How to Write a Blog Business Plan

on February 12, 2014 in Blog Management, Professional Blogging
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When I first went into business for myself (full-time PR firm, part-time business writing and blogging), I had a pretty standard formal business plan.

Later, and I expanded my Web publishing efforts, I started using a much simpler model -- one page versions that help me map out my plans and ideas on a project by project basis.

I've even released the templates I use here, so feel free to use them for your own short-form planning.

Free One Page Business Planning Templates

Here are the one page templates available:

While I still use these templates for new projects, I've moved back to long-form planning for my bigger blogs. And in talking to other bloggers I realized that having a blog business plan seemed to be an exception rather than a rule.

That seems silly to me given how many bloggers are hoping to make money blogging, and how few actually do. If you want it to work for you like a business, then you have to treat your blog like a business. That includes having a blog business plan in place.

I'm hoping to help you create one.

What a Blog Business Plan Should Include

A blog business plan should include much of the same information as a business plan for a traditional small business. But it can help to look at some of the sections a bit differently. Here's a list of what you might want to include -- finding your own balance between formal structures and a casual short-form plan.

Introduction

This is often called an "executive summary," but just think of it as an intro to your plan for the year. It should be the last thing you write because you'll need some of the information you come up with for later sections.

Background

In this section you'll offer basic background information about your blog. For example, you'll note whether you work as a sole proprietor, an LLC, or corporation (and you might want to note your reasons for that choice in case you want to reevaluate it later). You'd mention when the blog was launched, what the niche focus is, how many bloggers contribute (and a bit about their background), and other tid bits that might prove useful in planning or evaluations. You would also include information on your own background -- such as past blogging experience or credentials in the niche of your blog.

Revenue Streams

You don't necessarily have a product or service to sell like a traditional small business owner would. But if you're treating your blog as a business, you should have some revenue streams in mind. Here are a few examples to point you in the right direction: site memberships, contextual ads, affiliate ads, e-book sales, and webinars. This section could also include the "4 Ps of Marketing" in a general way where appropriate.

Market Research

In this section you'll talk about your competitive position in the market. For example, you'll post statistics that show a market actually exists for your blog's specialty. You'll also identify major competitors and your strengths and weaknesses in comparison to them. You can do this using our SWOT Analysis worksheet.

Goals, Strategies, and Tactics

This is largely the marketing plan portion of your blog business plan (alongside your market research). You'll map out specific and measurable goals, your general strategies for reaching those goals, and the specific tactics  and tools you'll use to meet the business goals you set for your blog.

Financials

In this final section of your blog business plan, you'll cover your financial plans. For example, you might set your budget for hosting, domain renewals, Web design work, advertising, file hosting for e-book sales, payments to blog contributors, or payment processor fees on the payments you receive. You'll also include financial projections noting how much you intend to earn over the year (and you can stretch that into 3-5 year projections if you want to).

These are some of the bare bone basics you'll want to include in a blog business plan of your own. Need some additional help? Download my free blog business plan template to help you plan and build a more successful, income-generating blog.

blog business plan template

 

Note: This post was originally published on December 12, 2012. Content was updated and it was re-featured on its currently-listed publication date.

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14 Comments

  1. Anne Wayman December 12, 2012 Reply

    Excellent… will work for me as a review. Thanks
    Anne Wayman recently posted…24 Writing Hashtags And A Mini Book ReviewMy Profile

  2. Amandah December 13, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for sharing! I too will use these as a review.
    Amandah recently posted…What’s More Important SEO and Web Traffic or Fans and Readers?My Profile

  3. Iulian Ionescu December 20, 2012 Reply

    This is great, but it’s always the same for me: I know it’s important, but I feel I am wasting the time doing it. So, I don’t. Then I need it and I don’t have it. So I try to patch something together. That doesn’t work, and it’s a vicious circle… But you are right. A good plan is paramount.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Iulian
    Iulian Ionescu recently posted…How to complete your NaNoWriMo 30-Day NovelMy Profile

    • Jennifer Mattern December 21, 2012 Reply

      If part of the problem is the amount of time it takes, why not start with a short-form business plan first? Near the top of this post is a link to my one page business plan template. You can fill that out in less than an hour and at least have a road map for your blog. And if you want a long-form one with more detail, I just released a blog business plan template earlier this week (linked at the bottom of the post). I used a question-based format, so all you really have to do is answer the questions there, and you’ll have a working business plan without having to start from scratch. :)

  4. Kevin January 14, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for the resource. This can be a daunting task and this page simplifies it.

  5. aditya thakur February 13, 2014 Reply

    I never thought of doing this till now! Thanks for the wake up call.
    aditya thakur recently posted…Why Spiritual Evolution is InevitableMy Profile

  6. Tina February 15, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for this great article. I have been stuck, not knowing where to start with my plan. This has not only inspired me, but has given me the nudge that I needed.
    Tina recently posted…Att Reverse LookupMy Profile

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern February 15, 2014 Reply

      I’m glad to hear it Tina! I hope it helps you reach your blogging goals. :-)

  7. David Weightman March 10, 2014 Reply

    It really pays when you plan things and set expectations to your clients through a marketing plan. What’s good about it is that you’ll get yourself on track since both of your short term and long term goals are written. This would also avoid any conflicts between you and your client, since marketing assures legality of what both of you agreed on. Any way, Thanks for sharing this.

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern March 10, 2014 Reply

      This particular plan is more of a business plan for blogs of your own than just a marketing plan. But you’re right. It could certainly be used on client projects. In that case I would ask the client to provide the necessary info (as freelancer’s we’re not in a position to lay out their business plan for them without a lot of input). :)

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