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Summary:

While bloggers are just one of many types of web workers, any web worker can start a blog. And even if blogging isn’t what you hope to do for a living, it might be a smart idea to get one going … because if used correctly, […]

While bloggers are just one of many types of web workers, any web worker can start a blog.

And even if blogging isn’t what you hope to do for a living, it might be a smart idea to get one going … because if used correctly, a blog can make you productive in many ways.

Leverage the power of a blog and an online audience — even if it’s just an audience of your friends and family — and become more productive. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Post goals. Once you set goals for yourself, whether work goals or personal, the key to success with those goals is finding enough motivation to get you going. One of the best motivations: public commitment, big time. And a blog is a great way to commit yourself publicly. Do a post stating your goals for this year, or your single goal for the month, and tell your readers you are committing to that goal — and that they should hold you accountable. Post it in your sidebar so it’s always visible, and you and your readers never forget.

2. Log progress. Once you’ve committed to a goal on your blog, you should also use the blog to report your progress. A blog can be a great daily or weekly log, and if you commit to reporting your results to your readers, there’s no better accountability.

3. Networking. The more people who read your blog, of course, the better it can be for networking. It’s important to keep your blog professional if you plan to use it as a resume and a way to make connections with others that could pay off in opportunities in the long term.

My blog has been an amazing networking tool — I get emails every day from potential clients, vendors, collaborators, and friends. Be sure to provide contact information, and some information about yourself, along with samples of your best work. And when opportunities present themselves or someone contacts you, don’t ignore them.

4. Ideas. I get great ideas for projects, articles, things to do from my blog readers. If you’re ever short of ideas, post a question to your readers, asking them for ideas. You might be surprised at the results.

5. Get help. Sometimes you have a project that’s too much for you to handle. But with one or more people to help you out, or even dozens of people offering to help, you can accomplish almost anything. If you need help with something, post it on your blog, and don’t be afraid to ask your readers for help. Sometimes you’ll get some great offers. I’ve gotten dozens of offers for help — more than I can even accept.

6. Sell something. Besides selling your services, a blog can be used to sell a product … or even just something you want to unload. Got a computer for sale? You might post it on your blog and see if there are any takers.

7. Crystallize your ideas. One of the greatest benefits of my blog posts is that when I have some vague ideas about something, I can turn it into something more concrete by writing about it. Writing up a post, with a headline, forces me to figure out what I really want to say, what the main point is, what the facts are. Until you do this, a vague idea will never come to fruition.

8. Force yourself to do research. A lot of time I will procrastinate on research for as long as possible. But when it comes time to write a blog post about something, I am forced to do that research so that I can write about it in the post. That’s good incentive, and you can accomplish a lot more research if you post every day or at least a few times a week on your blog.

9. Become a life-long learner. Ever have something you want to learn about? Well, do a series of posts (or an entire blog) on that topic. Writing about it every day will force you to learn it well enough to explain — the best method of learning there is. In this way, you can teach yourself dozens of subjects about which you would otherwise be ignorant.

10. Hone your skills. Writing daily on my blog has honed my writing skills tremendously. Am I perfect? Not at all … but the daily practice has forced me to get better. You can do this with a variety of other types of skills, from photography to design to drawing to coding.

Have you found any other ways to be productive with your blog? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Great post, Leo! I started my blog in early 2003 on a whim, never dreaming that it would lead to the opportunities I’ve had (including writing for WWD!).

    One thing I would add is a bit of caution. Google loves blogs and doesn’t forget easily, and that doesn’t even count Technorati and blog search engines. While it may make you feel better for a moment to call someone out or vent off about something personal, think twice. Make sure your blog reflects the side of you that you want the *world* to see. That doesn’t mean you can’t be critical and confrontational, but do it strategically. Think, “who will this post piss off and how will I handle it when it does?” *before* you hit the “publish” button.

  2. Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten Friday, July 20, 2007

    I also use my blog to just get stuff out of my system. I could spend days thinking about stuff that frustrates OR inspires me and sometimes that just isn’t productive. So now I just turn these ideas and complaints into blog posts which everybody loves because they can say ‘Yeah, I feel the same way’.

  3. I appreciate the information that you provided. I have just started using blogs in the hope that it will help my online business. How has it helped your business?

    Thanks!

    Myron Rosenberg
    http://www.e-zhome-business.com

  4. Rebecca Thorman Friday, July 20, 2007

    These are great observations. When I started my blog, I wasn’t sure I quite believed all the hype about blogging and how much you can get out of it, but I’ve learned so much. The sky is the limit really, and it just depends on what you put into it and what you want to get out of it.

  5. I would also add – accept criticism.

    People will email you and post about trivial things, but sometimes they also point out errors in your blogs or research and you should just learn from this and accept the communal aspect of the blog environment.

    It can open up new things and give you a lot of great ideas if you don’t shut people down.

  6. Great post – thanks.

    I also use blogs to help create & form more concrete businesses ideas/streams of revenue/projects – being such a visual person, once it’s down on a web page in some form or another it helps me see what a prospect will see – and then formulate exactly what will be on offer.

  7. isaacdowning.com » Links for July 20, 2007. Friday, July 20, 2007

    [...] 10 Ways to be Productive with Your Blog from Web Worker Daily [...]

  8. John’s Blogging Mistakes Friday, July 20, 2007

    wow, if this isn’t a timely article! just yesterday I posted about my biggest blogging mistake being not having a written plan in my post I am the most successful blogger post.

    The things I liked about your article were the points on logging progress and getting help. Those are 2 things I’ve never done that I certainly need to employ! Thanks again for the great tips!

  9. Serge Lescouarnec Friday, July 20, 2007

    Let’s not confuse Blog and Confessional.

    The best thing I got out of blogging is discovering that I really enjoy writing.

    I started ‘Serge the Concierge’ in March 2005 and sometimes it relates to my business (New Jersey Concierges) sometimes it does not.

    I agree with most of your points especially the chance to expand your contact list and sometimes get help on projects.

    I am not big on the ‘goal’ obsession (check Goal Free Living by Steve Shapiro).

    I look at the whole thing as something more organic, call it meandering with a purpose if you like.

    As for the side perks, being able to attend events as Press is a good thing too.

    Have a good week-end

    Serge
    ‘The French Guy from New Jersey’
    http://www.sergetheconcierge.com

  10. I have a blog…but I really don’t write in it much. Just like the expensive diary, or day planner, that sits on my shelf, unless I see some value in it, it rapidly becomes another exercise in self absorbed, navel gazing. I enjoy writing, but the events and chaos of my life seem to conspire against me.

    Except for brief outbursts like this, I am trapped in the all too time consuming work-kids-eat-sleep-work cycle. How do y’all get ideas, and where to ya get ‘em at. Most times, I’m staring at a blinking cursor, as the 5 year old and the 3 year old are screaming, the dog is barking, and the patient and understanding wife isn’t being patient and understanding any more.

    Anyhow…that’s me YMMV. ;)

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