Like this week.
For most writers I know, life zooms by, filled with research, writing, editing, critique groups, reading, promotions (of our books), people watching (to build characters), and thinking. There are few breaks to update/fix/maintain the tech tools that allow us to pursue our trade.
But, that must happen or they deteriorate and no longer accomplish what we need them to do. Cussing them out does no good. Buying new systems takes a long time and doesn’t fix the problem that the old one wasn’t kept up. If they aren’t taken care of, we are left wondering why our blog isn’t accomplishing what it does for everyone else, why our social media Tweeple don’t generate leads or activity, and why our self-published materials languish. There’s a short list of upkeep items that won’t take long to accomplish. The end of the calendar year is a good time to do these:
- Update your online profile–your blog profile page, your gravatar, FB, Twitter, professional groups, your PLN. Have you changed your focus? Switched jobs? Adding new publications or items efriends would like to know about? This, btw, should be done once a quarter, but at least at the new year.
- Clean up your FB and G+ stream–delete pictures and comments you no longer find as funny as when you first posted them or make them private. FB has become a common resource for future employers (be they companies considering you for writing gigs or readers interested in everything you’ve written) to use when researching your background. Make sure the YOU that shows up on FB is really YOU.
- Check old posts, articles, updates for grammar and spelling. Start with the most-visited articles (under Site Stats) and work your way down (in case you run out of time). You’ll be surprised what you can catch with a fresh eye.
- Check individual post tags and categories to see if you can whittle down the options while still authentically grouping your writing. Sometimes, you’ll find a category you added at a point in the year which can include many articles written prior to its addition.
- Check the sidebar for out-of-date and no-longer-relevant widgets and links. Add new pieces that add to the blog’s utility. Move pieces around to give a fresh look. Current thinking is ‘less is more’. Considering putting awards, PLN groups, memberships on separate pages noted in the menu bar.
- Check your list of ‘pages’. Are they all still relevant? Could some be nested under other pages to save room and/or make them easier to find? While you’re at it, be sure all of these less-visited pages are up to date.
- Check the appearance of your blog on a smart phone and iPad to see if those venues display properly. If they don’t, consider switching to a responsive theme that auto-adjusts for a variety of digital devices.
- Check blog in different browsers to see if you should recommend one over the other for best-viewing. For me, FireFox views best.
Follow along with me over the holidays. There are eight items. Let’s do one every other day. I’ll check in with you via @askatechteacher (Twitter). We can keep each other motivated. Let’s start December 26th (I have too much to do for the holiday to start earlier and I bet you’re the same). I’ll Tweet you. You answer.
This is the time of year when lots of experts weigh in on upkeep of your online presence. Here’s Huffington Post’s Simone Collins thoughts, Jenny Yerrick Martin at Careerealism, and one of my favorite go-to sources on tech in your life, LifeHacker.
Do you have any maintenance issues to suggest for the new year? I’d love to hear them.