I've heard of Torservers and Noisetor. I've considered donating to them, but I want to avoid consolidating the Tor network in those two organizations, so I'd like to operate my own Tor node. (I also think it might be more interesting and educational to run my own node than just to donate every month).
How can I make sure that my node is as useful to the Tor network as possible? Are there steps that I should take to make its network contribution more useful? Are there things that I can do to make my node more secure? Are there things I can do to make it less likely that someone will try (or succeed) at taking down my Tor node? Are there things that I should definitely make sure not to do when running my node?