5 Year Blogging Strategy (Steal this Template!)
A blogging strategy results in successful blogging.
Are you a brand new blogger? Are you considering starting a blog? Have you been blogging for one or two years with no real results? Do you think blogging isn’t for you?
You need a blogging strategy if you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions.
The best strategy is the five year plan. Most businesses and brands adopt this strategic plan, so why not you?
In this article, I’m going to give you a template for a five year blogging strategy that focuses on five different important areas:
And after that, I will throw in a free bonus for having an exit plan.
This is a full blogging strategy template that I think you should steal for your blog. So, let’s jump right into it and make your blog successful today.
Blogging Strategy Year 1: Becoming a Writer
Your blogging strategy for your first year should focus on your writing, consistency, and what you want your blog to focus on.
The moment you start to worry about marketing and making money during the first year of your blogging activities is when you might start to fail at blogging.
Don’t focus on the professional side of blogging until you have allowed yourself to become seasoned at blogging.
Just Write but Don’t Publish
At first, your blogging strategy should be focused on writing. But don’t write and then publish your posts.
Instead, focus on creating your articles. Focus on a few months of just writing new articles. Get many of them written, edited, and crafted into something you call perfect.
After that, you should have loads of posts to publish and schedule to stay ahead of blogging. If you can get two weeks’ worth of posts scheduled at a time, that will help you in the long run.
If I were in your shoes, I’d try to write a new article every day for about three months. Roughly, that would leave me with about 90 articles. You could do less than that and still be ahead.
But make sure you don’t make too many and feel like you can take a break from writing. The best bloggers are the ones who keep writing and get better at it each time.
Find Your Consistency Comfort Level
Now writing a bunch of content before you publish might make you want to publish a blog daily. I don’t think you should try that as a new blogger. It’s not a good blogging strategy from the start.
I challenged myself and posted daily for 101 days straight. While it got easier, there were times that it became overwhelming. I’m a seasoned blogger, and it was still difficult for me. I write another blog daily, which requires a lot of work.
Instead of using a daily schedule, I suggest you start with two weekly posts.
Post on Monday and Friday or Tuesday and Thursday. Whatever days you choose to post, you should post on those days every time. You should also post at the same time frame on those days. For example, I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:00 AM CST on this blog. You can expect an article on those days at that time every week.
It’s important to be consistent for many reasons. It gives you a schedule to meet. It helps your readers understand when you will be posting content. It helps search engines know when to come back and index your new content.
Being consistent means you also have to be comfortable with your posting schedule. So at first, consider experimenting with different schedules until you find your fit.
Focus on Niching Down
One of the main downfalls of new bloggers is when they do not choose a niche to focus on in their blogging routines.
A niche is a topic that you blog about. On this blog, my topic is content creation and digital marketing. That is my niche. I focus entirely on that niche for this blog. I never post my hiking trail guides on this blog because it’s not about hiking. I have a different blog that focuses on hiking.
There are many reasons to niche down.
You must focus on a niche to turn your blog into a money-maker or a full-time job. If you want the blog to do good on search engines, you must niche down. You must have a niche to target a certain type of reader.
Every blogging strategy available is primarily successful when there is a niche focus.
But what niche do you choose?
The best type of niche is a topic you know a lot about. It should be your passion or one of your biggest interests in life. This way, you’ll never run out of ideas because it’s a topic you know a lot about and wants to keep learning more about.
If you choose a niche based on the trend or popularity and don’t know much about it, keeping your blog active and competing with others who know a lot about it will be extremely difficult.
Choose a niche if you want to be successful.
Blogging Strategy Year 2: Becoming a Marketer
After establishing yourself as a writer and consistently creating niche-specific content for your blog, it’s time to focus on year two of your blogging strategy.
Year two should be all about marketing your blog.
This is where you start to promote your blog and get more readers and interest built up around your articles.
It’s Experiment Time
It’s time to experiment with marketing during year two of your blogging strategy.
You should do some things consistently that have proven to be successful, like master SEO, and ensure you create a blog for mobile devices first.
But you should also look at different options for marketing your blog.
You should promote your blog by commenting on other blogs and including your blog link in the URL field of the comment form. You might find that guest blogging is a great way to market your blog.
Look at all your blog marketing options and try them out to see which ones work and which don’t.
Power Up on Social Media
Make sure you get on social media to market your blog. Just don’t go overboard like many new bloggers tend to do.
It’s important to look at social media like you would a blog. Each social media profile will be like having an additional blog in many ways. You have to keep those social media pages active, or they’re useless in helping you to promote your blog.
You must also post more native content than promotional content on social media. That means more uploads and text-based content without links to your blog posts. Social media will put fewer views on external content because they want people to stay on their websites.
Start with one to three social media profiles. Focus on ones what your community is most active on. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to make every social page you can and keeping them all active.
Most bloggers choose a few social media profiles, and that’s all they ever stick with after that.
Build a Brand
Your blog strategy should also include brand building.
You might wonder why you would build a brand. You should build one because brands are easier to spot, remember, and develop a community.
