Last updated March 7, 2015
This is a list of blog organization tasks I wish I had completed before I launched my blog. Had I done them, I would have been more organized and productive, and I would have saved a lot of time and sanity along the way.
1. Set up your email list
Ask any seasoned blogger what they wish they’d done from the beginning and most will say they should have started building an email list sooner. There are a lot of email service providers (ESPs) that allow you to start for free. I personally use Mad Mimi (here’s my tutorial). It’s easy to use and the customer service is exceptional.
2. Know basic blog design dos and dont’s
Good design is not as important as good content, but doing your best to make your site user-friendly and asthetically pleasing is a good idea. The easiest way to do this is to choose a well-designed theme. Here’s what I recommend and use. Also, be familiar with some basic design dos & don’ts.
3. Start purposeful social media engagement
While you’re getting your own site set up, take advantage of what’s already happening on social media. I don’t mean just be there, I mean be strategic. Start by picking the one site where your ideal readers are hanging out and build genuine relationships. Once your site goes live, it’ll be nice to have people to tell. Here are some of my networking tips.
4. Set up a place to store logins and passwords
It’s amazing how quickly you’ll collect usernames and passwords. Designate one spot to keep track of them all. There are also tools like LastPass (Chrome extension) or 1Password. Use good ol’ pencil and paper if you have to. I’ve used a PocketMod or a small, cheap address book.
5. Create a way to capture your blog post ideas
Great resources to capture ideas are Evernote (that’s my referral link, meaning, if you opt for the premium version I’ll get some perks, but honestly, the free version is totally sufficient to start), a note-taking app on your phone or a paper notebook. I always seem to get good ideas when I’m driving. If you do too, try calling yourself and leaving a voicemail or using a voice recorder app (here are some ideas for Android and iPhone). Regardless of how you do it, keep all your ideas in one place.
6. Get a Google account
You’ll need a Google account to set up Google Analytics which will help you track your site stats. You can also use your Google account for all of Google’s other products like Google Drive, Google Calendar and Gmail.
There’s debate about whether your email address looks more professional as [email protected] or [email protected]. Personally, I have done both. For many years, my [email protected] address worked just fine, but now I use a [email protected] address to send out my emails, like the Useletter®.
Having an email address with your domain in it is important, because as of 2016, emails sent to your list are more likely to land in subscriber inboxes and less likely to land in spam folders. I got my domain email address from G Suite (my referral link). I costs $5 a month, but it allows me to have all the benefits of Gmail, which I love. Here are my top Gmail tips as well as my tips for managing email.
7. Sign up with Swagbucks
Swagbucks is a way to start making a little bit of money online right away. Read my post What is Swagbucks and How Does It Work? for more.
8. Sign up with Gravatar
Gravatar is a service you sign up with once and it makes your picture show up next to comments you leave on other blogs and around the internet in general. Using one picture across the internet is a good way to build your brand.
9. Sign up with Pocket
No doubt you’ll come across a boatload of things you’d like to read as you go through the process of setting up your blog. Pocket is a handy tool that allows you to save things to read later so you don’t get distracted now. It’s a great time management tool and can by synced across all your devices. You can also read things later offline (great for the plane or when you don’t have wifi). Here are some of my other productivity tips.
10. Set up a buzz file
A buzz file is a designated spot to store nice things people say about you. This comes in handy if you need some testimonials or want to create a publicity page (“As seen on…” or “Press/Media”). Direct quotes or links to where you are featured adds credibility.
You could use the file to find people to encourage, send an email to or send free stuff to, just because. Or, revisit it if you need to read some encouragement and know that what you’re doing is helping others. (That’s always nice when you get hate mail.)
Are you hoping to make money too?
If you hope to eventually make money blogging, read my post 11 Things To Do Before You Start Making Money Online as well.