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.
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.
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.
#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.
#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?