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Do you have a planner system that you are SUPER passionate about? If so, have you ever thought about what it takes to start a planner blog?
Or maybe you’ve developed your own system that you really want to share with the world!
I mean, come on, many of us have experienced the life changing qualities that planners have to offer. We all know the joy of setting up the next week or month. It’s so fun to see the progress you make in your planner journey, too.
Now, you want to commit to take it to the next level by introducing what you do to other readers. I’m here to help you on this journey by discussing of why you should start a planner blog along with its benefits. You’ll learn a bit about my own journey, too! I’ll also tell you the steps I took to starting a blog!
Why Start a Planner Blog?
Well, you want to start a planner blog because you’ve determined that your planning system is amazing and you want to do one of two things:
You may possibly want to do both! That’s perfectly acceptable! While it doesn’t seem like it’s a lot to focus on, inspiring with planners and teaching about planners spans a large range of topics.
Some topics are going to be obvious:
- How to Start a Planner
- Planner or Planner Product Reviews
- How to Organize Your Planner
But the COOL part about being a planner blogger is that you can help inspire others by sharing the unique ways planners have helped you. Or teach them how to do what you do!
- How Planners Have Helped my Mental Health
- Try This Unusual Planner/Layout
You can also go the artistic route!
- How to use Calligraphy in Your Planner
- Favorite Planner Doodles
The possibilities for where you want to take a planner blog are endless.
The Other Benefits of Blogging
You mean there are even more benefits to blogging besides getting to share about your awesome planning system?
Friendship and Community
I’ve made SO many amazing friends, like Ashlyn!
Wish I could put them all up here!!!
If you’re anything like me, you may not have friends who share your love for planning. Not only can it feel a bit lonely at times, but you also get the struggle of droning on about what you love to people who don’t really care.
When you start a planner blog, frequently you also connect social media to your accounts. Engaging your blog with social media is an excellent way to meet people who are just as passionate as you are.
Connecting with people who have similar interests can also help with your personal levels of inspiration and motivation. Some of my favorite friends in the bullet journal community have helped me tremendously. Because I share my love of bullet journals with others, I think my productivity has improved and so has my artwork!
Source of Income
You can share the planner systems you love, make friends, and make money, too?
Do what you love AND make money. Win!
You certainly don’t have to take this route when you start a planner blog. You may find plenty of joy and fulfillment in having your blog’s purpose primarily serve as a hobby.
But why not consider getting some income flow from doing what you love? If you’re going to go through all the work to start a planner blog, it certainly isn’t tough to get to the next level. I mean, at the very least, you can fund your habit!
Or maybe you want to do just a bit more than fund your habit. I launched Planning Mindfully in August 2017 with the intention of it serving as some source of income. While it takes a bit more work to get to this point, it’s certainly doable! This month I am expecting my first Amazon Affiliate payout (from both August and September purchases through links on my site). Literally all I did was share some of my favorite products on blog posts. People click, some people buy, and I get a percentage of every sale.
I’m working even harder to see what it can do for me.
My Experience as a Planner Blogger
My bullet journal has been life changing.
I wanted to share and hope it changes YOUR life too!
My journey to start a planner blog began with bullet journals. It’s changed my life in so many incredible ways. After using a bullet journal for about 8 months, I decided it was time to share my knowledge with others. I came up with the idea to start a planner blog because I felt like it was an easy venue to share my passion and advice with anybody who wants it.
It’s been so exciting to see the inspiration and progress from the people who read my posts.
I decided right away that I wanted my blog to serve as a source of income and I’ve been working my butt off these last four months. I launched my blog in August of 2017. Currently it is mid-November (about 3.5 months from launch) and I’ve already celebrated hitting 60,000 pageviews on my site.
I’ve worked incredibly hard to produce thought provoking and engaging content, but there is a lot more than just content to having a successful blog. I’ve tried my hand at blogging a few times in the past (not about planners, and last attempt was 2008) and realized if you want to get serious, you need to do more than just write posts.
This series follows my personal formula to starting a blog. By no means do you have to pick everything I did, and there are tons of options if you don’t love the ones I love.
For the most part, though, what I recommend offers either a free option or a free trial (with the exception of one).
Creating Your Planner Blog
It does NOT have to be this complicated!
