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How I organize my blog and why you need Dropbox right now

Apr 17 2017 -
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This post is in answer to the many questions I received about how I organize my blog after publishing my post: 15,000 Pageviews a month: How I did it in 1 year & how I do it every day! In that post I detailed my nitty gritty day to day schedule on how I promote this blog. But, like all schedules, mine keeps evolving with me, my time and what works best for me. For example: in that post I talked about how I was putting together posts that would then literally publish that very day. I don’t do that anymore. Now I am finishing posts and scheduling them at least two weeks before they go live on the blog. This has lessened my stress level considerably! I am no longer frantically putting posts together the day I want them to go live!

One glance at my blog and it becomes obvious I have a schedule. I post three times a week. This will not work for everyone but I find it is something I am capable of maintaining without losing my mind lol. When I say I am “getting ahead” of myself by putting together posts and getting them ready to publish weeks ahead of time I am only talking about my “Meat & Potatoes” blog posts: the posts that publish every Monday that make my blog what it is. For example I am writing this post now on March 22nd and its not going to publish until April 10th – every single Monday I have a post like this going live. Getting ahead like this has taken so much stress off of me and I really can’t encourage you enough to do the same.

(I can’t do this with all of my posts however, every Tuesday I put together my next link party post as I literally can’t put that one together until the day before its going to publish. But it is my main Monday posts that take the most effort and time from me so getting them complete ahead of time has truly improved my life.)

When I first started blogging I wrote my blog posts in a word processor first before bringing them to my blog and creating a post. I don’t do that anymore. When I think of an idea for a new blog post I create that post, schedule it WAY into the future and save it here. (I have a self hosted WordPress blog.) So, at any given time, I usually have upwards of a dozen or so future blog posts that are either started, waiting for me to finish them or, finished and waiting for me to publish them. I also create a folder for that blog post which brings me on to:

How do I stay organized? Well, I started by creating a new folder on my computer called “grandmashousediy” and in that folder there is a folder for each category on this blog and in each of those folders I have a folder for every single post that has been published or will publish to this blog and in each one of those folders are all of the raw untouched pictures that go with that post. In the main grandmashousediy folder I keep several photoshop files. (I use Photoshop CS2 – if you do a search in google you might find that Adobe is still offering it for download for free.) Those photoshop files include my logo/ghost image I put on all of my pictures that go in the blog, a template image for the main Pinnable image I make for all of my blog posts (you can see the one I made for this post below) and also a template for the featured image (the rectangular image you see for every blog post on my home page.)

After that I have a text file with my list of link parties that I enter and all of the posts that I’ve shared with them and another text file of my list of places I submit to and also every post I’ve shared with them too. Here are the places I submit to right now besides link parties and Facebook groups:

Blog organization, link parties, submit places, how and why you need to start using Dropbox for your blog

I, of course, don’t always have something to submit to any of them as they are all very specific but I try to submit to all of them once a week if I can. (Before submitting to them make sure and read their submission requirements carefully.) I also have a text file listing all of the Pinterest group boards I belong to and what pins/when I’m having BoardBooster submit to them. (Check out my earlier post about my Pinterest Strategy for more information about that.) I also have a text file of the Facebook groups I belong to and what I’ve shared with all of them as well.

Those plain text (.txt) files I’m talking about are exactly what they sound like. They’re not Word files or Open Office files or files from any kind of word processor. You can feel free to work out of any word processor that you prefer or even keep your blog organized using an Excel sheet etc. but I like to work in Notepad 🙂 Yup, you read that right: Notepad. Every single Windows computer has Notepad by default and literally every single computer (or smart phone etc.) can open a .txt file which is why I work in them because, with absolutely NO bells and whistles (not even spell check!), they don’t screw up lol its just plain text.

