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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Building Your Blog 101 - Planning Your Blog

I'm assuming you're here because you need some help planning out your new blog, or perhaps looking for a new way to get more organized with a well established blog.  A lot of this has to do with time management, which you can view a post on HERE.  In this particular post though we're going to steer clear of time management and focus more on three things:

1) Planning a posting schedule
2) Planning content
3) Planning goals for the blog and meeting them


1) Planning a posting schedule

I came across an interesting article the other day on The Dainty Squid.  This blogger came up with an ingenious way to organize and keep track of when she'll be posting certain articles.  Check out the article:  The Dainty Squid: Blog Planning.

Posting regularly is important for a successful blog.  Sometimes I'll post two or three articles a day if the mood really strikes me, and other times just one.  For me being flexible is important, and the author of The Dainty Squid has worked flexibility into her blog planning.  I do aim to post a certain number of articles a week/month however, so for me that's about as far as my scheduling goes.  I do keep track of what I will be writing next however, so that I always have a direction to go when I have some time to sit down and write.  I hate wasting time when I sit down to work on my blogs.

2) Planning Content

I'm sure you've already read our post about how Content is King, but if you haven't, head over to see the vast list of how you can generate ideas for new content on your blog.

One thing you can do in planning out content for a month, or even a year, is to brainstorm about topics you can turn into a series of articles.  This is like blogging in different themes.  Lets say you have a dog blog.  For the month of June you might plan on doing a special series of dog training posts.  Then in July you might do a series about different brands of dog foods and their pros and cons.  Of course you can still blog on other topics during this time, but making a series of posts out of a theme is a great way to come up with lots of great content.  You can also get your readers amped up about the upcoming series of posts you'll be writing, and how important it will be for them to subscribe so that they can know when the next article has come out.

3) Planning blog goals for the blog and meeting them

There's an article by Fuel Your Blogging HERE that I really want you to see for planning out a year of blogging.  It primarily has to deal with setting goals and expanding your horizons as a blogger.  It is well worth the few minutes it will take to read it.

Aside from just reading the article above, I want to take a moment to talk to you about goal setting, because I find that a lot of people don't know how to make a proper goal, and end up setting themselves up for failure.  When setting goals you should set smart goals, or: 

S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable
R - Relevant
T - Time-bound

This means that instead of just saying, "I'm going to grow my blog," you will have to be specific and say, "I'm going to go from 10 subscribers to 30 subscribers this year."   By doing this you've gone from a vague non-specific goal, to something specific, something you can measure (how many new subscribers), something that's not way out there and unreasonable (it's attainable), it's relevant to what your blog needs, and it's got a deadline (this year).
  • Setting a specific goal lets you know what the bottom line you're working towards is.  
  • Making it measurable allows you to track how you're doing in working towards this goal.  
  • By setting a reasonable goal and making it attainable, it means you're not setting unreasonable expectations of yourself or your blog, and you're not setting yourself up for failure. 
  • Getting new subscribers is something relevant to your blog, as opposed to setting a goal saying that you're going to buy a new cat this year (which has nothing to do with your blog).
  • Setting time-limits gives you a deadline, and will help you to track your progress.  Ultimately, if you meet your goal by this deadline, you know you have succeeded.  If you have not met the goal by the deadline, then you've failed, but you can still work towards the goal at a later date.
Once you have a smart goal, you can start laying the foundations of a plan to accomplish this goal.  It's much easier to focus on something specific and how to acheive it such as "increase subscribers" rather than just, "grow my blog."  For instance, you might increase subscribers by asking them at the end of each post to subscribe, or by adding more subscribtion buttons in more visible and prominent places on the blog, or even by running a contest and giving away a product to one of your subscribers.  If you didn't have a specific goal, you wouldn't be able to work towards it.

When planning your blog, do you use any of these strategies?  What are some other ways you plan out your blog?

Don't forget to comment below, and subscribe for more great articles and tips about building a successful blog!

3 comments:

I like the article you linked to on the dainty squid and I think that's a great and cheap way to organize your thoughts and whatnot on blogging. I usually make a table on a Word doc and mark out my schedule that way.

What you have to say on smart goals is very valid as well. My son is a high schooler and they taught him about smart goals in school. I'm glad they did because I think you're right in that a lot of ppl don't know how to make a goal.

Thanks for posting this! I'm liking what I've been reading on your blog. I'm definitely thinking of new blog themes to be writing about.

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