So, hey. The new year is here… again. Another year gone, another year where your blog didn’t make any money. Or if it did, it was only a few measly bucks a month.
You read a million blog posts about making money and tried every monetization tip under the sun hoping it would do the trick.
And to be sure, some of that helped.
You probably learned a ton, grew your pageviews and social media following, and are a more seasoned blogger today than you were last year.
But you can’t cash pageviews in at the bank. If making money with your blog is a goal of yours, but you’re still not where you want to be after tons of trying, then it’s time to create a S.M.A.R.T. profit plan for your blog.
Tips and tricks and tools aren’t cutting it, and in fact, they’re probably doing more harm than good.
If you haven’t started your self-hosted blog yet to start earning money, here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started.
A Quick Word On “Blogging Tips” and “Trying Things”
You’ve heard Pinterest is awesome for getting traffic and subscribers to your blog, so you go after it!
You’ve optimized your profile, switched to a business account, and revamped your Pin images on all your popular posts. You were just about to set up your daily Pinning schedule and re-work your board descriptions when you see it:
“Webinars Are The Best Thing In The World For Getting Subscribers”
It’s the shiny New Thing that gets your attention and makes you think everything you’re doing now is a waste of time. So you forget about Pinterest and start researching all things webinars. You’ve drafted your webinar outline and were just about to finish your slides when you see it:
“Facebook Groups Will Change Your Life! You Must Start One Today!”
Another shiny Shiny New Thing. Ugh. You put your webinar work on hold and start a Facebook group for your blog. You have a few hundred members, daily prompts and were just about to start doing Facebook Live videos when you see it:
“The Ultimate Guide to SEO and Infinite Free Traffic To Your Blog!”
STOP! Just stop, please.
It’s nearly impossible to finish the thing you’re working on right now before something new, and seemingly better, gets your attention.
And believe me, I get it. There are so many awesome ideas and advice out there about blogging, marketing, list building and making money that it’s hard to stay focused.
But focused, you must stay, my friend.
Jumping from one thing to the next is the kiss of death when you’re trying to grow your blog into a profitable side hustle or full-time income.
You need to stick to a goal-focused blogging plan and put every potential action through that filter before you do it. Don’t write one more post or spend one more minute on social media until you have a plan.
Create Your Own S.M.A.R.T. Blog Profit Plan
Before we start creating your blog profit plan, let’s take a quick moment to discuss what this whole S.M.A.R.T. business is that I’ve been talking about, because it’s important to set the right kind of goals before you set out.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym used to help people set the kind of goals that get results. While the meaning of the letters can vary a bit depending on which application they have, for planning out our blog profit we’re going to use:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Actionable
R – Realistic
T – Time-bound
In order to get the best results from your blog profit goals, they need to meet all criteria. For example:
BAD GOAL: Make money with my blog.
This goal is Realistic, but it’s lacking the other 4 criteria. It’s completely generic, so once you set out to try and achieve it, you’ll end up chasing tips again and reading a dozen more articles about “How To Make Money With Your Blog” without adding a dime to your bank account.
GOOD GOAL: Make $2,000/month in consistent passive income by the end of 2017.
This goal is S.M.A.R.T.!
Specific – $2k
Measurable – Monthly
Actionable – Since the goal is passive income, you can focus on strategies that will feed that goal (eg. affiliate marketing) and ignore strategies that work against it (eg. offering services).
Realistic – While $2k a month isn’t easy to reach (you still have to set the foundation and do the work to get there!), it’s definitely realistic!
Time-bound – By the end of 2017
Okay! Let’s create your S.M.A.R.T. blog profit plan.
Step #1: Choose a “Dream Big” Goal for the Year
Start by choosing your one main profit goal for the year. Now’s not the time to be shy. Dream big – set a goal that excites you!
Doing this will help keep you motivated throughout the year as you start working through your plan monthly, weekly and daily.
Make sure it’s something strong enough to pull you out of bed in the morning and towards your keyboard at night when Netflix is calling.
Step #2: The 10-Minute Idea Dump
This step is crucial to do at the start of your planning so you can avoid chasing after the Shiny New Things as they come up throughout the year.
Continuing with our goal example from above of $2k per month in passive income, set a timer to 10 minutes and write down all the things that come to mind that might help you reach that goal.
So if you run a style blog for busy moms, your list might look something like this:
- affiliate marketing
- google ads
- simple hairstyles for moms (affiliate links to hair products & accessories)
- amazon affiliates
- sell ebook
- roundup blog post with affiliate links
- 5 staple pieces every mom wardrobe must have
- look into RewardStyle affiliate marketplace
- sell ad space
- research how to do funnels
- create course
- reach out to etsy shop owners to pitch ad spots
- course idea: “rock every season in style”, videos, photos, how-to guides
- email series with affiliate links
- shop page with recommendations
- ask email list & FB groups what their biggest style frustrations are
- how to style any outfit with these 3 accessories (post with affiliate links)
- ebook idea: the frumpy mom’s guide to chic style in 10-minutes a day
This is just a sample list I came up with in about 5-10 minutes, and I know pretty much nothing about style! I’m sure you can come up with many more ideas that fit your own niche.