My link party text file is LONG, I literally have every single link party I submit to in it (all 120 of them!) organized together by the day they start/open and their URL and then listed under each link party is every single post I have ever submitted to them. It’s as simple as it gets and that’s why I like it. It looks like this:

Blog organization, link parties, submit places, how and why you need to start using Dropbox for your blog

Besides keeping a folder of all of our pre-renovation photos of the house and a few other misc items, that is all there is to the file/organization system I keep for my blog – its almost nothing but pictures! I don’t keep text files of my blog posts which I hope never comes to bite me in the butt someday 😉 of course I do endless backups here on the blog but if my blog suddenly disappeared tomorrow I would lose at least a few of my most recent blog posts and that is something that really bothers me. I’m looking into the cost of WordPress backup plugins that run daily and once I decide on one I’ll definitely let you all know how it goes.

Moving on to storage/organization. Back when I was a teenager we had a thunder storm and lightning struck our house destroying two tvs, all of our landline phones, a vcr, at least one of our garage door openers and my computer. I lost everything and I never forgot it. (Yes my computer was plugged into a surge protector – it didn’t work.) About ten years ago I started using something called Dropbox as a storage solution. Combined with Dropbox I also had a removable hard drive that I was keeping backups on. A few years ago our home was threatened by a wild fire in May and the Sheriff had us all evacuate so I packed a bag, put my dog in the car and grabbed my removable hard drive and I was set. Of course the wild fire never got near our house but everyone questioned why I didn’t grab my computer and I said, “There’s nothing on it.” Because that was literally true, I had nothing saved on my computer. And that remains true to this day, I don’t keep anything important saved to any of my computers.

So, what’s up with Dropbox and how does it work? Ok, Dropbox creates a folder on your computer called Dropbox (you literally use it like any other folder) and anything you put in it gets saved to their cloud. I have it on my phone and my other computer as well and everything in that folder, in all three locations, are the same files. Whenever I add a file it shows up in all three locations. If both of my computers and my phone get destroyed all I need is internet access and a web browser to login to Dropbox online to access all of my files. Totally simple and totally awesome.

Referral link to Dropbox

Blog organization, link parties, submit places, how and why you need to start using Dropbox for your blog

I’ve been trying to stay with the free version of Dropbox and, in conjunction with the removable hard drive, it was working fine. But then I started this blog and keeping all of its files in my Dropbox so, this winter (just a couple of months ago actually) I found myself hitting the limit of space that Dropbox offers for free. So, I bit the bullet and purchased the Dropbox Pro 50 plan for $100 a year and that gives me 50GB of space which is an INSANE amount of space that I’m only using 1% of! (I really wish Dropbox would offer half that: 25GB of space for $50 a year…) I don’t use my removable hard drive now as my Dropbox is big enough now to keep everything that is important to me.

Blog organization, link parties, submit places, how and why you need to start using Dropbox for your blog

Honestly, blogger or not, everyone should be doing something like this with the files that are important to them. All it takes is a hard drive to go bad or a lightning strike and poof: all your family photos are gone forever. (For those who have an Amazon Prime membership they also have a cloud storage option and there are LOTS of others to choose from besides.)

So, that’s how I do it, where I keep my blog files and how I keep it all organized.

Blog organization, link parties, submit places, how and why you need to start using Dropbox for your blog

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50 Comments

  1. April 17, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing… it’s always interesting to read how other people keep themselves organized. I’m sure there are as many ways to do it as there are people out there.

    I’m a spreadsheet gal, myself. I use Google Drive and the spreadsheet format that’s available there. So I’m on cloud storage as well – same reasons as you – no back up problems. I keep my list of blog parties in a spreadsheet: Down the left side I list the titles of my blog posts, and across the top I list the blog parties I typically participate in. Then I can see at a glance which post got posted to which party, because there’s a check mark in the appropriate box. If I have a busy week and a post doesn’t get linked up, for some reason, then I can quickly see that an old post can still be linked up without being a repeat.

    I use another spreadsheet, printed out into chart form, to help me complete all the steps necessary for a blog post. I have columns for all the steps – completing the project, taking photos, editing photos, drafting the post, proof reading the post, including links, etc. etc. etc. I keep this printed out and use it as a literal checklist so I don’t forget to do anything important.

    Thanks for talking about the contributor work you do… that’s something I need to look into more.

    Have a great day!
    Jenny

    • April 18, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      Jenny, you sound like your very organized! This blogging thing turned out to be a lot more work then I anticipated but it is SO worth it! I keep check lists too – if not I know I’ll forget something lol! Thanks so much for sharing how you keep your blog organized with us! Have a great week!

  2. April 18, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Wow…great info! I came for to read this but I want to come back and read this over and over…
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!
    Blessings,
    Cindy

  3. April 19, 2017 at 1:55 am

    I love dropbox – it has saved me several times when something crashed!

    • April 20, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks for commenting Roseann!

  4. April 19, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    That’s a wealth of information and all of it important. Right now I’m working on getting ahead with my posts. When I first started blogging I would write and publish the same day. Not anymore, that is a royal pain in the hiney. I’m also downloading Photoshop CC, CS2 is no longer available for download. I admire your dedication and will refer back to this post often. Thank you for sharing with us this week at Celebrate Your Story, and I hope your week is going great.

    • April 20, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      Sandra, isn’t that truth?! Getting posts ready to go the day they go live was just WAY too much stress for me, I can’t believe I didn’t start getting posts ready to go ahead of time a whole heck of a lot sooner! Thank you for coming by and commenting, have a great weekend!

  5. April 20, 2017 at 12:17 am

    Thank you Taryn for describing how you organize and keep your files safe. I will need to read this post several times to take in each step. Thanks.
    Joy

  6. April 20, 2017 at 12:18 am

    This is great! I use Dropbox all the time to transfer pictures from my phone to computer, but never thought to use it for my blog (and general organization). I feel so inspired now — thanks for sharing!

    Visiting from Welcome Home Wednesdays! Come visit us sometime at MammaTech — we are always looking for guest bloggers (and we pay)!

    Annie

    • April 20, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      One thing I just found Annie that I love is that I can transfer pics from my phone to Dropbox with just a couple of taps! No more emailing myself four pics at a time and THEN moving them to dropbox! Thanks for coming by!

  7. April 20, 2017 at 3:06 am

    You are so organized! Thanks for sharing your blogging strategies.

    • April 20, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      Thanks for coming by Jenny!

  8. April 21, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    You are incredible! Having a plan really does lead to blogging success. Thanks for always being willing to share all of your blogging know-how with all of us #happynowlinkup

  9. Jann Olson
    April 22, 2017 at 2:54 am

    Really great info. My daughter uses drop box to organize all of her recipes. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

  10. April 23, 2017 at 11:27 am

    I am always working a month ahead with the option of moving things around. I am a spreadsheet person so I have various spreadsheets for the link parties, etc. What really interested me is dropbox. I do have the free version but have not used it. I now feel like I am living on the edge and better get with it. Thanks for the great info.

    • April 24, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Thanks Debra, its always such a great learning curve to hear about how other bloggers keep organized etc!

  11. April 24, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    Even with the success I have had, there is always more to learn. Thanks for all you shared here! Thank you for sharing it at Celebrate Your story! Great stuff!

    • April 25, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Thanks for coming by Chloe!

  12. April 26, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Great post, Tarah! I installed Drop Box not too long ago, but haven’t taken advantage of it. You’ve given me the push I need 🙂 Thanks for linking up with Vintage Charm–

    • April 27, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Thanks Diana, its been a life saver for me!

  13. April 27, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Tarah my external hard drive went south last year and it wouldn’t open. At all! This is a great solution for storage and although I have the free version I should probably inveat in the other one because I have 20 GB worth of stuff in my blog!

    • April 27, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      Mary, I totally hear ya! The blog alone (with all the pictures!) is such a huge amount, I don’t regret the $100 a year at all even though I tried real hard to stick with the free version as long as I can! Can’t put a price on piece of mind!

  14. April 27, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing at #OverTheMoon and have a lovely week!

  15. May 20, 2017 at 10:52 am

    I keep everything in spreadsheets but I think thats because in my day job I’m a finance officer, I think the most important thing is to be able to keep track of what you have (and therefore have not) done and when.
    I use drop box too but actually reading this I think I have some gaps, some things that are not as backed up as they should be. I think that is a job for this weekend, thanks so much for the nudge and insight into your organisation system.

