Work (career & side hustles)

How to Create a Blog Business Plan

So if you’ve been here before, you might notice that my blog looks a lot different now than it did a few weeks ago.

I changed the entire branding – from my fonts to my color scheme.

I got a new theme.

I updated all of my social media handles.

Why?? Because I’m not going to lie: it was a loooot of work. Like week’s worth of work.

Related Post // How to Rebrand Your Blog (& why I did)

For me, it was to get my head on straight. I had a lot of ideas, and a lot of dreams, but no plan to fall back on. My messaging felt off. Actually, my messaging was nonexistent.

I hadn’t gotten the foundation down, and it was making me feel like the work I was putting out was subpar and all over the place. I needed a blueprint. So I sat down and made one.

Your blog is a business, and your business plan is the blueprint. Click To Tweet

And let me tell you, doing this was the BEST thing I’ve done for my blog. I used to struggle with post ideas. I questioned my design elements and writing style. It was like I was throwing darts at a spinning globe, hoping that everything stuck and made sense (it didn’t).

Now I have a stationary, stable map for my blog. I know my starting point, I know where I want to end up, and I’ve got my route all mapped out. I’ve got my snacks packed, my pit stops planned, and I can just focus on the trip itself and make that as enjoyable as possible.

Instead of blogging blindly, I’ve got a purpose & focus. That’s what a blog business plan can do for you.

This post contains affiliate links. Say what?! It means if you make a purchase by clicking on one of my links, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. This helps me bring you more exciting content!

How to create a business plan for your blog

Don't blog blindly. A blog business plan will give you a purpose & focus. Click To Tweet

Now that I’ve got a plan, I spend way less time on the small things like messaging, fonts, and Pinterest image design. Those things are decided on, and I know that I can always reference my business plan if I forget.

Now I spend more time on creating awesome content, participating in Facebook groups and promoting my blog, and building a community with my readers and other bloggers.

Because let’s be real. No one will care about my awesome design elements or content if I’m so burnt out from designing and deciding that I don’t have the time or energy to promote it, build trust, and interact with my readers.

So what do you need in your blog business plan?

What to Include in a Blog Business Plan

Each plan is going to be a bit different, and it’s going to depend a lot on your blog, what you write about, where you are now, and where you’re trying to take it. For instance, if you’re not trying to monetize, you might not need an in-depth financial plan. If you’re a fashion blogger, you might have a more detailed budget for how much you will spend on clothing and product.

Here’s a list of things that I included in mine! I think this is a great starting point for new-ish bloggers or bloggers who do not have a business plan!

  1. Mission statement for blog
  2. Vision for blog
  3. Blog Inspiration Board
  4. Logo(s)
  5. Tag lines
  6. About the Blog
  7. About the Blogger
  8. Stock images for blog
  9. Categories
  10. Catchphrases
  11. Marketing strategy
  12. Financial plan
  13. Blogging goals

I’m going to keep it real for a minute: I focused a lot on the design elements of the blog, because that’s what I was struggling with the most. But if you have that down pat, or are further along in your blogging career, then definitely consider some of these other options:

  1. Market analysis – who is your ideal audience, and what do they need help with? What are they searching for on Google, Pinterest, etc. Key words are key here!
  2. Competition analysis – who else is out there? Is there a space where no one is dominating the field? Or is it saturated with other bloggers? If it’s the latter, then how can you differentiate yourself?
  3. Products and services – what can you offer your readers that will provide value to them (while making you that money honey)? What are you an expert in? (Note here: you’ve gotta have some trust with your readers or some serious success with whatever you are trying to sell in order for this to work. It’s hard to sell something to someone who a) doesn’t know you or b) can’t see the proof in the pudding).
  4. In depth social media strategy – I’m talking Facebook ads, Instagram ads, PR deals with brands through social media. You get the gist.
  5. Implementation strategy – when is your product/service going to launch? How will you promote it? What’s your 3, 6, 9, 12, 24 month plan?

Ok, cool. So you know why it’s helpful, and a general overview of what to include. How do you implement it?

How to Create a Blog Business Plan

1.Do some soul searching

First step, admit that there’s a problem. Nope, I’m not kidding. Because we all blog for some reason, and we’re all trying to solve a problem. I blog because I think that there’s a need for more online spaces that promote positivity, self- love, and sisterhood.

Maybe you blog because they think that curvy women need more representation in the digital space. Maybe you want to help other bloggers do what you do.

Or maybe you just have a voice, and you want someone to listen.

