*Update! The all-new and better than ever 2018 Blog Planner is now available with some awesome updates!
As a designer, photographer and full-time mom I am always asked by fellow professionals how I keep up with blogging or how I even became established enough to call myself a blogger. As with everything in my business and how I am even able to attempt to wear the hats I do, it all comes down to organization. Organization is key in any business and just because there may only be one of me or one of you, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t give ourselves the very best and set ourselves up for success. I try to ensure each piece of my business is organized so when the day comes that I bring on employees, I won’t be backtracking in order to make everything workflow friendly. So today I wanted to chat with you about setting up a blog planner.
When it comes to blogging and keeping up with blogging, my number one tool and way to organize the huge job of maintaining a blog and publishing valuable content is my blog planner. This paper and pen tool covers every single area I find myself needing to keep tabs on. There are apps or online tools that help in one or two of the areas I am about to touch on, but I have yet to find a system to do everything together. Who wants to be paying for several different apps or services? And needless to say I am a paper and pen girl at heart so this binder kind of rocks my world every time I open it up.
Before we go any further and to make sure I am not holding out on you anymore, this entire planner design is in the shop and available for purchase. So head over there, snag it for yourself and then jump back here so we can get organized together.
Now, you have heard me talk about blogging before and my five tips to take blogging by the reins, but now we are going to discuss the organization behind it and what this tool can do for you. I am also going to walk you through my entire planner so you can feel prepared to get started on your own. I think the biggest goal that this planner has helped me achieve is working ahead. Long ago are the days that I am writing a post the same day I need to post it which I am so grateful for! I try and have an entire month planned out ahead while the blog posts are created one to two weeks in advance. There are times that this doesn’t always work out, but most of the time I can run on auto pilot which frees me up for other important business to-do’s.
First I found a binder and dividers that I love. Martha Stewart has a gorgeous line of office products and I chose a binder, dividers, as well as the bookplates for the spine label. I then labeled my dividers for the following sections:
Monthly View + Monthly Tasks:
This worksheet allows me to create a broad overview of everything I am planning or have planned and what is needed to make it happen. I use this worksheet for both the brainstorming process and when final decisions have been made for a single month’s editorial schedule. There is a spot for ideas I jot down for the month and as it gets closer, I then start solidifying dates and blog posts.
I also print a monthly tasks checklist behind each month within the Monthly View tab. Not only does it remind me better as I flip past each month at the end, but it keeps me on track with all of the mundane tasks required to run efficiently.
There are many, many steps to creating a great blog post and I love this worksheet because it helps me to remember each and every one. And remembering each and every one gives my blog posts and editorial content a good boost in the web world. You will have a place to jot down the main points and ideas of your blog post as you plan it out and brainstorm. You have a spot for keywords and appropriate tags – remember, a blog post that isn’t optimized will do nothing for you in the long run.
Quick tip! My favorite WordPress plugin for SEO and post optimizing is the All-In-One SEO Pack plugin.
There is a checklist that will remind you if you have optimized your images, if you have checked your grammar and spelling, if you have tested all link functions, and if you have given your post a final proof read plus several more. There is a “promote post” checklist which allows you to record if you have promoted your post on all social media channels. Remember, you have invested time and energy into your post so you want to make sure that you have promoted it’s cause with your social media friends. Don’t assume that everyone will remember to check your blog daily. Help them out and share the invite!
This worksheet is a great tool because it gives you a place to make future plans. One of the five tips I have for blogging is to not wing it. Being prepared, giving each post a lot of thought and setting yourself up in an organized way is the best thing you can do as a blogger. And with each post there are always tasks you need to complete to bring it all together. With a lot of my posts imagery is needed and sometimes calls for specific props or styling objects. None of this can happen with last minute planning.
I wanted to make sure this worksheet was available for those of you who have already jumped into the arena of monetizing your blog, but rest assured that I will continue to share and blog about the way I handle things successfully and an inside look at this area when I am ready. This worksheet allows for you to stay on top of the brands and sponsors you partner with as well as the details that go along with their choice of advertising.
There are so many ways to monetize your blog and one of the best is affiliate links. Your readers will love knowing your favorite things and where to get them and you will earn additional income by sharing that type of content. This worksheet helps you track each company you are affiliated with and the details and income you receive.
This is an area that I am currently fueling and I am so thrilled to finally be taking the time for it. I have so many brands and individuals that I adore and want to make sure I share them with my audience. I also think giveaways are a great way to get your community of readers and followers involved. Who doesn’t love free stuff, right? This worksheet will help you keep on top of each of your giveaways and make sure it is handled from beginning to end.
One huge tool in ensuring your blog’s success is reviewing your monthly stats and knowing what kind of performance you are executing. Your stats worksheet covers both your analytics, email and newsletter subscribers along with your social media. For blog analytics, I use Google. It is such a powerful tool and is great insight to the traffic you are receiving. The stats worksheet allows you to record the number of sessions, users, page views as well as your bounce rate monthly. You also have a place to record numbers for subscribers, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
This worksheet covers will help you track each month of the year and it is a valuable tool as you see where your growth is and what areas could use more push.
I knew I had to have a place in this binder where I can chicken scratch and scribble notes on future ideas and thoughts I have when it comes to all things editorial. I picked up simple graph paper and a lot of it to get the job done.
P.S. For all things expenses and tracking income, I use a digital system along with the rest of my business payables and receivables. I found it too time consuming to track with paper and pen when there are such great tools out there already to handle it and keep my business books organized.
Ta-Da! And there is your Blog Planner!
So now you have a well organized planner to help tackle the entire process of blogging and maintaining a blog. Whether you are new at it or you have been doing it awhile I think the biggest thing is to sit down and plan out how much you will be investing into it in regards to time. It’s easy to see bloggers who are blogging daily and think you need to keep up, but remember that it’s about quality over quantity. Good and valuable content will speak for itself even if it is only being published twice a week.
Either way you approach it, this planner is a great tool to help you get started with organization and keep you on track along the way. What is your greatest hurdle when it comes to blogging? I would love to hear and offer insight where I can!
Hope you enjoy!