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Planning for the Year Ahead: My Approach on dPS and ProBlogger

I’ve had a lot of questions about the process my team and I go through to plan for a new year of blogging on dPS and ProBlogger, so I’ve put together a bit of an explanation of what happened at our recent planning day:

Although we didn’t have a detailed agenda to work through on the day, our review of the blogs’ current position considered four main areas:

  1. Content: we looked at the publication rates and types of content, the feedback we got on certain posts, and more.
  2. Community: including comment quality, community signups, and so on.
  3. Stats: here, we considered traffic quality and quantity, visitor types, traffic sources, etc.
  4. Monetization: how are we doing, and what other possibilities are there that we could take advantage of?

As I explain in the video, through this review some common themes developed that helped us move into brainstorming ideas for 2013. These ideas really covered a lot of things—from content and community-building to monetization strategies and plans for the brands themselves.

This helped us actually begin to schedule things into the blog calendars for the year—product launches, events, and other activities.

One great advantage of planning 12 months in advance is that it allows us to set some goals, and define the steps we’ll take toward them that will help us generate some momentum with the blogs and our readers—momentum that should, we hope, help us achieve the goals we’d identified.

Delegating responsibilities for various tasks also helped give us a sense that we could actually achieve our dreams for the next 12 months.

The planning day also let us identify gaps in the schedule that would give us the opportunity to try new things—community initiatives, monetization approaches, and so on—or plan time for breaks for our team members to recharge.

I’d love to hear how you approach a new year of blogging. So once you’ve watched the video, do let us know your how you handle planning in the comments.

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. Darren – Thanks for sharing this info! Very insightful and useful for all of us baby bloggers out there :)

    I have to admit that I’m guilty of not doing a thing to plan for 2013. I have some vague ideas about what I want to accomplish, but I have yet to sit down and put them together in a cohesive, scheduled way. This gives me a framework for doing so – not to mention the kick-in-the-ass reminder that I needed to make planning a priority :)

  2. Ryan says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen with problogger over the next year, especially with your announcement that your going to have fewer guest posts.

    Been following for years and I’ve been disappointed that for a while the site effectively became what I would call an “article marketing site”, there for people to try and get a guest post/link back to their site. And because of this the site has had no real identity, to me at least.

    There was a time when, looking in my feed reader I was excited to see that there was a new post, but for quite a while now it’s been more about skipping it and saving myself time.

    Really excited for what’s to come…

  3. Great video, thanks Darren.

    I am just getting into planning better for my business’s blog; call it a new years resolution if you like. Already I can see that it is making me a lot more productive. We are even taking guest posts for the first time, and I am hoping that will add to the diversity of the blog.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Valter Sousa says:

    Hello, Darren. My plan for 2013 is to get a fluent rhythm production of quality content, which is something I still can not determine. Last year I discovered what it was about my blog. Now I’m trying to at least create content regularly. There is, I think, a great difficulty among brazilian bloggers in stipulate goals and objectives and there is not so much discussion about this issue. Anyway, good luck in planning.

  5. We started a new blog niche, different from the tech-geeking. We wanted to share our experience about blogging, we delegated the old and consistently running blogs, and focused on how to grow new projects. We are still on the line anyway. The video gives more inspiration, I think we need to re-shuffle the plans here.

  6. Murray says:

    12 months out is quite a bit for commitment but I definitely see where you’re coming from especially since you can setup those long-term goals. I generally do about 6 months worth of planning at a time just to be sure I can stay flexible in the event something pops up or if I need to shift focus due to travel.

  7. Richard Ng says:

    Great video! As the saying goes “failed to plan is plan to fail”, I guess the on-going challenge is to keep up with the plan.

    For me, my 2013 plan is focusing on:
    1. Looking for more viable monetization method for my blog
    2. Finding ways to attract more traffics.

    Thanks.

  8. Eric says:

    I think creating momentum on your site is very very important. Also, it seems as if your process went really well. I will admit that I am a bit sad that your not taking any more guest blogging, but I can respect this.

    Keep up the great blog!

    Eric

  9. Gobras Daily says:

    Darren, thanks for your info! I love to read your plan. Maybe my plan this year is to learn to write blog content in two languages ​​(English + Indonesia), because I live in Indonesia and I also want to learn to write English. I did this step because I want to learn many things about the content and monetize blogs in various languages​​.

  10. celisa says:

    You really dialed that in. It’s the simple principles that worked for people that have already been where we are heading and desire to be that we should pay close attention to.

  11. Increasing the comment quality is a very important factor to consider. I never even thought about it until I read your post here. It seems that many bloggers focus on the number of comments as opposed to the quality of the comments.

