When I started blogging, I never realized just how much there was to know and keep track of. Almost six years later, I’m still learning new things I should be doing every day. Honestly, it is tough to keep up. So a couple years ago I created a free blog planner that keeps getting bigger and better as my blogging and business dreams and ideas grow too. I’m so excited to bring you my ultimate free blog planner today with 36 worksheets you to build a successful blog and achieve your blogging goals for 2018.
As you may or may not know, I’m a total planner addict. I believe that staying organized can help me better manage my time to achieve the dream life I’ve wanted. I rely on my planner and bullet journals 100% to keep track of every aspect of my life. I use planners to manage my family life, my health and of course, my blog. I also rely on my blog planner to organize my blog ideas and track important information like statistics, passwords and income vs. expenses.
Whether you use my blog planner online on Google Drive, use it in Excel or print for a binder, I hope you’ll find it a useful tool to ensure your blogging time is more focused and productive and your ideas well organized so you can access them when and where you need them. So let me tell you about the planner I created and the secrets of how to get the most out of it.
Note: This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.
The Benefits of an Online Blog Planner
After NaBloPoMo a couple years ago, I learned 7 valuable lessons about myself, my productivity and my blog. I needed a planner that could offer these 3 benefits and that’s when I decided to create it myself.
No matter where and when a great blog post idea or idea to improve and grow my blog struck, my paper blog bullet journal was rarely nearby. I needed a planner at my fingertips to ensure my idea wouldn’t get lost in the chaos of my day.
My blog is my passion. Ideas are constantly whirling around my head, so I needed an easily accessible place to get them all down. So I began using the Google Drive app on my smartphone whenever I got an idea I didn’t want to forget. When do I get most of my ideas?
- in the carpool line or walking home from school
- waiting in the doctor’s office or grocery store
- in the shower
- folding laundry
- while walking or riding stationary bike for exercise
While I could carry my paper blog bullet journal to most of these places, I don’t. My purse is heavy enough already. I could jot it down on a zillion scraps of paper or post it notes but I risk losing it. The Google Drive app captures the idea efficiently and effectively since my smartphone is always nearby.
When do you get most of your blog ideas? Make sure to capture them as they happen so you don’t forget it and keep ideas in one central location so you don’t lose it.Use this FREE Blog Planner on Google Drive so your goals + ideas are always easily accessible Click To Tweet
2. Ease of Use
Here are some ways the planner helped me gain efficiency because it’s easy to use:
- use the post and social media checklist to make sure the blog post is promoted across all channels important to my readers
- respond in a timely manner to guest post and review requests since I could access my editorial calendar from my phone
- jot down chats and webinar schedules
- add blog post ideas to my editorial calendar which eliminates the need for the WP Editorial Calendar plugin (keeping plugins to a minimum helps maximize your site’s load speed).
While my online planner tracks my day-to-day blog operations, I still a separate blog bullet journal for jotting down Elite Blog Academy* notes, my strategic planning and more long-term ideas and goals that I need to keep from year to year.
Are you a functional planner or does a decorative planner inspire you more?
Have you found perfect & complete “planner peace” for your blog? You know that state of bliss where you have everything you need for your blog all in one place when and where you need it?
With blogging, best practices, technology and social media are always changing. As bloggers, we’re constantly learning, growing and changing how we work towards our blogging goals and our blog planner needs to be able to change to fulfill our needs.
I found printable blog planners limiting. The planners included sheets that were important to the planner’s creator. But my blog is different, I blog about a variety of topics and found I always needed something more…a blog checklist so I didn’t forget an important step before publishing a post, help remembering to cross-post book reviews, and a stats tracker to see my views and where my traffic is coming from.
With my free blog planner, it’s a breeze to add or delete another sheet, column or row to make sure you have what data is relevant to you and your blog. I gained efficiency by having all my blog data in one place and customized just for me. My free blog planner started as two sheets but easily grew to 36 sheets in the last few years. Every year I find new ways to add to and customize my blog planner and then I share it with you!
What do you need from your blog planner? What information do you need to track that you aren’t able to? What do you keep forgetting? Start a new sheet, get that great idea down and don’t lose your train of thought.Get your FREE Blog Planner that you can customize to your blog's needs #blogging Click To Tweet
Peek Inside the Planner
Ready to see what this year’s free blog planner looks like? Well, here’s a peek inside the blog planner. There are 36 spreadsheet tabs/pages in my free blog planner.Peek inside this FREE Blog Planner with 36 worksheets to get you organized in 2018! #blogging Click To Tweet
Here’s a breakdown:
1. 12 Editorial Calendars – Monthly View
Type in your overall goals for the month and important dates/events at the top. Enter blog post ideas, chat, webinar or linkup party dates on the respective day to see an overview of your blog content & schedule for the month. Can’t write what you thought you would or had a new better idea? Just copy and paste your idea to a different day. A separate tab for each month, January – December 2018.
