This has always been one of the most popular posts on ProBlogger so today I thought I’d update it with some new things that I do on an ‘average day’ as a ProBlogger (originally written November 2004 which will explain the old comments).
A number of people have asked me recently what a typical day of blogging looks like for me – I thought I’d share the basics. Of course what an actual day looks like differs from day to day depending on other commitments (I have other interests/work outside of blogging), the day of the week (weekends I try to get a life) and my mood (I’m an impulsive type).
7.00am – My wife’s (‘V’) alarm goes off. I attempt to ignore it. She hits ‘snooze’.
7.15am – The alarm goes off again – I shove V out of the bed in the direction of the shower and promptly fall back asleep.
7.45am – V returns to the bedroom and the hair dryer starts – sleep becomes impossible – and so my day begins.
8.30am – Having showered, eaten and seen V off to work I sit down at my powerbook with a fresh cup of coffee and begin my morning blogging routine (note that despite public perception to the contrary – this ProBlogger is usually fully dressed (not in pyjamas or boxer shorts) by the time most people are hitting their normal place of work (9am). Of course there are exceptions to every rule).
8.35am – Check blog stats – I use Safari (and sometimes Firefox) as a browser – both enable me to simultaneously open up the statistics page of each one of my blogs in tabbed windows. I run a free SiteMeter stat counter on each of my pages and find the information it gives sufficient for a quick check of overall visitor levels – hot pages and referrals. It take a few minutes on each blog to look for any spikes in traffic and to work out where traffic is or isn’t coming from.
8.50am – Check income streams – I then log into my Adsense and Affiliate reports to see what earnings over night were like.
9.00am – Check RSS feeds – I use Bloglines to track 350 or so blogs and and search feeds on particular keywords. Most mornings I will log on and find that there are anything from 400 to 2000 results since I last checked that I need to wade through. This usually takes at least two or three hours to do because as I check them I enter relevant posts into my blogs using Ecto.
Ecto is a simple blogging tool that lets you post to your blog/s without actually logging into the back end of your blog. It allows the posting of pictures and has a wonderful feature that allows you to highlight text on a webpage and import it into a draft entry on your blog. As most of my blogs are ‘news hubs’ and generally are quotes from and links to other sources with a few of my own comments this features is very useful. I can post something to my blog within minutes.
10.00am – check and respond to emails. I get ALOT of emails. Every comment left on my blogs ends up in my inbox where I monitor their appropriateness. At least a few get deleted every morning due to them being spam comments or using foul language (I try to keep things ‘family friendly’ as I get a lot of kids through my blogs doing project research). I also get a lot of requests for links, advice etc and attempt to respond to as many as possible.
10.30am – Check Google News subscriptions. I subscribe to a number of news services such as Google News. Every morning between around 8.30am and 10am emails start arriving in my inbox with the results of these searches. As I sort through them I upload any relevant links directly onto my blogs. Update: I’m using Google News less and less and relying more and more upon RSS feeds from sites like Topix these days.
11.00am – Coffee time. Most mornings at this point I take a walk up to my local Cafe for a coffee (or three). I generally take either a business book (often on Marketing, Branding, Small Business), a magazine (on gadgets, the internet etc) or a newspaper with me. I always have a notebook handy because this is the time of day I often get my best ideas.
I intentionally clear this space for myself each day as ‘dreaming’ time because it is very easy just to get caught up in the micro level of updating a blog/s and not spend any time looking at the bigger picture. I use this time to set goals, plan new projects, think about ways of improving what i do. If I’m really busy (or really inspired) I’ll take my laptop down to the cafe with me to write or wade through the emails that are piling up but I try to keep this time each day as non online time – partly for my own sanity but partly because it gives me a bit of perspective.
12.00pm – Connect with other bloggers/forums. I chat regularly to a small number of other bloggers who have similar interests and projects. Most days I would touch base with them to bounce ideas around, support one another, work on common projects and catch up on what they are doing. Similarly I participate in a number of forums including Site Point, WebMasterWorld and Digital Point. I find these interactions very helpful and have learnt so much from others doing similar things with their blogs and websites.
12.30pm – Lunch – usually eaten whilst checking stats again. I find its really helpful to keep your finger on the pulse of your blogs by regularly checking your stats. This way you are ready to make changes if you notice sudden changes in visiter levels.
1.00pm – Most afternoons the pattern generally repeats itself somewhat with me heading back to my News Aggregator and checking for relevant articles/posts to update to my blogs. I aim to post at least 25 posts per day – weekends tend to be a little less than the target but week days its usually not a problem and I’ve been known to do up to 70 in a day if there is lots of news about on the topics I’m writing on.
3.00pm – Siesta. I like to take a nap in the afternoons if I can afford the time. Largely because I stay up late working (see below). This is getting to be rarer and rarer however as life gets busier and busier.
4.00pm – it is about this time that my RSS feed really comes alive. I’m based in Australia so I’m not sure what is going on in the world at this time but there is usually a spike in traffic levels and when lots of stories appear on other blogs and via RSS. I work hard at this time of day updating my blogs and in quiet patches coming up with original content (like this very post).
6.00pm – frantically race around the house cleaning up and making it appear that I’ve done some housework before V gets home.
6.15pm – check Adsense figures. This is the time of day that Adsense closes its books on an old day and releases channels figures for the previous day. Its a good time to do a little reviewing of the trends of the past week and see where traffic and income is coming from. Which blogs are performing – which are not? Where do I need to focus my attention in the next few days? What is hot and should I ride the wave of?
6.30pm – V arrives home form work – I welcome her at the door and catch up on the day that she had – tell her about mine – reveal the grand total of earnings for the day. This is usually followed by dinner/TV/friends/being a good husband.
8.00pm – Depending what we have on (we go out a bit in the evenings) I might grab the powerbook (wireless) and sit in the lounge room to do a little more updating from the RSS feed while we watch TV. I tend to use the evenings to review the day’s postings. I go through each entry for the day and ask the question – ‘who could I let know about this post?’ I’ll email other bloggers that I know would be interested in the things I’ve written (I also do this during the day as I think of it) and submit a few of my better posts to some of the bigger blogs and websites out there that I have relationships with in the hope that they might link up and send a deluge of traffic my way. I also use the evenings to think about Search Engine Optimization – often in the heat of the moment during the day time I don’t give as much attention to this as I should and the time in the evenings is a good time to reformat posts so as to get better ranked on Google.
10pm – V is generally off to bed by now and so the evenings see me continuing to post a few stories as they come in. I also chat in the evenings to a few of my colleagues who are in different time zones – again its about building networks, sharing ideas and resources.
12.00am – 1.00am – After one last skim through the relevant stats and RSS feed for any urgent stories that are breaking I hit the sack and promptly fall asleep after a long day of blogging only to be awoken at 7am with that dreaded alarm.
Once again I’ll stress that each day is very different from that proceeding and following it – this seems a lot more organised than it is in practice but it gives you an idea of what I do most days. I do have another job 16 hours a week (a research position) and volunteer for a number of organisations which also factor into the mix.