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Blogging Workflow – Tabbed Browsing

Matthew posts a useful little tip for bloggers who are Firefox users – he’s been experimenting with the tabbed browsing feature to speed up his blogging workflow.

My Blogging WorkFlow - I use Safari as my browser of choice and similarly use tabs in conjunction with Bloglines to speed up my blogging process. In short my blogging workflow goes like this:

  1. Open Safari – open Bloglines in the first tab.
  2. As I work through my RSS feeds if I see something of interest that I might like to post I open it in a new tab
  3. I open up to 10 tabs at a time – usually on a similar theme. ie I have a folder for each blog I write and work through them one at a time.
  4. I then sort through each item – looking at them in each tab and decide if they are blog worthy or not. I close any that don’t make the grade.
  5. With the remaining ‘worthy’ posts I then post them using ecto. Sometimes this might entail grabbing a quote from the open tab (ecto does this with one click – it even automatically includes a link back to the source) and then adding a comment or my own opinion to the piece. Other times it is piece that is totally my own content with a link back to the post that inspired it.
  6. After each post I close down tabs.

This workflow is quick, clean (I only ever have one window open) and a simple process that is hard to mess up.

Other Uses for Tabbed Browsing – I also use tabbed browsing in a couple of other ways. I have a start up/stats folder that I open every month that automatically opens up all of my statistics pages in tabs. This includes a sitemeter counter for each of my blogs, my adsense stats, some overall domain stats pages and affiliate earnings pages. I open this collection of bookmarks in tabs first thing every morning and once or twice per day just to keep a finger on the pulse. It means I only take 4 or 5 minutes to check the performance of every blog and income stream.

I also have a similar collection of bookmarks for all my blogs front pages, another one for all my income streams stats pages and another for my top 10 or so sources of information that don’t use RSS.

What is your Blogging Workflow like?

A Good Blog is…

Ken Smith from Weblogs in Higher Education has a good post where he attempts to describe a ‘good blog’ – he writes:

‘A good blog has a focus, a field or topic where the writer keeps up with what’s being said. The writer attends with interest to the work being done by others, and the writer’s thinking is provoked and advanced by the particulars of the work others are doing. The writer is generous with others, responding to their work and risking and sharing ideas with them in return. These values imply character on the part of the writer; anyone who writes seriously — has the character to keep at it — will develop a voice or style appropriate for the subject matter. This voice implies the writer’s character.’

I like what he’s included in this statement – it resonates with me on lots of levels. Particularly this statement about the ‘generosity with others’ and ‘risking and sharing ideas’ with others fits in nicely with my current series on relational blogging.

How would you define a good blog?

Blogging in Formation – Lessons from a Goose

Canadian-Goose

“Two Heads are better than one”…. or so the old saying goes.

I’ve been reflecting this week about the importance of relationships in blogging.

I met up with an old university friend this week for the first time since we studied marketing together – catching up stimulated me to begin thinking about the style of business we were taught. Whilst its a little fuzzy (we did spend a bit too much time in the pub) I do seem to remember sitting through lecturers that talked about competition and the ways to ‘beat your competitors’. The main thrust of a lot of what we were taught was to get ahead of the competition by developing the best products, getting the best people and accumulating the best information. The only interaction you’d have with competitors was when you were laying the boot into them (figuratively speaking). The motto was to win at all costs – me first – others second.

Blogging has reminded me of another way of doing business – an ancient way of actually connecting with others in your field and working together for the mutual good of both parties.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from blogging over the past year is that often its when I give something away that I gain the most. It is when I’ve linked to others, provided a way of highlighting the projects of fellow bloggers, when I’ve spent a couple of hours giving free advice to a new blogger or when I’ve shared my biggest secrets – these are the moments that often I end up in a time of real growth on my blogs.

A wise guy once said - ‘Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor.’

Warning: Tangent Ahead – Lessons from a Goose

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Blogging and the Art Time Management

Define Blog has a good post on Managing Your Time as a blogger of multiple blogs:

‘If you run several blogs managing your time is highly important. Ideally we would like to take the hours we are awake, divide it by the number of blogs we have and have that be the total amount of time we spend on each one. But this is an impossibility. Do you have a job, do you have friends and family, do you enjoy eating? There are a lot of factors that keep us from working as much as we would like to on our blogs; so finding an effective way to manage your time and input on it is vital….’

I couldn’t agree more with Ryan. Time management becomes a real issue and something that can make or break an entrepreneurial blogger. It isn’t all plain sailing ad the distraction can be paralyzing. I know that there are days where I can spend hours on end doing things that are good things and even related things to blogging – but that are not blogging themselves.

I set myself a 25 posts per day goal to keep my blogs growing – but unless you have some real discipline goals like this can be easily pushed aside. The distractions can be anything from checking your stats, to IM conversations with other bloggers, to ‘tweaking’ design, to reorganizing categories to… you name it. Whilst all of these things are important to a blog – they can also take you away from your core business – providing content.

