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Building a Blog Plan for Success

Learn How to write a business plan for your blog in this post by Shawn Williamson of DoYouLiveOrSimplyExist.com.

blog-plan.jpgSuccessful businesses create a business plan. It is a road map to establish how the business will operate, its goals, and to be a showpiece for investors when seeking funding. Probloggers can use the same technique to build a successful blog.

A blog plan, like a business plan, is important to give your blog a path to follow, rather than randomly blogging day to day and hoping for success. It will help you plan what your blog will look like and where it is going one year, two years, even five years from now.

Get out a piece of paper, or open a new document. Start with these…

Basic Questions

Why does your blog exist? Is it purely for ego or self-expression? To generate income? To expose yourself and your writing to the world as a method of promoting other ventures? Work out why you are blogging. This will help to determine your goals for the future.

Who are you and why are you uniquely qualified to write this blog? Remember that successful blogs are personal. Blogs that reveal the lives of their writers tend to have more subscribers than blogs that reveal nothing of their writers. The statement you write here will serve to guide you in the coming months. It may help you find your blogging voice. As you grow as a blogger, you may find yourself reflecting back on who you used to be when you started and who you have become.

What are the topic areas this blog will discuss? Be just broad enough to have plenty to write about, but narrow enough to stay within your niche. It’s important to have regular topics rather than complete randomness. Readers who want to read particular topics will come back to your blog again and again. Random posting won’t build a targeted readership.

When will you post? Every day? Twice a week? Determine your posting frequency. Look here and here for inspiration.

Where are you? Do you blog from a certain country or city? Do you travel as you blog? While not specifically required for a good plan, it can help readership identify with you as a “local” or a respected foreign authority.

How will you deliver your messages? Is this a one-person blog, or a multi-blogger magazine-type blog? Will you use a custom theme or modified stock theme? RSS delivery should be a must.

Will you plan your weekly topics, or just shoot from the hip? Consider an editorial calendar to plan your posting schedule, not only through the week, but through the year as well. Having a calendar of upcoming events and holidays makes sure you aren’t scrambling at the last minute for that special St. Patrick’s day entry. :)

If you want to invite guest posts, I suggest having a basic editorial calendar available so a guest blogger can see if you will be covering a subject which they may be interested in writing.

With the basic questions out of the way, now it time to address specifics of how you will succeed.

Monetization

If you hope to generate income from your blog, you will need to address how you will monetize. Some methods are expected, but don’t forget to brainstorm for other ideas.

The Endgame

Many business start with the end in mind. What does the endgame of your blog look like? Do you plan to blog until you are in your 90′s? Or until blogs become unpopular? Or maybe you plan to sell your blog when it reaches the pinnacle of it’s popularity?

Having the end in mind will guide how you will build your blog. For example, if you end goal is to sell, how will you extricate yourself from your blog after the sale? Will it be a sudden shift of writers or will you stay onboard for a while? If you know you want to sell and need to extricate yourself easily, maybe you would build the blog using many guest writers, or even write under a pseudonym which another writer can take over.

Building the roadmap

Once you have laid the foundation for your blog business, the day to day operations, topics and goals should be much easier.


Shawn Williamson is a Salt Lake City writer who found that he has squandered most of his days by living on autopilot. He documents his journey of escaping the rat race at DoYouLiveOrSimplyExist.com. His writing has attracted an astounding 8 subscribers. Visitors are always welcome.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    Some good tips on planning. I’ve found that as you go you will often find new areas that will interest your readers and still fit the niche pretty well. I’ve often been surprised by what gets the most interest.

  2. Wonderful tips! I often try to plan the “when will I post” part.. but I do it at all times… but mostly everyday.

    Great post!

  3. Wayne says:

    Well, yet another post that couldn’t have come any quicker. Those seem like very good questions and I should ask myself those very questions. I’ve been completely hap-hazard since starting. Mostly on purpose due to time constraints, but still. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. A little planning is always good too.

    Thanks for the post! Enjoy your trip!

  4. Blog Opinion says:

    A business model is necessary to analyse the future returns. Nice post I really enjoyed reading.

  5. MR says:

    I didn’t really have a business plan. I just started blogging and it just grew out of control. I put up ads and that was it.

    Making some spending cash for textbooks and other school expenses.

  6. This is a good guideline to starting a blog. One point that I have notice was about the “Endgame”. It never occur to me that I should think of how the ending of my blog http://www.desire-for-wealth.com will end up in the future. In fact, much topics on my blog http://www.desire-for-wealth.com is about making money online. However, the topics are quite broad-base. Taking another point from the about article, maybe I should start to zoom in and focus on just a few topics about make money online… Cheer…

  7. Bent says:

    Good guide Darren..Sure I follow your advise…now my traffic increase rapidly..I love you blog too.

  8. JLow says:

    I am not sure if blogs can or should have an endgame insofar as an “end” is concerned.

    I believe most blogs start off with no end in mind; ‘cos blogs in general are ongoing discussions on topics within the chosen niche. Also, chances are when blogs are successful the owners would likely wanna hang on to it even more, than to “give it away”; since it is (supposed to be) a personal journal anyway, as your second basic question points out.

    As for me, I still haven’t found my “groove” yet. I feel (and I am probably right) that mine has been too general, too for-leisure-read by accident but not good enough to actually be categorised as such by its own right…

  9. Blogthority says:

    Some good tips.

