12 things to do when you don’t feel like blogging

Cat

Don't resort to cat blogging. (Photo source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1244985)

This is another one of my occasional posts on what to do when you don’t feel like blogging.

1. Update your bio/about page. If you’ve been doing this for any length of time, chances are it’s out of date. You should also make sure that you’re including everything there that’s going to help reinforce your brand and (if it’s a personal blog) establish your authority and expertise.

2. Develop a list of non-content tweaks to improve your blog. Chances are, you’ve got a widget or a plug-in you’ve been meaning to add to your blog, or a design tweak that you haven’t gotten around to. If you’re not going to create new content (the most important thing you can do), then figure out what else you could do to improve your blog.

3. Make one (or more) of your list of non-content improvements. If you already have a list of potential blog improvements, or you’ve made one, now is the time to start implementing those. Decide which is most important, and implement that.

4. Add more social media sites to your Ping.fm account. Ping.fm is a cool service that allows you to send updates to all sorts of social media, chat and social bookmarking sites at once. That makes it easy, when you publish a new post, to spread it to all sorts of networks. You still have to sign up for individual accounts at these sites, but Ping.fm automates the process of posting to some or all of them at once. Hint: You can also tie Ping.fm into your Hootsuite account, so Hootsuite updates it — if that makes sense for you.

5. Create a notebook with all the important records related to your blog. If you’re not keeping track of all your passwords, business records and other information related to your blogging and social media activity, it’s easy to find yourself hitting that “I’ve forgotten my password” link too often. I use 3×5 cards in a little plastic box (about $2 from an office supply store) to keep track of this information.

6. Brainstorm ideas for the next time you do blog. Sometimes taking the pressure off yourself of actually writing a full blog post can be freeing, and you may find new ideas flowing.

7. Leave smart, relevant comments on other blog posts. If you’re like me, you’re already blogging, keeping up with social media networks and digesting a torrent of incoming email, RSS feeds, ebooks and paper books. Commenting is something you probably don’t do as often as you should. Blogs with CommentLuv installed or that use Do Follow links can be particularly helpful for SEO purposes.

8. Check out other blogs in your niche, and figure out how to get a guest post on one of them. Guest posting can boost your search engine visibility, bring you new readers and give more credibility to your reputation and brand. Step one is to figure out where you’d like to guest post.

9. Look at your blog with a browser you don’t normally use and fix any design problems that show up. If you habitually use one browser (I recommend Firefox), you might be surprised what it looks like in Internet Explorer (various versions), Apple’s Safari, Google’s Chrome or the Opera browser (all of these, except Internet Explorer, come in versions for both Mac and Windows machines). You might also want to consider making your site better for mobile browsers. Here’s a set of WordPress plug-ins to help you do that.

10. Do something totally different to get inspired. Exercise, visit a museum, play with your children or read a thriller. Sometimes your brain needs a rest or a change of direction.

11. Proofread old posts. You’d be surprised at how many grammar and spelling errors could be hiding in old posts. Go read some of that older content and fix any mistakes. After the Deadline is a WordPress plugin (there’s also a Firefox add-on version) to help you find and correct those errors.

12. Blog anyway. If you’ve committed to posting regularly, don’t let your feelings (which are probably temporary) dictate your actions. If you’re feeling blocked, read my post on eight ways to overcome writer’s block.

What do you do when you just don’t feel like blogging? Leave your tips in the comments.

Do you keep a clean browser?

Do you keep a clean browser? Do you know why you should? Let me explain.

The web browser that you use the most — whether it’s Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari or something else — is probably not clean. It’s filled, at least metaphorically speaking, with your browsing history, cached files and cookies.

For the most part all that stuff actually makes your life easier. It means when you go to a particular website that you have a membership at, you don’t have to sign in every time. But it also alters and distorts what the Web looks like to you — and you may not even realize it.

If you do a lot of work on the web — say in web design, blogging or search engine marketing — than you might want to consider keeping a browser clean. You might use your regular browser (let’s say it’s Firefox — it should be Firefox!) for most of your work, and keep all the cookies, browsing history and other things in there that make it easier for you to go about your day-to-day tasks online.

But maybe you’ll keep another browser — Internet Explorer if you’re on a Windows machine or Safari if you’re on a Mac — that serves as your ‘clean’ browser. Why? There are at least three reasons:

  1. You can check out sites, whether your own blog or big news site and see what they look like when you’re not logged in. That’s especially important if you’re trying to drive traffic to, or conversions on, those web sites, as you’ll want to know what it looks like to your visitors.
  2. If you’re doing keyword research and examining Google search engine results pages, and you have a Google account, a clean browser helps ensure that Google is not tailoring the results to you based on your past search activity (yes, the Big G does that). Obviously the point here is to make sure you’re seeing a SERP (search engine results page) that’s pretty close or the same as that which most of your potential audience sees.
  3. If you’re blogging or posting a link to a subscription site and you’re not sure whether it’s a link that will be available to nonsubscribers of that site, a clean browser will tell you whether you’re linking to a “members only” section of the site that may not be access by some or most of your audience.

Do you keep a clean browser? If so, what’s the main reason you do so? Please leave your answer in the comments below.