (ie opening pages once at a time) there are times when I use the ‘open in all tabs’ option to do a sweeping check of everything at once.
PS2 – The reason Google Reader is in my StartUp folder is because at the top of my list of folders of feeds is my A-list. I leave this folder open and fill it with feeds that are essential reading and that have a history of breaking stories in the niches that I write about. This means that when I do my ‘startup’ process I immediately know if a story is breaking in my niche that I need to cover. I’ve outlined how I use my A-list previously if you’d like to read more about it.