How I Blog: Amit Agarwal
This is the 29th post in our “How I Blog” series. To read the rest, visit the archives. Interested in participating? Drop us a note about ‘How I Blog’ along with a photo or yourself or your blogging space at tips [at] blogmedia [dot] biz.
Amit Agarwal, Technology Blogger, Digital Inspiration
I am professional blogger based in India. My blog, Digital Inspiration, covers technology news and analysis, software reviews, web apps, productivity tips and things that I find interesting on the internet. Prior to blogging, I was working with ADP in Hyderabad. I have been blogging for some two years now and have learned lot of good things during this period.
The first thing I do in the morning is check my email. I have subscribed to lot of Google Alerts, Yahoo groups Mailing Lists, CNN Alerts, Microsoft Newsletters, etc. I also get emails from my blog readers with questions as well as suggestions. To handle the email overload, I have setup a bunch of Gmail filters which are generally very effective. I try to reply to emails the same moment I read them and if I can’t, I label them “To Reply”. Then I keep opening this “to reply” folder several times during the day to make sure it’s not growing in size.
When I decided to choose blogging as a full time profession, I was blogging from my home. But now I have a well-equipped office (see photograph). I download some of my favorite tech podcasts like The Daily SearchCast, TWiT, NPR Tech on my iPod and listen to them on my way to Office or while driving back.
I generally work from 10 to 7 Indian Time but again, that schedule may vary when some big news is expected like the recent Google Pressday or the WinHEC conference or the upcoming VloggerCon next month. My target is to publish anywhere between 5-7 posts per day.
I subscribe to some 250+ RSS feeds plus a lot of “keyword” feeds to track topics which I generally blog about (like screencasting or Adobe PDF). I read my feeds in FeedDemon and Newsgator Online [my review].
Here’s a small tip: When a company like Microsoft or Google releases some new software, almost all bloggers are talking about it and the number of items to read just shoots up. At the same time, a lot of information is duplicate and bloggers are just linking to either the press releases or to the person who broke the story. This happened recently when Microsoft released beta versions of Windows Vista and Office 12 on the same day. What I do in this case is setup a Watch (or search folder) in FeedDemon that puts all feed items containing a particular term at one place grouped by either feed or date. I quickly choose what to read and delete the rest saving a lot of time.
Sometimes I encounter interesting things on the web which I want to blog about but not immediatelyr. Here, I use Google Notebook to save the URL with a short excerpt. When I am done blogging about it, I just delete that item from the Google Notebook. I was using Scrapbook for this before but since Google Notebook stores the data online, I can access my pending items even from my home computer.
I work on a Dell Inspiron 6000 machine with WinXP. I use w.bloggar as the main blog editor and Blogger Hello for posting screenshots and images. For illustrations and screen captures, I prefer SnagIt 8 from Techsmith. I also use ShellToys XP which adds some very useful utilities to the Windows contextual menu like Copy Path, Move to Folder, etc. Firefox remains my only browser with Google Toolbar, Blogger Web Comments, FlashGot and CustomizeGoogle extensions.
I also run an “Ask a Question” (paid) service on my blog where people ask me questions like which software to use, blog monetization, tech support, tips, etc. If the query fits the general theme of my blog, I publish the answer on my blog itself so that other readers may also benefit from it.
Matt Craven is the former editor & publisher of The Blog Herald. Currently, Matt is the co-founder of Bryghtpath LLC, a consulting practice located in Woodbury, Minnesota. Matt's presently looking for new blogging gigs. Ping him at matt (at) bryghtpath dot com. You can follow him on Twitter.
Interesting read. In my perception – so much of structure makes sense for a professional blogger and not somebody whose primary purpose of blogging is not to make money.
Nevertheless – I might use some of the tactics described here.
I have been following Amit’s blog for quite some time now and find his level of professionalism toward blogging extremely inspirational.
Keep it up, Amit.