Artificial intelligence will eventually get stronger, and it could harm some content creators. You’ll be better off if you have a brand because people will know and remember you. If you don’t have a brand, you’ll work against machine learning, which will be a challenge!
To start building a brand, you should select a logo and theme you use everywhere, including your blog and social media pages. Try to use the same photo on social media if you use one of yourself.
The idea of a brand is to be easily recognized.
It’s okay to change up your brand occasionally if you change it everywhere and announce it while at it.
Blogging Strategy Year 3: Becoming an Expert
During year three of your blogging strategy, it’s time you focus your efforts on becoming well-known in your niche and market.
This is the year that you should focus on developing authority and becoming an expert in your area of blogging topics.
The more of an expert you are, the more people will rely on your blog for the best information.
Be Known in Your Niche
The first tactic in becoming an expert in your niche is to be involved in your niche.
Join social communities like groups, chat rooms, forums, and online communities focusing on your niche. Start posting unique and extremely helpful content but don’t focus on promoting your blog. You must focus on promoting yourself as an expert in your blog’s niche.
Another good blog strategy for self-promotion is sites like Quora. Answer questions relating to your niche to start getting recognition. Make sure you answer the questions with the best possible answers that have a lot of information. Forums are great for this type of expertise development, too.
While developing your expertise, start thinking about your reputation, too.
Don’t do anything that could harm your reputation. This includes stuff on personal time, too. Be careful when sharing political options, for example. Don’t say things that can be easily taken out of context and used against you. Try to be a nice person who shows respect to everyone. And don’t get a reputation as a spammer because it could hurt your expertise development and blog.
Focus on you as the expert of your niche so that more people want to know about you and will essentially find your blog.
Start Building a Mailing List
Every five-year blog strategy should include a mailing list adoption.
You should start building your mailing list during year three. You’ve developed enough readership to easily convince people to subscribe to your free newsletter.
Send exclusive content in your newsletter than can’t be found anywhere else. Make sure there are freebies and resources that people can’t pass up. Make your newsletter worth subscribing to.
Like with blogging, you should be consistent with sending your newsletter. If you want to send it once a week, then you should send it on the same day and time once a week.
On social media, anything could happen, and you could lose all your followers in a blink of an eye. That’s because social media is rented space. You don’t have access to follower email addresses and contact information.
But with a mailing list, you retain the contact information of your followers. So if something did happen to social media, you still have your mailing list.
Start Building a Community
Now is the time to start developing a community around you and your blog. It will help you if you’ve gained some newsletter subscribers and a social media following. It will also help if you’ve gained many readers for your blog.
You need to create a community platform. This is where you keep in touch with your community. Your mailing list is a good option for this. You could use social media but remember that it’s rented space, and you can lose it all.
Include your readers, subscribers, and followers in your blog content. If they are publicly trying to promote something related to your niche, include them in your content and promote their work. This will not just create a fan but also a loyal one.
Include your community in the important decision-making process of your blog. Ensure they feel like they’re a part of the success and evolution of your blog. You should feel that you can only be successful if your community participates in what you’re trying to be successful about.
Algorithms, search robots, and AI can’t do anything against a community. Loyal followers will always know where and how to find you.
Blogging Strategy Year 4: Becoming a Profit
Year four of your blogging strategy is a good time to start focusing on earning money with your blog. Too many new bloggers rush into trying to earn money fast.
They usually fail. The internet and blogging, in general, are way too vast and competitive to make money that fast.
If you build up to your focus on turning your blog into a profit machine, it’s going to be a much simpler process to make money blogging than it would have been from the very start of your blog.
Create a Product
One of the best ways to make money blogging is by selling a product or service. You can use Google AdSense and affiliate links to earn money, but you don’t own those services. They can suspend you at will. And when they do, your profit stops.
If you create your own physical or digital products, you can be ensured to sell them without interruption. The same goes for services such as consulting and coaching.
Once you’ve developed expertise in your niche and have created a community, selling your products and services is going to be very easy compared to doing it without any of that.
Just ensure you have something of great value to offer as a product or service. It needs to solve problems. It needs to be the ultimate product for your community and audience.
And if you can’t think of anything to sell, why not start making eBooks for your niche? You already write about the topics on your blog, so why not make an extensive guide around your niche and sell it as an eBook?
That will be a great starting point for selling your products.
Sell Advertising Space
You can also sell advertising space on your blog pages, posts, and newsletters as a good way to earn money with your content.
By selling ads directly, you skip out the middle person you would get when choosing to use ad networks and affiliate services. That means you get all the money that can be made. You also get to choose the price of advertising.
You can sell banner ads, sponsored posts, newsletter ads, and more. You need to ensure you follow the rules in your country and what Google wants you to do regarding search engine optimization. If you get banned from Google, your blog strategy for making money might decline significantly.
Be careful with advertisements, though. You don’t want to annoy your readers to the point where they quit reading because of intrusive ads. I wouldn’t recommend ads that take over pages or popup-type ads. Be mindful not to annoy people.
And finally, when it comes to selling ads, treat your ad customers well and ensure there is value for them, or you might lose business.
