This extensive guide will teach you how to create a blog business plan even if you are a new blogger.
If you are like me, you are at this point in your life where you understand the job you have isn’t what’s going to save you. With the current economy, you’ll be lucky to keep your job.
On top of that, you have a family to support and the pressure to make sure you can satisfy their important needs. Not just today, but for the future as well.
And you understand you need to make a change and create yourself a backup plan to get out of this rat race and quit your 9-5 job.
Something that you could call your own that will replace your work income and allow you to work in flexible hours and to really enjoy life.
Wouldn’t that be amazing?
To know that YOU were able to create that!
It is possible. I always say it.
It is not magic. It takes time and dedication. But at the end magic happens.
And with time, you’ll have the time to spend on creating other income streams and explore other business ventures.
But for all that magic to happen. You need to plan for it.
Every business that reached success, and yes, blogging is a business even if it’s only your part-time thing, you need to have a plan so you can turn it into your full time business.
It doesn’t have to be all perfect and impressive but it needs to be your starting point to optimizing it better, later, as your blogging business evolved.
The plan for your blog includes all the components and aspect of your business.
- How you plan to market your blog
- How you plan to make money from it
- What’s your email marketing strategy
- And so on
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The reason why it is fundamental to have it, is to have clarity on where you are going so you are not wondering around Google and thinking of what should be your next step (like happened to me in the first few months of blogging) and what you should write about next? Or maybe which freebie you want to offer.
My recommendation is to answer some of those questions upfront and keep crafting your plan until you have that clarity on what to do and when?
As time is limited, believe me, I have 3 small kids and really keeps me busy, having this business plan for bloggers is a lifesaver.
So, what can you find in this practical guide?
Good question, after all you didn’t come here for nothing. There are many business plans out there however, this one is slightly different.
- In this special guide, you are going to learn exactly how to complete your first blog business plan even if you are just starting out from scratch.
- You’ll find a list of tasks that will help you laser focus your answers and help you in that thinking process of knowing what you actually want to achieve and how.
- By the end of this guide, you’ll have a business plan for a blog ready for you to start taking action on
- The blog business plan includes does not include all the chapters of a traditional business plans, I stick to the most important and relevant ones. So, don’t need to define your mission statement or your executive summary as you are not there yet and you can always complete this later on.
- It is a simplified blog business plan, that is based on your actual priorities.
Here are the chapters of your blog business plan guide:
- What your blog business is going to be about?
- Who is your target audience? What are their challenges
- How can you solve them?
- Who are your competitors? How can you stand out?
- Your monetization Plan
- Your email marketing strategy
- Marketing plan and how you plan to drive traffic?
- Review, track and improve
I really want to leave all the note related questions and steps from creating your first blog business plan so you are left out with the essential steps that are good enough and sufficient to take you to the next step.
I always remember a sentence I have heard once “Your goal is not to make it perfect, but it is to make progress”.
Just a quick note, make sure to have a pen and paper ready to start writing your ideas before they go into the formal and finalized blog business plan.
By the time you are done readying this guide, you’ll need to complete this blog business plan template and finalized it after completing all the steps in this guide.
What your blog business is going to be about?
Before we get started, just to get you into the right mood I advise you to explore for a second what is the picture you have in your head when you think about your blog.
Thinking 3-5 years from now, where will you be?
If you are just starting out you may not see the full picture yet. You may be questioning your niche or what to write about? That is all ok and normal.
Still, even in that stage, you want to start and clarify for you self why you are having this blog?
The question you want to ask yourself in this process is what do you want to achieve with your blog business.
We will deal with the How later.
What does your blog business do?
Do you coach people?
Selling products? Or courses online?
Or maybe both?
How would you feel doing that for the next 3-5 years?
Now that we’ve got that part moving, your imagination part, let’s drill into your blog business plan.
The first thing here is to define the following aspects of your blog business.
What is your Niche?
In here there two types of experts – one that says to niche down and another that promote generic blogs as long as you always tap into your audience problems and challenges. I believe you need to go with what you like.
You can start with a generic blog business and then niche down once you start to understand what you like to write most about or what is a profitable target market for you.
Or you can start with a niche down blog and then scale up and wider as you grow your audience base.
