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I've been doing this SEO thing now for about 6 months and am just completely overwhelmed with all the information. I could stay on these boards all day and only touch the tip of the iceberg, but I wouldn't be able to get any of the clients work done (the reason I am studying the boards). ;)
So does anyone have a schedule or a method to track and log all this information?
I know it's a crazy question, but I'm desperate to find a method to my madness!
So much info. goes whizzin' by that I hope I catch all of it! I doesn't help that I can't remember didly either, gotta write every darn thing down--I hate that!
So onward to the long days I guess!
Firstly, I read WMW everyday. Anything which is not beyond my comprehension as a newbie webmaster and seems like a really good idea ... then I write down the heading of the post (and a small blurb about the content) and keep in a file on my desk.
Then, when I have the time, I look through my file and pick out my next project. I then go to WMW, use the Site Search feature and type in the heading of the post for the string(s) I want relating to the subject, print it out ... then go do it!
The Search Feature is excellent and it means I don't have to remember a darned thing!
I check this board several times a day, and always find something new, especially since I'm pretty new to this. It's like a kid in a candy store, where do you begin and how do you know what candy (info) is the good stuff & the stuff you need now!
The hard part is keeping track of the threads that you find interesting, I will have to try your idea of writing down the heading of the post that I find interesting.
Flag: I use the 'flag this post' option for any post which looks useful, but too complicated to take on board until I absolutely have to. I check my flagged posts first for a solution to a problem.
Search: When I am in a fix, searching usually gets the answer, or least gives me the background to ask the right question.
Post: When all else fails, ask the team.
PS none of this works unless the 70hr+ week is already in place.
But, as someone said (can't remember who):
If you wouldn't rather be doing something else, then it isn't work
This has three advantages - firstly you can keep following your trains of thought during the 'gathering' phase without interruption. Eventually you keep finding the same information on a particular topic at which point you can relax. Secondly, you can concentrate on the 'eating' phase without getting side-tracked (as you followed the interesting tangents previously). Thirdly, you get a nice interface between the two phases, which you can use for drinking and winning money at cards. ;)
A recent stay in hospital provided a marvellous excuse for uninterrupted Google research. I had read the early Brin/Page papers umpteen times, but an excuse to lie back and read, read read was needed for it to make sense. Oh, and thereís always a pile of docís by the pillow. YMMV
It's so gosh darn hard to do though when just about all informtion you read is new. But I will try your way and see how I do.
Calum, hope all is well with you now and I send my best wishes. I guess you got Google down pat now, huh?
Thanks to all for your help too!
At the end of the week I had to write up a short basic report for my supervisor of what I had worked on during the week. It was a pain in the @$$ to do, but helped me be even more organized.
If you look at the amount of work all at once, believe me, it will drive you over the edge. Break it down into yearly, monthly, weekly attainable goals which will help you keep track of what you do. It also helps you realize how much time you really need to complete some projects. :)
I was working the typical 60-70 hours week until Pubconference. I realized I was in really bad shape when I kept babbling about "too much" during my drunken stupor after the conference. RC & wife had to listen to me mumbling about burn out for hours ;)
After Pubcon I'm down to working 15 hours a week ;) Learned my lesson.
Take time to relax and pursue other interests. Try to learn a lot but try not to go overboard, or you'll lose pleasure in the job.
I chart key items.
Each project has its own set of sheets depending what is important.
New advertising programs (example: Ink and Alta inclusion) have their own.
Sales on specific sites are charted by search engine, keyword, day of the week.
I modify a key variable and then quantify the results.
Record the data in a spreedsheet.
Its the only way I can put my arms around everything.
I do the entry in the morning over coffee when my brain hasn't quite warmed up and do the analysis during the day when I need some stimulus.
All togther I spend two hours a day in this process.
I might suggest focusing on what really interests you.
My two cents...
Anyways, many automated tools that offer reporting tools also have the ability to generate CSV's for databases or tables... I find that tracking things is really easy. Outline a site, run reports every Monday and Friday, chart everything (position, the top three URL's, per engine, etc.) - then, just analyize it when you can. From there, you can begin to predict when updates will occur, and most importantly, can track rank changes based on things that you implement within sites.
It seems to be all about research, and that you have pointed out. But don't limit yourself to what everyone else is providing. There is no doubt that it is useful, and that is why this is one of the most popular WM forums... But, if you need to find something out - do it yourself so you not only get the raw information, but the ability to tune the research to exactly your needs. From there, you'll then just start making US seem overwhelmed!
Just my $0.02 - like I can afford it! ;)
Take care all, and happy t-day.
There are 3 of us here right now and everyone is rockin'. Plus, now there is the U.S. holiday coming tomorrow and both Thursday and Friday are obligatory family days.
It's easy to let things get out of control. However, I think 2_much has the right idea. Even a 20 to 25 hour work week is possible. It just has to be a priority.
Maybe it will be a New Year's Resolution.
Take care everyone!