  12. Dave Smith says:

    It’s good to hear more focus is being planned on quality content Darren.

    I haven’t been visiting PB as much as I used to due to the fact I felt the site had become more of a content factory rather than a useful resource.

    I’d much rather see one quality post every day which has real value and attracts meaningful comments, than several ‘sausage factory’ type articles which just attract the ‘Great Post’ brigade looking for a link.

    I really admire that you’ve set out in writing and in video what changes you intend and why. Coming out the trenches occasionally and being transparent is something a lot of other bloggers can learn from.

    Looking forward to seeing how things pan out for PB in 2013.

    Regards
    Dave

  13. Martin says:

    Hello Darren…. Great to hear about your plans. I spend a lot of time crawling your ProBlogger site for help and tips. I am new to blogging and my plans for this year are to try and earn some money from it and in general improve how it looks and attract more readers. If anyone has any tips for me please contact me through the site. Thanks and have a great year.

    Keep up the great work.

  14. This came at such a perfect time. Thanks. From diving into the internet…to spreading your wings. It’s a journey, and you help us keep on the right track. Keep Blogging and Sharing. – GEM!

  15. Ravi says:

    Amazing Video Darren
    Eventually i started Blogging this year so I won’t be having great goals as you are having regarding Traffic but I will surely concentrate over Quality of articles. Thanks

  16. Mona lisa says:

    I think creating momentum on your site is very very important.
    Also…. it seems as if your process went really well.
    I will admit that I am a bit sad that your not taking any more guest blogging,
    but I can respect this.

    Keep up the great blog……

  17. Ryan Naylor says:

    I really enjoy learning and seeing how others progress and how the process unfolds so I was glad to hear you mention your transition from solo beginner to working with a team. I only started blogging this year so I’m still learning my craft and flow. Most of my focus is on: 1.) staying true to whatever I write and 2.) discover what I like writing/sharing the most. I have lots of ideas/interests, so I easily get distracted. I also will be leaving my current job to focus more on blogging/business.

  18. Helner says:

    Good article and well framed. Increasing the comment quality is a very important factor to consider. I never even thought about it until I read your post here. Thanks.

  19. Julia says:

    Yes, it is very helpful when you have a clear cut idea about what to do. For this year, I have planned to create more quality content and bring stability to my site. Though, I am bit confused with my SEO approach. Being motivated throughout the year is also important for me.

  20. Ciara Conlon says:

    Thanks Darren, last year was the first year I made money on my blog so I realised this year I need to start treating it more like a business. Plan the way I would a business and take things a bit more seriously if I want to make a living from my blog. By having a map, content, community etc and brainstorming it yearly it can be really helpful to set the goals and see the progress each year.

  21. Ahmed says:

    i never make plans for future of my blogging. plan according to day :)

  22. Ryan Bruno says:

    Thank you for this video its giving me things to think about for my own blog.
    I think it is good to plan for the long term and look into ways of growing traffic steadily, as the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

  23. Ryan Bruno says:

    Thank you for this video its giving me things to think about for my own blog.
    I think it is good to plan for the long term and look into ways of growing traffic steadily, as the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

  24. Katherine says:

    One thing I am improving is building my platform as a writer. Yes, I do have marketing projects but I’ve started getting more into traditional publications. In many ways I feel like I am starting from scratch with my business, but I guess that’s part of the fun! :-)

  25. Saif @ SEO says:

    Nice video. I think that you are going on the right way for your blogs but you should take out your time to write for it. :(

  26. Thanks for the video, Darren! My personal plan is to write consistent contents for my new blog, increase traffic and start monetizing it. I’m currently going quite well with it. I hope I get success :)

    Best,
    Anup

  27. This was very helpful information for me. Thank you Darren. I’m setting plans in my head as I type… Thank you! Nancy

  28. Sudipto says:

    This is good to plan for a year ahead. Thinking for long terms can make us more successful.

  29. Monja says:

    Thanks Darren, just what I needed :-) I was always wondering how others do it. While I am working week by week I also already set the one or other monthly or quarterly goal. I think these are pretty nice to have though so you always have something to look forward to.

  30. Darren – you make it sound so simple and easy – I love reading and listening to your stuff!

  31. This means your looking out for us. And I thank you for that.

    You seem like you want to make sure that your community is well looked after.

    This next year should be a great one for problogger! And I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!

    Thanks,

    Alexander John

  32. Lisa M. says:

    As someone who is new to blogging, this is a great resource and gave me a lot to think about. You have given me some good ideas as to how to be more strategic in my planning. I would love to hear from others on what you think are the most important things to do in year 1 of your blog?

  33. siddharth says:

    Great article! This is good to plan for a year ahead.