Regardless of whether you just want to do this for fun, or you want to create a new source of income, you need a blog first.
I chose WordPress as my platform because of the sheer amounts of customization I can have for my blog.
If you want start a planner blog as a fun hobby, WordPress.com is a great start. You create your site on their services and they provide a limited number of tools to help you make a blog. They provide the hosting, so something you don’t have to worry about.
If you want to start blogging as a business, WordPress.org is the better choice (it’s what I use). With WordPress.org, you relying on other hosting (typically through another company) to set up your blog. Hosting services cost money, but they also provide tools, plug-ins, bandwidth, and storage that WordPress.com do not provide.
Bonus: If you choose to start as a hobby but want to convert later, you can easily transition to the a WordPress.com site to WordPress.org. You would just need to set up hosting services with another company.
When it comes to picking a hosting company, finding the right one can feel like a daunting task.
A dedicated hosting service helps with website speed, storage, and any other tools you need to get your website up on the Internet.
Instead of overwhelming you with choices, I chose Bluehost as a hosting service.
It’s a great option for beginners! They have a lot of tutorials to help you through setting up your blog, they provide a domain name free, and the price is right. In fact, they even have three tiers of services for you to choose from. If you need help, their customer service is very responsive.
All that for the same cost as one fancy coffee at Starbucks per month (billed at an annual rate).
Bluehost is the one service I recommend that does not have a free trial option, but that’s totally ok. If you try it out and decide you don’t love it within 30 days, you get a full refund! If you don’t love it and it’s after 30 days, you still get a refund (at a prorated rate). Not too shabby indeed.
You may see a lot of conflicting information about Bluehost. I recommend this for beginners as the cost is reasonable, there are a lot of guides on Google or Pinterest in the rare case you’re struggling to find what you need directly on Bluehost, and that they provide anything a beginner blogger truly needs.
I currently use Bluehost and have been very satisfied at this point. I’ve been told as I continue to grow, I may find better hosting services down the road to meet those needs. I’ll update you as I go, of course! But at over 50,000 views on my page, it’s been great.
Pick Your Theme
Here is where I think a lot of bloggers tend to freak out.
Well, I mean, I freaked out. Maybe you won’t!
I see beautiful websites from other planner bloggers and of COURSE I want to look just as amazing as they do. Unfortunately, I lack the skills in HTML and coding, nor do I currently have the funds to pay big bucks for somebody else to do that for me.
A wise friend poised this important question to me prior to launch.
What is going to get you more viewers?
- A blog with 5 posts of mediocre content that looks really pretty.
- A blog with 10 posts with good content, yet the appearance is more functional.
I really hope you picked the second one. I mean, yes, people do judge a book by its cover. But in perspective, I have NEVER shared a blog because I like how it looks. I share a blog because I like what I read.
WordPress offers DOZENS of free themes. Even more paid ones! Want to take a look? Once you’ve created your blog, go to the WordPress Dashboard and look for ‘appearance’ on the left bar. You should see the option for ‘Themes’, and try a few out.
So many terrific choices! And these are just six!
It doesn’t have to be complicated initially! You can always change your look later.
Once you create a look, then you’re good to go.
Write Your Posts!
Alright! Your blog now has a name, a website, a home, and a look.
Now, you need to populate your new home with blog posts.
Secrets to a Good Planner Blog Post
If you are trying to get other people to read your posts, you have to consider their needs beyond your own. You must write for them.
What do people want in the planner community?
The most successful planner blog posts will actually focus more on the most popular questions/comments/concerns that people have about whatever planner system you write about.
I know you want to be different. I know you want to set yourself apart from other planner bloggers.
But at first, your content needs to focus more on serving the needs of your readers. I’d say at least 75% of your first 30-50 posts should meet this need. The remainder should be a mix between your journey and your innovative ideas. (Spoiler alert, it’s fine to sometimes combine these types of posts!).
And you know what? Even if 300 other people have a similar ‘How to make a Bullet Journal Monthly Layout‘ post, yours will still offer slightly different perspectives than anybody else. That is, permitting you aren’t plagiarizing.
The other thing is that you don’t have to do that forever. As you populate your blog with more content (again beyond that 30-50 post threshold) and your readers get to know and trust you, then you can start introducing more unusual topics.