I have seen both cases work. At this end, you will be the one having to put all the work into making it a success and it can be in either case.
Tip! Make sure there is enough demand for the niche you have selected
Who is your target market? What are their challenges?
This is the main part.
If you know your audience, but really want to get to know them then I advise you to not skip this part.
When you know your audience, you can use that in your content writing and then you blog posts become more appealing as people can connect and engage with what you write.
Answering some of those questions is a great way to help you identify your target market:
- What really bothers your audience and keeps them awake at night?
- What are they most afraid of?
- On whom or on what are they angry with?
- Identify their top 3 frustrations?
- What are their deepest desires, the ones they don’t share with anyone?
- What are they feeling guilty of?
- Who are they jealous of?
- What are their top 3 objections from buying what you have to offer?
Another point is the recent pandemic, I am sure there are millions around the globe with new set of problems that you can solve. Some of them are afraid for their health. Some for their job.
As a new blogger you can tab into that audience if it fits your niche.
Ok, not that we’ve covered this part, let’s get more specific.
How old are they? What is their gender? Where are they located?
What are their preferences?
If you already have a blog, you can get this information under the demographics or interests section of Google Analytics. If you do not have a blog, try to guess or check out Reddit, Facebook groups or similar places to get a rough idea.
Another idea it to look at your competitor and look at what they are selling? How do they message it? What are their landing pages or sales pages look like? Who their ads are targeting?
This exercise will help you clarify your niche and better understand how to better approach them with your blog content and your offers. It really helps clarify your ideal buyer.
Which is super important and most likely you want to make money from your blog and leave your current day job.
How can you solve them?
Now comes the fun part.
You know your audience and you know what tricks them, motivates them and so on… but what are you offering them?
How can you be the go-to person to solve their problems?
What solution are they looking for?
What will they spend money on?
If you are not sure, and if you are a new blogger, then you may not know some answers then go to your competitor and look into how they are solving their audience problems. Get inspired. Look into their blog content, freebies and any products they may be offering.
You can start writing down all the ideas that come to mind at this stage, just brainstorm with yourself or with others that hopefully are in your target audience.
Later, you can take the most relevant ideas as you are getting though the blog business plan process.
Now ask yourself the question, how will your business idea help people?
See how you feel about it?
Who are your competitors? How your blog can stand out?
You need to stand out. Do something different from your competitor to have that advantage edge.
By now you have already looked at your competitors blogs and you have a right idea how they do what they do?
What can you offer that is different?
Look into the material they offer. If they have a store, then take a look at their audience buying journey and experience.
Do they approach specific markets?
Check for product reviews on what they are selling and try to identify weak points.
What is their price range for the products they offer in their blog?
How are they making money?
On which social media platform do they operate?
Do they offer guest posts?
Maybe you can have competitive pricing?
Maybe you can offer much better and extensive content and online content?
Can target a market that your competitors are not targeting?
This is in essence a competitor analysis, so I would advise you to document each competitor. Or at least a few of them. Include this in your blog business plan.
Your blog monetization Plan
How do you plan on making money?
As a blogger, even as a new blogger, you have different way to monetize on your blog.
- Affiliate Marketing
- Advertising ads on your website
- Selling your own digital products
- Selling hours (coaching / consulting sessions)
There are really multiple ways to make it happen. While it may not happen overnight, and it may take more time in the beginning.
As a beginner, if you do not have a lot of page views yet, my advice is to stay away from ads.
I personally close pages that users those pop ups everywhere they if I want to read clearly what’s in the page, I have to close all of them which is really annoying. So, until you not know have enough traction to your website that you can use an ad network like Medivine, or something similar, I suggest staying away from ads.
This is definitely a good start for a beginner.
In some case of affiliate products and program there is no minimum requirement of traffic before pitching those products on your blog. Meaning, you can start promoting this product as a new blogger.
Affiliate marketing is something you can definitely start with. Check out my guide for getting started with affiliate marketing from Scratch in 2020.
Create your own products
Creating your own products to sell is probably the ultimate way to create revenue. You do not have to share your profit with anyone and you can create as many products as you’d like.
Your income relies on your own effort and does not depend on other people or products that you have no control over.
