The former Playboy “Playmate” Kendra Wilkinson appears on ABC TV tonight in a documentary about her battle with her weight. It is one of dozens of TV programs and “celebrity specials” about dieting or getting fit. It is, of course, the time of year when you can get “special deals” for fitness clubs and when people make resolutions to shed a few pounds. By the middle of February, their resolve is broken as those chocolate bars look enticing and getting to the gym in the cold weather seems less interesting.
But why do people reserve dieting and keeping fit to the first few weeks of each year? Surely it is an all-year activity? My own evidence proves the point. In the latter half of 2010 I lost just over 3 stones (20kg). I achieved this without dieting or going to the gym. All I did was change my attitude to food – I thought carefully about what I was eating, rather than just cramming it in my gob. But as the cold weather approached and the party season got in full swing, I gave up thinking about food. Result? I gained weight again. It is anecdotal evidence, I know, but a continuous pattern of thinking about what I was eating made me lose weight and become more healthy. In other words, it isn’t “dieting” that works, but concentrating on our “diet”, all the time.
The same is true for your website. You can bet that right now there will be business owners writing blog posts because they made a New Year’s Resolution to “blog more” in 2011. No doubt by the end of the month their enthusiasm will have waned. Similarly, there will be people who have started Tweeting away like crazy this week because they resolved to use more social networking in their business, only to find later in the month their Tweets will have dried up. Like dieting and fitness, people start the New Year full of desire and ambition for their websites, only to find that normal life takes over and their new ideas fail to enthral them any more.
However, as in the case of weight loss, going for this “all out” crash diet approach to websites does not work. You are full of enthusiasm and later on you “get back to normal”, which means your website fails to benefit. Instead, what you need is the “small steps daily” approach to your website so that it becomes routine – rather like my change in thinking about food.
So here are my “daily exercise” tips for a fit and healthy web business:
- First thing – switch on your computer and check your emails. Delete the nonsense. Answer those which can be dealt with inside two minutes and then schedule the remainder to be dealt with in a gap in your diary. Within 10 minutes you should have an empty inbox.
- Then, go to Twitter (better still, use HootSuite) to check your @mentions. Direct Messages and your Saved Searches. Respond to anything that needs a reply and Re-Tweet useful items.
- Now head over to Facebook – check your messages, notifications, invites and so on. Write a status update to let people know what you are up to today.
- Next, it is time for LinkedIn. Check your messages and invites, look through the “answers” section to see if there are any questions which you can contribute to. Answer at least one question.
- Then, switch to Ecademy or any other business social network you use, such as FastPitch, and check messages, connections and updates. Add anything brief you need to, perhaps commenting in a group or club, for example.
- Having completed your “social network routine” it’s now time for a real workout – writing your blog post for the day.
- Finally, once your blog is published, re-check your emails for any early-morning additions that need your attention.
All of this should take you no more than one hour – indeed, it can be done easily within 30-40 minutes. But once you have done this routine each day you’ll find your website gets more visitors and your time is better managed. If, however, your New Year Resolution is to “do more blogging” your mind will become focused on that single aspect of your website’s health. Your timetable will come under pressure as you devote more of your working hours to blogging. Plus, you will get fed up after a while because you realise you are neglecting other things, like Twitter.
However, if your approach is holistic, with a daily website fitness regime, you will find it more stimulating and you will accomplish more in less time as a result.
As the Playboy model says in her TV documentary tonight: “The second I stopped obsessing was the second I started to see results.” What she means is that once she forgot diets and crash fitness regimes and concentrated instead on simple healthy eating every day she actually started to lose weight. The same is true for a website. Once people stop being obsessed with Tweeting like crazy or blogging by the bucket-load they will see online results by concentrating instead on a daily diet of healthy Internet activity.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+