Can’t blogging be difficult!
What I mean is that us bloggers have to be so versatile, wear so many hats, it really can get quite complex and time-consuming.
I know that I certainly get myself into a pickle every now and again, do you?
For example, we have to:
- Establish and promote our brand;
- Write continuous, epic, blog posts;
- Promote those blog posts;
- Always be planning our next post;
- Learn how to monetize our blogs;
- Find the best promotional strategy that suits us;
- Connect and make friends with other bloggers;
- Start producing our own products.
…and that’s not including the ‘behind the scene’ tasks such as:
- Blog technicalities
- Respond to blog comments
- Answering emails
- Constantly setting milestones and schedules
- Learning new things.
Few, that’s a lot of tasks and I’ve only touched on the basics, I’m sure you can add many more to that list.
So it’s no wonder that we often feel totally overwhelmed, lack motivation and just feel buried under a big unorganized, chaotic mess.
Now lies the question of what can we do to get some control and clarity in our blogging business?
Is Outsourcing The Answer?
I know that many coaches and professional bloggers will tell you to outsource some of your tasks in order to get your business organized and start blogging productively.
But outsourcing might not be for you, or you just don’t have the funds to start paying freelancers.
Also, outsourcing can actually be quite time-consuming in itself – it’s another task to add to your long list in that you have to ‘manage’ the outsourcing.
I know this from personal experience where I used to outsource the writing of my blog posts (this was a few years ago when ‘mediocre’ articles were perfectly acceptable and used to easily rank in Google).
Apart from the fact that it took a while to find a really good quality freelancer to write the blog posts, I used to spend a lot of time thinking up blog post titles, devising an outline and doing the necessary keyword research for each article.
Then when I did get my articles back I was never 100% satisfied and always used to tweak them until I was satisfied.
I could have used all this time to just write the bloomin articles myself!
So I figured outsourcing was not for me, not just yet anyway.
My Little ‘Ah Ha’ Light Bulb Moment
So I decided that at this moment in time outsourcing was not for me, but as a solo blog business owner I needed to find an alternative solution.
This ‘alternative solution’ basically meant that I just had to get myself super organized. I must admit (and I’m blushing as I write this) that my admin and the organization of my blog was terrible.
And the reason why I’m embarrassed to admit this is that I have a background career as a Secretarial P.A., Office Admin and ended up as an Office Manager within a very prestigious University where I managed the office systems and supervised an office full of secretaries.
I even have a B.A. (Hons) in Business!
So how on earth was I so good and so successful in running an office (which was self-funded and was literally the same as running a small business) but I was so hopeless at running an Online business in the form of a single blog?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed and was good at building my blogs, creating very good looking ‘look and feel’ elements and good at producing information products, but the management and promotion of my blog business left a lot to be desired.
And it was at this thought where I had my Eureka moment.
I thought to myself …
“Claire, you used to run an office implementing and structuring systems to make the whole office run smoothly – and it did run smoothly. So why on earth have you not thought about implementing systems into your own blogging business?”
Ping! Light-bulb! Slap on the forehead!
Well, I can tell you from that very moment I went into ‘super woman’ overdrive and started putting my plan together.
My plan to finally get my act together, get organized and start reaching my goals.
And it’s this plan which I’m going to share with you today.
So this tutorial is going to help you get your blog organized, stop procrastinating and help you stay focused in order to reach all of your blogging goals.
Here’s a quick overview of the six steps before we delve in:
#1 Understand and set-up your blog as a ‘business’ blog
#2 Identify your goals and milestones
#3 Set up your monetization plan
#4 Set up your marketing strategy
#5 Set up your systems and timetables
#6 Keeping track of milestones and building momentum
Sounds good? Then let’s get started …
#1 Understand and Set-Up Your Blog As a ‘Business’ Blog
Domain & Hosting
The first thing I want to address is the necessity to set your blog up for business.
And the first step is to make sure you have your own domain name and web hosting. So if you currently run your blog on a Blogger ‘www.mysite.blogspot.com’ blog or a WordPress ‘www.mysite.wordpress.com’ blog, or run it on tumblr or something similar, then you need to address this issue now.
Because you don’t fully own your blog if you’re relying on a third party to host it for you. Blogger or WordPress are in control of your blog and can easily pull the rug from beneath your feet, and believe me this does happen.