Create a Membership
Another great blog strategy for profiting with your blog is to start a paid membership feature. This will be easier if you’ve built a community of loyal fans.
First, try not to take anything away from the free portion of your blog to establish your paid membership. It could cause issues with your community and make you lose followers.
Instead, offer something new and improved that warrants an upgrade to a paid membership. Offer features and benefits that are worth paying for. This could be one-on-one sessions with you on Zoom or something like that.
You could also offer a course. Courses allow you to make larger sums of money for each member versus just having a simple membership community. You can charge a few hundred dollars for a course entry, while you might charge up to $20 monthly for paid community access.
Choosing what membership platform to use is essential. You can use a system like Patreon, where they take a percentage, but it’s easier for you to manage benefits. However, it’s rented space, and you might lose your paid membership if something happens with your account. You can access all the paid member contact information if you use something built into your blog, like a membership plugin.
A paid membership is a great way to start making money with a blog if it’s worth paying for.
Blogging Strategy Year 5: Becoming a Full-Time Blogger
Your year five blog strategy should be about becoming a full-time blogger.
Now that you’re a known expert in your niche, you’re making money, and you’ve developed a community – you should be able to take it to full-time status.
Once you’re full-time, your blog is your job, and you must treat it like one.
How to Become a Full-Time Blogger
Becoming a full-time blogger is harder than it looks, but it isn’t impossible.
First, you must ensure you’re making consistent money each month. That amount will vary and depend on your needs. I wouldn’t go full-time unless I made double what I made at my full-time employment away from my blog. That would be a salary, allowing me to pay for my benefits and still have a budget for the blog.
You need to be able to pay yourself to live on but also be able to keep paying for the blog and anything you might need for it.
If the money flow isn’t consistent and spotty, to say the least, you’ll be taking a greater risk in going full-time with your blog. This will especially be true if you plan to leave your job and focus entirely on your blog.
You need to make sure you have everything in order before going full-time.
Hiring Employees and Creating a Business
You should treat a full-time blog as a business because that’s what it is.
Make sure you register your blog as a business. Depending on where you live, you might make it something as simple as an LLC or LTD. You may have to have a business license or a special license for the type of business your blog conducts. You might even need to consider general business liability insurance.
Protecting your business should be your main blog strategy when taking it full-time.
Once you earn enough to pay yourself and create budgets for your blog, you should consider hiring employees to assist.
You could hire contract employees if you didn’t afford to offer benefits. These employees could help you create articles and help with social media, SEO, and other tasks.
If you can afford to provide benefits, you could hire full-time and part-time employees to help you make your blog better and even more profitable.
The more profit you earn, the more you should treat your blog like a business. Just make sure you stay legal about it.
Pay business taxes and keep everything legit, so you don’t lose your business and blog later down the road for penalties for not doing it the legal way.
Create Your Next Blogging Strategy
You should create a strategy for the next three to five years at the end of your five-year blogging strategy. And then, after those years, you create another strategy. You keep creating these strategies to ensure your blog continues to be successful.
Your next strategies can focus on bigger things. Maybe you want to increase your annual profit from several hundred thousand dollars to a million dollars. It’s possible if you put in the work and provide the profit points to make it possible.
If you’ve gone full-time after five years of blogging, you have more opportunities to take your blog to the next level.
You need to continue to create a blog strategy that provides results and can be successful with strategic practices in place.
Bonus: Do you need an exit strategy?
Some bloggers want a good exit strategy, but not every blogger can have one.
What do you want out of your blog?
Is it something you want to do for the rest of your life? Is it something you want to eventually own but enable other writers to do all the content creation for the blog? Is your blog something you wish to open for public investors eventually?
Or do you eventually want to sell your blog and have an exit strategy?
If you do wish to sell your blog eventually, that’s fine. A lot of people do it. They’ll sell and then find another business opportunity to start.
Not all bloggers will be able to sell easily, though. If your blog is built around you, for example, selling it without you being a part of that package won’t be easy.
I could sell the content of this blog, but I wouldn’t want to sell the name because it’s my name, and I want full rights to it.
Having an existing strategic plan in your main blog strategy is always a good idea if you eventually wish to move on to new things and earn maximum profit with the blog you’ve built up.
And that’s how you create a five-year blog strategy. By creating and following a strategy for your blog, you can better align the blog to be successful through the years. You run a chaotic course by not having a strategy, and it will often lead you into overwhelming circumstances. Create a strategy for the best results. If you’ve enjoyed this article, please share it with other bloggers to help support my efforts in creating it. If you haven’t done so, visit my homepage and subscribe to my free newsletter. Once I get a good list of subscribers, I will send some great content and resources to help you make your blog your full-time gig.
About the Author
Shawn Gossman has created content, blogged, ran online communities, and shared a passion for digital marketing for over twenty years. Shawn believes the best way to help content creators, businesses, brands, and marketers is to give away more than you sell. The same advice is recommended for the readers that follow this blog. Shawn also offers a variety of services for extra help in the area of content creation, blogging, forums, and digital marketing. Learn more about Shawn Gossman by clicking here.
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