Most people make News Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more (running for the elevator counts, right?) and spend less time on Facebook (I’m sorry, what? Why?). But for bloggers, it’s a wonderful opportunity to grab the reins and take control of their blogs. The best way to start fresh is to set some goals for your blog.
New Year’s really is a great time to sit down and make new, concrete plans for your blog. It’s the perfect chance to reflect on the last year and start fresh with plans and goals to whip your blog into shape and grow it like crazy gangbusters.
Setting goals, tracking them and following through with them is the best way to make real changes to your blog. Without goals how do you even know where your blog is headed?
Before you can set real, substantial goals, make sure you understand your Blog Purpose and General Goals. Check out this post (with worksheet!) that delves into finding your blog purpose.
Knowing your Purpose and General Goals will help keep your blog on track so you can grow in the right direction.
So, you know your blog purpose. Where do you go from there? How do you figure out what goals to set?
Well, let’s look at a real life example. This blog, of course.
Setting Meaningful Goals
In my post How to Find Your Blog Purpose & Goals, I revealed my 4 general goals for this blog. These are really broad goals that could be achieved in a number of ways. To rehash, they are:
1. Generate more traffic to our shop and thereby generate more sales of our blog themes
2. Create community with our customers in order to build brand loyalty
3. Have fun blogging about topics important to our customers that can help them grow their blogs
4. Create a new income stream using info products like e-courses and e-books
These are broad goals because they can be achieved in a number of ways. Google “increase blog traffic” and you will find more than 5 million search results. And they have titles like 21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic.
I don’t know about you, but 21 seems like a lot of different things to try to get more blog visitors. And there are thousands of more suggestions out there. Way more ways than I have time to try. Plus I have 3 other goals to work on as well!
It almost makes you want to throw up your hands and give up.
I think this is where most people go off the rails when it comes to completing their goals. It’s easy to say, “I’m going to get more traffic for my blog”. It’s much more difficult to figure out the exact steps to take to accomplish your goals.
But that’s the most important part, figuring out the little steps or mini-goals that will make the giant, general goal a reality.
First, let’s talk about what kind of goals you should set.
Set S.M.A.R.T Goals
S.M.A.R.T. goals are goals that are:
Specific – Your goals should be well-defined.
A more specific version of my general “get more blog traffic” goal would be to say “I’m going to grow my blog traffic by 200% this year.”
Or let’s get even more specific and address a certain traffic indicator like “I’m going to increase my unique visitors by 250% this year.”
Measurable – It’s hard to know when you’ve achieved your goal if you can’t measure it.
With blog traffic, there are various measurements like Unique Visitors, Page Views and more. Make sure your goal has a parameter that can be tracked.
Achievable – Is your goal possible?
I would love to reach a goal of “I will make $1,000,000 from my blog this year.” That would be super awesome fantastico! But not so realistic when my blog’s starting at earning $0 so far.
Set reasonable goals like “I want to make $500 per month from my blog by the end of the year” or “I want to increase my blog income by 150% per month by the end of the year”.
Realistic/Relevant – Can you achieve your goals? Do you have the time, knowledge and resources to reach your goals? And is each goal relevant to your General Blog Goals as well?
Timely – Make sure you have enough time to reach your goals and also set a deadline.
This is a careful balancing act. Give yourself enough time to achieve your goal without too much pressure or unreasonable expectations. But have a timeline. Goals without an endpoint just don’t work.
By setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, you’ll have realistic goals that you can achieve.
Making a New Year’s Resolution is easy. We all know it’s much harder to carry through. Only 9.2% of people who make a New Year’s Resolution feel they were successful in achieving their resolution.
Tracking your goals on paper (or digitally) is the BEST way to kept on target and Get. It. Done.
After you’ve set a S.M.A.R.T. goal, create a system for tracking your progress.
My Blog Planner includes some great goal tracking sheets including yearly and monthly goal planners, individual goal tracking sheets and analytics tracking sheets so you can actually see how your efforts are helping your blog grow.
At the least, set 3 yearly goals you want to accomplish. Then set up individual monthly goals that will help you complete your annual goals.
Breaking goals down into little, bite-sized steps is the best way to Get. It. Done.
If you don’t have a tracker to use (but hey, you can grab my free goal tracker at the end of this post!), take a piece of paper. At the top, write down your S.M.A.R.T goal.
Under your main goal, write down the individual steps needed to complete your goal.
For example, if I want to increase my blog traffic, my steps could be:
1. Improve blog SEO by implementing SEO strategies on every post, page, and product on the website.
2. Use Automated social media marketing tools like Tailwind to implement a Pinterest social media campaign to improve my social media efforts.
3. Start using Instagram to promote the website.
4. Etc. etc. etc.
Check off each step as you complete it. This is my favorite part! I love it when I get to mark that checkbox that says I Got. It. Done.
Tracking the steps you’re taking to achieve your goals will keep you on track and motivated.
Ways to Track Your Progress
If your goal is S.M.A.R.T., you’ll be able to measure your progress by tracking real changes in your blog.
Analytics are a great way to track growth. Make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your site and get friendly with terms like Unique Visitors, Page Views, Pages per Session and Bounce Rate.
I have my Google Analytics connected directly to my WordPress Dashboard via a plugin so I can check out all my stats where I spend tons of time already.
Psst, My Blog Planner also has some handy-dandy analytics tracking sheets, both yearly and monthly sheets included.
You don’t need to obsess over your numbers on a daily basis. Traffic can have funny short-term patterns. Therefore, it’s better to look at your traffic on a monthly basis to see what efforts are having the most effect.
Adjust Your Goals
Be willing to be flexible when it comes to your goals. Despite your best efforts, your goal may just not be attainable. Or maybe you blog right past your yearly traffic targets by mid-May.
Therefore, be willing to stop and rethink your goals. Reassess your efforts and pick new targets.
Most of all, don’t get discouraged if you don’t reach your goals the first try. Step back. Look at the progress you did make and decide what efforts had the most effect. Scrap any methods that were a waste of time. Refocus and Get. It. Done.
Building a Strong Framework for your Blogging
Setting goals are one part of building a strong foundation for your blog. Defining your Purpose and Goals as well as Finding Your Niche will also help you grow your blog so much more easily.
I’ve really debated what topics to tackle next in my blog. I really want to tackle content creation because your content is THE cornerstone and keystone (both!) of your blog. It’s that important.
But it’s hard to create content if you don’t have someplace to post your work, right? So, before I dig into content tips, we’re going to take a piece by piece look at the elements that create a great blog design.
We’re literally going to dissect each element of a great blog design (menu, home page layout, post layout, sidebar, footer, about page designs and more!) so that you DIYers out there have a great resource for building your blog.
Coming soon to a blog near you…how to create and use your blog style guide! (‘Cause everybody likes a little pretty, right?)
Time for the Freebie
I’ve whipped up a special version of my favorite Goal Tracker for you guys, the Individual Goal Tracker. This tracker helps you break your goal into steps and monitor your progress until you get to the finish line.
Sign up for our newsletter to get membership to our Resource Library. You’ll be able to instantly download the Goal Tracker plus you’ll get access to all our blogging tools in the Blogging Resource Library.
If you’re already a subscriber, hop over and grab your copy now!