When it comes to running a blog, especially one that is monetised, there are so many elements to juggle on top of simply writing blog posts. I soon discovered this in my first year of blogging and over the past six years I developed myself a planner that i use to stay on top of all the areas that need attention such as goal setting, future planning and recording all the figures and details of those i collaborate with.
If you have a plan and a structure for running your blog, it makes all the tasks, that can often seem a little overwhelming, far more manageable. Yes thanks!
There are many different worksheets and sections in my planner but one method certainly doesn’t fit everybody so if you do grab a copy of my planner, make it your own, design the sections to suit you and work out a system that works just for you.
So let’s jump in and i’ll show you how i use my planner and organise my blog.
I have five key sections that I have broken my planner into –
- Blog and brand overview
- Month by month plan of attack
- Future planning and dreams
- Records, facts and figures
- Income and Expense records
1 / BLOG AND BRAND OVERVIEW
This is where i record all the most important details about my brand. Think goals, mission, vision, branding guidelines ect. All the bits and bobs that i need to stay true to and come back to time and time again to make sure i’m on track.
MY BLOG IN A NUTSHELL // this is a blog overview sheet to record blogging goals, mission and vision. It’s where i jot down what story i am telling through my work, how i want people to feel when they land on my site, what problems i am trying to solve for my audience and in a paragraph what my blog is all about.
BLOG BRANDING OVERVIEW // this is a very handy sheet that i keep on hand to record the fonts used on my site, the colour codes used in my designs, sizes of graphics, ad spot sizes, sidebar sizes plus a section to record links that I use frequently, such as newsletter signup links.
2 / MONTH BY MONTH PLAN OF ATTACK
My prompt sheets:
I have three worksheets that i use – ‘my daily tasks’, ‘my weekly tasks’ and ‘my monthly tasks’. These three sheets are for all the things that I want to do on a regular basis and they don’t change much. This is like a static list of things to refer back to. Here are some examples of what i include:
MY DAILY TASKS // this is a list of tasks that you can set yourself each day that will remain the same and need to be done on a regular basis. Some examples are – reply to all emails in inbox, update social media, add new members to my newsletter database, complete one niggling task, comment on two external blogs etc.
MY WEEKLY TASKS // this is a simple list of tasks that you can set yourself each week that will remain the same and need to be done on a regular basis to keep your blog running smoothly. Some examples are – clean up email inbox, record income and expenses, schedule key social media updates for the week ahead, plan out the coming weeks to-do list etc.
MY MONTHLY TASKS // this is a simple list of more infrequent tasks that need doing which you can set yourself each month. Some examples are – go through old blog posts and remove or update old content, update blog ads and promotional material, review your monthly income and expenses, update your monthly analytics sheet etc.
My monthly plan using my prompt sheets:
Each month I have a look at what i want to achieve for the coming month and i break it down into the weekly worksheets. I do a brain dump of all the posts i want to do and all the extra tasks i need to complete, which I have outlined on the ‘my daily tasks’, ‘my weekly tasks’ and ‘my monthly task’ worksheets above. When i have my list i print off four of my ‘weekly plan worksheets’ and write down all the tasks for the coming month breaking them down into achievable weekly items. I then have a plan to follow for the month and it feels so great to tick things off and see things getting done!
Blog post planning:
When I have a plan for the posts that i want to write / series i want to do over the coming months, I then brainstorm these posts on this ‘blog post planner’ worksheet. I can jot down all my ideas about a post and write up a list of things i need to do to complete it. Sometimes i am unable to do the post at the time i have scheduled it so i file this planner worksheet away and can pull it out when i’m ready to write the post up.
Also in this section, i have designed worksheets for the following areas:
2015 OVERVIEW CALENDAR // a one page 2015 calendar to help plan out the year. (Each year I will release a new calendar and yearly goal sheets for the coming year so make sure you are on my newsletter list to get the updated sheets. Apart from these sheets, every other printable is timeless).
MONTHLY CALENDAR AND VISION BOARD, GOAL SETTING SHEETS // 12 monthly goal sheets that can be started at any time during the year and the aim of them is to set goals and intentions for the months ahead. Set yourself achievable goals and to-do lists and dream big for the coming years.
WEEKLY LINK PARTIES // there are many link parties around the web so here you can record a few that you wish to participate in throughout each week. Mark off when you have posted your blog post and record party details and website information.
