Back in 2004, when I launched my counter-culture blog, I had some big dreams. But I had no way to make them a reality because I didn’t know the importance of setting blogging goals.
This blog post will save you from the same years of struggle I experienced, wandering through the blogging wilderness with no clear direction in sight.
How do you set goals for blogging?
Blogging is a rewarding, challenging journey that will take you from your computer to all kinds of social media forums, networking events, and places in the real world. It’s like having kids! First, of course, you want to set goals for the next year or so… or even longer-term (if you can), but it takes some planning.
Blogging is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.
Remember that goals should be achievable and are often relative to the person setting them.
If you’re a new blogger… or thinking about starting one, then here are some ideas for your blogging goals:
1. Decide your post quantity
A post quantity goal would be X number of posts in a month. I recommend at least one per week, but more if you can.
But it will get easier as you go and be more than worth it in the end.
2. Post quality
Take some time to read over your recent posts and write about how to improve the quality of posts. Don’t worry about the numbers yet… we’ll cover that soon.
3. Read and engage with other blogs
This is huge.
Read at least one post per day from a blog you haven’t read before. And comment on their posts if possible. Supporting other bloggers is a great way to get more readers for your own blog.
4. Revise goals every few months
After a few months of blogging, you should have a better idea of what you want to do and how you’ll achieve it. So revise your goals if necessary, but at least revisit them once in a while.
Set Multiple Goals
If you want to blog seriously, then you will have multiple blogging goals. You need traffic, subscribers, and income.
When I started my first blog in 2004 (yes, that long ago), it was set up as a hobby site that I hoped would eventually replace my real job. But I didn’t set any targets or goals for myself, so that meant I didn’t have any clear direction.
And as a result, I struggled for longer than I should have.
It sounds simple now, but I wish someone had told me that you would need to set traffic goals and create content on a schedule for your blog if you want to have more traffic. Also, if you want more subscribers, you will need a system to keep track of where they come from and how they find you.
And if you want to earn money, you need a realistic plan of how much and when.
Set your publishing schedule
Publishing posts to a regular schedule is essential. The more you’re consistent and the more often you publish, the better your blog will perform in search engines, social media sites, and other traffic sources.
I’m not going to lie – blogging does take time. But it’s a worthwhile investment for those who are serious about what they do.
So if you want to be successful on the internet, then remember these things: Set realistic goals, work towards them gradually but consistently, and never give up.
Creating your content calendar
Creating a content calendar for the next few months is a good way to start working towards your goals and revising them later on.
Now consider what kind of content you want to create:
Do you do interviews? If so, how many per month?
Do you want to cover certain topics more than others?
Will you be writing short or long posts for your blog?
How many photos do you like to use in each post?
What day of the week works best for posting, and what time of day is most convenient for publishing the post and doing other tasks related to it, such as editing?
These are just some ideas.
The rest depends on your own blogging preferences and interests. As long as they’re related to your niche, then it’s fine.
Also, factor in time for sharing your posts on social media.
This is important for getting more readers and, most importantly, traffic to your blog.
Set your traffic goals
Traffic is the lifeblood of your blog.
No one will see your work without it, and you’ll have a hard time making money from your blog. Plus, if you’re blogging as a business, more traffic means more potential customers, sales, leads, and opportunities.
So how much do you need?
Obviously, the more, the better. But you can turn a blog into a business with a relatively low amount of traffic if you’re attracting a highly targeted audience.
Some of my students have managed to go full-time with their blog, with around 50 visitors a day.
Others had built up to 100,000 visitors per month before they left their day job.
What’s right for you will depend on your niche, monetization methods, and many other variables.
So if you’re just starting on your blog, there’s no reason why you can’t make this work.
But try not to get discouraged if you don’t see huge numbers right away; it doesn’t happen overnight for many bloggers. Stick with it, and eventually, those traffic goals will come into reach.
Set your subscriber goals
Having loyal readers who follow your blog isn’t always possible in every niche. But if you create content that they find useful, then there’s a good chance they’ll want to read your blog regularly and even share it with their friends.
That’s why setting subscriber goals is important; you’re planning in advance what kind of readers you’d like to have on your blog and how you want them to interact with you once they get there.
So how many subscribers do you need?
That, again, depends on various factors.
For example, if your target audience is small but very targeted, then you might only need 1000 people who really love your content.
But if that same niche has a larger potential market, then 10,000 or even 100,000 would be more realistic.
Set your income goals
But as a general guide, most bloggers look to the “1000 True Fans” principle.
Kevin Kelly first introduced the “1000 True Fans” principle.
In short, you only need 1000 true fans in order to succeed in business. So what makes a true fan? It’s someone who is loyal to you and your work. They will buy everything you produce and actively promote it for you (free advertising).
