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Another year has begun and it’s a good time to take stock of your blog and get organized for 2016. If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know that I’m not really one for only planning at the start of a new year. That goes for my blog too. I make plans and perform reviews throughout the year but January 1st is the start of a new taxation year, so it is an appropriate time to take stock of a few things and get ready for a new year of blogging.
Set up systems for managing your blog’s finances.
If you already have a great system in place, all you may need to do is to get 2015 cleared out and 2016 set up. Didn’t have a great financial plan for last year? Then here’s your chance to start off 2016 the right way. I have a small folder with labelled dividers (gas, food, accommodations, etc) that I keep in the car for receipts I encounter along the way (I also take this same folder with me when I travel for business – such as to conferences and meetings). I cleared this out at the end of 2015 and put those receipts into my tax files, ready to take to my accountant. Now it’s empty and awaiting 2016 receipts.
I did the same with my tax files that I keep in the house, setting up folders labelled for each month of 2016. I stick a bunch of paper clips on the front of each folder so that as I gather receipts and invoices, I can organize them according to category within each month. I also use spreadsheets for tracking payments (ones that are due, ones that are completed), bills to be paid, business expenses, and so on and I have set up a new empty set of spreadsheets for 2016. Not too keen on setting up your own systems? You may want to use an already established system such as FreshBooks. I’ve heard really good things about it.
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Update your editorial calendar.
I don’t write my calendar at the beginning of each year – it’s something I continue to work on the whole year as new ideas and plans occur to me. But, I find this to be a good time to survey my blog and the posts I have put up over the past year.
What was my balance of sponsored vs. organic content like? What about the balance among the different categories of content? Were there any gaps in content – times when I wasn’t posting very much that perhaps I can be better prepared for this year? What about the timing of my content – do I need to get seasonal content out earlier? Even though I like to revisit my editorial calendar throughout the year, I find doing an overview of the entire previous year can highlight some key areas to revise and focus on.
Put other organizational systems in place.
You have a way of dealing with your finances and you have a calendar but what other systems do you need for the year ahead?
I like to create folders on my computer for each category that I will be posting about. I have a main folder labelled with the names of my blogs and then sub-folders for things like dessert recipes, quick and easy dinners, each of the holidays, family fun ideas, kids’ crafts, and so on. As I find ideas that I want to share on my blog, I add them to these folders for easy organization and access. I also set up new folders for each of my clients. I curate content for some of them and this makes it easy to drag and drop content ideas into the folders as I come across them.
I also set up new spreadsheets for tracking my social media shares and those of each of my clients. This is a great way of planning for sharing my own and curated content at the most appropriate times. I create new sheets for my stats as well – this is so handy when you want to see what kind of results you are having and make any necessary adjustments to build on your progress (or change course when things aren’t going well).