You can also create your own affiliate program and have other programs distribute your products. Like House of Brazen does in her website. She teaches how to generate money from Pinterest and if someone sells one of her courses, he is earning a commission.
Your products do not have to be only digital. It can be a physical product as well.
Selling hours (coaching / consulting sessions)
This is another way you can use your blog to generate leads for your coaching / consulting or any other services you may provide.
For me personally, I wouldn’t want to switch a job for another job. Selling hours is great as long as you build another passive income stream like selling products or affiliate marketing. I started this blog to escape the rat race and have more flexibility in my schedule, I wouldn’t want to replace that with selling hours. But again, this is just me.
I am not ruling out this option at all.
If you have a services business and you can make great income from it, you can even use the blog to expend your services nationally or to grow your blog in different direction that is more passive.
Your email marketing strategy
This part is another important aspect of your blogging business.
I have made the mistake of not starting to collect email addresses from day one and this was a huge mistake that I do not want you to repeat.
You need to be focused on building your email list from the start otherwise, your website might have some visitors and you will lose them for good.
The purpose of your email list if to remind your audience about you and have them get back to your website. Either to read a new blog post or to buy something. As simple as that.
If you only relay on random traffic that Google or social media platforms sends you, you are wasting your efforts.
Ok, so now hopefully, you got the message of how important you email list is.
And no, email is not dead so don’t even go that way.
Email is still here and it will exist for a few more years. Invest in it now.
This is the best way to build loyal audience.
So now the next question, and I am sure it comes to your mind, like it came to mine, how do you actually do it?
Well, it took me some time to figure out the best way for me to build an email list and it is of course to have 3 things:
- An opt-in (email subscription box) page or pop up
- A freebie to offer you list in return for their email address
- Continue emailing them on a regular basis
Let’s try to tackle each one of those points:
Opt In page or Pop Up
You need a sign up form to capture your audience email so you can write them later. An opt-in page used to be a challenging task a few years ago but in recent years the usability of those tools increased substantially and now you can create your own sign up forms in a matter or a few clicks.
I personally use a tool called ConvertKit.
ConvertKit is free to use up to 1,000 subscribers which is great as a new blogger. And for what you get, I am surprised they are not charging anything:
- Unlimited landing pages & forms
- Unlimited traffic
- Customizable domain
- Send email broadcasts
- Subscriber tagging
All you need to do is create an appealing landing page or another type of sign up form that convert kit has to offer:
It comes with many templates to choose from and all you need to do is change the text to your offer. Make sure to tap into your audience problems and your solution. And then embed the form into your blog page or post.
ConvertKit provide a great tutorial on how to do that.
Now let’s go to the content you are going to send to your audience in return for their email.
You want to create something for your audience that is a teaser for what you have to offer.
So for example, like the freebie I offered you above about “how to blog successfully during a pandemic“. This extensive e-book is my freebie to my audience who would like to start a blog as a backup plan for quitting the rat race and getting out of the 9-5 job schedule.
If you are not sure what you can create, again, spy on your competitors and see what they are sharing with their audience by subscribing into their email lists.
Check what people are sharing online. You can use a tool like BuzzSumo to search for trending content.
Remember that your idea doesn’t have to be perfect and so does your freebie. You can always make it perfect at a later stage. I am not saying you should create a crappy document and use it. No.
You need to provide value. Your content should solve part of their problems and if they like it, they will download your next freebie and then your first product. They developed that trust in you and repeat coming to you for advice.
So don’t share if you don’t have anything good to say.
But don’t focus on making it perfect – focus instead on making progress.
Now that you have ideas, you can use Canva to create a stunning document really fast.
Keep in Touch
So, you have their email address, now you need to decide on a schedule to send them email to link blog posts that you write, offers for affiliate product, your own products and so on…
This is a long term investment that pays off.
But don’t over do it. Meaning, don’t send them information that is not relevant to the problems and challenges in life. Don’t spam them with offers that are so detached from their world.
Always remember they can opt out and decide you are not providing value so keep that in mind.
Marketing plan and how you plan to drive traffic
Creating a blog business plan is only partially complete by now. At least conceptually, until you put it all in one document. That should not be too long. Remember, we want to keep it simple so it is easier to implement and more organized for quick follow up.
