Are you a blogger? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of the tasks that you need to do on a daily basis to keep your blog current, while working on attracting new visitors, interacting with them, and so on? If that describes you, this Blog Planner is exactly what you need to stay on top of things. After you begin using it you will feel organized, relaxed and stressfree. Working on your blog will be fun again, and you will always be ahead of the game.
I created this Blog Planner in December because I was finding it difficult to keep track of all of the things that I wanted and needed to do to keep my blog running well. I had yellow post-it notes all over my desk to remind me to do things. I also had notes in a spreadsheet, weekly pop-up reminders on my Outlook calendar, and lists and lists of post ideas in multiple word documents. It was so confusing to work through all of that while answering emails, replying to comments, leaving comments on other blogs and tweeting. Each day just flew by, but by the end of the week I felt like I accomplished so little. As we got closer to Christmas I added a few new projects to my to-do list and while they did get done, I began to feel even more disorganized.
I like it when I have blog posts drafted and ready to go at least 2 weeks in advance. While I was able to do that a number of times last year, there were weeks when the way I was working on things was unproductive and I couldn’t keep up with my posts, let alone get them done 2 weeks in advance.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was a dark cold Thursday night when I sat here until 11 pm trying to figure out what to write and publish for Friday morning. I was tired, my eyes were blurry, and while I did get my post written and published, I swore I would never ever let that happen again.
So that weekend I created a Blog Planner using Excel and call it the Digital Blog Planner.
I love being organized. For most areas of my life planning and organizing comes naturally to me, and when things are messed up I find it very difficult to focus on anything. My house is always clean and clutter free. I find that the less items there are in a room, the more I enjoy that room, and of course it is easier to clean.
I plan and organize everything I do. Heck, you should see the long to-do lists I create prior to us going on a vacation. And the list I leave for the pet sitter is even longer. I bet she thinks I am nuts.
I also enjoy using Excel to keep track of things. I use it for our budget, I use it for very small projects (that do not require MS Project), and I used it to create this Blog Planner.
When I did the first blog post about this Blog Planner on December 10th I was so surprised by all of the positive feedback and support that I received from so many people. Many people that I had never spoken to before emailed me about it, tweeted it, posted it on their Facebook page, and so on.
To date the Blog Planner has been downloaded by over 1,000 people.
I started the Blog Planner as a way to organize my day to day life as a blogger and shared it in the hopes that it could help other bloggers too.
I am very grateful to everyone for their overwhelming support, and I really hope that it is helping you accomplish more each and every day.
One of the many nice comments I received on the December 10th post drove me to write today’s post. The comment below is from Christopher at This That and the MBA. (Thanks Christopher!)
So today I am writing to give you an overview of the Blog Planner, along with some details on how you can use it to organize everything for your blog.
As we are just kicking off a new year I figured that this was a perfect time to talk about this again. Hopefully more people will discover this blog post and be able to make good use of the Blog Planner based on the following instructions.
How to Use the Blog Planner
The Blog Planner Excel spreadsheet includes 13 different pages. You can access each page through the individual color coded tabs at the bottom.
You will see on the editorial calendar tab that there is a new page for every week until the end of the year. Each page is formatted so that you can print it if you prefer.
You can type in the titles of your posts, post ideas for the future, as well as keep track of guest posts, sponsored posts and giveaways. Of course you can easily move posts around on your calendar whenever you need to make changes.
The daily checklist is setup for each week of the year. You can add in your specific tasks for each day of the week. As you work through a particular day you can check each task off as you complete it.
Weekly To-Do List
You will see that I included a number of tasks on the weekly to-do list pages. I then put a red "Today" icon on different days of the week when a person might do each task.
You can change the list of tasks to whatever it is that you do and move the "Today" icon around to the days that you want to remind yourself to do those tasks.
Monthly Blog Stats
Whether you admit it or not, most all of us enjoy looking at our blog stats. It is encouraging to watch the visits go up each month and your Alexa ranking go down. When looking at the stats for your blog there are so many different things to take into account. I included quite a few of them on the blog stats page, but you could always add in any that you use that I missed.
The stats that are included are Facebook Fans, Twitter Followers, PageRank, Alexa Rank, Domain Authority, Moz Rank, Visits, Unique Visitors, Pageviews, Visit Duration, and Bounce Rate.
You can also use this page to set goals each month and record your actual numbers on the first day of the following month.
I know a lot of people like to write about their goals in their blog posts, so this will give you instant access to that information when you want to write your monthly post.
