blogs / social media

End of Year Tech for Writers: 13 Ways to Update Your Online Presence

online presenceThis week, I’ll post my updated suggestions for three holiday activities that will get your computers and technology ready for the blitz of writing you’ll swear to accomplish in New Year resolutions. Here’s what you’ll get (the links won’t be active until the post goes live):

  1. Update Your Online Presence
  2. Speed Up Your Computer
  3. Backup and Image your computer

Today: Update Your Online Presence

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. 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 getting visitors, why our social media Tweeple don’t generate leads or activity, and why our self-published materials languish. Here’s a short list of upkeep items that won’t take long to accomplish:

  1. 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? Is your contact information current? This, btw, should be done once a quarter, but at least at the new year.
  2. 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 presence
  3. Update grammar and spelling in old posts–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.
  4. Check individual post tags and categories–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.
  5. Check the sidebar–for out-of-date and no-longer-relevant widgets and links. Add new pieces that add 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.
  6. Check your list of ‘pages‘–are they 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Make sure everything posted reflects you. Your personal brand may change year-to-year. Review your posts, images, videos, and everything to ensure that they support the profile you are putting out there for readers.
  9. Make sure all online presence sites are current. Have something that shows it’s recently updated (within the last week). If it looks like no one updates it, visitors will not care how up-to-date your profile is. This means recent blog posts, feed activity, and information on all social media, blogs, and websites.
  10. Check your blog in different browsers–to see if you should recommend one over the other for best-viewing. For me, Chrome views best.
  11. Update your copyright–each year, cycle it forward.
  12. Unsubscribe from lists you no longer have an interest in. This is less about updating your online presence and more about freeing up your time!
  13. Update the stores where you sell your books. This includes your Amazon Author page, Teachers Pay Teachers store, and any other (I also have a store on Houghton Mifflin)–prices, descriptions, categories, freebies. I need to do this more often.

This is the time of year when lots of experts weigh in on the upkeep of your online presence. Here’s Fast Company’s Allison Durazzi’s thoughts, 5 tips from Judah Swagerty at Business2Community, and one of my favorite go-to sources on tech in your life, LifeHacker, on how to manage online accounts.

Do you have any maintenance issues to suggest for the new year? I’d love to hear them.

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

78 thoughts on “End of Year Tech for Writers: 13 Ways to Update Your Online Presence

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  7. thanks, I was illegally evicted out of a house I paid rent and expenses to landlord broke into it several times to steal 10K dollars and car to steal my mail so I would not get mail from landlord/tenant board had 15 minutes to vacate it with only clothes on my back, was homeless lived in a car for 4 months until I was able to move into a house. I need help to go forward. I am asking for donations to just survive and I lived on 6 slices of bread every day and soup kitchens at age 65 pretty pathetic. I worked 4 jobs all of my life until my ex evicted me out of my own house at age 62 as he had a hidden agenda to get a 14 yr divorce and pay no money after 44 yrs. I have not been able to access my email accounts as they were not working for past 7 weeks or more. thanks for your help advice this yr it was greatly appreciated. I am totally broke, homeless no furniture as it was stolen by landlord but I will go forward. Have a good xmas.


    Liked by 2 people

  8. Solid tips. I try to keep things as simple as I can to avoid some of the problems. One major task at hand that I will get to before year’s end is replacing the aging computer. It still runs OK, but it’s past its life expectancy. The new one is sitting on the office floor right now, waiting to installed. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Also check the age of any physical computers/devices you own – desktops, laptops, tables, phones, etc. The average life expectancy for a device with a hard-drive is about 5 years. And given the rate of change in the device area, devices over 5 years are close to the end of their life. Consider replacing or budgeting for new equipment – you don’t want “unplanned failure”. Yes, plan your computer failures. If you have data on USB drives, check them and backup the contents to a cloud based storage system.

    and if you use a UPS (uninterruptible power supply), check the battery age and order a replacement if needed.

    and if you’re really being thorough, replace smoke detector batteries and replace any home fire extinguishers over 10 years old.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Jacqui, what would we do without you?!😀 I’m saving this to my notes so I can refer to it…I hadn’t occurred to me until now that I have to update all my profiles when my book comes out! Great tips and many thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Good tips here. I also struggle to make sure I’ve updated all the other accounts I have online, ones we often forget about (like a Gravatar profile, my page, etc.). Our digital footprints grow so large; it’s easy to forget where we’ve been.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Wow, Jacqui what a fabulous reminder of all the things I’ve postponed for so long!
    This is one to save, thank you so much. Warm greetings to you from Norway. As soon as I have finished my travels I’ll sit down and rethink our blog appearance with Klausbernd and Siri and Selma, long overdue.
    Have a great pre-Christmas time.
    Dina x

    Liked by 4 people

      • Phew, it’s much too warm here, Jacqui. Still -2°, but that’s like a heatwave, isn’t it? 😉
        The polar animals are threatened because they don’t have snow to match their winter fur, so sad. The polar bears are starving to death, because the ice is melting. 😦

        In England the houses are kept colder, well that’s my experience and we put on an extra cardigan in winter. Wintertime in Norway everyone keep it so warm inside I only wear a t-shirt, so I send you heartfelt warm greetings once more. 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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