Your marketing plan in the heart of everything that you do.
You may be a brilliant, funny and engaging writer with awesome content and products to share but if no one know about you, you’re pretty much nowhere.
Your blog is floating out there with other million blogs that not one know about that. And that would be a terrible waste. If this is your situation right now, and you have one of those zombie blogs, you should place extra focus on this part of the guide.
I am sure more of you reading it would like to make money from your blog at some point in time, for that to happen, other than creating your email list, you want to be active in social media.
But don’t make the mistake in trying to master all of them.
Start with one and then add another one.
I, for example, only use Pinterest and Facebook. Pinterest in to promote my pins and Facebook is used mainly to comment on Facebook groups that are relevant from my niche.
Organic Traffic Google SEO
But I also use Google SEO to get love from Google with organic traffic. If you ask me, social media is great but it can fluctuate. So you best bet is always Google just know that this is a long term plan.
Google may not rank you high in your early steps.
But as you keep promoting high quality content, that people love and share, and you also use SEO properly, Google will send you love back and get you raking higher and ultimately, getting traffic that you can rely on.
Never skip proper SEO in your journey to build a successful blog.
I learn SEO tips from different sources like Brian Dean or Search Engine Journal. I find them good enough for what I need but I also follow other blogs and make sure I follow the best ways to rank and to implement SEO strategies in my content.
Social Media Traffic
As I said, if you are a new blogger, start with one social media, max 2 but not more.
Try to master those first before moving on to another social media platform.
I believe, that for some niches, Pinterest is the best and fastest choice to drive free traffic to your blog.
Pinterest is a great place to get started as Pinterest SEO is much easier to rank for then Google.
If you want to master Pinterest search algorithm, please checkout my guide to get you started. All you need to start with Pinterest is to create beautiful pins.
- How to make money on Pinterest with affiliate links
- How and why you should be creating video pins?
- Get you Pinterest SEO Checklist
Well, this is a bit simplified, but in essence, activity is quite simple using that platform compared to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook which requires you to be active, post and comments all the time.
You can automate all your activity on Pinterest using a powerful scheduler from Tailwind which is what I used to schedule my pins a month upfront. Huge time saver and my Pinterest account followers, monthly viewers and most importantly traffic only keeps increasing.
As I mentioned, I use Facebook to be active in Facebook groups of my niche. This has proven to be a great tactic to get traffic. Some of those groups have promo days when you can upload a link to a post or other content or a sign up form to all the people in that group gets exposure to that. I have say that I use Facebook groups a lot and it has really paid out.
I do not devote more than 10 min a day to be active on those groups but you do want to do it daily in you can.
You have to decide which social media platforms you want to be active on and how you plan to use it.
Make a weekly plan for your activity in those social media platform and try to stick to it.
Consistency is key.
If you want to know what top bloggers are doing these days in social media and what strategies are working right now on social media, download FREE this e-book.
I think that when you want to create a blog business fast, you’ll want to invest in getting paid traffic to your blog through ads you run on Facebook or Pinterest. This is a great way to increase your visitors and page views.
I do not use Google Ads so cannot comment on that.
What I do is promote great content that have some affiliate links or a landing page to free stuff or an ad for your own product or course.
I do not invest much. I usually run a targeted campaign for about $25 for 5 days in which I can get great traffic to my blog. It is the same for me in Pinterest or Facebook. Typically, I wouldn’t pay more than 50 cents per click. It I see an ad is not performing I pause it and optimize my audience, my text, my image or all of it together.
Tip! Do not run an ad to a blog posts unless you have a sign up form ready. Otherwise, you’ll lose that traffic.
Always keep in the back of your head how you grow your email subscribers list.
So now define a budget you can leave with, and select the content you want to promote and track your campaigns.
Plan, Set Goals, Track and improve your Blog Business Plan
By now you have a good idea on your business with this blog business plan framework.
This plan lets you set up the fundamental parts of your blog business and I truly hope you have been writing some ideas.
So now we need to put all that information into a solid blog business plan. Magic can happen with good planning.
Plan – put it all together
Ok, to get started, I have drafted a list of questions for you to make it easier for you to complete the business plan.