A Way to Be Unique While Still Serving the Common Need
Nobody said you couldn’t use other blog posts for inspiration. Planner blogs or not.
My most popular post about bullet journals actually was inspired by a post about goal setting, believe it or not.
My only tip here is that if you’re inspired by somebody’s ’10 Amazing Bullet Journal Themes’ post, take a step further. Create ‘12 Amazing Bullet Journal Themes.’ Just make sure that you’re writing it from your perspective, not theirs. Make sure you’re using some of your own ideas. I’m not giving you permission to plagiarize!
Note- If you are really stuck for an idea but like how another planner blogger handled it, give them credit. Encourage your readers to read their posts, and post one of their images. Just make sure to link to them and provide the sources so your readers are acutely aware of where it came from.
Facebook isn’t ALWAYS a waste of time…
(just most of the time)
Wait a second, weren’t we just talking about blogging? Yes, but hear me out!
You’ve created your content. Great!
Now we need to promote your content.
If you are a hobby blogger, this step certainly is totally optional. But I find FAR too many blog posts tend to stop at ‘create your content. And it drives me absolutely batty because good bloggers promote their content.
I want you to start a planner blog successfully, thus I’m gong to introduce you to the first steps of creating powerful social media to correspond with your planner blog.
Now, you know there are tons of social media avenues to take, and I’m also not going to overwhelm you with a ton of choices. The two I recommend are Instagram and Pinterest for starting out.
**Since it is free, I’d recommend doing business accounts for both. This way you can track analytics.
My Instagram friends, like Liddy, inspire me to do my best!
Instagram is a planner blogger’s gold mine. First, it’s your opportunity to develop your blog’s social side. Second, you will find a lot of inspiration on Instagram. Last, it allows your audience to get to know you on a more personal level.
Sure, maybe Instagram won’t be the source that gets you all your page views (though it gets you some!). Instagram is really important from a blogger’s perspective because you get to make friends and develop relationships with other planner bloggers. Sometimes even from other services. It’s really neat when a product you use reaches out to you on Instagram!
Bonus! You can even use the your Instagram images in your blog posts. You can link them directly into your post by embedding them, or just post the image file from your phone on camera into WordPress.
Helpful Tools: Iconosquare is my favorite Instagram tool. I can track the analytics of my posts; it helps me get a better understanding of my content. I also found it useful to organize giveaways; it was easy to track post likes, comments, and even manage my giveaway specific hashtags.
Even though I’m not delving into Facebook, they also offer some analytics for your groups if you have one.
They offer three tiers of service depending on your needs, and you also can try it out free if you want to see how you like it. If you’re starting out, the Starter plan should meet your needs.
While Instagram connects you with like-minded people, Pinterest is where you really get to show off your content. You also can pin articles and images that help inspire you and define your blog.
I can tell you that over half of my page views on my blog come from Pinterest.
Amount of sessions from social media.
On my blog, Pinterest comprises 39,367 sessions between August 1 and November 15, 2017. 46,891 total sessions on blog altogether.
83.9% of my traffic comes from Pinterest.
I hope that gives you an understand of WHY promoting your content on social media is so important.
Helpful Tools: For Pinterest, I actually recommend two services.
Ok, so Canva has actually proven useful for Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, blog post headers… the list goes on and on.
But on the Pinterest side, this tool helps me create my pins.
What is so great about Canva?
It’s a simplified editing tool that allows me to combine pictures, create pins, design headers, business cards, logos, you name it.
Some people do all of this on Photoshop, which is perfectly fine, especially if you know how to use it well! But since I don’t have Photoshop, and I do have Canva.
Oh yeah, did I mention that you can use Canva free**? Make it easy and simple to create your pins, headers, logos… all without paying a dime.
However, they do also offer Canva For Work, and for a small monthly fee you get access to even more tools, more space, and some really sweet abilities that make life even easier. It also gives you the opportunity to create the visual image of your brand, so you have a consistent color scheme and fonts for your posts.
By clicking here, you can take a look between their free program and their work program. You also can try Canva for Work free for 30 days!
** Not every option Canva offers is available for their free program.
If you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of Pinterest, promoting your content isn’t a one and done thing. You don’t make a pin on Canva, put it on Pinterest, and never touch it again.
