A couple of weeks ago I shared my daily blogger checklist that I use to keep myself focused and efficient. Most days, that is. Today I’m sharing the sister to that checklist, my monthly blogger checklist. This is the list of things that I try to do on a monthly basis, typically at the beginning of the month. I use this in conjunction with my month at a glance sheet to plan out what I’m going to work on for the following month both in terms of what posts to write and my goals for that month. And at the end, I’ve shared a fully editable and customizable checklist for you to use.
My monthly checklist is ordered the way it is for a particular reason. I’ve mentally broken each of the tasks into four categories – review, business, planning, and housekeeping – and I like to tackle each of those categories in a particular order that makes sense to me, and hopefully to you.
Let’s start off with review. While I was working as a project manager, I learned that one of the most important things you can do once something is done is go back and review how it went. So the first item in my checklist is to review and document all of your stats for the month. This means things like Google Analytics page views, bounce rates, etc. as well as your social media followers and email subscribers. I put this information first because it is important to a lot of the other items on my checklist. The second item on my checklist is to review last month’s blog goals and see how I did. If you don’t make goals for your blog, start now. This quote from President Thomas S. Monson sums up how I feel about goals.
So yes, start setting goals this month. The next few items in my category section all have to do with reviewing how the past month went – reviewing back links, referring traffic, most popular posts, etc. This all sets you up for the planning portion of this post. Before we get to planning, the next section of my checklist is all about business and the business aspects of a blog. Tracking your expenses and income (a must), tracking your sponsored posts/commitments/giveaways, sending sponsors any monthly reports (if applicable), etc. This stuff is super important so I’ve included it right after the review portion so that you don’t get bogged down in the planning and forget to do it. And I included it after the review tasks so that you can include any details from your review in your sponsor reports.
Alright, now that we’ve gotten through the painful process of looking back at how well or how poorly the past month went, we move into planning. I am so guilty of just blogging one day at a time with no idea what I’m going to do next or how it will all fit together but I’m quickly learning that’s not going to cut it if I want my blog to grow and be successful. So I plan. The first and most important part of the planning for me is creating my monthly goals. I need to figure out what I’m trying to do that month so that all of my planning can help me achieve those goals. Just as an example, a couple of my monthly blog goals for February 2014 are:
- Reach 4,000 Facebook Fans
- Reach 1,000 Instagram Fans
- Reach 50 email subscribers (I just started my email list, you should sign up!)
- Find a monthly contributor
- Post five times a week
After I’ve come up with my goals for the month, I brainstorm ideas to try and reach those goals. So for instance, to reach 4,000 Facebook Fans I might want to join group giveaways and social media hops. And to gain email subscribers, I want to add my email subscription link to the bottom of posts. Easy right?
Next up, I use my month at a glance sheet to plan out my editorial calendar for the month. Obviously we all know things change but this gives me at least a look at things that I know are coming and scheduled, things like sponsored posts, giveaways, and blog hops that I’ve already committed to. Then I just fill in the blanks with ideas for posts with the assumption that things will most likely get moved around. I highly recommend using pencil so your calendar doesn’t end up looking like mine this week.
The final part of my planning are things that I personally think are important – choosing a couple of bloggers that I really want to promote/highlight that month and coming up with new pitch and partnership opportunities (always trying to grow). Both of these things will help me to build connections, which is important for my long-term goals.
That last portion of my checklist is what I like to call my blogger housekeeping, and it includes all of the tedious things that we should be doing on a monthly basis but a lot of times they fall through the cracks. They are things like backing up your blog and photos, updating your Pinterest boards, updating your Facebook and Google+ covers, checking broken links, updating your most popular posts, etc. I won’t go into the full list because you can download it below. If you have any items to add, let me know and I’ll update my checklist.
|Photo from Scotch Brite|
And that’s it. I know it seems like a lot and it kind of is, but it’s only once a month. So much better than every single day right? One last tip to make your life so much easier – print out one copy an laminate it. Then use a dry erase marker to write on it so you don’t have to print out a new version each month.