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How to find balance in bloggingWhen we start blogging, we usually add blogging to our already busy schedule. As our platter of life fills up, we begin to feel overwhelmed.

Finding balance is ideal, but where do we start?

Today’s Lesson

Listed below are a few blogging tips to help save time and find balance.

  1. Write mission, vision and value statements.
  2. A clear blogging focus will help to keep us on track.

  3. Evaluate how much time is spent on social networking sites.
  4. Social networking is a great activity if we want to get, and keep our name out there and catch up with our online friends. However,  it’s often unproductive time. Reducing the amount of time we spend on social networking sites may be beneficial.

  5. Ask, “what can I automate?”
  6. With WordPress there are many plugins we can use to save time. Take, for example, the WordPress database backup plugin. We set the schedule. It does the rest, automatically.

  7. Reduce the amount of time spent checking statistics.
  8. I used to be a stataholic and would check my statistics WAY too often. I finally realized it was a waste of time. Now when I look at my stats, it’s to see what search strings visitors used to find my blogs and where the traffic is coming from i.e. social networking sites, search engines, direct.

  9. Access what blogging activities are helping to get our blog found.
  10. If visiting other blogs and commenting is helping, concentrate on that. What about social networking? Is it beneficial? What about  SEO (search engine optimization) work?   (This information can be found in your stats.)

  11. Quit guessing. Time yourself.
  12. Use a timer to check exactly how much time you are spending on blogging activities. I timed myself on Twitter and although I guessed I had only spent fifteen minutes socializing, it was closer to an hour. Yikes!!!

  13. Trying to make money with a blog? Start simple (or wait).
  14. When I started blogging, I wasted many hours placing and changing affiliate ads on my blogs. Little did I know spending that much time trying to make money on a blog which got very little traffic was worthless.

  15. Give ideas time to work.
  16. Impatience can be our enemy. Let’s say we decide to try something new on our blog. After a week it’s not getting the results we expected, so we drop that idea and go to “plan b” or “plan c”. In blogosphere (as in life) new ideas take time. Practice patience.

  17. Ask for help
  18. Like many of you, I don’t like to ask for help. However, it’s tough to do it all and do it good. Asking others for their suggestions or hiring a professional to handle specific aspects of our blog (such as coding or design) will allow us to spend time on that which we enjoy.

  19. Have fun.
  20. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our blogs we forget to enjoy the blogging journey. Make time to get away from the blog. Introduce yourself to other bloggers. Jump on a social networking site. Exchange ideas. Share a joke. Have a laugh. 😆

Your blog will wait.

Control your blog. Don’t let your blog control you (and your life).

Today’s Assignment:

How do you find time to do it all?

Do you have any time-saving tips or ideas of how to gain balance?

Or do you have a question either I or someone else can answer for you?

Care to share?

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Photo Credit: SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent)

Before you spend your time reading this post, I will warn you, we’re discussing a topic many bloggers prefer not to think about. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you want to read this post, or just move on.

You see, we’re talking about making our blogs, “our babies”, safe and secure.

Continue reading, or not….

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I can still remember when I crashed my blogs.

I stared at the error message on the screen and got sick to my stomach.

Being new to blogging, I didn’t know what to do so I kept refreshing the page thinking it would correct itself.

It didn’t.

In all honesty, I knew it was what I had done behind the scenes that created that error. I “thought” I knew what I was doing.

I didn’t.

Today’s Lesson

It’s one thing when we mess around behind the scenes and crash our blogs. We know who to blame. We know what we did. And we know we can either reverse what we did or call someone and have them fix it.

But, what happens if someone else does that to us?

What happens if someone hacks our blog?

That’s different as we don’t know what “they” did, nor do we necessarily know how to fix “it”.

Hackers will hack any ‘ole blog, because they can. No blog is exempt. Not mine, not yours, not anyone’s.

When his wife’s online jewelry site was hacked and her monthly sales dropped from $1000 to zero, John Hoff of WP Blog Host made it his mission to learn everything about hackers; how they think, how they hack and most importantly, how to secure a WordPress blog against them. With Lindsey”s site being her “baby”, and her online income helping to support their family, John vowed he would never let that happen again. Not to Lindsey. Not to him. Not to you.

John spent months studying everything he could find. As he learned, he documented his findings.

It is from the knowledge he gained and the lessons John learned, how the “WORDPRESS DEFENDER” ebook was born.

This 150 page guide is like no other. John includes hints, tips, tweaks and plugins we can use to secure out site, all written in an easy to understand language. To make things even easier, he includes 14 step-by-step bonus videos to keep those hackers at bay.

