My Blogger Workflow As of 2021-12
My previous blogger workflow update was in March 2021. Quite many things has happened since then. It’s time for another update. Buckle up because this is a big one and enjoy the ride!
For 2021, I was expecting a year without many changes to my blogger workflow, and yet, I was in for quite a few surprises.
- Probably one of the most important additions this year are Toggl, Timery, and Focused Work to track my time while creating content (consider bookmarking and read “Why and How I’m Tracking Time With Toggl” if you want to know all the details.) Tracking my time does take some time, but I like the results.
- Hello Ghost (again)! I started experimenting with Ghost with the 14 days trial period where all features were available for testing. I started building automation with the Zapier integration. After the trial period ended, the integration with Zapier stopped working for some reasons. I quickly found out that many features like custom themes, custom integrations, commenting support are only available with certain subscription tiers. Commenting on each blog post isn’t available by default, unless I’m on the Creator tier and customize one of the provided theme. To use Commento, I needed an API key, as well as a custom theme and a custom integration. And, moreover, a custom version of Casper with some script invocation added to enable Commento integration. Forking such a builtin theme requires staying in sync with the official theme, as Ghost update them from time to time to benefit from all Ghost’s additions. Finally, I paid a visit to Google Search Console to add my Ghost website for better SEO management and optimizations. I became a subscriber at the entry-level tier for $9 per month, but I quickly realized that the $25 was the one I need (consider bookmarking and read “Moving From Substack to Ghost — My Experience” for more details.)
- iPadOS 15 introduced support for Safari extensions. Working on the iPad now feels less and less a compromise, as Grammarly support and many other extensions are now available. For people depending on the iPad, it is a much welcomed addition. Unexpectedly, in 2021, my workflow shifted towards the MacBook Air (read “Coming Out of a Rabbit Hole and Buying Two MacBook Air”).
- Pocket made a comeback in addition to Readwise (consider bookmarking and read “Instapaper vs Pocket — Which Read Later Service Is Better for Me”). Pocket is well-known and doesn’t need much introduction. According to Readwise website: “Readwise makes it easy to revisit and learn from your ebook & article highlights.” Resurfacing previously highlighted text snippets is fun and helps build a lasting memory of past readings. I added a Readwise as a source to my weekly newsletter built using Mailbrew.
- Using Readwise sharing feature to repost quotes on Twitter is handy. I don’t use it too often, though.
- WordPress plugin: I’m using the paid version of “WB to Buffer” for reposting previously published posts to Buffer. With another WordPress plugin named “Feedzy” it imports RSS feeds from Substack and Microblog and create “Also on my …” type of blog posts automatically. It didn’t generate much traction and added too much noise in my original content feed. This was disabled after a few months, when I moved out of Substack.
- I unexpectedly started using Matter when Matter officially became public. Matter seems to gain some traction over Pocket as the best read later service. Compared to Pocket, it creates great link posts that can be saved or shared online, just like Readwise and Pocket.
- I became a subscriber of Typefully (typefully.com), a web application for writing threads on Twitter. Some features of Typefully are similar to Buffer’s, like being able to schedule tweets. I use it to write threads to complement some of my articles. The latest example things to watch in 2022. Finally, Typefully brings great engagement analytics
My experience with HEY World didn’t last long. I’ve been moving out of HEY World to go to Substack for my Friday Notes and Photo Legend Series (consider bookmarking and read “Migrating My Content From Hey World to Substack”). I can say the same thing about my Substack experience. These services, while being attractive, didn’t stick in my workflow.
HEY is no longer on the workflow diagram. HEY doesn’t really contribute to my blogger workflow. Most of my readings doesn’t happen there anyway, even if HEY provide a newsletters dedicated feed, one of the tent pole feature of the mail client.
Substack is out as mentioned earlier. The popularity of a platform doesn’t guarantee the popularity of your content.
I closed my Telegram account, read more here to know the reasons why. I’m contemplating Signals instead.
WordPress Plugin: Coblock was disabled to remove overhead in webpage processing. It didn’t make a difference, though.
I do spend more time maintaining my digital garden in Craft all year long. You can find a lot of stuff in there.
