I recently encouraged you to treat your blog like a business and one of the core concepts of starting and growing a successful business is having a vision and plan for your blog. In business, business plans are considered important enough that many financial institutions will not provide loans to start-ups that don’t have a solid business plan in place and in writing. Your blog is a business and thus no different and requires a similar vision to help it be successful.
I’m not suggesting you need a fully thought out and formal business plan, but you should absolutely spend time thinking through and planning out your blog in advance. I would also recommend putting your plan in writing so you can refer to it and modify it as necessary. Your plan does not necessarily need to be in a standard business plan format though. Use a format the works best for you and try not to over think it. The whole intent here is to think through some critical items in advance. Doing so will allow you to a direction and focus for your blog. The plan will additionally help you make decisions and stay on track with where you intend your blog to go.
How to create a business plan for your blog
I used a simple Google Docs Document for mine. Here are just a few things you should consider including:
- Mission/Vision – Why are you starting this blog? What is the blog’s primary purpose? What is your long term goal for the blog? Be honest with yourself, if it’s to make money, say that. If it’s to help others, and possibly make money, say that.
- Target audience – Male/female, age, education level – These will become important when writing. You’ll be able to tailor your writing style and word usage to the target age/education group. This will also factor into the type of posts you write and the ads you show.
- Full-time or part-time – Do you intend to be a full-time blogger? Will you start full-time right away or transition from part-time to full-time? If so, when will you make this transition? What is the deciding point, or line in the sand if you will, that will switch you from part-time to full-time?
- Work schedule – How much time will you put into your blog per week or per day? What times will you allocate to your blog for writing, for maintenance/upkeep and for promotion? Blocking out specific times for these activities will help you be successful. Setting aside time and blocking out specific time periods allows you to schedule your work, rather than trying to fit it in, which just never seems to happen.
- Traffic plan – how will you increase traffic to your blog? Commenting? Social Media? Guest posting?
- Income plan – What techniques will you use to earn money? This could include advertising, affiliate offers, product offerings, membership sites, consulting/coaching and many others. I would recommend placing some priorities on each of these.
- Publishing schedule – How often will you publish articles? Will you publish certain topics or provide certain types of articles on specific days? If so, go ahead and list them out. Be specific.
- Social media strategy – What social media sites will you use? How will you use them? Will you promote/share your own content? How often?
- Email/Subscriber strategy – Will you build an email subscriber list? If so, how will you use it?
- Finances – How will you track your income/expenses. Will you have seperate accounts? How will you pay yourself? What percentage of your revenues will go back into the blog? If you aren’t sure on this one, I will be publishing an upcoming article on blog finances soon.
- Personal Information – Will you blog anonymously (I don’t recommend it), if not how much of your personal information will you share? The internet is a scary place, but it’s important to be personal. What’s important here is finding a balance that allows you to be personal but also protect yourself and your family.
- Exit Strategy – When will you be done? What factors could drive you to stop blogging or sell your blog?
These are just a few of the more critical items you should consider putting in your plan, or course there are many other items you could include as well. Spend some time thinking on each of these and writing out your thoughts/plans, trust me it will make a positive difference and really help you stay focused.
Execute your plan and review it frequently
Once you have the plan in place and you’re satisfied with it, start executing it. Don’t hesitate. Start walking through each of the items that requires additional work, and get them done. For example, did you decide to promote your blog, like me, on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and PInterest? Then head over and create accounts, set up the bios and profiles, get your logo out there, etc. I included links to my profiles to help you get started. Oh, and if you aren’t following me, feel free (hint, hint).
Don’t make the mistake of writing up your plan, then forgetting about it. Review it frequently. I created a Google Calendar reminder twice a month to remind me to review mine. I often make small updates to it each month, based on the where my blog is currently going and what is working and what isn’t.
Doing all of the above will literally take you about an hour and you’ll find as your beginning to work on your blog and grow it, that the one hour you spent was well worth it. Creating a plan and vision is something I wish I had known to do when I first started blogging.
Do you have a plan for your blog? If so, what kinds of items did you include in it? How often do you revise and review it? Add a comment!
Photo by: Geomangio