    The topic planning idea is a good one but some bloggers like to plan and write their posts in advance whereas other bloggers need the pressure of writing the night before to get a post done.

    I guess it depends on the individual.

  10. Shawn says:

    Thank you all. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It was a real honor to appear on Darren’s blog as a guest blogger.

    I hope you’ll consider visiting my own blog. The link is at the top and bottom of the post.

  11. Very nice post Darren, before starting my blog which is still less than a month old, I took three months to plan out what I wanted.

    Although I must say that I believe in macro-planning whereas planning into too much details can be a waste of time. The details are things we can figure out as we move along.

  12. “Successful businesses create a business plan.” That is a pretty Absolute statement. There have been many businesses that never had written business plan and many more who don’t follow theirs.

    It a good idea depending on what you are doing but if you are starting as a blogger you will soon learn that every situation is different and unlike some industries, all the research in the world may add up to crock. Blogging is new and thus is a trial and error business more than a defined practice.

  13. Neil Duckett says:

    Nice post Shawn, some great tips there, thanks.

  14. as a new blogger, this is EXACTLY what I needed. thanks shawn, there’s a ton of info here.

  15. Lipton says:

    Great post again Darren :)

    I have a road-map / plan for my site, not just focused on the Blog, but overall.

    In fact one thing that I think will be a trend is Blog/site mashups, which is what I’m trying to do in my niche right now. Contacting other fansites that have a niche service.

    Mashups or mergers is the way to go I think to build up a better site/product/service to whatever community you’re in.

  16. Brilliant post Darren!

    I was able to gain a lot of insght into my blogging life through your post. Thanks for that.

    If a newbie blogger is able to get the maximum out of this post, then that basically the best thing that he ever did to his blogging career.

    On the contrary, I believe that whether a blogger starts blogging for money or not, it’s imporatant that monetization comes after building his or her blog good. Generally, from what I’ve seen, blogs that had been monetized way before the blog had been properly widegtized live short.

    And then again, about your tips, I believe it’s really imporatant that you have an editorial calender. This allowed me to brainstorm and build content overtime, knowing that I’m blogging about that specific thing, that specific time.

    It did not only imrove the quality of my posts, it also saved my time!

  17. Protycoon says:

    When I started my first website I never really had a plan.

    For my latest website I had everything planned and set out from the start, and it has paid off!

    Only a few weeks old and is going well!

  18. Sampath says:

    This is a very good article explaining of planning a blog. it is very important for a successful blog. This is a must read article for any blogger.

  19. Nice post, and some great tips!

  20. Pras says:

    Very useful info..I too always believe that proper planning is required to make our blog a successful venture in the long term.

  21. How timely, I’m just in the middle of planning a future for my blog. Cheers!

  22. I wish I had been able to have a mentor or something. Though I’m only 8 weeks old, I have managed to garner 448 feed readers, though.

    I still don’t know what in the world I’m doing.

  23. Great Blog! Coming from working in the software development world, “roadmap” hit me between the eyes. Why I didn’t I plan a roadmap for my own blog is a mystery to me. Another point I will consider is a more narrow focus. I want to write about motorcycling, but when the season is unfavorable for riding, random musings are what I post most, sprinkled with motorcycle genre. Thanks for the great tips.

  24. Chase ROper says:

    This is something I’ve needed to do for a long time, but never really had something to model it after. As always, thanks for posting such invaluable content!

  25. arham says:

    Is good to have a road map but more be better if our road map is flexible which give us a feel free is mean we are not depending with the RoadMap…

    oh ya, the flowchart is like what I made on my college project ;-)

  26. Great Tips! Always looking for ways to improve my blog and increase traffic

  27. Uncleche says:

    Wow! I have got many solutions here, especially the one which talks about being broad enough to have plenty to write about, but narrow enough to stay within your niche.

    I greatly appreciate the content of this article.

  28. CatherineL says:

    Hi Shawn – this is a brilliant business plan for bloggers. And a great idea too, because if bloggers take their blogging seriously, they need a plan just as much as any other business.

  29. Andrew G.R. says:

    Great post Darren! Great post Darren! Great post Darren!

    I’m starting to wonder if it’s time to blog about the ineffectiveness of how many blogs credit guest authors.

    Honestly, this is a trend I’ve noticed on many of my favorite blogs. I’d love to hear from guest bloggers and if the traffic they receive meets or beats their expectations. Or worse yet, disappoints!

  30. Jessica Bond says:

    Thank you for this great tip on applying a business plan to your blog. You are right on target!

    I have just started a new blog and find your posts extremely helpful.

    Thank you,
    Jessica Bond
    Medical Careerist

  31. matsonian says:

    Excellent advice. We used QuickPlanner Plus to create the strategic plan for our blogs. Ultimately having this plan lead to a successful, focused and interesting business.

  32. w&b says:

    just started a new blog. these suggestions would definitely come handy to question my motives and settle objectives. thank you.

  33. Shawn says:

    @Andrew GR

    I’m glad you enjoyed the post. To answer your question about traffic,my daily traffic had been around 25 visits. My best day had been 252 from an article I wrote about compassion for a contest.

    My probogger guest post brought 790 visitors after it went live, and so far 217 the next day. My subscriber count jumped from 8 to 34.

    I am very happy to see the new visitors to my site! I hope many of them drop in now and then.

    If you haven’t visited my site, click my name link and drop by!