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5 Steps for Planning the Direction of Your Blog in 2009

Last week I shared a series of questions for bloggers to ponder as they look back on their last year of blogging.

The point of the questions was not to engage in a navel gazing exercise but to look back with the objective of identifying how a blog has been performing in order to improve it moving forward.

Today I want to suggest a process for thinking about the future of your blog.

I’m not sure that this process appears exactly like this in any strategic thinking books or teaching but it is the process that I use when I periodically look at how my blogs and business is going.

Here’s a quick visual with some questions to explain each step in the process:

goals.png

Hopefully the diagram speaks largely for itself but let me extrapolate slightly on each step.

Step 1 – Define your Mission

This is fairly big picture stuff and for me actually goes wider than just why I blog and more fits with my overall life mission. I guess it’s about looking at your overall purpose and direction – what you want to achieve etc. Having this firm in your mind then enables you to work out how blogging fits into that overall purpose.

Step 2 – Paint a Picture of Your Vision

This is still pretty long term and looks beyond the coming year to where you want to eventually take your blog. It’s a picture of a reasonably distant future. Dare to dream a little and think big in this stage.

Step 3 – Make Goals

Now we’re drilling down into the year ahead. Where do you want to be at the end of 2009? Hopefully it’ll be somewhere towards your ‘Vision’ and have helped you to accomplish some of your ‘mission’ – but what will your blog look like, be doing and have achieved this time next year? Dare to think big but keep in mind that it needs to be achievable. You don’t need to have done everything in your vision in 12 months – these goals are stepping stones to the eventual goals.

Step 4 – Devise a Strategy

What are you going to need to DO to get to your goals? Usually this means some kind of ‘change’ in your approach. Do you need to blog more, start a new blog, change your topic slightly, hire a writer, network with other bloggers more, start using a new method for promoting your blog, follow what others are writing more, build community engagement, redesign your blog etc? Think about strategies across the different activities of blogging that will take you closer to your goals.

Step 5 – Set out an Action Plan

Most people set ‘resolutions’ in their lives (and for their blogs) that are quite ‘general’ and wishy washy in nature. ‘I’m going to lose weight’, or ‘I’m going to find a girlfriend’. While these resolutions are great they are often not achieved simply because while a decision is made to do something – the person making the decision puts no actual plan in place for ‘how’ they’ll do it. The same is true for thinking strategically about your blog. ‘I’m going to get more traffic in 2009′ is a great goal – but what are you doing to specifically focus on DOING to get that traffic. Your action plan should be made up of very concrete tasks that you’ll do in the coming months. I will write 5 posts a week – I will email 7 readers each week – I will leave 1 comment per day on another blog in my niche – I will write a guest post for another blogger each month – I will run a competition on my blog in June.

The above 5 steps are the way I approach planning on my blogs (in fact it is how I do it in other areas of my life also). I actually do this for each of my blogs. The mission generally is much the same for each one and at times there are similarities in other steps.

This process will not be for everyone but I think can make a useful starting point for thinking about your blog in 2009. Some personality types will find it easier than others to think this way – actually for me it is not a natural way of thinking – I’m quite impulsive and this is a real effort to do. You might find some steps in the process more natural and quicker to complete than others but thinking things through from the big picture right down to specific tasks will hopefully help you to not only plan but make the changes you need to make in order to achieve your dreams.

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. Simon says:

    Just to simplify some things: planning is the best way of solving many problems (not only planning blog direction). Problem that I had some time ago was that I spent to much time on planning and to less for realizing that plan. Now it is different, my blog plan is simple: write every day. I’ve got a couple of blogs, writing once a day does not mean to write on each one. And if I don’t have enough time for writing, I just write a short info about something that I found on other web sites.

  2. It is very good planning, but difficult for beginner to take action.

  3. All great steps, I am in the process of doing exactly this, I will definitely be incorporating each one of them. I have done well on keeping up with writing posts, now I just need to stretch a bit more and make a few more goals, both short and long term. Thanks, Darren, great post as usual!

  4. Daniel says:

    I agree with you. Organizing is a good thing, and if you are serious about blogging, this definitely is a must.

    Cheers

  5. I think this outline works for just about anything in life. With goals and a plan you will never have anything.

  6. George Gonzalez says:

    Thank You for this post. Immediately after reading this I sat down and implemented your strategy, and now I have a more clear and precise picture of what to do to make my blog better and how to achieve all of my goals. Thank you very much.

  7. Chichi says:

    When are u going to do another case study on blogs?

  8. uwak says:

    great steps to build business on blog…thanks for articles

  9. Barock says:

    I’m definitely agree with yor post, whatever your dream, it’ll mean nothing if you don’t have any plans or do action to realize the dreams, but dare to have a big dream is the most important thing we must do first, if we don’t dare to dream,how we can reach what we want.as we know every greatest thing had found by greatest people start with their dream.

  10. Mistress B says:

    Absolutely – decisions without action are useless.

    You’ve given me some food for thought – thanks.

