Spring Cleaning: A Guide to Digital Organization for Your Small Business

Digital Organization

Springtime. It’s often associated with warmer temperatures, blossoming flowers, and the widely known, yet often unpopular task – spring cleaning. But homes and gardens aren’t the only places you should consider tidying. As a business owner, setting aside some time to clean and organize your digital life can not only help clear up some computer space, but it can also set you up to run your business, and your personal life, much more efficiently. Try out some of the following tips to get digitally organized this spring.

Clean out your email inbox.
Is your email inbox filled with unread emails? Set aside an hour – or several – to go through as many emails as possible. For those who have hundreds, or even thousands, of unread messages, this may only be a starting point, but developing a habit of cleaning your email inbox on a regular basis can help you get on the right track for managing your emails in the future. If you struggle to get your inbox to zero, address the most recent or important emails in your inbox and then move everything else into an archive or separate folder. This way, you can still access old messages, while creating an empty inbox to make the process more manageable going forward.

If you often receive unsolicited mass emails, marking them as Spam will not only keep them out of your inbox, it also helps email clients like Gmail detect patterns within emails that you and other users mark as Spam to automatically redirect them to a separate folder. Another handy tip to manage your email is to set up folders, rules, or filters that will automatically manage certain types of emails to keep them from filling your inbox.

Organize your computer desktop by moving to the cloud.
Can you see your desktop background or is it covered with countless icons? Cleaning your desktop by creating a filing system for all of your documents is a great way to clear the clutter and helps you find documents at a glance when you need them. And if you aren’t familiar with cloud computing, you should definitely consider using it for your business. Cloud storage services like Dropbox and the new Google Drive provide you with space online to store your documents, pictures, and other important files and easily share them for collaboration. Once you create an account, you can upload files directly from your desktop to your online storage space and access them anywhere you have an Internet connection, even on your mobile device.

Upload your images to a Web album.
Do you have folders on your computer full of business, product, or service photos that you haven’t used? Instead of keeping these photos to yourself, take some time to set up an account on a photo sharing site like Flickr or Picasa. You can also upload images to your business’ Facebook Timeline page, which now makes displaying and sharing images with your fans. Not only can sharing your photos increase engagement with your fans and followers, Google has recently updated its image ranking process to make more relevant images appear higher on image search results pages, even if they are on a lower-performing landing page. This is especially important if images can display your products or services, like photography, construction, landscaping, or even restaurants. So, make sure to include detailed descriptions and appropriate tags with the images you share.

Move your contacts online.
Have you ever noted a business contact’s information on a piece of paper and misplaced it moments later? As a small business owner, you may connect with prospects, new customers, and other professionals interested in your products or services. So, make sure you get the most out of your networking by saving their information digitally. One simple way is to save them as a contact in your email address book or on your smartphone. And if you are one of the growing number of small business owners who have adopted mobile technology to run their businesses, there are many mobile apps that can help you organize your contacts.

Assess your reputation management strategy and respond to outstanding reviews and comments.
Another area you may not have considered cleaning up is your online reputation. When is the last time you checked the status of your business on top review sites? Have your customers left comments or reviews about your business online, but you just haven’t had the time to respond to them or manage your social Web presence? Responding to comments on your social media pages and review sites affects how your business will appear when customers search for your business online. And as more customers value online reviews as much as personal recommendations, developing and sticking to your online reputation management strategy is key to making sure customers see positive results when they search.

Finding the best way to digitally organize your small business may take some time and effort. But much like cleaning out a garage, it gives you a fresh start, allows you to find what you’re looking for, and gives you the opportunity to develop new habits.

What are some other ways you have found that help you organize the digital life of your small business? Let us know in the comments!

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Tara Banda

Tara Banda is a digital marketer in Dallas, TX and a Content Marketing Manager for ReachLocal. She focuses on helping businesses develop their voice in order to connect and engage with the right audiences. Tara has worked on campaigns and promotions – including social media, email marketing, video, advertising, guerrilla marketing, and event marketing – for both small businesses and globally recognized brands. In her spare time, she likes to cook.

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