Setting Goals For Your Blog

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Do you want to get more traffic to your blog? Do you want to increase revenue? If so, then setting goals for your blog could help.

I believe that with goals, your blog can go from a hobby to a successful resource for others and, if you want, even a steady income for your family.

As a blogger though, rather than resolutions, I want to set myself goals for 2015. I’m the kind of guy who is rarely satisfied and is always looking to improve what I do. Therefore, I’m setting myself some pretty vigorous and ambitious goals for the coming year. No matter what your aim is for your blog, whether it’s to make money or simply document your memories, goals can help keep you focused on that aim.

Setting goals for your blog

I believe there’s a lot of power in goal setting. It’s certainly the case with me, as it keeps me from wandering and ultimately wasting time that I could be spending with my family. A goal that you’re aiming at, can give everything you do purpose and drive. Each post you write, each picture you take and each tweet you twit(?) (or is it twit you tweet?) will be held in perspective of that goal that you’ve set, thus preventing any wasted time.

Goals focus me as a blogger and let’s face it, we all need focusing more than we like to admit.

Not being an expert means that all I can draw on is my own experience of doing this and as a result of some research that has really helped me, I thought I’d accumulate my findings and share them with you in case they might help you out too. Here’s the top 6 things I found to be really useful.

Download your free goal setting template here

Start With the End in Mind

#1 Start with the end in mind; I created a vision for the year. This overriding vision/goal will act as an umbrella for everything I do. I made it fairly general so that I can add smaller, more specific goals to it. For example:
“To turn the blog into a part time job or even a full time job.” Or “Become the UK’s top ranked fashion blog.” For me, I call this my primary goal.

I wasn’t afraid to be ambitious with this. I’m sure that neither Lord Sugar or Donald Trump are shy about setting business goals for the year; so why should I?!

This first step did need some careful thought though. I gave myself time to think about where I want my blog to be in a years time. I analysed my current situation by exploring (and deciphering) Google Analytics, which helped me understand what has been working and why and then I used this to inform my goal making decisions. If my goal is to increase people commenting on each blog post, I should find out how many people already comment and this will give me a ball park to work with.

photo 1

Secondary Goals

#2 Once I decided on my primary goal, I worked out what steps I wanted/needed to take in order to reach that goal. I’m calling these secondary goals, which I find helpful. I guess some others might call them ‘short term goals.’
If I take the ‘part time job’ primary goal for an example, I might need to do the following:
– Build my social media following on Twitter, Facebook, Facebook groups, Pinterest, Instagram to name a few.
– Put together a media pack.
– Consider which revenue streams I want to pursue and put those down as a goal: affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, product reviews, freelance writing, selling a product.
– Begin collecting email addresses and set up a newsletter.
– Create a content timetable.
– Seek out guest posts.
– Sell advertising space
– Networking with other blogs within the same field.

It’s these smaller goals that are what I will focus on from day to day, ultimately contributing to my primary ambition. These secondary goals will (hopefully) maintain my focus and channel my efforts towards where I want to end up.

 

I Need Smart Goals

#3 I set S.M.A.R.T goals. This is not a brand new theory… in fact, it’s fairly common ground for most businesses to use, but in case you haven’t heard about it before, here’s a brief explanation:

S – Specific: Make sure the goals are specific. I think this is especially important for setting secondary goals. There’s no room for fluff. Instead of, “I want to release a product to sell,” be more specific: “I want to release an eBook documenting my first year as a dad containing 300 pages.”

M – Measurable: Set parameters to work to. E.g. “I will write 1 chapter a week.”

A – Attainable: There’s no point in setting goals that are unrealistic, but at the same time, you want to still challenge yourself. Unfortunately, no-one can do this for you. You know yourself, so set yourself realistic, challenging goals.

R – Relevant: Is this goal relevant to what you are trying to achieve? If not, why is it a goal? Think about why you have included this goal. “Writing an eBook will help establish myself as an expert within my field.” (Maybe…)

T – Timed: Set yourself a deadline. “I will have written and published my eBook by 1st March 2015 and have it ready for download.”

When setting goals for your blog, all your goals, whether primary, secondary or any other micro levels, need to be S.M.A.R.T goals.