See this image here of a tumblr user:
Imagine if that happened to you? It doesn’t bare thinking about does it!
This also does happen to Blogger and WordPress users too – so be aware.
There are plenty of places to purchase domain names and web hosting with Namecheap for domains and Bluehost for web hosting being the most popular at the moment (I believe you get a free domain name when you sign up with Bluehost).
So do yourself a favor and go and get in complete control of your own blogging business.
Look & Feel
You should also pay attention to the look & feel of your blog i.e. the theme template you will use. This is important as it helps set your brand and shows professionalism, you should also have a mobile responsive theme which looks great on both PCs and mobile devices.
There are many templates now which are even designed for specific niches i.e. food blogging themes, home decor and photography are just to name a few. Studiopress is a great place to purchase mobile responsive niche themes for WordPress, but you can also simply do a keyword search to find templates for the blog platform you’re using.
> Buy your own domain name & web hosting (own your blog)
> Invest in a theme for your blog (professional look & feel)
#2 Identify Your Goals and Milestones
Now that you’re in control of your blog and you realise you need to run it as a business, let’s start off with setting some goals and milestones.
l always think it’s a good idea to set small milestones for your blog in terms of the ‘metrics’ of your blog – as opposed to monetary goals.
Basically metrics are a measure of how your blog is progressing such as:
- How many daily unique visitors
- How many monthly subscribers
- How many monthly page views
If you set monetary goals you’re more likely to be disappointed at not reaching them and you will also be focusing on the wrong aspect ie. making money rather than the growth of your blog and pleasing your visitors.
So set a large metric goal for twelve months from now and then set little mini monthly milestones to keep you on track to ensure that you get closer and closer to your major goal.
Main Goal: “I want to have 5,000 email subscribers by the end of the next 12 months”
1st Milestone: “I want to have 500 subscribers by the end of month #1”
This is what I call ‘goals mapping’, it really is effective and keeps you motivated!
Your Most Wanted Response (MWR)
Now that you’ve set your goals, you need to make a strategy on how you’re going to achieve these.
You might think that the very next step is to start driving traffic to your blog, but that’s not what you should do. You need to streamline and funnel your visitors to get to your MWR.
Your MWR is a term I first came across way back in about 2002 under the supervision of Ken Evoy of SiteBuildIt!
The concept of Most Wanted Response is to help identify what you would like to happen on your blog i.e. exactly what do you want your visitors to do when they first land on your blog?
This should directly correlate with the goals you’ve set.
In reality, your blog will have many MWRs because you might want your visitors to buy your product (or affiliate product), sign-up for your coaching and join your membership program.
However, in order to make all those other MWRs happen, you need to guide your visitors through a process, a ‘sales cycle’ so to speak. So in this case, your FIRST MWR might be to get your visitor to join your email list.
Once they’re on your list, you can then send them through the cycle/sales funnel to buy your products etc. – your other MWRs.
This is a much better ‘strategic’ plan than just merely pushing thousands of visitors onto your blog with no direction for them to follow.
So sit and think about what your first and foremost MWR is. What do you want your visitors to do FIRST when they land on your blog? Will this directly help you move towards your goals?
Do you want them to:
- Sign up for your newsletter?
- Buy a specific product?
- Leave a blog comment to help you build your ‘blog community’?
Don’t forget, you should only have one initial MWR so you don’t confuse your visitors.
> Set a major goal & little milestones for the metrics of your blog’s growth
> Identify your blog’s MWR
#3 Set Up Your Monetization Plan
It’s no use slapping up some ads or putting an affiliate product banner in your sidebar and then expect to make a monthly income. You need sit down and plan your monetization strategy from the start.
You need to carefully construct your ‘money plan’ by identifying how you want to make money, then have your MWR in order to guide and funnel your visitors to get the sale whether that be directly or indirectly through part of a sales funnel.
Once you’ve decided on your MWR, you need to organize your blog so it funnels your visitors to it.
For example, if your MWR is to get subscribers then make sure you either drive them directly to a landing page or have optin boxes all over your blog (sidebar, bottom of blog posts, pop-up etc.)
If your MWR is to get a sale, then drive traffic to your ‘money blog posts’ where you review a product or pre-sell it in some other way in order to get the sale.
