PICKING UP WHERE WE LEFT OFF
It’s been a couple months since I’ve worked on this series on how to start your own magazine/website. I’ve received a couple emails confirming people have taken me up on my super-duper, maximum discount on the first year of hosting through Dreamhost, and I’ve really enjoyed talking shop with Jay, who launched HandiDads.com after reading the first three parts.
Once you’ve got yourself up and running and started customizing your new site, you’ve probably started to notice how easy it is to get caught up with “The IRL” (in real life). Contrary to what you might read if you google “passive income,” you don’t just build a website, throw a bunch of content on it, then sit back and count your money. You’ve started something you believe in. You want it to last. You want to start thinking about process improvement. Here’s why I’m doing this.
WHAT IS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT?
Without getting too formal, process improvement is basically taking good look at how you do what you do, and coming up with ways to improve efficiency or results. There’s a case to be made for what is called “slow blogging,” where you only post when you have something to say, but you don’t want to get into a vicious cycle of forgetting about your site, feeling guilty, and throwing a truckload of crap on it every couple of months or so. You want to make building and growing your new side-hustle as easy as possible.
This post shares some basic processes I use to make it easier for me to stay on top of things here at Gearbox Magazine.
ALWAYS RENAME YOUR IMAGES!
After more than 7 years blogging (3+ right here on GBXM), I only recently learned this valuable lesson. If you don’t rename your images, you might one day do a little maintenance on your site and discover you’ve accidentally overwritten a couple with pictures from other stories, like I did. See the picture of Ryan Gates titled “Skoda Felicia fully committed!” which was in the middle of an interview with Darren Jones where he was talking about running Wales Rally GB.
YOU’VE GOT MAIL! USE IT WISELY!
Are you using your domain for email yet? If you took advantage of my super-duper deep discount on Dreamhost (see Part 2), it’s super-duper easy to use Gmail for your email. By now, you should be pretty comfortable in these environments, so I’ll spare you pictures of every single step. It’s pretty intuitive once you get started.
HERE’S WHY YOU WANT TO DO THIS
It doesn’t matter if you like your current, personal Gmail address or not. If you went to the trouble of buying your own domain and building a site, it kinda makes sense that you have an email address or two at that domain. These steps will allow you to send and receive email from multiple accounts right from the inbox you’re using for your personal email right now. It’s pretty cool.
FIRST, TELL DREAMHOST YOU WANT GMAIL
- From your Dreamhost control panel, click the Domains tab, then Manage Domains.
- When you see the list of domains on your account, click the Edit button to the right of the domain.
- Scroll down until you see the Gmail logo, check the box, then click Change Settings. That’s it!
SECOND, SETUP GOOGLE HOSTED APPS
- Go to Google Hosted Apps.
- Click the Sign In link, top right. Enter your domain and select Domain Management from the drop down.
- Follow the instructions (it’s been so long, I’ve forgotten them, and it all looks different after the first time).
- You might want to create a couple email addresses, like yourname, support, or email@example.com
- Make note of the password(s) you create for these individual accounts & log out, but stay on Hosted Apps.
NEXT, FORWARD & DELETE EVERYTHING
- Click the Sign In link on Google Hosted Apps. This time, enter your domain & select Email.
- Login with your first email account. Follow the instructions to get into your inbox.
- Click the gear, top right corner of the Gmail inbox. Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
- Click Add a forwarding address button & enter your personal Gmail account.
- Follow the simple instructions to verify you own the other account.
- Now turn on forwarding & select Delete Gmail’s copy. (More storage in your free account.)
- Do this for every special email account you create. Congratulations, you’re almost done. (This will be brill. Trust me.)
FINALLY, ADD THESE ACCOUNTS TO YOUR PERSONAL ACCOUNT
- Log into your personal Gmail account. Click the little gear top right like before.
- This time, go to the Accounts and Import tab and click “Add another email address you own.”
- Enter your first special email address. (Here’s where the magic happens.) Google will send an email to that address asking to confirm you own it. What’s going to happen to that email? Bingo.
- Do this for every account you created.
- Decide which of these new accounts – if any – you want to start using all the time. Click make default on the right.
- Notice the When replying to a message section below those addresses. I recommend selecting the first option: Reply from the same address the message was sent to.
This is something I use every single day. It even ports over to Gmail on my Android when I access it via web. (I’ve come to the conclusion that all the free email apps for Android are shit, so I just use the website.) It’s particularly nice to be able to send from any number of accounts, my personal account, my GBXM account, or even a generic account like “Editor.”
BONUS: 2 SOCIAL MEDIA APPS YOU SHOULD REALLY TRY
Matt Cotton and I have begun discussing the possibility of collaborating on a series of articles about social media for gearheads. Not that it’s strictly a marketing tool, but it can really supercharge your ability to promote your website, team, event, or such. (Plus, it’s a great way to meet new gearheads all over the world, which is pretty important.) In the meantime, here’s a couple free apps I think you should look into if you’re using social media.
- Buffer – Only have a few minutes here and there during the day to share things on Twitter? Get a Buffer account, install the browser plugin and app on your smart phone. It takes maybe 5 minutes to setup. Now, whenever you come across something interesting online, you can share it to your Twitter channel with a quick click. As you build up a – wait for it – buffer, your friends will think you’re on Twitter all the time. This can help you connect with people who aren’t active online at the same times you are.
- IFTTT – If this then that is a crazy powerful tool. Like the name implies, you create recipes for IF thing A happens, thing B happens. Why copy and paste links to your latest story in Twitter, Facebook, and Google plus (still sketchy, imo), when you can let the internet do it for you? This one does all kinds of stuff.
I wanted to wrap this series up, but there’s still LOADS to discuss. Perhaps I’ll do another installment in the future. If you have any lingering questions, please let me know. I’ll get you an answer.