The goal of Pinterest is to constantly promote content. And part of that is by recycling your own.
Tailwind sets to help you out with this particular detail by strategically launching your content through its own systems.
I control what pins are repinned and the boards they go to.
Tailwind does the rest!
What does that mean for you? That means you only have to spend 30 minutes preparing for your next two weeks of content to cycle on Pinterest. There’s so much to do when you start a planner blog that it’s so nice to have some automation.
Oh yeah, plus Tailwind does analytics for Pinterest! When you start a planner blog, it’s important to see how your content is getting to other readers.
Head on over and check out what Tailwind has to offer! Especially because you get two cool options!
- A free trial consisting of 100 pins to see how you like it (it’s a bit more limited than the general service, but it’s great for trialing.
- A free month of the real deal! Just by clicking on that link above, you get a $15 credit.
A month to month membership is $15 every month and they will repin up to 400 pins… just so you can focus on what is most important instead.
Personally, I fell in love with Tailwind almost straight away. And the fun part is that if you choose become a member before utilizing that credit, you can put that credit toward a yearly membership.
At a better value of $9.99 per month, choose the annual option (total fee is $119.99 for 12 months, and with the credit it’s $104.99, so technically it’s $8.75 per month. That’s almost HALF the month-to month rate.) Oh yeah, and you get UNLIMITED PINS!
Bonus: Tailwind also now works with Instagram. While it doesn’t offer the same statistic management as Iconosquare, it’s nice for posting your Instagram content to Pinterest.
Alright, I’ve Done All This. Anything Left?
Don’t pack up your things just yet..
Well, if you’re happy with where this gets you, then sure.
But if you’re anything like me, you feel empowered by your progress. And you want to learn more and grow and develop.
And there are still a LOT more steps. For your sake, I’m just going to make a list. This is more of a beginner guide, after all.
Other things to be aware of when you start a planner blog to succeed:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Product Reviews
- SEO (That’s search engine optimization!)
- Email Marketing
- Creating Your Own Products
- Google Analytics
And as you’re starting out, these are all lessons for another time. I mean, I’m still in the process of figuring all that out.
Note: If you want to know what any of that means, keep reading. I’m going to introduce you to a FREE guide that provides more of an introduction into those topics.
Did I mention it’s free?
I’m Still Learning
It’s FAR from over!
Owning a blog is not like a video game. I mean, yes, there are quests, objectives, challenges, and victories. Things can get more challenging as you improve and you definitely have to work hard.
However, there is no highest level and no specific achievement to hit for optimal success. How you define success is up to you to determine.
Yes, I’ve done great for my fourth month of blogging (I hope that gives you hope!).
I will also confidently say that I wouldn’t be where I am now on my own. I don’t want to say I had help, because I did accomplish this all on my own! However, when I was just starting out, I found something extraordinarily valuable to my journey as a blogger. I want to share it with you.
If you want a great, comprehensive guide from somebody who works with new bloggers on a regular basis, I highly recommend signing up for the Free 12 Day Blogging Bootcamp.
This blogging bootcamp is a no-nonsense, honest guide into everything to do to start a blog. Paul Scrivens, the owner of Obstacle (a blog about blogging, so to say!), has a lot more experience than I at starting blogs. He’s good. Really good. If you’ll click on some of my reference links, you’ll see a lot of content links to there.
So if you want a little additional assistance from a guide that I truly believe got me to where I am today, sign up for the free bootcamp.
If you want the same great advice but don’t like email subscriptions, you can also check out this guide as well.
Are you Ready to Start a Planner Blog?
I know starting a blog is scary stuff. I’ve been there. It’s extra scary when you’ve had failed attempts in the past. If you’re willing to put in the work and learn, you can find success. I hope you choose to start a planner blog!
I’m ready to help you in whatever way I can. Need an idea? Have a question? Did you start a planner blog and want to show me? Reach out to me on my Contact Me form.
PS- Do you want to start a blog, but not necessarily a planner blog? In the mean time, check out Obstacle for more blog posts and information on how to start a blog. I am currently working on a guide to fit this need.
PPS- Did you already start a planner blog? Or any other kind of blog, really. Are you ready to take it up a notch? Contact me here and I can tell you all about the tools I use that have lead to my success. Also currently working on a guide to fit this need.
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