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Friday Fun – Productivity Tips

I’m often asked how I get so much done and I often think, I don’t get that much done. I know I could do more! I’ve had “notes” on this entry for a while, but seeing Darren’s post on Blogging and the Art Time Management made me want to finish it up.

I guess I do get a lot done. I work 8-5 Monday through Friday. I sleep from 12-6:45, workout for 30 minutes then off to work. At night I work out, fix dinner and do dishes from 5:30-7:00. That leaves just 7:00-11:00 for other stuff and 11:00-12:00 to get things ready to do it again the next day. Plus quite a bit more time on the weekends, and some time used at lunch or during lulls when I’m at various places (doctors office, work, parents etc.) This is my normal schedule. Right now it’s on I’ve turned it on it’s ass because my wife is currently fighting cancer. That’s our #1 priority, everything else comes last. Not second, not third, but last. I have a office at home, but I’ve moved out of it with the laptop and do must of my work sitting on the couch with Aeryn now.

There a couple of points I want to make before I get into how I do things. So many people complain about not having time to do stuff, or that their kids get in the way or that they are just too tired when they get home etc. The fact is, if you want to do more, or not even do more, but do something other than your’re doing (maybe your’re spending all your time watching kids, or working in the garden, whatever) then you need figure out what your priority is. You can tell me all day long that you want to be a writer, blogger or web developer and do more, like I do, but if you don’t make it a priority then you’ll never do any of it. If you really want to do it, then do it. It’s that simple. Don’t tell me about why you can’t do it. There are days when it’s hard for me. Don’t lecture me that it’s because I don’t have kids, Aeryn and I decided not to have kids. Don’t tell me you have other things to do. I do too. I just decide what’s most important to me. Watching TV, reading a book, going out to eat, laundry and the million other daily chores, or is my priority writing, blogging and working on my web sites? Sometimes I have just as much trouble getting to what I love to do because of life just as much as the next person. But at the end of the day, I want to be a writer. I want to blog. I want to build up my websites. So, before you decide that you need to get something done, you need to decide what that really is. That will make the rest of the decisions easy. [Read more...]

Blog Tip: Shake it Up

The following blog tip has been submitted by Jon Gales – the editor of the wonderful MobileTracker blog. Learn more about Jon from this interview we did with him earlier in the year.



Sometimes being a pro blogger means being a sole blogger, but that’s not always the best cawe. Try and bring in other contributors from time to time to shake things up and provide another voice for your readers.

If you can’t afford to pay people, that’s not always a problem. Writers need exposure, something that you can offer for free. This post itself is an example of unpaid writing, I decided to write it because I consider Darren a friend and I want to further the helpful relationship we have. In the future if I need a guest poster, I have full confidence that Darren would be happy to come to my aid.

Having multiple voices on a site helps equal out bias and stylisic monotony. It’s also nice to get a break :).

Blog Tip: Update old posts

The following blog tip has been submitted by Jon Gales – the editor of the wonderful MobileTracker blog. Learn more about Jon from this interview we did with him earlier in the year.

For sites that deal with products or time sensitive information, it’s a great idea to go back and edit older posts to reflect new information.

For example, you may post when a product is announced and again when it ships. Search engine visitors might come to your first post in droves (perhaps it was linked to quite a bit), even after the product has shipped. Adding a small note that the product is now shipping, along with a link to your newest post is a great way to both increase page views and increase the satisfaction of your visitors.

Real life exampleSamsung P207

Are You Prepared For A Good Thing?

I doubt anything I post will ever be picked-up by Slashdot, but I have hopes of being Slashdotted someday. I imagine it’s like a number of great things in life – watch what you ask for, you may get it. Having a traffic jump on the magnitude a big blog like Slashdot can drive your way sounds nice, but you likely need a plan to make sure you and your host doesn’t bend to the point of breaking.

Duncan was Slashdotted not long ago and here’s the lessons learned from the experience.

A few lessons, if a blog gets slashdotted its wise to turn OFF comment moderation straight away if you have it on, you wont be able to keep up. more…

Are there more lessons to learn? Any tips for those of us fortunate enough to have a fire hose of traffic pointed in our direction?

Am I Weird?

For every single post I write, including this one, I write it first in MS Word and save a copy in a common folder on my computer. I do the same for almost every comment I leave in the blogosphere. My thought is two-fold…if I loose everything on my site, I still have all that I’ve written and with Google desktop search, I can search everything I’ve written as reference for future thought and posts.

Do any of you do the same or anything similar?