 

Don’t Cap Yourself

#4 This was an interesting thing to think about. By using numbers, it can be very easy to limit oneself without even knowing it. If my goal is to increase my twitter following to 2,000 in 6 months, what happens if I reach that goal in month 1? I’m kind of stuck! I’ve limited myself to reaching 2,000: it’s static. What I’m planning on doing is setting myself the goal of a percentage per month. I want to increase my twitter following by 10% per month. That way, I’m not capping myself to a static figure that I may or may not reach. 10% of my following is constantly moving and growing. It’s like setting yourself the goal of a growth rate rather than a fixed number. I think this theory can be applied across the board: Facebook, comments, traffic, mailing list…

 

Turn Goals Into Systems

#5 The simple difference between goals and systems is the question, ‘how.’ How will I achieve my goals. Here’s some examples:

Goal: To get to London. System: To get on the 10:41 train from Hastings.

Goal: To write an eBook. System: Set yourself a writing schedule.

Goal: Increase Traffic. System: Submit 1 guest post each week.

Goal: Put together a media pack. System: Find 3 examples and merge them together to form your own with your own stats.

What I love most about identifying systems is that they are far more manageable and practical. The beauty of these systems is that, even if you ignored your primary goal and focused wholly on your systems, you’d still achieve your primary goal in the end anyway.

Whilst my goals are vital, it’s these systems that are the real engine room for achieving them. I will be working on my systems in order to reach my goals.

Download your free goal setting template here

Stay Accountable

#6 Finally, and one of the most important aspects to this process, that I am taking seriously, is staying accountable to my goals. There’s no point in spending time setting goals for my blog to work to and deadlines to stick if I’m not going to bother with them.

It’s in this accountability that I will also evaluate what I have achieved and not yet achieved and why. I’m going to spend a good amount of time looking at this and then creating a list of priorities in order to complete what still needs to be done. This process doesn’t need to take place at the end of my overall deadline. I’m aiming to set time aside each month to look at my goals and see what’s going well and plug the gaps that still need addressing.

 

Some Hints & Tips…

# Take a look at this template I created to help with this process. It’s not ground breaking but it is a helpful visual aid and great to pin above your desk to refer to constantly and keep you focused. (I am). Download it here

# If you’re stuck, finish these sentences to get you started:

I will write _______ post(s) a week resulting in ______ a month.

I will comment on ______ blogposts a week resulting in ______ a month.

I will make contact with ______ new people’s social media’s a week resulting in ______ a month.

I will seek out _____ guest posts a month resulting in ______ a year.

 

As I said at the start, this process and these principles have really helped me in setting goals for my blog, so I hope you have found something that resonates with you and your blog. Happy goal setting!

 

Why don’t you leave a comment with your goals?

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62 Comments

  1. As always great post! Sounds like you’ve got a plan. Completely get what you’re saying, especially with the caping part, as long as you are aware of the difference between caping and goal setting then it should be great!

  2. Great Tips Al! I have already found a couple i can implement. I love your “unfinished sentences”. There are some of us who have no idea where to even start, and those at least help get the feet moving a little bit! Looking forward to 2015!

  3. This is awesome… You have put a lot of time and effort into this and I am grateful you have shared this. A lot of great tips and insight here.

    Thank you!

  4. SMART goals! THATS my problem, I’ve been working with DUMB goals!
    Seriously though, great post. I’ll definitely be adopting these for my writing goals this year!

    • Ah! Thank you. A lot of work went into it, so I’m pleased you find it useful. Let us know how you get on with your goal setting!

  5. Great post, thanks for sharing, it really helps give focus as I’m just starting out!

    Which social network gives you the best traffic? Over only bothered with twitter so far, not sure if the others would be worth the effort!

  6. What a fantastic post!! Thanks so much for sharing! Although I’ve been writing my blog for 2 years, it’s only very recently that I’ve decided to try and grow it.

    I’ve just gone self-hosted this year and redesigned my blog, but really need to install Google analytics and get my head around the stats. I’ve no idea if anyone else is even reading it to be honest!! I’ve been writing it for my babies since it began so readership has been irrelevant up until now!! I’ll be making a note of your guide and following your lead!!

