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Do You Have Blog Goals?

Reader QuestionsStuart asks – ‘I would love to know what type of goals you set yourself in terms of future earnings, readership, subscribers, commenters and even SEO growth. Mainly because I’m just really nosey but also because I like to know how the BIG boys play the game.’

Hi Stuart – good question and one I’ve not really written about for a while now. It’s time for a bit of an update on it because my goal setting practices here have changed somewhat.

In my early days of moving towards ‘going Pro’ (or full time) as a blogger I used to set a lot more goals than I currently do for my blogs.

When my wife and I decided to give blogging for an income a go we set me a six month deadline to be earning enough income to justify the time I was putting into my blogging (at this stage I’d already been blogging part time as a hobby for a year or so). At this time I set myself some goals in these areas:

  • posting frequency – it was in this time that I set myself the goal of posting 20 times a day (less on weekends). I was working on almost 20 blogs at the time so 20 was the minimum number of posts that I wanted to write – some days I’d do up to 40.
  • ptraffic targets – my goal for a while there was to see traffic grow by 10% per month.
  • pincome targets – similarly I aimed for 10% growth in income

I didn’t really many more specific goals than that. Of course I wanted to increase comment levels, subscriber levels and my search engine rankings – but I didn’t really put any measures on these things (in fact subscriber levels couldn’t be measured at this time as it was Pre-Feedburner Counter days).

These days I still track all of these metrics – but I don’t set myself hard and fast goals in them on the majority of my blogs. Instead, my goals are a lot more broad (ie – I want reader numbers to increase – no numbers or set targets).

There are a few main reasons why I don’t get so worked up about goals:

  1. I’m more established – By no means have I ‘made it’ as a blogger – but things are now at a level where I’m now not needing to see high levels of growth in order to survive financially. In the early days it was very much about needing to grow to justify the copious amounts of time that i blogged for :-). Most of my blogs were also in startup phases where I find setting measurable goals essential (in fact the only blog I currently have more specific goals on is DPS which is sill in it’s first year).
  2. Metrics Can be Distracting – I also got to a point after a year of blogging full time where I found that I was spending a lot of time analyzing my stats, tracking goals and getting pretty narrow in my focus (eg focussing too much on SEO). I was spending time that I could have just been blogging doing metrics stuff and the goals (and the way I reviewed them) were actually stifling my blogs.
  3. Time – I am ‘time poor’ these days and unfortunately one of the things that has slipped from my priorities has been planning and goals. While points 1 and 2 above are true – the truth is that I’d like to put more time into thinking strategically about my own blogs – however time doesn’t allow it. I’m now working full time with b5media and the blogs I do still write on (only really 2) take up quite a bit of my spare time.

Goals are Important

Having said all of that – I think goals are very important for bloggers – particularly those starting out with a new blog.

Putting aside time to think strategically, set some boundaries around topics, putting some targets out there for posting frequency, traffic and income are all useful things to do. (here’s a framework for thinking strategically about a blog’s direction)

However don’t get obsessed by your goals. The problem that I’ve seen a number of bloggers have over the last few months is that they set pretty tough goals for themselves that they were not able to achieve – and as a result of falling short they lost motivation for blogging at all.

  • Do set specific goals
  • Do make them realistic
  • Do set yourself some rewards for reaching milestones
  • Don’t punish yourself for falling short – instead readjust your next goals and keep on blogging

Do you have blogging goals? What are they? How do you set them? Do they help?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Matt Jones says:

    Interesting… I am very surprised that you used to write 20-40 posts per day! That is LOADS! Did you manage to maintain high quality throughout?

    BTW – If you havn’t ‘made it’ as a blogger I don’t know who has!

    Matt

  2. Stephanie says:

    I set posting goals as well as commenting on other blog goals. With two small children, even simple goals are hard to meet sometimes, but I generally manage adequately.

    I try not to obsess too much over stats. I keep a general eye on trends and try to figure out where the money is coming from, but like you said, too much means I lose a lot of good working time.

    My way of handling that is to do stats when I’m most likely to be interrupted. Much easier to get my train of thought back on stats than it is on a blog post.

  3. Dave says:

    Darren,
    I really appreciate your comments about metrics. I sometimes get so consumed over the daily stats that I forget that trends offer a more valuable insight. With a new blog my daily stats are so all over the place that I’m trying to set percentage goals related to the trends. Thanks for the ideas.

  4. Kaj says:

    I started out with blogging for less then a year. But a month a go I started really blogging. To try out if I can get more people to read it. And hopefully to earn something.
    My goals are to get 25 feed readers at the end of the year. And have 100 visitors a day and earn €1,00 a day. For my blog that I have right know. And I want to have set-up 4 blogs at the end of the year.

