Saturday 2 July 2016

How To Use Spreadsheets To Organise Your Blog

If you know me then you know I love everything to be super organised. I need to have control over every situation and I have to meet deadlines, many weeks or even months in advance in some cases ! It just helps with my anxiety, so that's just the way I roll. I manage my own personal blog (uploading every other day on normal occasions) alongside two side blog projects that I am part of; one I upload four times a month and one where I upload a couple of times a year. To add to this, I also write for a print magazine and an online magazine. In order to avoid exploding with stress- I need to be organised. Period!

This is where spreadsheets come in. They are my life saver! I honestly couldn't think how I would stay on top of everything without them! I have always wanted to use spreadsheets to organise my blog but to pretty honest with you guys, they scared me! I had no idea where to start and I couldn't find any blog posts on how any other bloggers used them. That was until Hannah from Hannah Emily Lane shared how she used them! Honestly, I couldn't thank this girl enough! Her blog post, which you can read HERE was so useful and really gave me the inspiration I needed. 

Today I thought I would share with you guys how I use spreadsheets to basically organise my whole life and stop me crawling into a ball into the corner and crying about all the work I have to do! I hope you find this useful! If you any questions or queries about using spreadsheets, don't be afraid to ask in the comments below- I don't bite!

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Okay, so the first page I have on my blog spreadsheet, which is also probably the most interesting is my ideas page! This is where all the magic happens! Whenever I get an idea, I make sure that I write it in on this page of the spreadsheet, under the relevant category. If I can't get access to the spreadsheet when I get an idea (Let's face it most of my best ideas happen, when I am trying to fall asleep late at night) I simply write it down in the memo section of my phone and copy it up next time I have the chance!

Side note; I am really sorry lots of the photos in this post are blurred, but I can't have you being cheeky and nicking any of my utterly fabulous post ideas, can't I? So what's actually going on, on this page? Well, I simply created a list of all the different topic areas I cover on my blog. So there's one for feminism, books, mental health etc. In total, there are 8 lists. 

The observant amongst you may have noticed that the titles of lists are different colours. Which surprise surprise, do actually mean something and they are not just randomly used, to make the spreadsheet look more pretty. All the colours of the titles correspond with my Google Calender, which I have on my phone as an easy access to my blog schedule. Yes, I know that seems a bit excessive but I like colour coding things, Okay? If you are interested to see how I use Google Calender to organise my blog- you can check out a post I did about it HERE!
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Here's a closer look at one of the lists. I simply write down the ideas under the relevant title, in a new cell each time (I nearly called it a textbox! Oh dear Nicole you need to get your head in gear) Once the post has been published, I put an 'X' in the published column. I also like to keep a track of when I am planning to put some of these posts up, so in the 'When?' column I pick a colour for the month and write what month I plan to publish that post! Simples really!

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The next tab I use in my blog spreadsheet is; Schedule. This is how I keep track of all the posts that are going to be going up that month, as well as keeping a record of what features I have or have not added to that blog post. It can be really easy to forget to add the finishing touches to blog posts like ALT tags or a jump break. But these things are really important and should not be underestimated. To make sure I don't forget anything, when I edit a blog post as I go along I fill in these check boxes, This is also really handy when I am doing my #SpeakUp posts and I am waiting for photos or social media links etc. so I can easily see what I waiting for so, I don't forget and leave it until the day of publishing!

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Leaving things to the last minute plus anxiety equals no no no!
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Here's a closer look at my schedule. To keep it organised, I write the month down the side and have all the dates in the cell next to it. What's great about spreadsheets, is if you are lazy like me then you can write a few dates in and then drag them down until you want to stop and it will fill all the dates in for you! A lazy girl's dream, if you ask me! When the post has been published I like to put an 'X' in the status box!

As I mentioned before, I am part of lot's of other projects in relation to blogging and I run my own #SpeakUp project. In order to get a new #SpeakUp post up every week and to keep on up of all my other responsibilities, it is imperative I am aware of what's going on every week otherwise it could end in disaster! This is just an example of a simple table format that I use for all my projects, but this one in particular is for #SpeakUp. I record the date, the blogger who will be writing the post, the topic they will be talking about, if it has been written, if it has photos and when it has been published. This way, I know when everything is going up and can feel slightly more in control of everything!

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The last page in my blog spreadsheet is stats. I only really record my Twitter stats, as I don't own my own blog domain and therefore, I can't use Google analytics and I don't really trust blogger stats. Anyway, I am a massive analytics nerd, so my Twitter stats really excite me! I genuinely look forward to filling this in at the end of the month! Yes, I know I am very sad! But I am completely okay with that! I practically record everything Twitter analytics gives me from how many tweets I published that month to my engagement rate. What I do find so exciting though is how many link clicks I can get from Twitter!! It just makes me want to put even more effort into Twitter and continue to boost my traffic!

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I hope you enjoyed this rundown of how I use spreadsheets to organise my blog and maybe have given you some ideas or inspiration on how you can organise your blog in the future, using a spreadsheet.

Like I said before, most of these ideas came from Hannah, so please go and check out her blog and spreadsheet post out. She even has a free downloadable template, so if you love the idea but have no idea where to get started, she's ya gal!

Do you use spreadsheets to organise your blog? If you don't I would love to hear how you keep track of everything blog related in the comments below!

Thanks for reading, as always x

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