I have been asked what my work set up is like, what tools I use, how geeky I really I am etc. So I am going to fill you in, whether you are interested or not ;-). I run my own SEO business, work as the managing editor of Search Engine Journal and have side projects I work on at the same time; having the right tools is really important. ;-). Here are the items I use every day to make it through my day effectively.
I worked for years where ever I could sit with my laptop. I did a lot of work that way, but it was very difficult working with just one screen. It is also very easy to be distracted if you are not in an office. Currently I have two laptops and an additional HP 23 inch, LED screen plugged in to one of them. This allows me to have Tweetdeck and email moving on one and then I have two screens for work.
My computers include Dell XPS with a 15.6 inch 1080p screen, i7 with a backlit keyboard & Blu-Ray. It is Heavenly and the speakers are outstanding! Battery lasts about 6 hours. Some other great features:
NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M 1GB graphics with Optimus
2nd generation Intel Core i7-2630QM processor 2.00 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 2.90 GHz
JBL 2.1 Speakers with Waves Maxx Audio 3
750GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
(Dell did a great job with this one, I must say)
My other laptop is a 13 inch Lenevo that is a work-horse and weighs a little over 3 pounds with an optical drive. It has been my business meeting & conference computer due to size and weight. I also have an iPad that is great for reading articles that I am trying to keep up with. The Flipboard app has made this process easier and allows me to put all my reading into categories. Another time saver J
It is a constant effort to keep the clutter out, but it when all is clean I can focus more on my work. Clutter distracts me. I also have some inspiration on the walls that make me smile. Take a peak J
If you are in a happy environment you will work better. I got this amazing wall art at FatHead.com.
You must have a chair that is comfortable and supportive if you are going to be sitting in one for more than 4 hours a day. I have the Serta Big and Tall Executive Chair. If you have met me you know I am not very tall (and I don't think big), but this chair fits just right and supports my neck.
Two Online Paid Seo Tools I Use Daily
I use Raven Tools and SEOmoz Pro for research, tracking and reporting.
Raven - In case you were not aware, Ravens Research Central offers data from MajesticSEO, SEMRush and SEOmoz, all via API access. So with Raven I have a lot of data in one place and Raven also creates my customized reports and sends them automatically to my clients and this saves me a ton of time. Raven also offers social monitoring as well and if you are running multiple social media campaigns the data saved and displayed for you is outstanding.
SEOmoz - SEOmozs Open Site Explorer gives me a ton of data fast and is a must have in the SEO world. The Keyword Analysis tool is very useful because it helps you determine how hard it will be for you to help clients rank for a keyword(s); the competitive intelligence data that comes with this tool is very useful. The Rank Tracking tool allows you to check, track and monitor your rankings in the three main search engines. It also shows you increases and decreases in rankings over time which can be useful when creating reports for clients. SEOmoz also now has social monitoring which I have not played with yet, but will be doing today.
Other Office Tools
I have a wi-fi printer and a loud stereo for those days I just need music.
A wireless keyboard and mouse are essential.
I have anti-glare in my glasses so my eyes don't strain and cause headaches every day from looking at bright and happy screens.
I have TweetDeck on my computers and HootSuite on my iPad.
I have multiple back-up drives just in case, but I am on the lookout for a 1 TB desktop (and another screen because 4 would make my life easier).
I have Panasonic phones with Link to Cell so I can use a regular phone through my iPhone.
I have a collection of boxes that keep my life very organized.
An Olympus SLR camera to take great photos for client websites and helps save some time and money.
Family photos scattered to remind you why you are working.
Whatever you celebrate this holiday season you should make your life a little more festive. Happy makes work move more smoothly and quickly.
There are probably a lot of little things I am not mentioning, but these are the basics I use daily to keep me going. It isn't always easy to do this job and remain creative and happy. Data overload can really wear you out, so a happy environment and breaks come in very handy. I will say that between music and looking at all the Star Wars stuff on the walls (there is more than what you see here) I don't need to leave as often to breathe. My recommendation is to create an office that inspires you, relaxes you and makes you happy. Plus, don't feel guilty spending the money on great computers, furniture and gadgets that make your day easier because you really need them.
Melissa Fach is the owner of SEO Aware and the managing editor of Search Engine Journal. You can find her on Twitter @SEOAware.