I caught a guest post on Problogger the other day, where Kelly Watson of onewomanmarketing.com explains How to Make a Blogging Business Plan … Whether or Not it’s a Business Blog. Kelly takes good principles of business planning and breaks out of the business plan recipe mold, aiming instead for the kind of planning that becomes management, and steering the business. She says:

As a beginner, I wouldn’t have known what to include in that blogging plan. Today, I do. That’s why I’ve created the blogging business plan: a series of 36 questions to help you flesh out your blog’s theme, its goals and the shortest path to achieving success.

Her suggested plan has six parts, which divide into a total of 36 specific questions:

  1. The big picture. This is a lot like strategy. Your goals, what problem do you solve, for whom, what’s success for you, what’s the underlying call to action, purpose, and like that.
  2. Competition. What other blogs are in the same area, with some details about what they cover, strengths and weaknesses, etc.
  3. Content. It’s a blog, after all. What does it cover? How often?
  4. Structure. Wordpress, Blogger, Typepad, or what? How will it be hosted? Domain name?
  5. Budget. See: it’s a business plan. How much will you pay for domain name, hosting, software, customizing the theme or design, etc. Outside help?
  6. Success metrics. This is my personal favorite, and a good reminder that every business plan needs concrete specifics you can track and manage, checking progress, reviewing, and steering the business. For a blog, Kelly suggests metrics for subscribers, analytics, Alexa stats, comments, and feedback.

I like this. It’s a good reminder that business plans aren’t formulaic or academic, they are about getting business done. Lists the goals, steps, metrics, and start tracking. Nicely done.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.