I’m still trying to figure out how to use Apple’s Quick Notes feature in iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey. I may end up having no use for this after all. Too bad because on paper the idea is cool.
I’m always thinking about my use of Apple’s Reminders in my workflow. Reminders has improved quite a lot over the years, but occasionally, I think Craft could take over if tables support was better (sorting, tagging, etc.). The more things I’ll do with Craft, the more synergy it creates. I’ll watch Craft’s evolution in 2022, and maybe I’ll make a move.
Things to Improve
The addition of text clipping in Craft would be so helpful. There are shortcuts that work with Craft that do just that, but I don’t find the experience very satisfying.
Speaking of Apple’s Shortcuts, I do find more use cases for them to speed up a few key tasks, like setting up my work session after logging into my account on macOS.
Templates in Craft to kickstart the creation of a new article would be very handy. It is expected in 2022, in an upcoming update in 2022 or via an extension.
As much as I would like to see the addition of tags in Craft, the implementation of this feature could be tricky. Where should we be able to tag things actually: In a page’s properties, inline in page’s content?
I have to work on my reading workflow and decide what I’m going to do with Pocket, Readwise and Matter. Pocket will probably go as it is entirely covered with Matter.
My usage of Craft has significantly increased this year. It is becoming my second brain (Fun fact: find out the name of my MacBook Air). Lately, I decided to use Craft calendaring feature to prepare a weekly planning which contains my content creation objectives. As the week progresses, I keep it up-to-date and check items off the list. It’s a satisfying experience. Trust me.
I’m still using Notion to keep my old data and connect Matter to Notion to save my reading highlights automatically. As soon as a Craft extension allows for pumping my data out of Notion, I might be done with Notion once and for all. Notion is not shown on my workflow diagram, but it will in an upcoming post about my reading workflow.
Twitter Revue: I had a Revue account before Twitter bought them. Now that it is integrated into their platform, I experimented with it (read a sample issue here). I love Twitter Revue, but I have yet to find a unique and useful use case for it. I currently have five subscribers.
Furthermore, I should consider closing my Flipboard account. I never go there, it’s not what it used to be, and I don’t get any traffic from this platform.
Google News where I cross-post my main blog content could also go down the drain too. I don’t get any traction there.
Finally, Tumblr is another place where I cross-post content. Tumblr has become a ghost town in recent years. It doesn’t help at all. Even if cross-posting is done automatically using WordPress builtin feature, I should consider stopping using this platform.
In my previous workflow update, I considered moving my Photo Legend Series to Hey, which I did for a short while. Now, this is hosted on Ghost, with my Friday Notes Series and my monthly newsletter. I like consolidating stuff sporadically.
Since getting a MacBook Air, my iPad Pro usage significantly dropped. The Mac is the power user tool. I cannot be as productive on an iPad.
I worked a lot on my WordPress blog to improve its score on Google’s PageSpeed Insights, as documented here. Did it make a difference? According to my blog visitors statistics, the answer is no. Here is a strange thing: if I run PageSpeed tests twice in a row, the final score is quite different. Usually, the second try gives much better results. How much trust should I put in these results? Another observation: my score for this blog, a static website, is the worst. Is Blot hosted on a low-end performance tier in the cloud?
I’ve been using Commento with Blot to add comments support on this blog. I never got a single comment! It’s a high price to pay for a service that nobody takes advantage of. Maybe it will be a better fit with my newsletter website on Ghost? Time will tell.
IFTTT still plays an important role in my publishing workflow as it works with Buffer to help me control the cross-posting flow. Each day, I spend some time managing the Buffer queue to spread out posts to be published. I also use IFTTT to cross-post anything that I post on Reddit, to my Twitter channel on Buffer. There is a new calendar view in Buffer which helps see a timeline overview of all future publishing. Buffer isn’t cheap, but I like what it does for me. Cross-posting content do help create traffic and improves engagement.
Well, that was a long one. For an upcoming article, I want to walk you through my reading workflow. I do read a lot of stuff online, and many applications and services are at play here. Reading is the source of my inspiration for most of my work as a content creator. I think there are some interesting things to write about. Stay tuned and see you in 2022.