As well I included a section on that page that tells you where to find your blog stats if you are unsure of where to look online.
For those that love to attend conferences each year, there is a page that will help you keep track of all of the details including dates, where the conference is, travel details, and so on.
When you first setup your blog you most likely purchased a domain name and opened a hosting account. Maybe you own a number of domains. Many people do.
The renewal dates page allows you to keep track of all of your domain names, who you registered them with and when they will expire. Even though you will get emails prior to them expiring, it is good to be able to look at one list and know exactly what is going on.
As well, you can keep an eye on when your hosting account is set to come up for renewal so that it never expires.
The more you work on your blog the more you may begin to involve other people in it. While you may already have an address book in your email and on your phone, it can be handy to have a contact list of people that you specifically call or email about things to do with your blog.
This contact list will help you keep track of their name, email address, mailing address, phone number, Twitter account and blog or website URL. Everything you need within a click of a button.
Do you have any blog expenses? Of course you do. You had to buy a domain and you had to pay for hosting.
As well, you may be paying for advertising, staff writers, web design, marketing, a virtual assistant, and so on.
Use the blog expense page to keep track of all of your on-going expenses so that you can simply add them up at the end of the year when it comes time to do your taxes.
If you have quite a few expenses, break the sheet up into months or by type of expense.
The more your blog grows the more you will be approached by advertisers. As well, you may want to contact certain businesses to sponsor posts, reviews or give-aways.
This page allows you to keep track of all of the details such as type of ad, size of ad, price, date published, and most importantly, expiry date. That way you will remember to either renew it, or remove it from your blog and add something new.
Oh man, on a blog I had before this one I had affiliate information everywhere and I always promised myself I would put all the details into a spreadsheet one day.
This page will help you keep track of all of your different accounts and the types of ads you publish.
I love doing interviews on my blog. Do you as well?
Some people do written interviews. Others do podcasts.
This interview page will allow you to keep track of all of the details of the people that you interview. As well if you interview someone this year and it goes well, you will have all of their information handy if and when you want to do a follow-up interview later in the year, or even next year.
Special projects could be anything from doing a newsletter, doing podcasts, writing an eBook or creating videos for your blog.
You can use this page to keep track of each project, along with the dates, subject, writer, editor, necessary tools, and any specific tasks that need to be done.
You can use this page to plan out your projects for the entire year and then add a task on your weekly to-do list to remind yourself to work on each project.
A great way to promote your blog posts, especially when you first start your blog, is to submit your posts to weekly blog carnivals.
If you look at the weekly to-do list page you will see a task for every Wednesday that says “submit a blog post to all carnivals”.
If you are not familiar with blog carnivals, this page provides you with lots of details on where to find them and how to submit your blog post.
In most cases you can submit one post to multiple carnivals. So choose your best post each week and get to work. It won’t take you long at all. Maybe 10 minutes, or so.
Why You Need a Blog Planner
The beauty of this Blog Planner being in Excel is that you can adjust the spacing in the columns and the rows to suit the amount of information you have.
All of the individual sheets are setup using individual color coded tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet.
If there is a tab that you know you will never use, delete it or change the information on that page to something that you will use. If I missed something, add a new tab and setup what you need.
Having all of this information in one place eliminates the need to post reminders on post-it notes, or carry a binder or a notepad with you every time you want to work on your blog.
Chances are if you are working on your blog you are already carrying your laptop with you, so make things easier for yourself. Have your Blog Planner on your laptop and just carry that, instead of carrying around your laptop and a notebook.
Of course to make this Blog Planner really work for you, you need remember to open it every day before you start working on anything to do with your blog.
First you want to check your daily checklist and see what needs to be done.
Then review your weekly to-do list to see what you should be working on that day.
By having all of this right in front of you, ready to go, you will spend more time doing and less time fussing with unproductive time wasters.
Your day will be simple. Get up, grab your coffee, open up your Blog Planner and do exactly what it says.
Near the end of the afternoon or evening, update the upcoming weeks with tasks and update your editorial calendar with new blog post titles and ideas.
After a few weeks of working this way you will find that you spend a fraction of the time that you use to spend working on your blog. What use to take you all day to do will now only take you 4 or 5 hours, or less.
I love this Blog Planner. As I write this my editorial calendar is filled until the first week of February, and 90% of my blog posts for January are already uploaded, proofread and post dated for publication. And it feels great!
Simply click on Blog Planner to download your copy. Please note that this is an Excel File.
Please share this Blog Planner with all of your blogging friends on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks!