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:
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:
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.
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.
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.