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Organization is a key part of productivity. After all, if you can’t find anything, it’s going to take a while to get things done.
That’s why I’m always super strict about my file organization. Whether it’s for work, my blog, or my personal life, my files always have to have some sort of organization.
So how can we ensure you’ll never lose a file again and always know where to look? Here’s how to organize your blog files.
How to Organize Your Blog Files: The Strategy
Honesty time: there’s going to be some clicking involved with our strategy.
Rather than having one folder filled with 500 files, you’re going to have one master folder with 5-10 subfolders in it. And within each of those sub-folders, you’ll have a few more sub-folders. And more sub-folders within those.
Sure, it gets a little annoying to have to click through all of the folders. But think of how much less time it will take you to look through 5-10 folders (arranged alphabetically) than it will to look through 500 files for the one you need.
Plus, you’re always going to know exactly where to find whatever file you need.
Still on board? Let’s get your folders set up!
How to Organize Your Blog Files: The Setup
First, we’re going to create one master folder for your blog.
We don’t want any of your blogging files to be mixed up with your personal or work files. Not only does it take longer to find things because you have more folders to search through, but there’s also an increased chance of getting distracted.
Within that, there will be subfolders for your blog posts, backend materials, email marketing, any projects you have going on (outside of newsletters and blog posts), and a template.
Where to Store Your Files
“The Cloud” used to intimidate the heck out of me. What the heck is it? My files are where?!
Basically, the cloud just means you’re storing your files on someone else’s server and have access to them online. Think: Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud, DropBox.
I highly recommend storing all of your blogging files on a cloud service that you install on your computer. So, for example, you’ve got Google Drive installed, so you’ve got a Google Drive folder within your Documents folder where you can access all of the files you sync from your Google Drive account.
That way, you’ve got access to the files on your hard drive if you’re without internet access, but you also have access to them if you’re away from your main computer and can connect to the internet.
I’ve got all of my files stored on Apple’s iCloud. My primary computer is an iMac, and I like that it automatically stores any unused files in the cloud for me. I can still see the files in my folder tree, but it doesn’t take up any extra space on my computer. Whenever I want to access them, though, iCloud downloads the file as soon as I want to open it.
Plus, as a Mac and PC user (thanks, work), it’s easy to access iCloud in my web browser to upload or download any files I might need on another computer.
However, I know not everyone has a Mac. So do some research on what cloud service will work best for you. (I highly recommend Google Drive; it just wasn’t right for me.)
Within your cloud folder (mine is just my iMac’s Documents folder), create a folder with your blog’s name. So, mine is called And Possibly Dinosaurs.
Now let’s add some sub-folders to get you organized!
Organizing Your Blog Posts
Let’s organize the meat of your blog: your blog posts.
There are two main ways you can do this, and it’s entirely up to you which one you choose. You can organize them chronologically or by category.
I personally prefer to organize my posts chronologically (I figure I can always look up the date on my blog really easily if I forget), but if organizing them by categories makes more sense to you, do that!
For example, if you’re a food blogger and want to keep your recipe files in one place and your kitchen tips and tricks in another place, have a folder for each.
P.S. Not sure what categories you blog about? Read this post!
Again, this is how I prefer to have my blog posts organized. Within my And Possibly Dinosaurs folder, I’ve got a folder for each year that I’ve been blogging — so, 2014, 2015, and 2016 so far. (2017 will be added so soon!)
Within each yearly folder, I’ve got a folder for each month— 01, 02, 03, etc. until 12.
Within each monthly folder, there’s another set of folders, this time for each blog post. It starts with the date (10.26, for example), followed by the blog post title, so everything stays in chronological order.
Within each of those folders, I store things like photos, blog post header images, social sharing images, etc.
Sure, there’s lots of clicking involved to get to the right folder. But you know what there’s not a lot of? Searching for a specific file and not being able to find it. This way, I know exactly where everything is!
Here’s how it looks in Finder:
Bonus tip for those who still want to organize by category but prefer to have the folders arranged chronologically: if you’ve got a Mac, you can create tags for each of your categories and color-code your folders!
You’ll notice in the image above that my blog post folders have a colored circle next to them. I created tags in Finder by right-clicking on the folder and going down to “Tags…” and choosing a color for each blog category!
Conversely, if you feel as though it makes more sense to organize your blog posts by category (like if you’ve got a lot of evergreen content, for example), you might want to have a folder called Blog Posts to store everything in. My yearly folders automatically go to the top of my And Possibly Dinosaurs folder and automatically put themselves in chronological order, so I don’t feel the need to have a Blog Posts folder, but do whatever makes sense for you!
Within your Blog Posts folder, you’d want a sub-folder for each of your categories. And, depending on how many blog posts you have, you might want to break those up a little further as well.
Going back to the food blogger example, you might want to have your Recipes folder, then sub-folders for Desserts, Mexican Food, Pasta, Smoothies, etc. You could simply have a folder for each blog post within your Recipes folder, but remember that it’s going to add up quickly.
An important thing to note: if you decide to organize your posts categorically, you’ll have to be very conscious of what sub-folders you’re putting your posts in.