  7. I’ve seen your posts about this I Twitter, but finally took the time to read it. I’m glad I did and will DEFINITELY be using this as a resource this year. Thank you for sharing what’s worked for you. I needed this.

    • No not at all! Blogs are so personal, some want to earn money and some just want to write. Some want to do both!

  8. Hi Al, yes I agree wholeheartedly about setting a year goal – I’ve definitely spent the last few years butterflying from one business aspect or task to the other, always working hard but never really reaching my goal … because I didn’t really have one set in stone in the first place! Happy February and here’s to moving forward with purpose:)

  9. The Comeback Mum on

    Thank you for such an inspirational post! I’m new to blogging and this is just what I needed to read. The blogging world seems so daunting and it is my ultimate goal to make this my full time job. This post has given me a clearer view on how to reach my goals. Thanks!

  10. My new years resolution was to start a blog. I did it. My only other goal though was to post once a week. I’ve done that for the first 8 weeks of the year. Just getting started. This post has helped me in multiple ways. Gave me some good ideas for more goals this year. Good job Al. Thank you as always.

  11. My main blogging resolution was to start my own .com and I did that :) My main things I need to work on with my blog though is to stop spending so much time going around in circles! I think I need to bite the bullet and get a professional in to tweak things, as although I have done well so far with it all, one little tweak from me takes hours of research and lots of experimenting, whereas a professional would probably get all my tweaks done in 10 minutes lol! #BigFatLinky

  12. Such good advice on how to go about setting and achieving goals here and I particularly like the point about not making the goals static too. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Very useful, thankyou.
    I would love to grow and for this to become something, even if it turns into a part time job. Do i keep ploding on as i am with posts and growing my social media and if it becomes something it does or do you have to really put yourself out there?
    Some times it seems its the unspoken of on how people have made their blog into a job x #bigfatlinky

  14. Great tips. My challenge is always to try and fit blogging successfully around working full time and looking after kids. I think, for now at least, my goals will stay fairly small scale! I will definitely come back and re-read this post to remind myself of the kind of small steps I should be trying to take. Thanks for posting.

  15. Excellent post, I’ve only recently started setting myself goals and found it is a brilliant way to achieve what I want, only setting small targets at the moment, but I think I’ll start to set bigger and more long term goals from now.

  16. Such a helpful post ,as always! My goals are:

    Goal 1; work out google analytics
    Goal 2; buy a diary to get organised with links and what has been linked where and content post
    Goal 3; er have the baby that I’m expecting in a few weeks eeeeeek!

  17. Great post! As a noobie its just the sort of thing I need to see. I’ve spent the last six months just building a back catalogue. This next six months my goals are to get some major networking done, and create a website.

  18. It’s my dream to turn my blog in to more than just a hobby, so maybe one day I can stay home with my little man and not have to go to work anymore. This post was exactly what I needed to read to get me inspired and motivated! Brilliant post! :)

  19. How can I not leave a comment after reading that :) …Even if it’s April already!
    It’s NEVER a bad time to set goals & get focussed!
    GREAT post. You’ve done a fantastic job of pulling it all together & your examples bring it all to life. I’ve never had a term for the ‘systems’ bit before :)
    – Love it!
    SO, how’s it going?

  20. This is really helpful but I also feel a little intimidated. I feel I have so much to do and understand. I’m too scared to instal google analytical which is just silly. Ok I’m doing that tomorrow!

    • Don’t feel intimidated – blogging is like a circle, there’s no end to what you can do and what you need to do. It’s an endless to do list! Google analytics is good too, have you seen our 5 minute, step by step guide?

  21. Thank you for the tips. I’ve discovered just how easy it is to lose your way.

    Time has been my downfall and I’ve always worked with the attitude “need to get this done” rather than “I’ve got a two-hour window, I’m going to do…”.

    My youngest started school on Monday and already I’ve managed more in three days than I do in a week. I shall be using your template to put together my own action plan.

    Many thanks for sharing.

  22. Such a helpful post. Definitely what I needed to read at the start of the year. Thanks for resharing Al. Here’s to 2017, I’m off to set some goals!

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