    I don’t have high expactions because my subject is technology in special needs education and not much people look for that.

  5. Mona says:

    Thanks Darren. Very helpful information. I do set goals but like you have decided not to get all work up about them. There is no sense beating yourself up over goals that could not be reached.
    I usually set more short term goals than long term. I have been working on daily goals mostly. I make a list of 5 tasks that I want to accomplish. It’s important to take the “baby step” approach because I have found that is easier than making big goals that never get accomplished. My time is limited being a home-school mom of 3 kids so I have decided my time spent away from my family needs to be very intentional.

  6. I really think it’s helpful to think of blogging goals as one woule personal-life goals.

    The best approach is to set long-term goals or objectives and then work backwards to create the stepping stone goals that will get you there.

    Of course, the best goals have deadlines.

    One of my favorite quotes is “There are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic deadlines.”

    -Jason

  7. Aaron says:

    Interesting post. My blog is only a few months old and is just starting to find its feet. I’ve just set myself a set of goals for my sites six-month birthday. I think it’s a useful way to give me focus.

  8. I agree 100% with Mindful Entrepreneur. Although I also believe in setting short-term goals, my primary focus is always on the “bigger” picture – what my desired end result to blogging is.

    In that way, I tend to stay away from small tasks that – although helpful – are also time consuming. Most of my time is spent working towards huge goals, which makes me think of huge things that I can do to get there.

    That being said, not a day goes by when I don’t check my stats. I may stay focused on the long-term objective, but I definitely track the minutiae that gets me there! :)

  9. Carolyn says:

    I agree with Mona and Mindful Entrepreneur that small, daily or short term goals, as well as long term goals are important. Since my blog is still small and young, about 4 months, I’m still learning. So, I’m still taking small steps.

    I’m concentrating on blogging every other day, if not every day on my one and only blog. Second, I try to write future posts during the weekends so that I’m not hurried and stressed during the week. I have a job where I work long hours, so writing future posts works for me. Thirdly, I’m learning little by little how to grow my blog. So, thanks Darren, for such amazing advice!

    Two, long term goals I have set myself this year is, 1) to grow my existing blog and, 2) start two more blogs. At this point, however, I’m mostly concentrating on trying to create great content on my current blog.

  10. James says:

    Goals if they are unrealistic can be a source of discouragement. I find I need to keep them short and easy.

  11. Chris M says:

    Fantastic article, absolutely fantastic!

    This has inspired me to write down some goals, stick the piece of paper next to my computer, and make sure I achieve them. Of your whole post, I think the one line which got me thinking the most was “it was in this time that I set myself the goal of posting 20 times a day”! Wonderful to hear from a professional as to what frequency we should work towards in terms of articles.

    Thanks Darren!

  12. Jonathan-C. says:

    Inspiring post Darren! Setting goals is not real hard, it’s more about if you can achieve them or not in a said timeframe and get the results that you want. Gotta be able to rethink, redesign and set your goals many times before you find the “formula” that fits you. Short term goals is the way to go. They say the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. (why would someone want to eat an elephant, that i don’t know) ;)

  13. noemi says:

    when i started my personal blog a year ago, my blog was meant to be a platform for my advocacy or mission- grief support for those who lost a child to death. So basically my goal was to be in the google keywords “grief support in the Philippines”. To achieve this goal, I needed to promote my blog and increase traffic to my site.

    I didn’t realize that my blog attained more than I imagined it to be in less than a year’s time. The success of my blog is seen today in the number of families that have found solace and support through my blog. Secondly, I didn’t realize I could turn some categories to income generating blogs (i.e. food, shopping blogs) which support the costs of my mission. Third, I got recognition by my peers and press through awards, interviews and resource speaker. Whatever else I attained from my primary goal is just “icing on the cake”

  14. Brad says:

    I have two simple goals: quality content that people want, and increasing my traffic to gain more regular readers. And I believe that if I have the good content, that will help with the other.

    But I’m also doing other stuff as well, like starting a e-newsletter for my blog, making it easy for readers to subscribe to my feed, stuff like that. Eventually I might do fun things like contests and giveaways – but right now I just want every post I write to be quality!!!

    I only blog in my spare time, so a lot of my day gets eaten up by other duties. As a result, my goals might not be as specific or even as aggressive as another bloggers. Maybe once I’m actually making decent money from my blog, I’ll start setting more aggressive goals.

    Only time will tell.

