This 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):
For regular readers of WordDreams, these are yearly reminders. For my new readers, these are like body armor in the tech battle. They allow you to jubilantly overcome or dramatically succumb. Your choice.
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:
- 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.
- Clean up your FB 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Check the sidebar–for out-of-date and no-longer-relevant widgets and links. Include 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.
- 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.
- Check the appearance of your blog on a smartphone and iPad–do those venues display properly? If they don’t, consider switching to a responsive theme that auto-adjusts for a variety of digital devices.
- 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.
- 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.
- Check your blog in different browsers–to see if you should recommend one over the other for best-viewing. For me, Chrome views best.
- Update your copyright–each year, cycle it forward.
- 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!
- Update the stores where you sell your books. This includes your Amazon Author page, Teachers Pay Teachers store, and any other–prices, descriptions, categories, freebies. I need to do this more often.
- from Andrew over at Andrew’s View of the Week: Also check the age of any physical computers/devices you own – desktops, laptops, tablets, 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 back up 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.
Do you have any maintenance issues to suggest for the new year? I’d love to hear them.