I’d be interested to hear how others manage their time? Do you have a daily rhythm that helps you stick to your goals or do you find yourself getting distracted (like me)?

The Prelaunch Success Plan for your Blog

Paul has a good post on things to consider before launching your new blog to better the chances of success for your new blog. Rather than coming up with a topic, doing a quick design and a single post before telling the world about your new blog there are a number of things that can help your chances. Like Paul, I know the temptation to rush this process (starting a new blog is fun and exciting) but its worth taking your time.

Paul breaks it down to four aspects:

  1. The Design
  2. The Content
  3. What is it?
  4. The Review

Spot on advice under each topic – check out the full article here.

Do your Blogging Goals Match Your Current Blogging Practices?

Jeremy has an interesting post over at Ensight where he looks at a recent ‘downturn’ in blogging after some of the recent controversy over character blogs.

To be honest I’ve kept out of the debate and really don’t see it as a particularly useful one (maybe I’m missing the point but I find it a bit of a bore) HOWEVER while I was reading Jeremy’s blog I was drawn to the following four questions that he has for bloggers to ask themselves:

1. Why did I get into blogging?
2. Am I still blogging for the same reason as when I started?
3. What do I want blogging to become?
4. Are my current attitudes and actions the kinds of things likely to bring about my goal for blogging?

These are some questions I’m going to ponder over the next few days – particularly the last two.

I guess at the crux of it Jeremy is asking people for their blogging goals and then challenging them to ask if their current strategy is taking them closer or further away from these goals?

Warning – Tangent Ahead….

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Blogging – A Job that Never Ends

Sydney-Harbor-Bridge-1Driving across the Sydney Harbor Bridge on the way to the airport on a recent trip my taxi driver decided to give me a trivia lesson on the bridge. One of the statistics he recited was about painting the bridge – a job not for the feint hearted. It takes 80,000 litres (21,000 gallons) of grey paint and is an an endless task. As soon as they get to one end of the bridge they start again at the other.

Some days this is how I feel when it comes to blogging. There is an endless source of news, stories, tips and links to post on any given day. My goal each day is to clear my News Aggregator (Bloglines) of unread items. This is no easy task as I’m tracking 391 feeds in the search for quality content for my blogs. I do tend to scan more than I read word for word – however I like to do a pretty comprehensive job which takes time.

I get to the end of most days and have a similar feeling to the bridge painters in Sydney as I click the last ‘unread’ feed or folder – only to refresh the page and find more. A never ending task in a sense – but a satisfying feeling for that split second each day when its a fully read feed list.

A number of readers have expressed to me their frustration with this aspect of blogging – sometimes it can all seem rather overwhelming. I usually respond with some advice that my Dad used to give me when I felt overwhelmed by my studies:

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Blogging as Farming – How to Grow a Bumper Blogging Crop

Famer-D

On the weekend I was speaking with a friend, Alex, who is a Farmer about blogging and the more we talked the more we realized that there is a lot of similarities between what we do. I thought I’d rehash some of the main points from our conversation here:

Taking Time – One of the most frustrating parts of farming for Alex is the length of time it takes from the time of sowing to that of harvest. From the day he plants a crop to the day its safely on the way to be sold can be a nerve wracking period of months. There is a lot of hard work and money that goes into the initial time of planting and no income until quite a long period later (and sometimes not even then).

Blogging takes time also. Building up a blog to the point where it earns a good income can take months, if not years. No one starts a profitable blog and makes a fortune straight away – you have to build up archives, build up a reputation in your niche, build up your ranking in Search Engines, build up relationships with other bloggers – these things take time. I worked for 18 months on my blogs outside of my normal jobs before I was able to pull enough income from them to justify going full time.

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Generating Traffic for your Blog – Think Ahead

In a great example of thinking ahead – Rogers Cadenhead registered the domain name BenedictXVI.com a couple of weeks ago.

‘Cadenhead, an author of 20 technology “how-to” books with titles like “Movable Type 3 Bible Desktop Edition” and “Teach Yourself Java in 21 Days,” said he registered the names for $12 each from Internet address seller Bulkregister.com.

“I couldn’t resist the chance to have some skin in the game. Someone else already has JohnPaulIII.com and JohnXXIV.com, but otherwise I put a chip down on every name of the past three centuries,” Cadenhead wrote on his Web log at Cadenhead.org.’

Source: Fla. Man Secured BenedictXVI.com Weeks Ago

In fact Rogers secured six domain names which that all could have corresponded with a new pope’s new chosen name.

This is a wonderful illustration of my previous advice to think ahead about not only what people are searching for now – but what they’ll be looking for in a few weeks or months time. This is what I was doing when I started Pope Watch – but Rogers certainly trumped us all with his move! Congratulations to him.