Do you need a business plan for your blog? Have you gone just fine without one, or could you be doing better? And if you do need a blog business plan, what needs to go in it? In this article I’ll explain why a plan is a good idea, and I’ll also give you some keys to creating a plan that works for you.
What Is a Blog Business Plan?
We all have different ideas about what a business plan is, and why one could be required.
In many cases when I read about developing business plans, the articles I read are all about producing a plan in order to gain funding from an outside party. So if you want to borrow money from a bank or a private investor, you need a business plan.
If this is all a business plan is required for, then I can see why many people feel they shouldn’t bother with one. If you’re a blogger and you’re not planning on borrowing money or taking on an equity partner, do you need a blog business plan?
I believe that a blog business plan is a much more relevant and helpful tool that every blogger should produce. Of course, if its produced out of a sense of obligation, it’s pointless.
However, if you write a blog business plan because you want to, it can be a very powerful document.
A business plan for your blog doesn’t have to be a big, long document. In many cases, the shorter the better.
A good business plan for a blogger should talk about where you are today, where you want your blog to be in the future, and the steps and actions you’re going to take to get there.
There, that’s not too daunting is it? And I think that’s all useful stuff to have in place.
Why I Like To Have a Plan
I’m very good at getting ideas to do things. And I’m also very good at starting things. But I’m not very good at finishing some things, and I find myself getting easily distracted.
How about you? What are your strengths and weaknesses.
When I look back over this past year, I’ve been pleased with some of the things I’ve done, such as finally finish my first product all about pricing products, write more regularly, and product more content for my guitar website.
But I also know that I haven’t done anywhere near as much as I could because there were times when I became distracted and didn’t follow my plan.
So whilst I’m happy with what I have done, I know I could have done more.
When I have a plan, and stick to it, I achieve very good results. I’m very focussed and make sure I do what I’ve committed to doing. When I ignore the plan, I still have fun, but don’t achieve the results that I want.
The process of writing a blog business plan helps me focus on the important tasks that I need to do to achieve my goals. This is one of the main reasons why I suggest having a plan.
The Simplest Plan
There are lots of different formats for business plans. Some are incredibly complicated, whilst others are over-simplified.
There’s no one ‘right’ plan – it’s a matter of finding something that works for you.
Some of the plans that I’ve produced (both for myself and for other people) are a number of pages long, but can be summarised on one or two pages. These couple of pages become the action pages – summarising everything in the full plan down into short, actionable and accountable steps.
I mentioned earlier some of the basic contents of a business plan. If you’re writing a plan for your blog, here are the things I think it should contain.
Your Vision and Goals
Have a think about your long term vision for your blog. Do you want to be able to earn a full-time income from it? When do you want that to happen? How do you want to be perceived by your readers and target market?
Based on this information, it’s time to write out some goals – both long, medium and short term. These goals could be based around income, or the number of active readers you have, or email subscribers or page views – there are a range of metrics you can choose.
Importantly, these goals need to be tangible and measurable, and they need to support your overall vision.
Where Are You Now
Get some base-line figures that you can use in your blog business plan.
How much money do you currently earn from your blogging? How many subscribers do you have? How often do you post articles.
Also, have a personal stocktake. Consider your strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at? What do you suck at?
Do you have the required skills to achieve your goals or do you need additional training?
Where Do You Want To Be
This ties in with the Vision and Goals section earlier.At this point you go back and refine your goals in light of the information you just unearthed in the ‘Where Are You Now’ section. If you’re getting 100 visitors a month now, and want to increase this to 100,000 per month in the next year, you may want to consider whether that’s a realistic goal. It may be, but you need to be realistic about what you’re able to achieve with the time and resources available to you.
What Do You Need To Do?
This is where you come up with some action steps that clarify exactly how you’ll do the things you need to do, in order to achieve your goals.
I’ll go into a lot more detail on this in future posts because it really is an important part in your blog business plan.
It can involve product creation, generating more traffic, social media, different marketing strategies etc.
Importantly, you need to break down your long-term goals into shorter term tasks that have time-frames to be completed. You also need to sort out who is accountable for each task (if it’s just you, that’s an easy one to figure out!).
This is the bit that can be distilled down into one or two pages. Even if you have a stack of tasks to do, print out one month at a time and get to work.
Review Your Progress
This is the crucial step. It’s so easy to get side-tracked in the blogging world that you forget to look at your business plan.
My suggestion is at the start of every month take some time to review your plan. Did you do everything you needed to do last month, or are there still tasks that need to be completed. Can you do them this month as well as the new month’s tasks, or does something need to be changed?
Don’t worry if you can’t do everything – that’s normal! The important thing is to prioritise things so you’re focussing on the important things that bring you closer to your goals.
Over To You
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