Do you often have posts that fall into two of your categories? For example, I’ve got quite a few posts that could easily fall under both Blogging and Design, or Blogging and Feminism. So, which category folder do you put those posts under?
This is why I recommend organizing your posts chronologically; you don’t have to sit there and try to remember what you were thinking when you originally organized the folders! That’s the opposite of productive organization.
Organizing Your Projects
Now let’s go back to your blog’s main folder. In addition to the folder(s) for your blog posts, we’re going to add folders for any projects you’re working on.
For example, I’ve got folders for my email marketing, the courses I sell, my Facebook group, and presentations I do for my blog.
Within each, I break them down as much as I can. In Email Marketing, I’ve got subfolders for Content Upgrades, Newsletters, and Sales Funnels. Within those, each individual content upgrade, newsletter, or sales funnel gets its own folder.
Your projects folders will look different from mine, depending on what awesome shit you’re creating for your blog. Just remember, the main goal is to have 5-10 folders within each folder, so you’re not spending a ton of time scanning for the right folder.
Organizing Your Blog’s Backend Materials
Next, create a folder in your main folder called Backend. This is where we’re going to store all of your blog’s backend materials: logos, stock photos, photos of you, WordPress themes, business stuff, etc.
In a way, your Backend folder is the “junk drawer” of your blog’s files. But try to keep it as organized as possible!
Within Backend, have a sub-folder for everything you’ve got stored in there. So, for example, your logos would be stored in a folder called Logos, and your stock photos would be stored in a folder called Stock Photos.
In addition, I like to keep an archive folder in each of these sub-folders. So, if I ever update my logo, I can move any old versions of my logo into And Possibly Dinosaurs > Backend > Logos > Archive. This simplifies what files are in my Logos folder, and I’m never accidentally pulling up an outdated logo.
The Template Folder
Aah, the template folder. One of the greatest ideas I’ve ever implemented. This is also located in the main blog folder.
There are only two files in the Template folder: a Photoshop file for my blog post header image, and a Photoshop file for my social media share image.
Whenever I start working on a new blog post, I copy this folder and paste it into the appropriate monthly folder. Then, I rename the folder with the blog post date and title and edit the copied versions of the files.
That way, I’m never editing the original image templates; they’re always safe in the template folder!
This trick seriously saves me so much time. I no longer have to recreate my blog post image every single time I write a blog post. I simply swap out the photo, add the text, and change the color (if necessary) and I’m done! Easy peasy.
How to Organize Your Blog Files: The Implementation
Now for the daunting part: implementing it on your own computer.
I recommend starting out with your blog post folders; those are going to be the most straightforward. Set up your folder tree and start adding files as you find them.
For other folders, like your projects and backend folders, it might be easiest to create the folders as you find files to go in them.
So, what do you do if you’ve got roughly 5,000 files and don’t want to spend the next four hours sorting through everything?
It’s simple: don’t feel as though you need to organize every single file right away.
Create a folder called TO SORT and spend 15 minutes each day powering through those files. It will make it a lot more reasonable of a task!
If you want to be productive, you’ve got to be organized. I challenge you to spend the next 15 minutes going through your blog files and setting up a system that makes sense for you and your needs!
Sarah Arnold says
I really need this~ thanks so much for detailing it and yes– I have a Mac too! Love it.
http://www.theaccidentalartist.me I have quite a few topics as a ballet teacher 🙂
So glad I could help Sarah! 🙂
Wow, girl, that’s so detailed! I’ve made it about halfway there. I have folders set up for themes and extra pictures, plus I do the months, but I haven’t split up by blog post.
I might have a new goal on my hands for 2017!
Love the post!
Thanks, Laura! 🙂 Let me know if you try it out — I’d love to hear how it works for you!
Thanks Caitlin! This was very helpful to get me started. I swear I spend more time on “trying to figure out HOW to organize” my files and I never seem to get it right. It was helpful to hear that you can do it both ways but your tip on organizing chronologically makes more sense for me after you describe the fitting in two categories dilemma. So helpful. Thank you
Caitlin Honard says
I’m so glad it was helpful, Mishalin! Good luck with your blog! ❤
Steven Crag says
I highly recommend Long Path Tool it automatically deletes the folder you selected, including all its files and subfolders, regardless of their path length (even if they are in a network folder).
Hello! I am currently revamping my blog and starting fresh, as when i started it a 2 years ago, I kind of just made one. I was wondering what did you mean by template exactly? And if you had any advice. I’m currently going looking through a few of your posts and their extremely helpful. Is there anything that you suggest focusing heavy on?
If it helps. I plan to make my blog a multi-niche one and they are all kind of different. As I am the type that cannot focus on one topic for too long.
Caitlin Honard says
Hi Eunice! The template file isn’t actually a template, it’s just a design file that I created that I intentionally don’t edit, so it has the appropriate sizes and colors and everything in it. I then copy it into the appropriate folder and edit the copied file.
I’m so glad you found my posts helpful! I don’t necessarily have a page with blog posts to focus on when starting out, but that’s a great idea! I’ll try to put that together soon.