  15. RaJ says:

    Wow – How could you able to write 20 to 40 blogs. That’s amazing. Yeah I have also set goal for my site. I want to have 50 subscribers for my site. And also 1000 visitors a day with the increase of 20% of new user a month. I want to achieve this in 3 months. At present am posting 1 blog a day & I want to develop it by 3 a day. As well as I want to increase the users participation & as well as I want to increase the number of peoples request to suggest for their websites & applications. I watch technorati for my ranking & its very poor now. I want it to be atleast top 25,000 in 3 months. Now my technorati rank is around 1 million. But I don’t now how much effective technorati rank is?

    http://www.suggestusability.com
    mail: [email protected]

  16. Mike says:

    One of best things I took from this post is that your initial goals weren’t tied into a lot of different metrics or stats. I think bloggers can fall into the stat trap and become obsessed with their numbers. Numbers are good, but its just a reflection of what you should already know about how your site is doing. I really like how you included a certain level of work in your goals, as well as a dollar amount for income. Its good to be realistic about the work involved. Thanks for a great post.

  17. Security says:

    It must be a good feeling, the very moment one learns that their blog has made its debut into the Technorati Top 100

  18. Marco says:

    The most important aspect is to keep your goals achievable, don´t let them frustrate you. It´s better to truncate your big goal into smaller goals. I´ve written an article on this on my blog. Click my name.

  19. kerriella says:

    Wow 20 – 40 posts a DAY! I just started my blog and I am happy to get in 1 post a day. I am very impressed.

  20. ploop says:

    Great post and some really good comments. I think it’s easy, early on in the life of your blog, to let vanity and goals become confused. The businessman in me says – 1,000 visits a day would be simply incredible, the small chiuld in me could prefer 5 comments as personally they feel more falttering.

    That’s why this is a useful post as it help me be more pragmatic

  21. Joe says:

    20 to 40 posts per day, huh? I do about 4 posts per month. I should be a pro blogger in no time.

  22. Amanda says:

    Thank you for the ideas. This really helps blogging.

    Amanda

    http://thetimemastery.com/blog

  23. Matt Wardman says:

    I’ve been going for about a month on the current project. I’m working on non-goals:

    * Not to worry in detail at the traffic stats until the end of April.
    * Asking people *not* to link in their blogroll for a few weeks, until I have a good base of content (which I am defining as 200 decent posts for now) to keep them coming back.

    In the meantime, it’s about enjoying writing and posting a lot in the early days.

    Rgds

    Matt

  24. 40 posts on 20 blogs?!?
    I realize now that i lack self-discipline… :)

    But making a living blogging would be a dream job as i picture it, something really worth putting an effort into.

  25. JennDZ says:

    Wow, that is a lot of blogs to maintain. I have 2 right now, which is great, I think I probably have room for at least 2 more, I am not sure I will be able to get to 20-40 and be able to maintain anything worth reading.

  26. I’ve been blogging for about 2 years now, and my goal is to make about 120/day average in about 5 years.

    So far today I’ve made about half of my goal in Adsense revenue alone, so I’m getting there. SEO, dedication, and a little bit of luck have paved the way thus far.

  27. Stuart says:

    Cheers Darren for answering my question.

    I too am a metrics junkie (far, far too much time on my hands) and so it was refreshing to hear your approach to setting goals – especially setting some realistic ones.

    When I first started blogging I thought that making your income would be achievable within a year. 18 months later I’m still plodding along and enjoying some success but I still have my full-time job.

    My goals are now a little more achievable and they’re not based around an income. Readership, subscribers, comments, SEO and links are what I try and work towards now because I’ve realised that if I do these things well, the income will follow.

    Thanks again.

  28. Hi Darren,
    I only started my blog late last year and I am still finding it hard to write on a daily basis. Gee 20 to 40 post that is amazing. I wish i could do even half of that. . . .

    My present goal is to study how I could promote my blog and write more to build my content, SEO.
    Your post are very helpful and I have been reading your archives. Thank you very much for sharing.

    MM

  29. Cat Laine says:

    Traffic goals: 10,000 visitors (to our overall site) by August (we’re at 6K now). 25K by the end of the year, early 2008.
    Comment goals: average 1-2 comments each post by early 2008. Need to shift writing style a bit to invite more comments from readers.
    Comments on other sites: 1/day.

  30. Raj says:

    What is our agenda?

    To show the world what Christians, Buddhists, Africans, Americans, Indians, Chiense, Arabs, Muslims, Hindus and others are doing rather than what their books say.

    We need to make slight changes to high level agreements as a result. It is part of the evolutionay process. It is like biofeedback. It’s the wash. It’s Programming.

  31. David says:

    Great article. Surprisingly many people don’t bother to think about their goals, let alone write them down or keep track of them.

    ThinkSayAct.com is a brand new website that gives you a place to set goals and share them with other members in a community. It also as help info and articles all about setting and achieving goals. Check it out if you want a positive environment in which you can share and discuss your goals.

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