A business plan is a way to focus your efforts. It’s a tool. However, it quickly becomes a rabbit hole for most new bloggers because until you have some numbers behind you – and some experience making money with your blog – it’s hard to predict and plan for your business.
For this exercise, let’s use some standard numbers that are middle-of-the-road figures for most bloggers. Across the industry 2% of web traffic will typically convert. Convert = take an action. That might mean purchase something, or it could mean sign up for your newsletter. You’ll have quite a bit of control over this as you refine your business model and tweak your call-to-action. For example, my email newsletter sign up has a conversion rate of 6.5% – but I wrote a full page of persuasive text – a narrative-based sales pitch (which is working, it seems).
Conversion rate: 2%
So what will your traffic be like over the next year? I recommend aiming for between 10-30% of growth each month, depending on your starting point. If this is your first big year of blogging, you can expect 20,000 visits a month (in your 12th month) to be a perfectly reasonable goal. Here is a spreadsheet you can use to calculate your growth (Go to File // Download As // Excel to get it on your computer and you can edit the fields to play around with different scenarios).
Don’t feel like calculating your traffic? Well you can assume 100,000 visits (total) for your first year of blogging.
How much can you make?
If you’re converting at 2% and you ramp up from 1,000 visits /mo up to 20,000 – and you’re charging about $40 on average for your products, you can make $75,000.
Really, though you should play around with this spreadsheet. (To download go to file/ download as / excel.) If you change the conversion rate, you’ll see what a big difference 1% will make in your bottom line.
Download the forms and start building out your plan.
For today, just start backing into the level of income you want to plan for (and make room for error, you should choose an amount that feels good then add 25% more to give you room to fall a little short – example, if $50K a year would change your life, let you quit your job and do this full time, aim for $63K).