Make yourself available

This may seem kind of obvious. But you’d be amazed at how difficult it is to get in touch with many business or pro bloggers.

There have been a couple of instances where I’ve wanted to suggest stories to people I read, and I haven’t been able to get in touch. Once I wanted to pass some work on to someone, and I couldn’t find his email address!

I know the whole refrain about spam-bots. There are ways around it. You can encode your address, or your could stick it in an image. Even simpler, do what many do and spell your address out like so: peter at theblogstudio dot com.

Stick your contact info somewhere obvious. I used the footer on The Blog Studio as an easy, always available piece of real estate.

What do you think? Am I missing something? Is there a reason people don’t want to be contacted?

Blog Tip: Be consistent

The following blog tip has been submitted by Jon Gales – the editor of the wonderful MobileTracker blog. Learn more about Jon from this interview we did with him earlier in the year.

You should decide early into your pro blogging what style standards your site will adhear to. It looks sloppy to switch styles between posts. If your site has multiple authors, a written style guide is a must-have.

Examples

  • Do you use the first, second or third person when talking about your site?
  • Are media sources italicized? (e.g. MobileTracker)
  • How to credit sites
  • How to link to sites (e.g. inline or at the end of the post)
  • Image sizes and alignments
  • How quotations are denoted
  • How updates are denoted

By developing a series of standards, your site will appear much more professional without any extra work. After your standards are set, go ahead and slowly work on updating your archives… Visitors from search engines likely still visit older content and will benefit from the consistency.

Strategy for maximizing page views

I was going to call this article tips for maximizing page views. But tips implies that what I suggest is going to work! These are merely thoughts and suggestions. I hope to encourage a bit of experiment and conversation with this post. Please use the comments and trackbacks to let us know if you try something as a result of this.

So, page views. A page view is not a hit, nor is it a visit. Total page views tells you how many individual pages have been seen over a given period. Dividing that total by the number of unique visitors gives you your average page views per visit.

How ever many you have, you want more. Page views are the add-on items of the web world. They’re the rust-proofing on your new car. The guacamole with your nachos. They’re where the profit is made. More page views = more ads seen = greater chance for your visitors to click on an ad.

Of course this is all completely moot if users are clicking on ads on their first or second page view. But if they were doing that we’d all be out shopping for Porshes instead of playing in Darren’s playground while he’s on holiday.

There are two main strategies I want to discuss here. The first is easy, the second requires some creative thinking.
[Read more...]

Trying FeedBurner Total Stats Pro on View from the Isle

headerlogo.jpgYeah, I admit it, I’m a metrics junky.  Which is good, since I am the chief blogger for Elytics.com writing on the web metrics blog.  Regardless, I’m also a huge fan of FeedBurner.  I admit I check my FeedBurner stats throughout the day, especially when one of my articles has been picked up by several other blogs.  In spite of being a metrics junky and really wanting to know what content is popular on my blog I resisted trying Total Stats PRO–Burning Questions – The Official FeedBurner Weblog - FeedBurner – FeedBurner Total Stats PRO.  Why?  I’m cost conscious.  I really try to keep my business overhead low.  Then it hit me, as a blog consultant/pro blogger/syndicated writer I really should look into this.  I already set up all my clients with FeedBurner from day one–learning from my own mistake–and I tell my clients check your FeedBurner and other stats to figure out what content is most popular and use this to help guide your content decisions.  It makes logical sense, then, that I should try it myself and see if it’s worth $5/month.  So, over the next 15 days I’ll be checking my stats with Total Stats PRO.  I’ll probably do an initial assessment later today, then one in a few days, etc.
 
As professional bloggers our content is both our calling card and our gravy train.  It’s how we earn our money.  There’s no point in writing tons of articles on topic x if those aren’t as popular as topic y, especially if you’re writing for a client.  There will always be a certain number of articles that you write or publish, things like press releases, that aren’t glamorous and don’t get a lot of attention, but are essential regardless.  Then there are the articles which both you and your client intend to be interesting to a wider audience, those are the articles that I’m talking about.  That’s the important information that I hope FeedBurner can now provide me.  If so, $5/month could be a paltry price to pay to be able to effectively target the content published on a blog by blog basis.  Here’s hoping!
 
I will post charts, tables, etc as appropriate to give you a feel for what I’m seeing.  Because great data poorly presented, is almost as useless as not having it at all.
 
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Tris Hussey is a professional blogger and blog consultant, the Chief Blogging Officer for Qumana Software, and Managing Director of Qumana Services.  He can be reached at tris AT qumana DOT com or tris AT trishussey DOT com.
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