    • May 22, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Thanks for coming by Julie and sharing how you organize things! When I wrote the post it gave me the push to finally find a serious backup system for the blog (besides the arduous task of doing it manually every weekend) the backup plugin I chose cost a little bit but I feel so much better now and what was really neat is that I was able to connect it to dropbox so it backs the site up there automatically!

  16. June 21, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    I swear— You are my organizational hero. That is one of my projects this summer. I’ll definitely be taking a look at drop box because I need help! Thanks for the great information—I always enjoy reading your articles~

    • June 21, 2017 at 6:52 pm

      Oh thank you Heidi, its great to hear from you! It is truly amazing just how much of a job a blog is and just how much organizing it requires!

  17. June 30, 2017 at 5:45 am

    I have Dropbox, but probably am not using it effectively. I also have most of my photos backed up to Amazon. I also have a portable backup drive for my two desktop computers, as well as Carbonite backup. I hope that has me covered. So far I’m not as organized as you with the promotion. I do have a spreadsheet with all my Facebook groups listed, but I have too many blogs right now to keep to a regular schedule on any of them. I’m trying to decide which ones to eliminate.

    • June 30, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      Barbara, you sound like you really have yourself covered and very protected, that’s awesome! I’ve heard good things about Amazon’s cloud backup system for Prime members and plan on looking into it! Thank you for coming by, have a great weekend 🙂

  18. June 30, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I love my Drop Box and i love the way you organize your content promotion. I use the Cloud to save my files. Thanks for sharing at the Pit Stop! 🙂

    • June 30, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks for coming by Julie, hope you have a great weekend!

  19. June 30, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Thanks for the detailed description, I will bookmark this to study later. This is a blogging area in which I am still challenged. This will be helpful.

    • June 30, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      Thanks for coming by Aletha!

  20. June 30, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Wow, Tarah, what a lesson learned as a young teen. It took three times of my hard drive crashing before I finally implemented a system of backup. I’m nowhere as organized at you but I like your idea of Nothing on the computer and only on the removable drive and cloud.

    I actually did have my blog deleted back in 2013 so am very familiar with losing everything I’ve written. It’s a real grieving process.

    Backup to Dropbox is a WP plugin that is free, you might want to consider it and set it to once a week to start.
    Sara recently posted…What Are Some Tasks I Can Hand Over to My Assistant?My Profile

    • June 30, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      Hey Sara, yup there were lots of tears back then, but it was certainly a good lesson to learn so young! I definitely never forgot it lol. I will definitely have a look into Backup to Dropbox, thanks for the tip!

  21. July 2, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Your site is so awesome! I’ve already been to three pages and am just seeing more and more stuff to look at.

    • July 3, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      That’s awesome Amy! Thank you so much for coming by and reading!

  22. July 5, 2017 at 2:36 am

    You are wonderfully organized and your insight is obviously appreciated. The Blogger’s Pit Stop is going to feature this post. Well done.

    Kathleen
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

    • July 5, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Oh thank you so much Kathleen!!

  23. July 7, 2017 at 3:32 am

    Great post! I couldn’t be without my Dropbox! All my manuscripts and everything in my writing life is there too. I was lucky enough to learn about Dropbox a few months before I published my first book. 2 months later my computer crashed! I would have lost my manuscript. I’ve also managed to get some extra storage by having friends sign up for the bonus space. 🙂

    • July 7, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your experience with Dropbox! I’ll have to see if I can’t get some friends to sign up too! Have a great weekend 🙂

  24. July 8, 2017 at 11:30 am

    I really need to get Dropbox! Do you read & comment on blog posts in all the link parties you participate in?

    • July 10, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      Hi Cathy, yup I try to get to every single link party and open/pin on at least 2-3 links in every one of them! Thanks for coming by!

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Making a shoe rack and closet storage out an old ladder

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