A new year, a new beginning…….
I am a girl of rituals, and I have this habit of attaching things to do to certain dates on the calendar of to the change of seasons. The beginning of a new year marks the time to get some online and blog business in order. This is what I’ll be working on this week, so that I can start fresh, safe and organized in the new year.
Will you join me….
1. Change Passwords
I wrote a post about this last year, and I can’t stress enough how important this is. We are all online so much and in so many different places. And all of those places want you to make an account and set a username and password. I am the first to acknowledge how easy it is to use the same password over and over and for years on end. But that is putting yourself at risk. Take a moment to read my post on why your password might not be safe and on how to set safe passwords that you can actually remember. And then take fifteen minutes to change your passwords. Start with the most important ones that all need their individual password (your email account, your bank accounts, your blog administration and your hosting site) and then set a few new ones that you are consistently going to use on all the other sites. Just do it!
2. Add profile pic to Gravatar
When you comment on my blog (or any other WordPress blog) does your profile picture show up? No? Then hop on over to Gravatar and add a profile image to the email address you use to comment and poof your beautiful face will be smiling back at me when you comment. If you have no idea what I am talking about go here for my post on how to add your profile image to your comment on a WordPress Blog.
3. Check whether you are still a Reply Blogger
If you are a Blogspot blogger (that means you are still using Blogger for your site) you might want to check if you have not, unknowingly, become a ‘no-reply-blogger’ again. When you leave a comment I am sure you want to be able to receive a response in return. If you have no email attached to your blogger profile however you will be a commenter that comes up as a “no-reply” in the inbox. Google is messing with this function lately and especially if you have attached your profile to Google+ you might have returned to no-reply status without being aware of it.
So leave a comment on a Blogger blog from a friend and ask to be notified if your email address shows up. If you don’t get a reply you will know that she was not able to reply back to you and you have to fix it. Here is a good explanation on how to stop being a “no-reply-blogger”.
4. Back up your blog and install a system to back-up regularly
I have said it before and I have said it again. When was the last time you have backed up your blog and template? Ha! Okay, of you go and back up that baby. And while you are at it, set up a system to do it regularly. If you are on WordPress, install a plugin and set it to back it up often; if you are on Blogger set up weekly reminders (with notifications) in your calendar to do it manually. If you don’t know how to back up your blog and template on blogger this post shows you how.
5. Back up your images (and other files)
While on the subject of backing up. When was the last time you backed up your images? Ha! I knew it. Now go hunt down that extra hard drive or the CD Roms or set up that account with an online backup system and back up those precious memories.
6. Look, Evaluate and Plan
Look back at your blogging from last year and think about what you would like to change and make a plan
Maybe when you look back you will realize that in your busy life with job, husbands, kids, grandkids, dogs, yard, family and friends, your blog is the one little corner of the universe that is just for you. Your little sanctuary from all the demands put on you. Have you been able to retreat into your sanctuary enough or should you guard your me-time better against all other demands? What can you do this year to have more fun blogging?
Or maybe you look back and realize that your blog has been a major time suck and that it has taken precious time away from things that should be more important, like making real connections. How can you better balance blogging with living? Again just thinking about it won’t help, make a plan, a realistic plan and think about what you can do to help you stick to your plan.
7. Think about your reasons to blog
Take a moment to remember why you started your blog in the first place? Has you motivation changed? What will your driving force behind your blogging be this year?
You may blog strictly for fun, or your blog may be your main motor behind your crafting and decorating endeavours, or your blog is your business or you want it to be, whatever your blog means to you, now is a good time to look back and see if you are on the right track. If you started doing this just for fun, has it been fun?, is it still fun? what can you do to enjoy it even more? Or maybe you have developed new goals and dreams for your blog. Take a moment to reflect on it, map out a route you want to take and than make a plan on how to do it.
8. Organizing stuff. Get a better system in order and start the new year fresh.
Okay enough thinking and reflecting, let’s do something real again. A new year is the perfect time to start fresh. Have Inbox problems? Never can find anything on your pc? Are you forever searching for that picture of your couch with the blue pillows? Forget about last years mess, don’t even try to fix it. Just file it all away in one dump folder called old and start fresh.
Take a few moments to think about a system that might work for you and then set it up. I have already started this. Yesterday I copied some of my spreadsheets from last year, renamed them, emptied the contents and adapted a few categories. My filing system for my blog administration is ready. Today I will tackle my image storage. My old system is not bad, but I am lacking in good habits, so today I am going to fine tune my folders and set up reminders for how I want to deal with all those images. I know I will need those reminders until the new habit has formed (oh and sometimes a reminder is as simple as a post it, attached to my pc screen).
Here is a great post I found on organizing your email and your files.
9. Think about one new thing you want to learn this month.
No matter what age our brains need to be challenged to stay fit (just like our muscles), it is a good thing to break a routine and do something unexpectant (even as simple as taking an alternative route to the store). It is even better to challenge ourselves and learn something new. So choose one thing that you have been avoiding like crazy and promise that you will make an effort to learn it. It could be how to make a design change on your blog; or figure out what SEO means; or learn how to haggle in French so you are ready for Flea market season. Me? I am going to dive into Google Analytics. I know the basics but that is just it and I know it could be a wealth of information. So this month I am going to carve out an evening and search for Youtube videos and try to learn the inner works of Google Analytics. I am going to dive in even though it scares me. Please send a cute life guard if I don’t surface again….
10. Change your header
It is January 3, the Christmas season is over. If you were like me and Chistmassified your header on your blog, Facebook page or anywhere else, it is time to change it out again. Don’t be like me in past years where I would have the Christmas banner up until February. I changed mine yesterday, go change yours today too,
Let’s all keep blogging together!