2. 12 Editorial Calendars – Checklist and Social Media Promotion
This version of the editorial calendar allows you to keep track of post title, date, category and status for each post. Do you forget to check SEO, set a nofollow link, a featured image or fix the Facebook image before you publish? I do, so I included this checklist so I don’t forget. I also included boxes for sharing on different social media channgels and boxes to add your post to your blog post index or landing page so you can easily keep track of your blog posts by category.
3. Evergreen Blog Post Ideas
Evergreen blog posts are those posts that are not time specific and readers can search for anytime. Examples include book discussions, nonsponsored product reviews, recipes, home organization and blogging tips. I used to include an unscheduled draft in WordPress every time I came up with a blog post idea.
The problem is if I didn’t write the post relatively soon, the unscheduled draft was pushed down further and further until it falls off the main posts page. Out of sight, out of mind. Instead, by jotting down the idea in my Evergreen Blog Post Ideas Tracker, I can access it anytime I am ready to write and I don’t lose the fabulous idea in the cemetery of forgotten drafts.
4. To Do List
What would a planner be without a to do list? Jot down those blog maintenance tasks, ideas to grow your blog and things you’ve been meaning to do. I sort mine by how long I think it will take me to complete so when I have a block of time to blog, I know just what tasks I can set out to accomplish.
5. Monthly Reminders Checklist
A checklist to remember important monthly maintenance like backing up your blog, cleaning up your sidebar and updating your stat trackers and income/expense reports.
6. Google Analytics Statistics
See your users, sessions, pageviews and top 3 traffic referrals at a glance with this Google Analytics Statistics Tracker. Taking some of the key elements from Google Analytics and putting it into a chart form will help you get a better understanding of how your readers find you and what they enjoyed reading during the month.
7. Subscriber and Social Media Stats
Track your blog and comment subscribers and followers on various social media platforms. I’m a numbers gal, I like to see how my readership is impacted from the content, linkups and events I share.
8. Income and Expenses Tracker
Track blog income and expenses in one place and get a general idea of your blogging net income/loss. You still should hold onto your paperwork to substantiate your income and expenses but this tracker gives you a simple overview of estimated net income or loss on your blog.
9. Password Tracker
I made this primarily to be printed. While much of my blogging information I am ok with being on Google Drive, I do not want my passwords on any sort of cloud. Still the tracker is here to print because it’s near impossible for me to remember all my passwords.
10. Linkup Party Schedule
Are you a linkup fanatic like I am? Linkups are great ways to get new readers to your blog and share your content with a new audience. Jot down the info regarding your favorite linkups including host URL, type of linkup (ex. recipes, books, general), the time the linkup goes live & duration and any restrictions or requirements to complete. Check here for why linkups are worth your time, a list of my favorite linkups and add a linkup you host to my link party directory.
11. Posts Linked Up
Do you forget what post you linked up where? Or when a post earned a Featured Blogger spot? Use this tracker to indicate which posts you’ve linked up with which parties and when Featured Blogger awards are earned.
12. Notes Page
A simple notes page to keep track of ideas discussed during chats, webinars or classes. I added this to my planner during Pinning Perfect and figured you could use them too. Add as many as you want in the electronic versions so all your info is in one place.
13. Blog Post Index
During one of our Small Victories Sunday Linkups, Krafty Owl shared Why You Need a Blog Post Index. I thought this was a useful tool especially as I’m going through old posts and making sure categories and tags are consistent and seeing which ones need updated photos and writing. So I added a blog post index to my personal blog planner and thought you’d find it useful too. I think this sheet is better for those using the planner electronically on Google Drive or Excel since it’s easy to copy and paste a URL into the spreadsheet.
14. Review Template
Whether you review products or books on your blog, this review template will help you deliver useful and consistent information to your readers in your review.
Subscribe to my Blogging Newsletter and Get Your Free Ultimate Blog Planner Now!
The best part is that this planner is it is free, one of many exclusive gifts for newsletter subscribers. Enter your email address below now and the links to all 3 versions of my 2018 blog planner (Microsoft Excel, Google Drive link and PDF) and the password to unlock the Exclusive Subscriber Library of planners, printables and tips to achieve your dream life will be sent to you after you have confirmed your subscription.
You must save copies of these files to your computer in order to customize the Google Doc and Excel versions for your blogging needs. This planner is for personal use only, please do not mass distribute or sell without permission.
I will be updating this planner and making subscriber exclusive printables throughout the year so stay tuned, you don’t want to miss any of them!
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What is important to you in a blog planner? What tools do you find most helpful?