The trick is – don’t hesitate and don’t judge your ideas before you write them down. It’s an idea dump. Be general, be specific, be redundant… just write everything down and don’t stop until the 10 minutes are up. You can (and should) edit later. Just focus on getting ideas out of your head and on to paper.
Tip: If you need help figuring out a comprehensive gameplan for how to make your blog thrive, I personally suggest Elite Blog Academy. It’s only open once a year, so it’s best to jump on the (free) waiting list now so you don’t miss the enrollment period.
Step #3: Create a 90-Day Action Plan
Since I started blogging and goal setting roughly 7 years ago, I’ve always used a monthly planning system to guide me towards my yearly goal.
While this has worked pretty well, I’ve recently started to implement a 90-day plan and am loving the clarity it delivers! It’s so much easier to break my “Dream Big” goal into 4 large chunks and work my way down from there.
To implement the 90-day plan for yourself, set a goal for the first 90 days of your yearly plan, and break it down into 30-day actionable items.
Here’s what it looks like:
**This worksheet is modeled after the 90-day plan in the Fresh Start workbook, a workbook & planning guide to help you grow your blog & love your life in 2017! To download your own copy of the worksheet, go here.
Step #4: Work The Plan
I learned a new mantra recently (from the Fresh Start workbook mentioned above), and oh man is it powerful: “Work the plan”.
Don’t let its simplicity fool you; these three words will keep you focused and on track like nobody’s business! Work the plan monthly, weekly and daily.
- When you sit down at your computer and don’t know what to start on first – work the plan.
- When you find yourself scrolling aimlessly through Facebook looking for something exciting to happen – work the plan.
- When you find yourself checking email for the 100th time today hoping for something noteworthy to pop up – work the plan.
By making a habit of this, you will start to make something happen. Of course… that’s assuming you have a plan to work.
Here’s how to create your plan:
1. Start by breaking your 90-day action plan into monthly tasks (like in the worksheet example above) and write them out in your blog planner (LOVE this one by Meera Kothand) or weekly and daily planning sheets. You can do this for the full year if you want, but I like to keep it to 90-day chunks at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed and I can stay nimble and change things up if I need to (see step #5 below).
2. At the end of each week (I do it Sunday night), write out your goals for the following week so you’ll be able to hit the ground running on Monday morning. Make sure the items that make it onto your list feed your 30-day goal for that period. Don’t waste your time doing things you think you might need to do… be ruthless with your time and focus on things that you must do in order to meet your goal.
3. At the end of each work day, write out the tasks you’ll need to complete the following day to be able to meet your weekly goal. Since I only work about 2 hours a day, I keep my list to 2-3 things max (most days only 2).
Keep everything S.M.A.R.T., and make sure every item is feeding it’s bigger goal, and remember to write it down! Even billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson still writes down his goals, plans & ideas daily:
So your daily tasks should feed your weekly goals, your weekly goals should feed your monthly goals, your monthly goals should feed your 90-day action plan, and your 90-day action plan should feed your “Dream Big” goal for the year.
Step #5: Evaluate + Adjust Monthly
As important as it is to create your blog profit plan and work the plan daily, it’s just as important to evaluate your results on a regular basis.
Use a time block at the end of each month to check in on your goals and make sure your plan is actually working to help you reach them.
If so, great! Keep on working that plan! If not, then it’s time to be flexible and change your approach.
For instance, one of your 30-day goals might be to increase your email subscribers by 100. In order to accomplish this, you set a weekly goal of publishing one guest post per week to get 25 new subscribers per guest post.
If, however, your guest posting isn’t returning those results, then it’s time to switch up that strategy! Consider what you might be doing wrong with your guest posts and also brainstorm other ways to build your email list. Then, work up a new plan for the next 30-days.
Having a thriving and profitable blog is no accident, and no amount of chasing tips or reading articles is going to help if you don’t have a strong goal + plan to get there.
We’ve learned how to:
1. Set a “Dream Big” profit goal for your blog this year
2. Do a 10-minute Idea Dump
3. Create a 90-Day Action Plan
4. Work the Plan!
5. Evaluate & Adjust
Follow these 5 simple steps to creating a S.M.A.R.T. blog profit plan that works… take the time NOW to map it out and get clear on what you want from your blog. Don’t forget to sign up for the Elite Blog Academy waiting list if you need help figuring out how to grow your blog readers and income. You can do this – I promise.
Consider sharing? If you enjoyed this post, would you share it on social media? That one 5-second gesture goes a long way to help support my blog ❤. And I’m always happy to chat with you in the comments below if you have any questions or feedback!