You may wonder how important a business plan is for your blog and I must confess that as a beginner I wondered the same thing and I learned this the hard way after dabbling around with my first blog. Having a business plan for your blog is not mandatory, but if you regard your blog – or plan to do so – as a way to earn income, to grow your platform, to showcase your creativity and create a brand, then your blog is your business and creating a blog business plan is essential.
Why you need that business plan.
- To help you keep up your focus.
- It will help you develop a short and long-term strategy that will help you gauge your progress.
- Help you to carefully plan ways to make money from your blog in the best way that suits your brand.
- Gives you a clearer picture of how you will promote your blog.
- Helps you budget and guides you through future decisions for your blog as a business.
- It helps to serve as an evidence to interested parties or investors who want to partner with you. Assuming that your blog grows popular over time and investors express interest in partnering with you, the decision to partner or not to partner with you could hinge on their assessment of your business acumen and a possible peep into your blog’s business plan. Such decisions are easier to make with documentation no matter how simple it is.
With this clarity on why you need a blog business plan, let’s go into the details of how to develop a simple, smart plan for your blog.
Thinking it through.
There are certain thoughts that you should have on your mind as you create your plan such as:
- The platform (hosted or self-hosted) that you want your blog on – WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Others.
- If you are self-hosting, consider how to get your domain name, how to buy hosting service, customizing and designing your blog and consider what the annual fees for maintaining your blog will be.
- What are your three main goals for blogging? Identify them and use them as your focal point.
- What will your blog subject focus be?
- Who is your target audience and what are the possible solutions that you plan to offer to them?
- When a reader visits your blog, what are the calls for action that you want them to take – Subscribe, buy, share etc?
- How will you encourage them to take such action?
- Search and study your competition. What is it that they are doing that you can learn from and possibly improve on.
- How often will you update your blog? Think of your first ten blog posts, develop the content and come up with a list of focus keywords for your blog.
- What are the strategies that you will use to increase your blogs’ SEO? Do you plan to run periodic promotions for your blog?
- How will you measure your success? Think of the methods that you could use – Google Analytics, Email and RSS subscription, comments, and feedbacks.
Remember that your plan shouldn’t be as thick as a book to be efficient. Your plan could be a one pager.
Remember to keep it simple and to avoid vague phrases which are difficult to understand.
8 steps guide to writing a one-page blog business plan.
- Executive Summary
Keep your blog’s executive summary brief, practical and inspiring. It explains what your blog is about in a general sense to anyone reading it and should contain a summary of why your blog exists, your blog strategies and where you see your blog going in future. You can also include a brief biography of your blogs management and it’s ownership status. Here you can introduce the face/s behind the blog, their competencies, and responsibilities.
- Your Blogs Objectives
In this section for your blog goals, you state clearly the idea behind the existence of your blog, it’s short and long-term goals, your growth strategy, who your target audience is and what your blog culture will be. What style or tone would you be writing in – formal or approachable. List three or more goals for your blog in phases of three months, six months and one year. Your goals should be clear, practical and measurable.
- Your Offerings and Monetization Strategy
What strategy do you intend to use to make money from your blog? In this section of your plan, list how you plan to monetize your blog through the various available mediums like affiliate & partnership programs, advertisements, membership, and subscriptions, sponsored posts, product sales, services or reviews that you offer. Will you sell your product on Amazon.com or Etsy shop? Will you offer courses? Write out a sales strategy for items that you plan to sell on your blog.
- Your Blog Opportunity and Potentials
Analyze your blog’s intended niche. Is it a big or small one? How broad is the niche? What is its growth potentials? In this case, you might want to study some leading blogs in your targeted niche. What can you learn from them? What benefits do you think you can bring to your blog that your readers will gain from? These are vital questions that you need to resolve even before launching your blog.
- Your Marketing Plan and Social Promotion Strategy
In this section, you have to give serious thought on how to market your blog. How will you attract your target audience to your blog? Do you plan to publicize your blog through free or paid campaign? What tactics will you use for effective results? What are your competitors doing in this aspect? A plethora of information exists our there to help you learn how to use social media effectively for your business. Develop a plan to learn and work out how to use one or two platforms at a time and keep expanding your scope. Create a scheduled plan for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Email, Guest posting, offline marketing and others. Also, consider how to track your social media influence and blogs growth using tracking software such as Google Analytics.
- Continued Growth Plan
For sustainable growth of your blog business, your role as a blogger is to continually develop yourself on how to become a better blogger. Set some goals for continued acquisition of knowledge like attending conferences, workshops or seminars that are relevant to your blogging niche. Taking relevant classes or training that will help you hone your skills. Keep up with the trend by subscribing to magazines with the right information.
- Your Blogs Financial Projections
This section should consist a summary of your blogs’ expense and expected financial forecast. Work out the things that you would need to start-up your blog such as hosting fees, site theme and development, promotional fees, internet cost etc and create your startup budget. It is essential to create a spreadsheet or a table for tabulating income from your blogs revenue streams. Each month take a record of your monthly income from each source and as time goes on, you are able to recognize the things that don’t work for you and able to take a business decision on them.
- Your Exit Plan
Every good thing does come to an end and inasmuch as the last thought on your mind when you are launching your blog is how to kill your blog, the reality is that at some point, you may decide to call it quits, therefore, having an exit plan is simply financial intelligence. Would you sell your blog business or transfer it? What options would you consider?
Read your blogs business plan at least once a month. It helps to keep you focused on your goals.
You can download a blank business plan template here for your use.
Well done for sticking through with it. It’s your dream, so, have fun with it! Write your vision down and give it a go with gusto. Every business runs with an idea, and when you treat your blog as your business you place it in a place for success. Do you have a business plan yet or are you blogging without a business plan? Do let us know in the comments.