BLOG MAINTENANCE // there are always bits and bobs to attend to on your blog. With a helpful checklist you can take note of all the things that need your attention. The list can become overwhelming so once you have a list, break it down in to monthly tasks and add these to your monthly worksheets so little by little you can tick things off.
3 / FUTURE PLANNING & DREAMS
I love heading off to a little quiet spot in a coffee shop or setting myself up outside and working on these future planning and dream sheets. This is where i plan out new series i would like to do, people i would love to collaborate with and submit work to and seasonal post ideas that i can plan out for all the big events during the year. Here is a little more about each worksheet:
FUTURE POST IDEAS // a simple list to record all those bright sparks of inspiration that pop into your head for future posts. Also record tasks and goals for the future.
GUEST POST DREAM LIST // here you can dream big and record all of the blogs and websites you would love to guest post for one day. Whenever you come across a site that you think you could offer up a great post to, jot it down here and then start brainstorming ideas on the worksheet below and touch base with the author.
SEASONAL & HOLIDAY POSTS // plan out all of the yearly holidays and events that you wish to blog about such a Valentines Day, Easter, Mothers Day, and Christmas. It’s great to plan posts in advance for these large seasonal and holiday periods and prepare your posts well in advance as people start searching for inspiration weeks and months beforehand.
GUEST POST PITCH IDEAS // brainstorm guest post ideas for websites and blogs that you would love to write for and start getting yourself out there.
4 / RECORDS, FACTS AND FIGURES
This is the section i use to record all those little bits of info that over time you will be very thankful that you jotted down! Anyone have a million and one passwords! Well i do so i definitely need a system to track them all as well as all my blog and social media statistics. Each month i spend half an hour updating my stats and it’s great to have these records to assess growth over time and also to use them when working with brands. If you use any affiliate services, there is a handy sheet to record all the details as every affiliate service is so different so i love to keep track of payout percentages, login details, how often they pay ect.
Quick note – For statistics and usernames i now use my digital blog planner to record these. It just makes it a little easier and i can set up formulas to work out my growth percentages and keep my passwords a little safer.A digital version and a printable version is included in each purchase of this blog planner so you can choose what you prefer to use.
Here is a little look at the worksheets in this section:
STATISTICS TRACKER // if you blog professionally or just want to keep track of how your blog is growing, jot down your stats each month so you can see how your blog is growing over the year. This information is great to use for media kits, advertising packages and PR agencies who often request your stats when looking at working with you.
USERNAME & PASSWORD KEEPER // a simple way to keep track of the masses of usernames and passwords you accumulate these days with the many programs, services and websites you are a part of. Quick tip – don’t use the same password for everything, mix it up and keep things super secure with strong passwords.
AFFILIATE DETAILS // keep track of all your affiliate details in one place and record the website where you login to your account as this is often different to the company website.
ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES & BOOKINGS // record details of people that are advertising on your website or interested in upcoming spots. You can also use this form to record advertisements that you are running on other websites and blogs.
GUEST POST BOOKINGS // record details of people that you are in contact with and collaborating with on guest posts on your own blog and on other blogs.
5 / INCOME & EXPENSES SECTION
Recording all your incoming and outgoing expenses is something you will need to start doing when you start earning money and wish to run as an established business. When tax time creeps around i am always so thankful to have these records and not just a ton of receipts to wade through! Each month i record my incoming and outgoing expenses and also go through all my affiliates and record my earnings.
Quick note – I use my digital blog planner to record these figures now. It just makes it a little easier and i can set up formulas to work out my growth percentages and track earnings and totals a little easier and quicker. A digital version and a printable version is included in each purchase of this blog planner so you can choose what you prefer to use.
AFFILIATE MONTHLY SALE FIGURES // record your monthly sale figures from your affiliate links. Track whether you have received your payments and what affiliate programs are the most successful on your blog.
INCOME TRACKING SHEET // record your blogging income – date of income, description, amount incoming and the type of income that has been received (ad spot, product sale, sponsored post payment etc.).
EXPENSES TRACKING SHEET // record your blogging expenses – date of expense, description, amount outgoing and the type of expense that it is (office supplies, ad booking, stock images, website renewal etc.).
Do you use a planner? How do you organise your blog and keep on top of all the bits and pieces? Jump into the comments below and let me know, I would love to hear from you.