Create a Blogging Plan by Breaking Down Objectives into Task List

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This gues post was written by Michael Martine. Michael Martine is a blog consultant who helps others learn how to be better bloggers at his blog and through private consulting for people and companies.

Do you know where you’re going with your blog? Do you have a plan or are you just making it up as you go? If you want your blog to be successful and make money, you must have a plan. If you don’t have any idea where you’re going, how will you get there? How will you know when you’ve arrived?

Start with the end in mind

You need to determine for yourself what the final destination is. Work backwards from your desired end goal to determine the steps along the way. When you are monetizing your blog, this end goal will usually be a dollar amount. If your blogging supports a business (whether you are a business owner, freelancer, or work for a company), you need to think in terms of increased business: more inquiries, more sales, more referrals, and greater profits.

Getting from here to there

After you’ve determined an end goal, set the secondary goals that will help you achieve your ends. These are often the same for every blogger regardless of end goals: you want high levels of qualified traffic. By qualified, I mean traffic that is a good match for your blog and that is predisposed to like, benefit from, and agree with its content. There are two metrics you can use to determine your progress in this: RSS (or email) subscribers and bounce rate (the percentage of unique visitors who immediately leave or “bounce” off of it due to low relevancy).

High numbers of RSS subscribers and a low bounce rate generally means that most of your traffic is qualified. If your blog runs contextual advertising, this means your audience should be seeing relevant, highly-targeted ads which have high click-through rates. If your blog supports a business, this means that your readers are likely to become your clients.

To achieve this, your blog’s content has to be highly relevant for your intended audience. More than that, it has to get in front of your audience’s eyes. So, a chief component of any good blogging plan is a strategy and practice for getting people to connect with your blog’s content. This is really the end goal of practices such as search engine optimization, advertising, using social media, and commenting on other blogs. Keep in mind that these practices fall flat without relevant content behind them.

Write your objectives down

With the end in mind, you can create a list of objectives to get there. Here’s an example you can use for your own blog if you like:

  1. Create strong, linkable content that can be a resource to others
  2. Actively engage in building your network with others by commenting, emailing, using social media, and guest blogging
  3. Actively engage in increasing your traffic through SEO, social media, commenting, and advertising
  4. Encourage visitors to become subscribers via RSS or email (use FeedBurner and/or Aweber).
  5. Monitor and test what content drives traffic and backlinks, and create more content like that.
  6. Monitor and test ad placement, colors, and types for maximum effectiveness and earning power.
  7. Occasionally redesign in order to strengthen the above results: redesigning can increase RSS subscribers, increase earnings from ads, and make your best contents more accessible to new visitors.

Break down each objective into a task list

The above points are very generalized for nearly any blog. Each point can be broken down into more detailed steps. Each point is the basis for a sub-plan. For example, the sub-plan for creating strong content could look like this:

  1. Write a basics or “101″ series of posts
  2. Write several detailed tutorials
  3. Interview a specific list of top people in your blog’s niche
  4. Write several “top 10″ linkbait types of posts
  5. Write several posts that are large lists of links and resources around a specific topic your audience would find helpful
  6. Write an ebook or create some other kind of long format content that can be an incentive for subscribing to RSS or email
  7. Write a strong “About” page for your blog
  8. Record several audio or video posts

I can’t stress enough how important it is to write down the steps of your plan. Writing it down is like shining a light into the darkness of your thoughts: it chases away the murk and shadows and illuminates your ideas clearly. Breaking your objectives down into task lists is really the heart of your blogging plan.

Break down your target numbers

Let’s say that your earnings goal in blogging is to make a modest $400 USD per month in supplemental income. That breaks down to $13.33 per day in earnings. Let’s say you were monetizing your blog with Google AdSense. If you averaged $0.05 per click, you would need 266 clicks to make $13.33 in a day. If your click-through rate was 10%, you would need 2660 visitors every day. Most click-through rates are not 10%, but you also might get more than $0.05 per click, too. At $0.08 per click, you would only need 150 clicks per day to make $13.33.

The plan is not reality

Your plan is a valuable guide to help you answer the question: “What do I do next?” But don’t ignore reality! Having a plan helps prevent you from wandering aimlessly, but ignoring new opportunities or following the plan for its own sake will weaken your blogging in the opposite way. Keep an eye on the goal… but watch your back, too.

The challenge: write your blogging plan!

Consider this post a challenge for you to really think about what you want to accomplish with your blog and to write a blogging plan that will get you there.

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