Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Works for me Wednesday – blogging smarter

Or how I organise my blogging.

Reading blogs

1. I use Google reader. It is sooo easy to add blogs and since I sorted out my blogger problem, I am happy as a clam. This tip alone has saved me hours every week, hours I don’t have to go to each bookmarked blog to check if they’ve updated.

2. If I come across blogs I’m not sure I want to add to Google reader yet but I do find them interesting enough to explore, I have a word document called… wait for this…Blogs to read. I copy the URL and paste it in there. Then when I have some extra computer time, or while waiting for pages to download, I keep the document open and I can quickly have a browse. If the blog is something I enjoy and want to continue reading, I can then easily add the URL to google reader.

3. I also try and declutter my blogs on a monthly basis. I say try because it is very hard to eliminate blogs. However, facts are facts and sometimes they don’t serve you any longer. There were a lot of blogs I read regularly when I first started out that I just don’t enjoy now for various reasons – some are too crude, some are too negative (let me just quickly explain – I have no problems with being real, but too much negativity gets me down). So I’m not hard and fast like I am with my computer files and folders (but that’s another post) but I do have a scroll through and think about it.

Writing blog posts
I have many, many blogs. This one, the Take Charge one, a family one, the newsletter archives, and a secret one.

Someone called me an overachiever in my comments once because of all the blogs but it’s just that I really like sorting things out, hence (!) one for organising, one for travel, and so on.

1. I have another Word document called blogging for the week. This is where I plan most of my posts for the week ahead. When you start this - if you start this – you’ll be one week behind but after that it’s easy.

2. I have a page for each of the things I participate in on a weekly basis, like Menu Plan Monday, Tackle it Tuesday and WFMW. And I keep a basic format which I add to during the week. If I think of a recipe I want to put on the menu next week, I add it to my document so I don’t forget.

3. I also have a page for each blog. And I type the blog’s name in huge letters like this at the top of the page so I don’t have to strain my eyes. If I find a quote I like or I think about something I want to blog, I add my notes on the relevant page.

4. Now on my flash drive I have a folder called Blogging, and inside of this I have subfolders for each of my blogs. As I take pictures and compress them, I save them in their individual blog folders so it’s easy when I’m composing a blog post.

5. For the memes, I write those out on the weekend beforehand and post to my drafts. Funnily enough, except this particular post. This one’s fresh because I chose to rather go watch Music and Lyrics with my husband on Sunday night (my regular planning for the week time). Now I’ve just thought I should blog that so I’m going to open my document and add it under Take Charge blog.

6. Now another tip if you have a mailing list and you send out regular mailings…convert your blog posts to newsletter articles. I’m going to jazz this one up and submit to one of the article directories!

Commenting on blog posts
1. I must be honest here. Since Google reader, if I can only see two lines of a feed, I won’t go to the blog to read the entire post if I don’t have time. Unless it really grabs me, of course. So the blogs with their entire feeds always get read! Just in case you were wondering. So if I absolutely must comment, I’ll click through to the post and leave my comment.

2. This is a big important tip for me – I always try to remember (again I say try because sometimes I’m in a big hurry and I forget) to copy my comment before clicking submit (or whatever the button is on the various platforms). The times I don’t remember there is a problem and I lose my comment. I must also mention that I have a really hard time commenting on Typepad blogs. They don’t seem to like me and 99% of the time don’t accept my comments. Blogger and Wordpress are much friendlier. So if you’ve wondered, that’s the reason. Anyway, if the thing gives you an error, you can reload the page and comment again without typing it all up again. Who has the time?! And do the same before you hit publish. I have been known to lost posts too!

3. I LOVE it when people have ticked the box on their blogger profile. Go to your dashboard, click on edit profile, and tick the box that says show email address. It means I can reply to you and say hello and thanks for visiting. Please please please do this.

Again, if you leave a loooong comment, you could turn it into a blog post. It’s called blogging smarter :-)

Well, thanks for reading!

I hope this helps at least someone out in the blogosphere today. And if you have some blogging tips for me, please leave a comment. I would love to streamline even more!

Now I just have to figure out a way to minimise my computer time. So far I get on the computer about 3 evenings a week. I do then tend to stay on for quite a while but I figure at least I have 2 evenings free. I also try to schedule a deadline like quickly get on for an hour before a TV show. That doesn’t always work because the computer is far more appealing to me than TV.

For more great tips, go visit Shannon over at Rocks in my Dryer.


Terri @ In His Hands said...

Hi Marcia!
Great tips, as always! I'm wondering why you can't comment on Typepad?
You're not the first person to say that, btw.

Julie in Texas said...

Great tips. I find blogging to be enjoyable, but time consuming...I will be using some of your ideas!

MC Milker said...

Great ideas- we all need to figure out how not to be engulfed by blogging

Jan B said...

I use bloglines to subscribe and read blogs. It sure is a lot easier than reading those old bookmarked files. I never bookmark anymore. I have a plug in on my toolbar which says "sub with bloglines" and I just click it and boom! New subscription. Easy as pie.

Overwhelmed! said...

Wow, you're really organized. That's great! These tips are quite helpful. Like you, I try to remember to copy my comments before I hit the "submit" button because there have been too many times where I've lost what I've typed! How frustrating!

Hey, while I'm here, I wanted to mention that I do a recipe exchange each Friday called "Favorite Ingredients Friday". I'd love it if you'd join us and enter a recipe submission. :)

Take care!

Girl Gone Wild said...

I just started using the Google Reader and I feel reborn!

Montserrat said...

Thanks for the great ideas and tips! I definitely need to use the Google Reader to cut down on my computer time.

Jessica said...

Thank you for the ideas. I am fairly new to blogging and sure am learning alot. I have just switched over to bloglines vs google reader. So I am testing that out but I have created a folder in bloglines titled "review" and that is where I put my blogs that I am deciding whether I want to keep. I may have to try your idea with a word document because I have found if it is in my reader then I feel the NEED to read every blog and every post and I get overwhelmed. Thanks again for the tips.

Rae said...

Wow, such a long post full of great tips! I would put "show address" in my profile but my email address contains part of my real name, so I have to keep it private. I'm always willing to share it privately though! ;)

I saw Overwhelmed's comment about Favorite Ingredients Friday and I agree with her, you should stop over and participate sometime! She's such a wonderful host and we've got a great bunch over there.

Have a great week! =)

Karen said...

Okay, I'm going to have to try the Google reader! I'm still rifling through favorites and saved links to get to all the blogs I enjoy reading and it's not unusual for me to miss at least one.

Thanks for the great tips!!

An Ordinary Mom said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to type up all these tips. Most of them I utilize, but I definitely learned a few things. It is so nice to see how everyone else is going about tackling their blogging addiction :)!!

And just out of curiosity, why do you prefer Google Reader over Bloglines?

Marcia said...

Ordinary mom - Hmm – google reader? I really don't know except to say Google Reader appealed to me visually more than bloglines and therefore seemed easier to use (very shallow reason but it's the truth).

Overwhelmed & Rae - I'm going to start participating. Watch out!

Thanks for visiting everyone!

Allison Cabral said...

Oh! I really really really liked your tips. I am such a newbie in the blogging world and they were so helpful! I will definitely pass your tips on to my mom friends who are just getting interested in Blogging too! THANKS!