Traffic Building Worksheet

Hey – I just published this over at The Blog Studio, but I’m betting a few of you might find it interesting too.

I’m a pen and paper kind of guy. Especially when it comes to tracking time and keeping lists. There’s something inordinately satisfying about checking something off. Something I don’t get with a computer.

Paper also has the benefit of portability and visibility. I’ve become addicted to using index cards to jot down notes and ideas. They’re the perfect size to fit in a pocket, don’t take up much room on my desk, and are sturdy enough to survive daily abuse. A couple of days ago I stumbled on the idea of sticking an index card in behind the last row of keys on my apple keyboard. Instant motivation! Nothing like having a constant reminder of what you’re supposed to be working on in the bottom of your field of vision at all times!

I’ve also been toying the idea of creating a system to track my traffic building/site maintenance activities for my work site and a number of client sites. What I wanted was a checklist for both things to check (ie SE ranking) and things to do (write a post, leave a comment, tweak a feature, etc). Sure I could use a spreadsheet to do this. But I have to big resistance issues with this: the first is that I don’t want another memory hogging program open all day, the second is that for me, entering data into a spreadsheet is boring. I want a system where I can easily collect a bunch of data, then batch process a bunch of that data at later date.

To that end, I whipped up The Blogger’s Traffic Building Worksheet (v0.1). This 3″ by 5″ (index card sized) form is meant to be printed out (ideally on heavier stock), cut to size, and used and abused. I’ve included spaces to track the major metrics, as well as a place to record what you did to improve your site (and track the time you spent doing it). There’s room to mark off the number of posts your wrote, as well as the number of comments you left on other sites.

I’ve designed this thing to be motivating: the odds of me making a tweak or two to the site are higher when I have a reminder to do so under my nose. My brain really likes ticking things off (just ask my wife!). It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever designed, but this isn’t a beauty contest. So far, I’ve found using the worksheet to be extremely effective. I hope you do too!

Download the Traffic Building Worksheet as a 1-up pdf (1 card per page)
Download the Traffic Building Worksheet as a 4-up pdf (4 cards per page)
Download the Traffic Building Worksheet in it’s OmniGraffle format

Two new blogging series at The Blog Studio

I’m running a couple of blogging series over at work, and thought some of you might be interested.

The first is called the Whoa! Factor. I’m going to explore the inevitable unexpected benefits one gets when blogging. I’m not talking touchy feel-y stuff. I’m talking new business opportunities, being asked to write a book, getting free gear, etc. I’ve got some amazing stories lined up.

Opportunities for the middle aged blog is going to be cool. In the first post, I highlighted some of the challenges and opportunities facing the more mature blog. Not blogger, you understand, but blog. Blogs that have been around for a while have some interesting opportunities, a few of which I touched on in this first post. As the series progresses, I’ll be looking at some of these opportunities in greater depth.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled blog reading.

How to clean up your iphoto library.

iPhoto. It’s the only mac program that I actively dislike. It’s so close to being great, yet has some absolutely killer flaws. I’m using version 4.

Over the years, my iphoto library has become a mess – filled with duplicate images, including (horror of horrors) multiple thumbnails for every image in the library. In other words, each picture was there at least twice – once at high resolution, and once at very low resolution.

This probably came about from moving to new computers. Each time I did, I’d simply import my previous library to the new machine. iPhoto doesn’t have the smarts to recognize what’s going on, and so imports the thumbnails it created in the previous library _and then proceeds to create new thumbnails of the thumbnails_. Dumb.

I used a couple of tools to weed out the garbage. First thing I did was backup my iphoto library. Next, I used “Tidy Up!”: on the original library folder to remove duplicate files. I paid the $30 for the software. It’s pretty impressive, and will no doubt get regular use.

Next up, apple’s own Automator came to the rescue. I created a simple workflow that moved any image under 20kb out of the library and into a new folder.

I also used Automator to move all the Thumbs folders to the trash – I didn’t want to import them again.

Automator is a very cool tool – one I’ve just started to play with. It could probably even find duplicate files, but figuring out how to do so was beyond my patience at the time.

Next I had to trick iPhoto into creating a new library. This is as simple as changing the name of the current library. Upon loading, iPhoto goes “dude, where’s my library?” and prompts you to find it or create a new one. I created a new one.

Then it was a simple matter of importing the nicely cleaned up files. I went from 8000+ images to 3000. All without losing a single picture.