How to Plan for a Successful Blog as a Brand New Blogger

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How to plan for a successful blog as a brand new blogger.
If you jump into the ocean without a plan, you’ll most likely drown.

Unless a miracle happens.

But counting on miracles is a risky business.

If you want to be successful at anything, the right way to go about it is to pave your own path, and not merely wait for miracles.

When it comes to blogging, I can guarantee that you *will* fail unless you have a plan.

Now, your plan may not be perfect. You’ll likely have to revise it as you go. And that’s OK. But a plan, my dear friend, you MUST have before you jump into this ocean that is the blogosphere.

So, how does one go about planning for a successful blog, you ask?

Good question; that’s precisely what I plan on talking about in this post.

Before I go into the planning part, I just want to say that this will be a fluff-free blog post. I am about to give you a roadmap. Now, it’s true that there are a million ways to go from point A to point B. The roadmap I’m about to give you is not the *only* one, but it is one of the ways to go from a total beginner to a point where you have a community around your blog, where you’re making decent money from your blog, and where you can look back and think that yes, you’ve made something out of it.

Let’s get started!

In this post:

You Must Have a Solid Anchor

Before you start planning, you must know what you want to achieve. And that’s what I mean by a solid “anchor.”

For example, before I started TSB, I knew I wanted a secondary income stream on the side because I wanted financial freedom. I didn’t just want to depend on my job because the truth is that I’m terrified of the idea that if I ever lose my job, I’d be completely lost and helpless! Sure, I could be smart about my money and start saving, but savings is different from having a source of continuous, recurring income.

Simply put, I wanted to make sure I had a way to make money that if need be, I could pivot and double down on to make more profit if I wanted to.

In short, my big “why” for starting this blog was financial independence, regardless of my employment situation.

I call this “why” an “anchor” because it’s easy in blogging (or in any profession, really,) to lose one’s ways. Knowing why you do what you do keeps you grounded. Even if you start to feel overwhelmed or over your head, all you have to do is think back on what’s important. And you’ll be back on track.

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Pick How You Plan On Getting to Your Why

From here on forth, I’m going to assume that your “why” is the same as mine–financial freedom. Because let’s be honest, most of us start a blog for this exact reason, so, I guess it’s a safe “why” to work with.

Once you have decided to make money from your blog, you should figure out at least one way, preferably three ways in which you want to monetize your blog.

Now, you may not start to implement all three methods from day-1 (in fact, unless you’re a full-time blogger, I suggest you start with one method, and then when that takes off, you implement other methods,) but you should at least keep in mind all the things you want to do.

Eventually, you may modify some of these, and that’s OK. Your blog will go through cycles of evolution, it’s inevitable. But still, having goals and plans will make this journey a lot easier, and your whys a lot more achievable, trust me!

For example, you may decide to make money by selling eBooks, by affiliate marketing, and by offering consultation over the phone. Let’s say you want to start with affiliate marketing (always a safe choice for your very first monetization method). Keep that in mind, because when you work on making plans for your blog, you’ll need to plan around how you wish to make money from your blog.

Decide on Long-term, Mid-term, and Short-term Goals

Now that you have your “why,” think about your goals, because, if you do not have goals, you cannot make plans.

So, you should have three different goals. Long-term, mid-term, short-term.

Your long-term goals.

What do you wish to accomplish eventually to fulfill your big “why”?

Assuming you want to make money from your blog, perhaps your long term goal is to make 10K per month from your blog, by working on it on the side, in about, 5 years.

Maybe you have more time for your blog, and you know you can hit that in just one year. Or perhaps you have much less time, and you know you’ll need more time.

Maybe you’re just satisfied with making a couple of thousand bucks. Or perhaps you want much more, maybe you want to create a 6-figure blog.

In any case, write it down because that is your long-term goal.

Write down what you want to achieve and by when. What and when are both important. 

Your mid-term goals.

Mid-term goals are much more concrete and specific. When it comes to blogging, I suggest you create your mid-term goals in 4 sections.

Have I lost you?

Wait, stay with me!

I want you to focus on your first year of blogging when you think about your mid-term goals. Then, take the first year, and chop it off in 4 parts. In other words, think in terms of quarters. First-quarter, second-quarter, third and then fourth quarters. And then write down what you wish to achieve during these quarters to meet your mid-term goals at the end of the first year.

You need growth in three different areas:

  • Drive the right kind of traffic to your blog.
  • Build an email list.
  • Start making money.

For example, my 1-year goals were these: 1) Get approximately 500 visitors a day by the end of the first year. 2) Get at least 500 email subscribers. 3) Start making $500 per month from the blog.

I was brand new to blogging, so I wanted to have modest goals for the first year. I then took those numbers and evenly spread out over the next four quarters.