Don’t let these seemingly high numbers discourage you.
You don’t need 1000 people to be reading every single post on your blog. Instead, you want readers who consistently come back to read what’s new; those are the true fans of your blog.
And if just 10% of them support your blog monetarily, then there’s a good chance that you can make blogging into a full-time business.
Whether or not this is possible in your niche depends on many factors, and it might take years before achieving this number becomes realistic. But set yourself up for success by starting off with realistic goals instead of expecting quick results.
Your first-month blogging goals
Now that you know how to set blogging goals for the future, it’s time to put them into action.
You should now understand what your blog can become over time and how you want it to grow in the future.
But none of these big-picture goals will matter if you don’t take action right away.
So while it’s nice to set up an editorial calendar with all your goals, dreams, and ideas for the next six months or even a year… … some tasks simply need to be done every day, week, and month without fail, no matter what else is going on in your life.
These tasks often involve growing traffic, so they should not be neglected just because there’s something more “exciting” to do.
These smaller goals can make a big difference over time, so don’t let them fall down the list of things to do when you’re feeling lazy or busy.
Successful bloggers know that these are the tasks that will get them to where they want to be, and they set aside time each day to work on these goals no matter what else is happening in their lives.
So set up recurring reminders in your calendar/reminders app like “Blog Post Ideas”, “New Blog Post Topic Brainstorming”, and “Link Building”.
Make sure there’s at least one reminder for each month and include whatever it is you need to take action on every single day/week/month. These reminders will help you to get the work done, and they’ll help put your blog on a sustainable growth path.
This is how you turn to blog into a more serious endeavor as opposed to just having an online journal where you write whenever there’s time or inspiration. And this is also why it’s important to set goals for yourself; without these reminders, goal setting becomes too easy to ignore.
Don’t let that happen.
Goals are only useful if they’re written down somewhere where they can be referenced regularly throughout the day/week/month.
If you have them written down in your planner, then it will be easier for you to see at a glance whether or not you’re working toward what you want and need.
Your first quarter blogging goals
By the end of your first 90 days, you should be receiving blog traffic, even if it’s not at a high level.
This will be mainly due to search engines like Google indexing and ranking your content.
So given that you have your monthly goals set, here are the quarterly goals to get started on right away:
Get more traffic and subscribers.
You have to grow your blog traffic over time in order to show that there’s an audience for what you write about.
Grow it quickly enough, and you might even get some brand sponsorships deals, product reviews opportunities, or other paid opportunities to help bring in revenue.
So how do you set up goals for driving traffic? You can start out with the following quarterly goals:
Follow your blog’s analytics and see where most of your organic traffic comes from.
Make a note of the keywords that bring in most visitors, then go through your list of topics you plan to write about in the next quarter.
Ask yourself which keywords will work well for each topic and include those keywords in every post you write (while not alienating a non-niche audience).
Research ways to make content more interesting with Google search by making it longer or more detailed or just plain better somehow than what people currently find when they search for these terms and phrases — this is called “optimizing” content for Google searches.
Now is the time to start an outreach program; offer to write guest blog posts on other people’s websites.
You should also begin testing various affiliate offers or products to your email subscribers to find out which ones convert into sales.
Your first year blogging goals
By the end of your first year, you should have at least 52 pieces of high-quality content indexed in Google and ranking for semi-competitive keyphrases.
You should also see your blog’s traffic increase considerably since you started, and you should have several guest posts accepted on high-quality sites.
Since you’ve been testing various affiliate offers, you should now know which ones convert into sales.
While you might not be ready to full-time with your blog yet, you should be able to see that it will become an option for you in the not too distant future if you continue.
When to set goals
There’s never a wrong time to set goals; you can do it at any time during the year and then revisit them regularly (monthly is most common). But either way, make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success. It doesn’t matter what your goals are if they aren’t achievable or within reach.
That’s why it’s so important to know where you’re starting off from and how much traffic, subscribers, etc., you currently have on your blog.
You can use this knowledge to plan out how long it will take before hitting these numbers so that when it happens, you’ll be prepared with more content and other content marketing strategies in place to help build your blog even further.
But don’t feel discouraged if goals take longer than expected to achieve; just keep working towards them and try not to focus on failure or disappointment. Try using a reward system instead; set milestones throughout the year and once each milestone is achieved, then give yourself a small treat (or something bigger if you can afford it).
This way, even though you didn’t reach your original goal, you’ll still be encouraging further growth through positive reinforcement.
Goal setting works because it makes you think about what’s important for your blog in advance: it helps clarify your goals and gives you a direction to grow in.