Bloggers need to accomplish projects from time to time. The problem is most of us just dive in with little thought to the process and an unclear understanding of what we’ll be doing. A project is a series of tasks that has a start date, an end date, and which produces a unique output. I’ve taught project management for several years, now. Although much of project management is overkill for a small blog, we can borrow quite a bit from it to help us tackle some of the bigger objectives we need to accomplish. Writing posts and responding to comments isn’t a project, it’s everyday work on a blog. But starting a new blog or designing a new WordPress theme is a project. Switching from Blogger to WordPress is a project.
Projects are generally divided into four phases or stages:
Let’s describe each stage briefly and what happens in it.
The initiation stage is the conceptual stage. This is where we figure out the most basic, important aspects of our project, such as its purpose and objectives. For a blogger wanting to start a blog or take an existing blog to the next level, the initiation phase might consist of the following:
For a blogger, it’s usually enough to just sit down and write these things out in a word processor or Google Docs.
Planning your project consists of figuring out:
In large projects involving hundreds of people and tasks over several months, we use fancy-schmancy project management software that uses Gantt charts and which tracks task dependencies and the critical path. But for blog projects, we need to operate at a smaller scale. Personally, I use Remember the Milk. It has just enough features without being bloated for managing task lists. One thing I like about it in particular is that it works with Google Calendar. There are plenty of similar task management tools on the web or in desktop software.
For tracking costs and spending, if necessary (usually it’s not), I use Google Docs and make a spreadsheet to list costs. I make a list of my resources in Google Docs, dividing them between what I have and what I need to get. I need to make sure I acquire the correct resources before they’re needed during the project. For blog projects, resources can be anything from a designer you’re hiring to software and plugins or domains and hosting.
Once our plan has been made, then we execute on it. We complete the tasks and check them off the list. For blog projects, we don’t need to keep track of much, but some things you want to note are:
If other people are involved in your blog project, you need to keep communications open, frequent, transparent, and non-accusatory (tempers can rise under stress so stay cool).
The fourth stage is about wrapping everything up and making sure you haven’t forgotten anything. For blog projects, this often involves testing things to make sure they’re going to work. It could also include getting involved with other people in a pre-launch marketing effort. Other blog project close-out possibilities might include:
One thing you want to do after every project is jot down some notes for yourself about lessons learned so you can do better next time you’re trying to accomplish something similar.
Michael Martine has been involved in web design and internet marketing since the late 90's. He is a blog coach and consultant at Remarkablogger. He lives in beautiful Vermont, U.S.A., with his wife, step-daughter, and grandchild.