1. Host your own images
The first and most obvious is that if you hotlink from someone else’s site, you have no control over if that image stays on the web. If they shut their site down, the image is gone and you have a broken image link in your post.
And I also recommend that you don’t use any image hosting service if you can avoid it. I used to have an account at WebShots for hosting images at another of my blogs. Most of the images were ones that I photoshopped myself from screen captures, but I did have some images that I probably should have known were infringing on some copyrights. If you host your own images, and someone wants one taken down for infringement, they can contact you and you can delete it. At Webshots, however, they just deleted every picture in my account. The point of having the Webshots account in the first place was to try to drive more traffic to the site by putting links to the posts that contained them in the comments… but when all the images are gone, that doesn’t work so well.
2. Don’t use videos
The caveat here is that you can use videos that you’ve created and uploaded to an account that you own. You still run the risk of being shut down without notice, though.
But, as with images, you don’t want to rely on videos from someone else when they could remove the videos (or have them removed) at any time. I’m totally fine with throwing them on Facebook, because I know that if people don’t see it within a couple days, they’re never going to see it anyway, so if the video disappears, no big deal. But when I’ve taken the time to compose a post, even if it’s a single sentence and a picture, I want it to be there in it’s original form unless I decide to alter or remove it. I don’t want that decision in someone else’s hands.
3. Take out the date on individual post pages
This one I totally copycheated from Tim Ferriss’ presentation on creating a high-traffic blog. But it applies not just to making a high-traffic blog, but also to helping your posts stand the test of time. Tim’s advice was actually to just put the date at the bottom of the post on individual pages so that readers won’t know how old it is without reading it first or at least scrolling down the page. This is a good alternative to my more extreme idea of just removing the date completely.
There are obviously some blogs that should have a date very clearly displayed: mostly those that cover time-sensitive news stories. E.g., I don’t want to read about the beta release of a product a year after it’s been out of beta, or read about Jessica Simpson jinxing Tony Romo when they’ve already broken up. But, this kind of post right here should be relevant for longer than Jess and Romes were dating, so I feel I’d be within my means to remove the date, but I haven’t done so on this blog because I do still write about some time-sensitive news, and I
always usually try to practice what I preach.
There is a site called Don’t Break The Chain based on the Seinfeldian wisdom that if you a) have daily task, and b) mark days on a calendar in which you completed that task, you c) build up a chain on the calendar that you don’t want to break.
I signed up for the site, but you have to add a separate calendar for each goal that you want to track. (That, and it’s yet another tool you have to add to your web app arsenal) Since I only have a few things that I want to do every single day, it wouldn’t be that big a deal, but I have a few other things (such as posting to this blog) that I want to make sure I do a few times a week, but not necessarily every day.
So, I went to a tool that I already use for things like my finances, car maintenance, book notes, etc.: Google Docs. Since GD is already part of my workflow, I find it easier to integrate new spreadsheets and docs even though it does basically just involve opening another web site.
Since I was creating my own spreadsheet though, I could add some customizations not available in Don’t Break The Chain. I not only addressed my ability to track more than a one goal on a page (eliminating the few seconds it takes to flip between calendars to update your chain), but also made it so that I could track my weekly goals in addition to my daily goals.
It was very easy to just throw in two dates that were a week apart, and then drag that little blue square in the bottom right of the cell down so that GD copied weekly dates for me for several months at once. From the picture over there you can also clearly see that I have color-coded the cells so that the colors change depending on a) the number of times I want to do something each week, and b) the number of times I have done that thing this week.
So, you can see I’m doing well with Exercise, need to do some serious Meditation, and am falling behind on my Jammin’ and Groovin’. I’ve posted once to this blog – and since I’m only aiming for 2 per week, that gets me to Yellow already; I’m good on Friending Natalie Portman; and need to get in a little more Humping of Mannequins.
Here’s what it looks like in GD when you select Format -> “Change colors with rules…” You can change the text color in addition to the background color, but I find that just makes it hard to read.