How to Create your 12-Month Profitable Blog Business Plan
When you're starting out with Blogging, it can get quickly get overwhelming! There are so many options for 'making money Blogging', so many different marketing methods, so much new software and so many new tools to learn how to use, without even factoring in the time to write blog posts (and actually do the essentials like eating and sleeping!)
In this post, I'm going to tell you the 4 things you absolutely need to have to make money blogging, and then some tips and questions to ask yourself to create a plan for that first crazy 12 months.
This post may contain affiliate links which means I might receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase anything using a referral link.
4 Essentials to Make Money Blogging
1. An Audience
More specifically, a target audience. An audience that you understand and relate to, an audience that has questions you can answer. The better you know your audience, the better results you will get, purely because you know how they think and feel about your niche (because they're just like you!)
2. A way to communicate with your Audience
I'm assuming this will include a Blog, and it will probably include at least one Social Media channel and an email list. You will see in the sample 12-month Blogging Business Plan I've included below that building these communication methods takes time. I think we are all guilty of trying to do all the things all at once, but the only thing that happens if you do that is it all becomes a massive chore and things get abandoned (I am talking from experience here!)
Building up your different communication and marketing channels slowly gives you time to properly learn each channel & develop a sustainable routine with one thing before moving on to the next thing.
3. A way to make Money!
Just blogging on its own does not make you money! You need to decide on at least one method of making money with your Blog. And then you need to Stick. To. It!
You might like to choose a main method and a secondary, more passive, method.
I make money on my Blog with
- Affiliate Marketing
- My Blog Planner Printables shop
I have in the past sold digital workbooks too.
For more ideas on Online Business Models that fit well with Blogging, have a read of this post: 6 Genuine Work-at-Home Business Models you need to know about.
4. A System for making Money
When you've decided how you want to make money with your Blog, you need a system in place to make that Money.
What I mean by this is, you might need to set up for e-commerce sales (if you're selling products), if you're working with clients you may need a project management system, some form of appointment calendar and invoicing tools. You'll need to join affiliate and advertising networks if you're going to make money with sponsored posts and affiliate marketing.
And then you need a Plan....
The sample plan I've included is for 12 months. You might want to make a shorter plan, or maybe even a longer plan. The point is to make a plan that you will stick to, that you can have written down to keep you focused and on track.
Essential Questions for a Profitable Blogging Plan
How much do you need to make each month?
Write down your ultimate monthly financial goal. Now, break that financial goal down into number of units (eg; products, service packages, affiliate products purchased, sponsored posts written) per month.
Now you know how many 'things' you need to sell every month to reach your financial goals
How much Traffic do you need to sell that many 'things'?
I might be about to tell you something that is going to make you go "sh*t!"
The average online conversion rate is 2.35% (eg; if 100 people visit your Blog, (on average) only 2 of them are going to make a purchase.) Yeah, I was a bit depressed when I first heard that too.
It varies between industries, have a look at this informative article from WordStream for more figures and tips on increasing conversion rates.
Write down your ultimate Traffic goals based on a 2% conversion rate.
So now the big question is...
How are you going to get x-number of people to your Blog to buy x-number of 'things'?
Here is where it can all get very overwhelming. Because there are lots of things that add up to create a successful, profitable blog. There's:
- User experience
- Your actual service & product offerings
My advice is always to start with a solid foundation:
- First, concentrate on creating an attractive, easy to use, functional Blog
- Second, be clear on your methods of monetisation (depending on your primary method of making money, this could include; clearly lay out your services / build up stock / create amazing Blog content etc)
- Third, when you have something special in place for your audience; Market, market, market!
The 12-month Blogging Plan
To grab a downloadable version, join us in The Badass BusinessMum's Club to get access to the Resource Library.
I have created a sample 12-month Blogging Plan. It's based on a Blogger who is using affiliate marketing as her primary method of making money from her Blog, and then adds digital products to her business plan.
When using this plan, or creating your own, you need to remember a few things:
- Get specific on actual details. This is a very broad monthly overview. Your monthly overview needs to be broken down into specific daily actionable steps.
- Give things time to work. This is where I fail. It's not even a case of being annoyed or upset something isn't working - it's more my constant need to know more about everything keeps presenting me with new options to try. But things only work if you concentrate on them properly and really give them your whole attention.
- Set yourself a realistic timeline & set yourself up for Success! They may only feel like 'small' successes, especially if you're guilty of comparing yourself to what everyone else is up to, but if you try and do too much, you'll feel like a failure when you don't get it done!
Create a library of 3-5 evergreen Blog posts that will be live as soon your Blog is public. Read this post for help with writing blog posts for your Brand New Blog.
Create and launch your Blog (consider creating a 'coming soon' page that links to one or two social accounts where you can share updates and create some excitement around your launch)
Develop a sustainable blog post schedule and create an editorial calendar (You will be blogging regularly every month as well as completing the focus action points I've mentioned in the plan)
Start building your audience on Pinterest by joining and posting to group boards and creating a pinning schedule with a service like BoardBooster
Start using Facebook groups to build your audience. Join relevant groups and commit to engaging every day. Choose 3-5 groups for your main focus of attention
Create an opt-in freebie and start an email list (I use Mailerlite)
Set up an automated welcome email sequence and start regularly emailing your list (on a sustainable schedule)
Begin working on a low - mid priced digital product (workbook / e-book / video training / short course etc)
Complete the product, set up e-commerce & a payment gateway and test your product. Contact bloggers & influencers relevant to your niche about guest posts / podcast interviews / free product in exchange for a review etc.
Launch your product (with a launch plan!)
Congratulate yourself and evaluate your first year, then plan the next 12 months!
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