  11. I’ve actually already started this process independently of this great post from Darren.

    My main blog is a long-term commitment – my other blogs weren’t, and failed to match the performance of the first in their respective first years. As such I’m currently carrying out a consolidation of material, importing posts from my later blogs into my personal one and leaving me with just the two to manage.

    This works as I earn a side income from Brighthub and can highlight this on my personal blog, alongside similar content.

    I’ve also found that retrospectively reviewing an action plan is a useful process.

  12. Adsense Fan says:

    Great artiles. Thank you for your planning. I can learn alot from you

  13. Darren,

    This is a very useful exercise for growing a profitable blog! I use a similar strategy with each of my niche blogs… Not only that, but I put it in writing, printed it out, and tacked it to the wall behind my desk. That way, when I sit down to blog each day, I have no excuse for getting distracted – the blueprint is right there, staring me in the face.

    The bottom line is… do whatever you have to do to keep yourself focused and motivated. No focus = no profits!

    Lee, 6 Figure Blogging Strategies

  14. chuckiesd says:

    This is very goods flow to be success on bloging industry. I will use the flow to monitor all new blog that i have created recently, Thank for sharing

  15. Lew A says:

    I would love to see an example of the mission statement. I think they are important to, but always so difficult to come up with.

    Thanks!
    Lew

  16. mike says:

    Great tips. Number 5 is so important. It is great to set how many posts you will do each day at the minimum.

  17. Sports Blog says:

    Thanks for the awesome tips Darren! After reading your article, I decided to devise more strategies that will bring traffic and money to my bank account.

  18. Dhaval; says:

    This is a wonderful post. I have been reading your blog post ifrequently. And I would ke to ask you a question : how do you get good traffic on your blog.

    http://www.blogformoney3.blogspot.com

  19. Wink says:

    OK now. The 2009 Tips have been played out enough everywhere. It doesn’t have to be a new year to make changes to strategy! You can do that anytime.

  20. Fouad Bajwa says:

    Hi,
    I’ve seen that sometimes we concentrate too much on the vision and mission of things. As Guy Kawasaki quotes that visions and missions can be made when one has a well established activity or company and has plenty of money to waste! The idea he sets forth is to use a mantra of what you want to be and keep it simple strategy! I have also seen this strategy to work quite well!

    Fouad Bajwa
    http://www.askbajwa.com
    http://www.twitter.com/fouadbajwa

  21. Bart Gatsby says:

    Plan ahead, have multiple contingency plan, adapt to change(very important). A great master plan, not just for blog planning but for life planning also.

    Hi Darren, I just change my ISP. I’m a long time reader, though I haven’t subscribe yet……..now I have. Keep up the good work. You inspire people :)

  22. Spencer says:

    Thank you for the post. This will help me in ’09!

  23. erickz says:

    yup.. action action action.. massive action needed for me in 2009 !

  24. slamy says:

    as Beginner, It’s very inspiring me

  25. I like this mapping things out approach.

    I love Yaro’s ebook Blog Profits Blueprint even though it might be around year or two old, it’s an excellent guide that also outlines a Strategies-Tatics approach.

    Blogging part-time forces you to set some ground rules for yourself.

  26. Erwin says:

    It’s like organized little company.

  27. money4invest says:

    Very informative post as usual and it’s look like we are running a big company with all the mission, vision and goals. I want to add one more tip, Our Values are also an important element if we want to success in blogging.

  28. Oh, how I love goal setting! To me, not having goals makes things in life soooooo much harder than they should be.

    Like Darren said, it is one thing to have goals but it is another to have empowering and compelling goals. That is key!

    Something else to keep in mind with goals is the need to put together a plan on how you will reach your goal(s). Again, it is one thing to have a goal but if you don’t have a way of achieving it then how will you reach it?

    Great post, Darren!

    Wesley
    The Geek Entrepreneur

  29. Peter S says:

    Darren, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your ideas on blogging. I have spent the best part of the day reading and inwardly digesting many of your posts. Each one has been a real eye opener for a complete blog-novice like me. Thanks again!

  30. Renaldo G says:

    Great Post. I know I need to plan things more thing in my life as I am very impulsive. Starting a project just by jumping in quickly turns to turmoil, unless it’s something you’re really good at. That said, planning things through can only improve your talents.

    thanks for the great post!

  31. Denise says:

    Thanks again for another helpful and inspirational post. I’m glad you included the diagram, as it pulled it all together for me. This will help me to stay more focused and organized.

  32. DomoBlogger says:

    Thank you for sharing!
    I would say that point 2 is very very important: we should have real colourful image of our success!

  33. I appreciate what you said about how this sort of structured thinking doesn’t come naturally, and that it takes effort. I, too, tend toward gut-level action, and it’s time to chart a bit more of a course.

    Thanks, as always, for all you do, Darren!

  34. This is a great article. Too many (including me not so long ago), think that our blog will become popular without a plan. Well it may happen, but it really helps if we think about how we’ll actually make it happen! Thanks a lot for the ideas, i’m sure they’ll help me a lot!