Either way, there’s a problem (not enough community, not enough representation, or not enough you) and you are blogging to solve that problem. So figure out the problem, figure out your why.

Next think about what you want to provide as a solution to the problem. When someone types in www.yourblogname.com, what do they get? Is it personal stories? Is it fashion advice? Is is health tips or laundry lists of resources?

And while they are there, how are they feeling? Happy? Inspired? Motivated? Calm?

They say that your vibe attracts your tribe, so who are you attracting?

Fun fact: I really struggled to think of my target audience until I thought of it this way: If my blog were a school club, who would come, where would they meet, & what would they talk about?

That’s your target audience!

If your blog were a school club, who comes, where do they meet, & what do they discuss? Click To Tweet

2. Create a mission and vision

Mission

So you’ve got all these ideas about vibe and target audiences and solutions running through your head. Now it’s time to put it into words.

Fact about me: I went to college to study nonprofit administration (and I currently work for a nonprofit!), and one of the biggest things they taught was that every nonprofit- just like every business- needs a strong, concise mission. Your mission is the driving force for everything that you do as a blogger, from what you write about, to your social media presence to your color scheme.

Seriously. Think of any large, successful nonprofit or business. They have a strong branding and corporate culture, but it all stems from their mission.

So what goes into a mission statement? Good question, friend! Mission statements are short, concise, and tell who you serve, why you serve them, and how you get the job done. They can be a well crafted sentence, but I’ve also seen some kick ass ones that are 2-3 sentences. Just remember, short and sweet but still informative.

So “I’m a lifestyle blogger”? Not a mission statement. That’s just a statement, friend.

“I’m a lifestyle blogger that inspires young adults to take control of their futures through career advice and financial planning”? Now that’s a solid mission statement.

Vision

Now if a mission statement is short and to the point, a vision is it’s lofty, long-winded sister. Vision statements talk about all the big dreams that you have for your blog. In the nonprofit world, we talk about the ideal world that would be created if our mission was completed 100%. (Think, cancer would be cured or all homeless people would live in permanent housing).

For you as a blogger, this might be more about what you want your reader to take away from you blog. It could also be about the type of community that you want to build, or the feeling that you want to foster. Basically, if someone read your blog every day and implemented all your advice, what would change about their lives? Who would they become?

Related // Check out my mission and vision!

3. Create your brand

The big kahuna. Your brand is much, much more than just your logo! It’s what people think or feel when they look at your blog. And unless you can see the future, that’s kind of hard to plan for!

But  you can plan for a few things such as:

  • What design elements you incorporate into your blog (swirls, shapes, etc.)
  • What your logo looks like
  • What colors you use
  • How you talk about yourself and your blog
  • How you talk about your blogging topic (aka your blog’s “voice”)

Let’s talk about the easier part (at least for me) first:

Design and Color Scheme

I created a mood page that I included in my blog business plan. The top half was full of inspo images that I got from Pinterest, and the bottom half included actual branding elements. I chose my fonts and colors, and inserted them into the same document.

This was suuuuper helpful because it allowed me to see all of the elements at once, and how they worked together. I wanted a warm, inviting, happy feeling that wasn’t too bright, so I went with copper (which also happens to fit my personal aesthetic and is pretty trendy so it was a win win win).

Take time to get this right! The colors and designs you choose may be the first impression that someone has of your blog, before they even know what you write about or how great your content is! Originally I was thinking of going with a more playful/ brighter color, but when I say how it worked with all the other elements I decided on the copper color I have now. I think it evokes a warmer, more connecting feeling, and I am much happier with the vibe it gives off.

Talk the Talk

Now I’m not going to lie: this part probably took me the longest to figure out. It’s hard to get the wording for your brand right. It’s more than just writing a few facts: it’s talking about why you do what you do, being vulnerable and passionate and honest, but without being too much of those things.

Honesty moment: I’m still working on refining all of this. Literally as I write this, I thought of two additional ways to summarize what I do and why. And that’s good! Because just like you grow and change, so should your blog and your business. So choose your words wisely, but don’t get too married to them.

Stuck on this part like I was? Here’s some resources that I used to help me refine my brand voice:

This email course was such a great way to really hone in on my “why”. Why did I start this blog? Why did I want to change it? Why did I want people to keep coming back for more?

And then it helped me take that why, and turn it into a how. Sheila did a great job of breaking this e-course down into 7 bite-sized bits that really made an impact. My favorite days: day 3 and 4 where you focus on mission and branding! And the best part? It’s F-R-E-E (& y’all know I love free)!