The result?

I did not get 500 daily visitors per month by the end of the first year. I got much fewer. However, I surpassed my expectations, and instead of 500 subscribers, I ended up with close to 1500 subscribers by the end of the first year. I also exceeded my income goals. Not by much, but I did cross the $500 threshold.

So, while I did not meet the traffic requirement, I did meet the most critical requirements. Because really, what do we need traffic for? The grow our list and to make money, yes? Turned out, if you do things right, you can still grow your list and earn money with much smaller traffic, as long as it’s the right kind of traffic.

I realized that I understood how to bring in the right kind of traffic to my blog, so, all in all, I’d say my first year of blogging was a success!

I want you to do the same.

Decide and then set goals for these three areas of growth:

  1. Set a goal for how many email subscribers you’d like by the end of year 1.
  2. Decide how much money you’d like to be making per month by the end of the first year.
  3. Figure out how much traffic you may need to get to those numbers

Take these numbers and distribute them across four quarters.

A tip: When you’re just starting to blog, your growth will be gradual. So, if you want 2000 email subscribers in one year, instead of diving up this number in 4 equal parts, it may be best to do it in gradual increments. For example, you may not get any more than a couple of hundred or so subscribers during your first quarter. However, you may get twice that in your second quarter.

As you continue to blog and as you learn more things and gain more experience, your performance will gradually improve. So, keep that in mind when planning your quarters.

Your short-term goals.

Your long-term and mid-term goals were most focused on the “what.” Your short-term goals are more of the “how”s. “How” to get to the “what.”

For example, if your goal for the first quarter is to get 200 email subscribers, then your short term goals should be focused on “how” you plan to do that.

So, for example, you may want to create two content upgrades per month during your first quarter to attract email list signups. Maybe you decide to publish three blog posts per week.

To make money, you may choose to create a product, or sign up for 5 affiliate programs and then create one blog post per week to promote one of those affiliate products.

Your short terms goals should focus on how you plan to achieve your mid-term goals. Basically, your short-term goals are all action-oriented.

Focus and Expand on Your Short Term Goals

Break down these short-term goals even further into weekly, and perhaps even daily tasks. The more granular your plan, the easier it will be to implement them.

Break down every single task into digestible chunks. For example, maybe you write your posts on weekends, create your freebies over Tuesday and Wednesday nights, schedule your social media content on Monday and Thursday nights, and perhaps you leave Fridays to learn new tips and tricks about successful blogging.

Be Open to Change Your Goals and Plans

Just a word of caution. Creating a plan isn’t the same as sticking to a plan. You may find yourself tweaking your plans and even your goals often. For example, remember I said my goal was to get 500 subscribers by the end of year-1? Well, by mid-year, I knew I had the potential to get much more. Even though my traffic wasn’t high, I knew I had the right kind of traffic because not only was I getting a decent amount of email list signups every day, I also had a pretty high email open rate and clickthrough rates. So, I knew I was doing something right!

So, I had to revise my mid-term goals and my short-term plans accordingly, and I decided to aim for 1K subscribers by the end of the first year. And as you know already, I surpassed even that by quite a margin!

I also didn’t plan on creating a course anytime soon, at least not during the first two years of blogging. But as I was nearing almost 2K subscribers, I decided this past June to expedite my course creation process and launched my very first email list-building course in July of this year. TSB was only about 14 months old at the time!

Next Steps:

This post assumes you already know what your niche is. But if you need some help deciding, you can check out this blog post to decide what you want to blog about.

Starting the blog in the right way is monumental to your blogging success. make sure you have your blog on self-hosted WordPress with a custom domain name. My number 1 WordPress hosting provider recommendation goes to SiteGround [affiliate]. You can find a tutorial for setting up your WordPress blog with SiteGround in this post.

As you can guess, your email list is one of the most important things when it comes to monetizing your blog. I have a free email course for growing your list. Check it out!

If you need some tips on how you can monetize your blog, here’s a post to help with that.

Finally, make sure to consult this blog launch checklist before you launch your blog!

And so now that you have a solid plan get to work! As always, questions and comments are welcome. Feel free to leave your remarks in the comments below!

Do you want a 42-page blog goal setting planner? Sign up for my newsletter below and the planner is all yours!

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4 thoughts on “How to Plan for a Successful Blog as a Brand New Blogger”
  1. Your advice is always amazing, Maliha. When I’m feeling discouraged with my own blog and not meeting my goals, you always have the right kind of advice that convinces me to keep trying.

    You’re amazing, thank you!!

  2. I just love reading your posts! Not only they are useful, but lately I have been using them as motivation to start some kind of a blog in most organized way possible… And what a great motivation it is!!!

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