An example of the topics he covers include such things as

  1. How to easily back up all of your files
  2. WordPress upgrades and how to deal with them
  3. Picking, protecting and managing your passwords
  4. The truth about plugins
  5. The best form of FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to use
  6. Login lock downs and firewalls
  7. Writing and using a .htacess file
  8. How intruders find blogs to hack via search engines
  9. What a hack might look like
  10. Plus much more

Although this security guide and videos will set you back $39, it’s a small price to pay when we consider the alternative.

When I crashed my blogs, I lost a day getting my blog back online. When Lindsey’s blog was hacked, it took John, who knows what he’s doing, nearly a week (in his free time) just to figure out where the hack was located. From there, he recreated the site, but before it could be reactivated, he also needed to reload all of the products onto the newly rebuilt site. In the meantime, Lindsey’s page rank plummeted to zero, as did her sales.

Many of us bloggers prefer not to even think about our blog being hacked, let alone having to learn how to secure it. But as our blogs grow, and our traffic and page rank increases,  it becomes imperative we either learn to protect our investment, or hire someone to do it for us.

Like many of you, this is an area I also avoid, but with the “WORDPRESS DEFENDER” in my library, I know my blogs will soon be safe, secure and locked down.

For all the work John has done on the ebook and videos, I’ll be forever grateful.

Thank you, John.

Today’s Assignment

Have you ever crashed or had your blog hacked? If so, how did you get it back up and running?

If not, how do you think you would react?

If you’re not a WordPress blogger, how do you secure your blog?

And finally, how often are you backing up your database and/or files? (You are doing backups, right?)

Care to share?

signature for blog post.

As a final note. When John emailed this book and video series to me, I told him I’d take a look at it, but wouldn’t commit to an endorsement as I feel the best way to find what works for each of us is to be a smart, informed consumer. However, this book and video series far exceeded my expectations. In fact, when I opened it and started reading, I sent John an email which in part said,

HOLY CRAP! [excuse the language]

I was just reading/skimming your ebook. It’s phenomenal, and I haven’t even gotten to the videos.

All I can say is WOW! WOW! WOW!

P.S.S. Although the links to WordPress Defender are affiliate links, I would have no problem endorsing this book for free. For all you WordPress bloggers out there, why not buy the book, use some of the hints and tips to begin securing your blog, sign up to become an affiliate, and write a review on your site. With just a few sales, you will have earned the cost of the book back. How cool is that?

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This picture reminds me of how bed hair can give us away. You know, you decide to take a quick nap, jump up because someone knocked on the door or you realize you’re now late for an appointment, and forget to comb your hair.

Sometimes it’s not pretty.

Bed hair reminds me of our blogs. From the “front” our blogs may look great. Everything is where it’s suppose to be. We’ve tested our blog in multiple browsers and it passes. We’re gaining popularity in blogosphere, built a community on our blog(s), but behind the scenes, things are disheveled.

Today’s Lesson

I have a confession. You can’t see it, but my blogs are sporting “bed hair”.

I’ve been so busy with all of the other aspects of blogging, including getting ready to unveil a new theme, I’ve neglected what’s going on behind the scenes.

After looking at my blogging to do list and the WordPress dashboards on three blogs I realized I have,

  1. 160+ drafts that need to be gone through – most will be deleted
  2. 7 comments that need to be deleted, approved or marked as spam
  3. 2 plugins that need to be updated – simply done with the click of a button
  4. Add the Automagic Twitter Profile URI plugin to the comment section – done.
  5. An upgrade to WordPress 2.7.1 – Although I use the WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin, it’s still time consuming
  6. Rewrite of my “About” page – after two years of blogging, it’s time for a change
  7. Write a “comment policy” – Joanna Young’s post reminded me I should have one
  8. Take a screen shot of my current blog which I’ll use on my first post when I unveil my new theme on Monday (3/30/09) – Thank you Eric Hamm
  9. Go through my three email accounts and try to zero them out – I still question why I need three
  10. Create a “Featured Blogs” page which will list all blogs which have been showcased in my “New Blog Of The Week” series (NBOTW)
  11. Find a photo of myself to include on my “About Me” page – I’m usually the one behind the camera
  12. Review new Followers on Twitter – need to check their tweeter pages and mark them as “follow”, or not.

I won’t bore you with the rest of the list, but whomever says blogging is easy and it’s just a matter of writing and publishing failed to mention additional time is required to do blog maintenance.

Today’s Assignment

What’s on your blogging “to do” list?

How do you keep up with all there is to do? Or do you?

Do you need help with something, but don’t know where to turn? Feel free to leave your question.

I’m guessing someone in the BWAB community will know the answer.


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Photo Credit: David Mezzo Van Couvering

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