Related post // (24 hours of Fun on $24)

If you haven’t already been listening to this podcast then you are seriously missing out! Episode 59 – Why You Need a Brand not a Business – had some really thought provoking questions that helped steer me towards my brand voice.

This book is a doozy, and a must-read if you’re trying to figure out your blogging brand. You basically take a personality test for your blog, and it gives you a color/archetype for your brand. And then – and this is the best part – Sally lays out actionable steps on how to make this vibe a reality.

I had a pretty solid idea of my brand when I started reading this, but it really reinforced my ideas and gave me some additional ways to enhance my image.

4. Write your about sections

You see that “s” on the end of section? Yeah. I suggest you write multiple versions.

And this is why.

The more versions you have, the more refined your messaging will be over time. The more I wrote out who I was and why I blogged, the better and better it got.

The more you write about your blog, the more refined your messaging will be. Click To Tweet

Plus, this gives you a lot of different versions to work with! Put the full blown version on your blog. Create shorter versions to add as your bio on social media. Choose a medium sized length one for your Facebook page bio or for when you want to introduce yourself in Facebook groups. Either way, you have all the versions you need in one place, ready to go!

5. Design!

Wooo the exciting part! This is where you get to let your creative juices flow!

I re did my logo, took new stock photos to use as my headers and as backgrounds for Pinterest images. Again, I wanted multiple versions ready to go so that I could just save, copy, and paste for my different needs.

If you’re looking to get some of your design elements done professionally, I’d check out Etsy or Fiverr. You can also check out local graphic designers (I found a great one through Instagram!) or ask graphic design students who might be willing to do free designs to build up their portfolios. Win win!

6. Blog Elements

So now that you’ve got your branding all done, it’s time to think about how this will actually translate over onto your blog.

Think about your new mission and vision, and imagine your ideal reader or client coming to you and laying out their problem (aka the problem you are trying to solve with your blog). What are the 3-5 things that you would suggest to them? These are your blog categories!

So in the inspiring youth to be financially independent example, you might help them set up a budget, give them some tips on how to save, and show them some exciting ways to make extra money on the side. So on your blog, your categories could be budgeting, how to save, and side hustles.

I also included a list of catchphrases in my business plan. I wanted my blog to literally feel like I’m talking to you, so that’s why I included things like “giiiirl” and “lemme tell ya” in my list. Because those are things that I would actually say.

What do you say about your blog, and how do you say it? Click To Tweet

Now this route might not be for everyone. If your brand has a more professional feel, you might not be throwing y’all and hey girl hey around. But, your brand does need to have a voice. And inevitably there will be phrases that will become a cornerstone to your messaging. Put those down as your catchphrases.

7. Marketing Strategy

Woo! Ok so we’ve gotten all of the branding, messaging, and design done! But you’ve done all of this planning – how are you going to show it off?

Answer: a marketing strategy!

Now since Adventures with Asha is a fairly new blog, I’m starting off slow and focusing on 2 things:

  1. Getting my blog in front of more people
  2. Building a community with my readers

So because of that, I’m targeting 3 areas: Facebook groups/ads and guest blogging to get myself out there more, and social media to build a community.

In my business plan, I broke down my target audience for Facebook to give me a better idea of what groups to post in and what types of ads I might want to run.

And for my social media section, I broke down what type of posts I would do on each platform. Each platform is different, you will find that different types of posts do better on each one. For instance, promoting my blog posts on Insta has not been successful for me, but my blog posts are more consistently read and shared via Twitter. 

I’ve found that my post topic has a lot to do with where I should promote it. My travel posts do a lot better on IG because they are more visual – I usually have pictures from the place to share, and that get’s people excited!

My list posts or posts about mental health? Those do pretty well on Facebook and Twitter, because that’s what people are looking for on those platforms – things to read.

You’ve gotta find out what works for you. Look at your stats and analytics. Experiment with posting different pictures or captions on different platforms to see which leads to the most click throughs. And then play to your strengths on each platform.

There’s details on my social media goals and strategies for each platform in my FREE Blog Business Plan Workbook!

8. Financial Plan

Last but certainly not least, let’s talk money! Now if you have no plans to monetize your blog, you could skip this part. But I wouldn’t suggest it. Because even if you don’t personally care about making money from blogging, your readers could care about saving money. And there are actually some great resources out there that you can promote to your readers that will benefit them and provide you with some more credibility.

For maybe the third or fourth time in this post, I’m going to say that you have to figure out what works best for your blog and your brand. Are you a fashion blogger? Then Shopstyle or Maven might be great choices for you. Beauty blogger? Then you might want more to seek out more sponsored posts and work directly with brands.