> Create a money plan for your blog, what are you going to sell?
> Make sure it ties in with your overall goals
> Make sure to plan the layout of your blog directing visitors to your MWR
#4 Set Up Your Marketing Strategy
Now you’ve done your prep work and you have a strategy in place to funnel visitors to your sales cycle, you can now start promoting your blog.
You must understand that the amount of money you make from your blog has a direct correlation to the amount of monthly visitors it gets. You need a lot of traffic to your blog to start earning a consistent monthly income from it.
Here’s a quick checklist when it comes to generating traffic to your blog:
- Do you know exactly who your target market are?
- Do you know where to find them?
- Use the 80/20 rule; spend 20% of your time creating your own content and 80% promoting it.
- Choose ONE channel to start promoting your content on (tip, use the one that suits your strengths and your personality the most.)
The major marketing channels:
1. Paid Advertising (PPC, banner ads etc.)
2. Social Media
3. Writing to get published (guest posting, forum posting etc.)
4. Youtube Videos
6. JV Launches/recruiting affiliates
You can use this Blog Marketing Toolkit to help plan out and organize your marketing strategy.
I suggest you choose one of the above marketing channels and only use that until you’ve gained a loyal blog following and have exhausted that strategy. You can then easily move onto a second one.
> Identify one channel to promote your blog
> Create a system for this strategy
#5 Set Up Your Systems and Timetables
Now that you’ve got your blog set up for business, have identified your goals and have identified your MWR, it’s time to start organizing your blog with systems.
The best way to start organizing your blog is to categorize the different components with running a blog business and then implement systems within those areas. By doing this you will instantly lose the overwhelm and chaos.
So start by categorizing the different areas within your own blogging business.
Blog Areas :
Your ideal customer template, your brand outline, blog business plan etc..
Blog Planning & Administration
Blog post templates, project planning.
Your blog contacts, relationship building and traffic generation techniques.
Income & expenses worksheet, invoicing, other bookkeeping and accounting.
And if you’re in the coaching business, you may want to add
Database of clients, client projects etc..
Now go and create separate folders on your desktop for each area then you can file all your documents accordingly into each folder.
These are the ones on my desktop:
You might be interested in this Toolkits Bundle Offer:
Now that you have your blog areas, you need to create systems within each of those areas.
Blog Planning > Blog post creation
Blog Marketing > Guest Post Schedule
Blog Finance > End of month income & expenditure
Here’s an example of a blog post creation system:-
So as you can see from the above image, you want to map out all the tasks associated with your system and then assign a day and time as to when you’re going to carry those tasks out.
Don’t forget to file each of your systems into the appropriate ‘Blogging Area’ file on your desktop!
Timetable Your Tasks
This can be called creating a ‘To Do’ list or ‘Project Planning’, but basically they’re all the same thing.
Once you have your systems set up, you simply transfer those tasks onto your weekly planner and then onto your daily ‘to do’ lists.
I tend to set some time aside on a Sunday and look at my goals and subsequent systems and then transfer the appropriate tasks as stated above.
Can you see how you’re planning and streamlining your blogging tasks in order to keep moving your blog forward?
Can you see how organized your blogging business will be simply by implementing blogging areas, systems and timetabling?
> Create your ‘Blogging Areas’
> Devise systems for your blog post creation, marketing tasks etc.
> Timetable your tasks > weekly planner > daily ‘to do’ lists
#6 Keeping Track of Milestones and Building Momentum
To make sure you’re on track you want to see signs of success which means you should monitor your progress, even on a daily basis.
This is the key element to keep your motivation up by feeling the sense that you’re creeping closer and closer to your big overall goal.
- Daily goals
- Weekly goals
- Monthly goals
- Your milestones
- Your larger goals
Celebrate each and every success you have, this could be as small as your first blog comment, your first email subscriber or your first affiliate sale.
It’s these little successes which build your momentum to keep pushing forward in your blogging career. It allows you to visually see that you’re moving forward and not staying stagnant or even going backwards.
Take a step forward every single day and make sure you see progress, see a ‘reaction’ from your blog visitors.
Keep doing this and you will slowly, but surely, start climbing the success ladder and achieving those larger goals.
Have any questions or would like to share how you get your blog organized?
Then please feel free to leave a comment below ….