After the holiday celebration solemnity and the new year revelries, it’s back to work for most of us folks. For those in the problogging business, work usually went on through the holidays, though. And I can say I’ve been busy except for a few days without a decent connection (I had dialup at the hotel, but it was so darned slow; broadband cost an arm and a leg). And this time offline helped me reflect on what I’ve been thankful for in the past year, and what I hope to achieve this 2007.
I’ve been in the business of blogging for about two years now (first as part of a team developing blogging applications and then as a full-time blogger) and I’ve observed that my productivity–and yes, earning ability–is directly related to how I spend my time online. So here are some things I’d like to work on starting this year so I can hopefullly meet my own expectations of having a better year ahead.
Trim down my RSS subscriptions and keep it that way. It can get quite difficult when you have more than 600 feeds in your Bloglines subscription list. I started the habit of using my feeds to automatically generate blogrolls back in 2005, and I let the list grow to an unmanageable size. I do admit that I don’t even get to read most of the sites loaded on my feed reader, as I only really follow a few select sites. Pruning away sites I don’t actually read much would probably add to my efficiency when scouring for news and interesting stuff, and would probably help with my site’s trustrank (since my blogroll is generated from Bloglines).
Link more to other people. Bloggers have circles and cliques, and there is a tendency that most outbound links would be to people within one’s own circle. I think this tends to add to the echo chamber effect. While trimming down a feed list to a minimum may be considered to be constricting to the flow of information, I think one can still have variety by reading up and linking to blogs that you have not read previously. It’s also good to read and link to the relatively less popular blogs. Linking mostly to the A-listers can get boring. It’s good to get fresh perspectives from people whom you’ve never been in touch with before (whether personally, through email or via links).
Manage my time better. Most of my blogging hours are spent reading up and researching rather than writing up the material itself. Sometimes, though, I tend to stray and browse on other topics of interest (HowStuffWorks and Wikipedia are favorites). While I do admit I get to stumble upon some blog-worthy topics this way, this can be time-consuming and I tend to end up learning a lot of things, but getting to publish none.
Write better content. I can say that 2006 was the time I started writing better blog posts, in terms of substance, topic and content. It was the time I focused writing on each of my blogs to their particular niches (as opposed to a mashup of various topics on one generic site). It was also the time I started earning both from ad programs and network salaries. I hope to be able to write even better stuff this coming year.
Reach out more to fellow bloggers and netizens. My being busy with blogging for income the past year has led me to focus more on writing content rather than being part of the discussion. True, on my personal blogs I try to respond to each and every comment poster. But on my network blogs, I admit I wasn’t as participative. I intend to be more active this time.
Keep abreast of new trends and technologies. My methods for blogging have been virtually unchanged since I started out. I write entries via browser, and I read feeds via web-based aggregator. Of course, I upgrade when new software versions come out (Firefox, WordPress, etc.). I’m talking about the applications, though. I had once been addicted to podcasts (great for killing time during those long train rides), but I’ve now gone back to getting my content fix mostly from blogs. I became a very avid DIGG user, and since then I pretty much stuck to DIGG and practically ignored other social bookmarkers. I think 2007 is the time to try out new things, so I can get a better appreciation of what’s going on online. Hopefully this will help expand my views and help me come up with better things to write.
Earn better! The family is growing and costs are getting higher and higher. I’m hoping that my trying to be a better blogger (in terms of productivity) would bring in better income.
There are a lot of other things one can do to be a better blogger, and I’d be interested to hear what our readers are planning to do this year.