I’ve tried so many different methods for keeping my blog organized, from jotting down ideas in a specific notebook reserved only for blogging ideas, writing my post schedule in my daily planner with the rest of my responsibilities, using Evernote, even different editorial calendar plugins. As much as I love and adore Evernote for keeping all of my ideas and notes organized, when it comes to the organization of my blog, nothing compares to having a designated Blog Binder.
Why I Don’t Believe in Purchasing a Pre-Made Blog Planner
I’ve mentioned that I’ve purchased a blog planner in the past. In all honesty I felt like it was one of the dumbest investments that I’ve made. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that there are some great pre-made blog planners available online, created by professional content creators, that offer something unique in their planners. However, the one that I purchased was very generic in terms of content that you find in a blog planner.
Some planners are made specifically for a calendar year, so any pages that you don’t fill up during that year will be wasted when the new year comes around. That being said, my biggest issue with purchased blog planners is the lack of customization for my specific blogs needs.
Sometimes on etsy I find that stores give the option to purchase specific pages for a blog planner, rather than the entire book. That’s incredible, and if you’re able to find it, then great! But I’ve often ran into the issue of finding a non-customizable planners. Some has pages for organizing affiliate links, sponsors, giveaways – long before I had even considered monetizing my website. This sucked when I purchased an entire blog planner and found that I couldn’t use 1/3 of the pages.
If you are considering investing into a pre-made blog planner than I strongly suggest doing your research and finding one that allows you to choose custom pages, so that you’re not paying for pages that aren’t applicable to your specific site.
Where Do I Find Printables for My Blog Binder?
After my sucky experience with a paid blog planner, I decided to stick with free printables that I find online, and organizing them in my own binder. It was actually so much easier to find aesthetically pleasing, free, and useful prtinables, than I thought it would be.
Where do I find them? You guys know the answer to this by now, Pinterest is my holy grail!
Some of my favourite blog planner printables that I’ve used in the past are from:
DesignerBlogs.com – current printables that I use, shown in this post
(link now includes 2016 package)
ByRegina.com – tons of amazing exercises and worksheets to better your blog
Check out my Pinterest Board – Blog Planner Printables for more resources
What’s In My Blog Binder
Like I said, every blogger has different needs for their blog planner. One of my blogging goals for this year includes beginning to monetize my website, so a large portion of my blog binder is dedicated to tracking analytics, finances, sponsorship and affiliate programs.
My binder is divided into 4 sections Overview, Monthly, Monetization and Brainstorming
My overview section outlines all of the important functional info for my website, typically information that won’t change often during the year.
The first page is my yearly blogging goals including – 5 main goals I want to accomplish, 5 site improvements to make, and traffic and income goals. Having this as the very fist page of the blog binder is perfect because every time I go to jot down an idea, I’m reminded of the core purposes of my website, and I’m able to compare an upcoming idea to my goals for the year.
Next I have the yearly stats and analytics, with spaces for my total social media reach, site views, and rankings for each month.
Finally, I have my usernames and passwords all plotted out on a single page. I also keep this information backed up on my Evernote app for security. I don’t typically store the login info for sites that I log into everyday like Facebook and my email, because writing it down feels too unsafe for me. I do, however, track the login info for sites I don’t frequent often like Bluehost, GoDaddy, Blogger Networks, MailChimp, Gravatar, PayPal etc I feel a bit more secure writing down info for these types of sites because they typically reqiure a security question.
The monthly section is pretty self-explanatory. I printed 6 blank monthly calendars from DesignerBlogs just in case one month is slower than the other, I only printed 6 to make sure that I don’t waste any paper. It also helps that they’re blank in case I want to skip a month or use two pages for one month (I’m a woman who likes having options).
After each monthly calendar, I have a coinciding monthly analytics page which is upset helpful because of how in depth it is in comparison to other blog analytics trackers I’ve seen.
This sheet includes the metrics for all of my social media networks, blog traffic, income, subscribers, and a new section that I hadn’t considered – my Google and Alexa ranking. Having this has motivated me to start tracking my google rank and take the initiative to take the steps needed to heighten it.
I enjoy sitting alone at the end of the month, with a cup of tea, reflecting on the month. This section helps me to track some of my successes and areas where I may have missed the mark so that I can improvement the next month.
Above all, this section helps me to stay accountable to the goals I set for my blog at the beginning of the year and helps me to measure my progress this far.
This section is both frightening and thrilling for me. After tracking the growth in my blog views and visitors I’ve realized that it’s about damn time I start monetizing and seeing just what this blog can do.
As with everything that scares me, I started this section off with a bit of motivation. I downloaded ‘5 Bible Verses About Money Every Christian Needs to Know‘ from Christian Personal Finance. Just a reminder that making money from my blogging work doesn’t have to feel like selling out or cheapen my content, in fact it should enrich it. Above all, it reminds me that I work hard and deserve to be compensated – makes it a bit less frightening.
Into the serious stuff! The following pages in the monetization section include affiliate programs (there are plenty, so it’s super helpful to have a full list of my programs along with the login info), sponsors (still working on it! Will keep you posted though), finances (blogging expenses and income) and contacts. Under the contact section I like to write out all of the PR companies and brands Id love to collaborate with and their contact information. Note: always look for a specific human, because starting an email with ‘Hello PR agency rep” is not a good look.
DesignerBlog did a great job with providing a prompt for writing down blog post inspiration. This sheet prompts me to answer questions such as – ‘how knowledgable is your target audience on this topic?’, ‘how do you plan to organize this post? which of these post types will you use? – list, how to/tutorial, informational etc.’ ‘why do you feel this post would be important/interesting to your readers?’
It great to have questions to force to me focus my content as much as possible, and understand the direction I’m going, and why it’s an important topic because I even begin writing.
Finally, for the very last pages of my blog binder I include blank pages so that I can scribble and doodle as much as I need to while I’m still forming my ideas.
Check out DesignerBlog to download your own pages for your blog binder, or visit my Blog Planner Printables Pinterest board for more resources.
So now it’s your turn! What’s in YOUR blog binder? Include a link to your blog binder in the comments so that I can check yours out too!