We will go through each one of the areas of the blog business plan and you will have to complete it with your own answers:
- What is the name of my business and what is your domain name?
- What is your business about
- Your vision for this business 3-5 years from now
- Describe your target market and how will plan to solve their problems? Your competitive advantage
- Who are your competitors? What are they doing?
- Your monetization plan – how you plan to make money
- What are your expenses? Recurring and one time payment? How much does it cost to sustain your blog on a monthly / annual basis
No #8 on this list is to write down your key milestones and this is what we’ll do next.
Set Goals and Track
These are the key achievements that you hope to accomplish with your blog business. So be as specific as you can.
It’s time to start answering the following question:
- What are my top goals for 3 years from now
- What are my goals for the next 12 months?
- Where will you blog business be?
- How many subscribers will you collect for your email list?
- What will be the number of page views?
- How much money are you planning to make?
- How many followers will you have?
- Then break it down to quarters or months goals. Meaning, what will be achieved in each period.
- Break down your monthly or quarterly goals into actionable steps. Be as specific as possible. That means, if you said for example that you want to get to 500 unique visitors and 1,500 page views, you need to start thinking of the steps to get you there. So if you want to increase your traffic you need to ask the following questions:
- What are you planning to do with your blog?
- Will you run an ad? If yes, when? In which months? What is going to be your budget?
- When are you planning to release content what is your content creation and content marketing strategy?
- And when you will run a promotion for an affiliate product or your own product?
- How are often you planning to publish new content?
- Are you planning to expend into video or podcasting?
- Which products are you planning to release and when? And what will be their price?
- How much money are you planning to make, based on your answer to question 7 and you forecast for affiliate or ads revenue.
- Try to be as detailed as possible. Make a detailed actionable planning for the first 3 months and leave the rest of the 9 months with high level planning so you don’t waste time doing very detailed planning for something that may change substantially as you progress in your blog business.
- Put it all into a productivity planner or even into Excel as long as this plan is written down into a daily planner. So each day you’ll know what you need to do to make progress and ultimately make money from your blog.
Use these 3 years and 12 months blog goals as your key milestones and add it to your blog business plan.
Now come the fun and the critical step – improving what you do, how you do in an effort to increase your chances of success.
There is no successful blog that manage to get there without amending what doesn’t work and do more of what works.
I advise to you to look into your monthly / quarterly goals every week and look into your schedule for the following week. Look if something is missing in your tasks list. Then schedule those tasks to be worked on in the coming week.
At this point you’ll also want to review what you have achieved from your last week activities.
You can start tracking important metrics that makes sense for you like:
- Monthly pages view
- Social Media Subscribers
- Unique Visitors
- Email subscribers
- Sales divided by income source
- Keyword performance (you can get that from Google’s Search Consul)
- And so on
Whatever business metrics that works for you.
Look into your performance, and see how far or close are you to reaching your goals.
If you reach your goals too fast, then stretch them and update them to push yourself even further.
Gain momentum and try not to side track into a loop of learning too much or trying different things that are not written on your blog business plan unless it is really making sense.
If something needs to be amended in the business plan, do it. Your blog business is a living thing and you to remain flexible but always put your focus on reaching your goals. Write them and place it in from of you if you are a person that tens to get lost in Google sea of information.
A blog without a proper blog business plan and detailed schedule will find it hard to success. Take the time to set this plan for your blog and the sky is the limit.
So you see, no executive summary or mission statement but you have a simple blog business plan that is actionable and practical.
I hope by now you have you actionable blogging business plan and you can start to actively working on your blog business.
There are many business plans and some are very thorough and I feel they are missing the purpose if you are just starting out.
If you like this, I would love it if you share it with your audience and if you have comments questions or just something to say, I am always happy to hear from you.
I do wish you all the success in this crazy times when the world is going through a pandemic that makes it a challenge for most people to keep their head above water.
Remember to download this extensive e-book with tips from over 44 top bloggers on how to survive this period which coming out stronger when this is all over with. Use their unique strategies to get ahead.
4 thoughts on “Blog Business Plan: A Practical Set Up Guide”
I love how detailed this article is! Thank you for sharing your tips.
I am a new blogger and I felt it is just apt for me. Thank you for explaining everything in details.
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