For the past week, I have been working on getting everything blog related organized for the new year. It is amazing how much there is…I am not completely yet done, but it feels good to get my all of my ducks in a row (so to speak). Since this is a quiet time in blogging, for most of us, now is a great time to do a few things that will make your life a little easier. I hope this Blogger Checklist will help you.
Here is what I suggest:
Delete old emails that you no longer need! It feels SO good to go through and delete, and watch the inbox numbers go down. Mine are actually under 100 now, which is a huge accomplishment for me.
The ideas below are for Gmail, but this is a good time to explore whatever email system you are using, and take advantage of its features.
Make labels for your email messages. While you are doing this, plan ahead a bit, as you will also want to nest messages (this is a fabulous feature of Gmail!). Here is an example of how I have mine labelled and nested:
I have a master label for “FORUMS/COMMUNITIES”, and nested under this label are Mom Central, Social Fabric, etc. You could even take it a step further and under Social Fabric nest “Social Fabric Opps I am Doing” under it. I also have a master label for “NEWSLETTERS”, and under that I nest items such as Mashable, TechCrunch, etc. Another helpful master label is “REVIEWS/GIVEAWAYS” and nested under that are “2012 Winners”, “2012 Review Opps”, etc. Of course it is a good idea to also have a master label for “PERSONAL”. Under this I have things such as school emails, Sea Scouts emails (these could be nested further, under my daughter’s name), online orders, and anything else that is separate from blog stuff.
For labels that you don’t use very often, you can choose to “hide”them. Just go to “manage labels” and click “hide” for each one you won’t be using much.
Filter your email. I love this feature – I can choose to have things mark as read automatically, or to have a label applied to it automatically, and can even choose to have it bypass the inbox altogether. This is handy for those emails that you know you won’t be reading for awhile (i.e. certain newsletters).
Google Docs are your friend! I keep track of just about everything with them. Not only are they helpful in keeping you organized, but it much makes tax time much easier when you can refer to these. I create new docs for each year. I use the spreadsheets mostly (they are super easy). Here are a few of the different docs I have made and use almost daily:
- Affiliate Earnings and Paid dates
- Sponsored Posts (on this I put the contact’s email address, date paid, and payment format. I mark in yellow things that haven’t been paid yet).
- Winners (where I list ahead of time, the giveaway name, winner’s name and email, end date, how many winners, and date I notified winner)
- 2012 Blog Expenses (everything purchased online or offline, that is blog related, goes on this doc)
- Reviews and Giveaways (again, I put the sponsor/contact email, which makes it easy to contact them in Gmail, if I can’t find their email for some reason), ARV (for taxes), how many winners, giveaway prize, end date, etc.
You can also create a Google Doc to input names and email addresses from those emails that you don’t quite know what to do with! If you save that info on a doc, you can then delete the email, if you don’t think you will need to refer back to it.
Oh boy…this is a biggie.
- Look around on your site as if you were a reader. Pretend you are looking for something in particular. Is it easy to find?
- Check your categories…can any of these be eliminated? I have found that sometimes I have only one post in a certain category, and I can delete that category by just putting that one post under a different category. If you already have a minimal amount of categories, then you are in good shape!
- Double check your menus/navigation bar. Are your drop downs as they should be? Can certain things be consolidated?
- Update your PR Info page (If you have one). Are your stats current? Have you listed your most recent campaigns/ambassador programs?
- Is your contact information easy to find? If not, work on that.
- Freshen up your “About Me” page. It’s amazing how fast time goes by and how things change. Does it say everything you want people to know about you? Did your kids ages change?
If you have more free time on your hands, you might go through old posts and see what can be fixed, changed, SEO’d or look for photos that don’t have an alt ID tag, and add them. If you’re really bored, you can update your media kit too!
Whew…I’m tired now. Pardon me while I go take a nap 🙂
What have you done to get organized so far? Do you have any other suggestions for bloggers?