For me, I think my strength will be with affiliate marketing. I’m all about sharing resources that will make the lives of my readers easier and better, and affiliate marketing fits right into that idea.

Struggling with this part (or have no idea what affiliate marketing is)? Career in the Making is a great place to start to get a better grip on affiliate marketing and actually turning your hobby into a business. And trust me, we could all use a better grip on this!

This ebook was such a huge part in me creating the financial plan for my blog. It did a great job of making the ideas easy to understand, and it is literally bursting at the seams with useful resources. And not just monetization ones! There’s also a chapter about branding, one about email marketing, and some about increasing traffic on the long-term.

I would definitely check it out if you are serious about growing your blog.

Also! If you are monetizing your blog, don’t forget to check out the FTC regulations, and make sure to have a disclosure statement on your posts and/or blog!

Warp Up

Ok so there you have it! Those are the steps I used to create my blog business plan! I know it sounds like a lot…because it is. But taking a week to sit down and make a business plan for my blog was – without a doubt – a week well spent. I have a renewed passion for blogging. I have restored energy, and am excited to make content. And best of all – I’m putting out into the universe that I want a successful, profitable blog. And I’m making it happen.

Got questions on how you can make it happen too? Let me know em in the comments!

Until next time,

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  • AmsT

    This was such a GOOD post girl! I’m so happy I took the time to read it, definitely will be coming back to it to take more notes as I focus more on my mission and vision statement for my blog. The tip to make different versions of your mission statement is one that I’m so going to do!

    -Ams
    http://www.toyoufroma.com

  • Dymond Moore

    This is such a greatly detailed post! I’m in the middle of rebranding my blog from beauty to lifestyle, and I’ve already implemented a few of these things, but it never hurts to do more!
    http://www.thechicmachine.com

  • Hannah Perkins

    I LOVED this post! Going to help so much for rebranding my site 🙂 Thank you!

    mypourdecisions.com

  • Neha T

    Awesome tips here…. can learn so much from you ,thankyou

  • Anstacia Doughty

    Sooo glad I took the time to read this!! Valuable information !! I love your site, and I will definitely continue to read! Thanks!
    -Anstacia
    http://www.sincerelyAnstacia.com

  • Brilliant post on getting started blogging.Many wish to get started but feel confused and scared where to get started.
    Reading your post, I feel like I need to just start from the beginning as I realize all I did wrong.Will have to give this a good thought.

    • Don’t think of it as starting from the beginning, because you’re not! You’re starting with where you are, right now and with that comes a lot of knowledge from ow you’ve done it in the past! Even if it’s just making small tweaks here and there, changing up a few things can really make a huge difference!

  • Toni-Ann Hylton Mayembe

    Awesome post! I recently asked one of my buddies that is business savy to help me write a business plan. I knew that I needed a clear direction for my blog so that I will reach my goals faster. He said he would help but didn’t know how to write one for my blog. This post was right on time. I am going to use what you have and I will be set!

    • So glad that you’ll be able to use it! It is definitely a bit different of a process to make a blogging business plan. But the basis is pretty much the same – have a mission, decide how you will disseminate that mission, and figure out how to convince other people to buy into the mission. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  • DAMN GIRL ROUND OF APPLAUSE CALL THE PRESSES I’M SHOOK

    But seriously, this post is DYNAMITE!!! And thank you for the shout out, I’m glad my course helped you hone in on your branding and most importantly…your WHY!

    http://www.insearchofsheila.com

  • Sepideh

    oh MAN I NEED to bookmark this post and look at it over and over again. Well done doll!!! This is great!!

    I had a blog plan before I launched my blog but now, 7 months into it, I need to update it I think! But it feels like a daunting task haha

    http://www.elleisforlove.com

    • YAY I’m so glad you found it useful! And yeah, it can seem kind of daunting, but if you just take it step by step it’s not too difficult. And since you already have a plan, it’s just a matter of making some impactful tweaks!

  • I love how detailed this post is! I totally agree that having a blog business plan is an amazing tool for keeping everything organized. In the marketing section you mentioned facebook ads… have you worked with the paid ads yet? I’m kind of on the fence about them.

    • Hey Michelle! I haven’t yet, but my boyfriend is a marketer and he has some experience with them! My struggle is finding the right thing to promote without seeming spammy. I think the key will be to be really specific with my targeting (like only target women, 18-35 who are part of a blogging group or who like mental health related pages), and to promote something specific and not just my page or blog. I’ll let you know how it goes!