As a new blogger, one of the worst things you can do is not have a plan. If you’re just winging it, with no goal in mind, you’re just setting your blog (and yourself) up for failure.
Trust me, I know. When I first started blogging, I had no clue what I was doing, what I wanted out of my blog, or how to grow it. It was ridiculously hectic and stressful, but I quickly learned that setting goals was a necessity to organize my business plan.
So, I started setting goals for myself. Once I had direction and knew what I wanted from my blog, my traffic increased tenfold, I gained Pinterest followers like crazy, and I started earning money from my blog.
Guess what? You can do this, too! If you’re feeling lost, or like you’re not really gaining traction with your blog, it’s time to set some goals for your business! Here’s exactly how you can set up goals that will drive your blog forward.
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Why did you start a blog?
Before you set ANY goals, be sure to figure out why you started blogging in the first place. Do you want to make money from blogging? Maybe you want to help people accomplish something? Or do you just like having a place to vent your thoughts?
Perhaps you started a blog because of all of these things. Whatever your reason is, you need to make sure your smaller goals align with your bigger goals.
Let’s say your major goal is to earn an income from your blog that you can live off of. That means your smaller, month-to-month goals should in some way affect this and work towards that goal.
That doesn’t mean every goal has to be money-related. Your smaller goals could be not only growing your income, but also growing your blog’s traffic, which will also grow your income because you’re reaching more people.
Here are some areas of focus that you may want to consider when thinking of goals for your blog:
- Mailing List
- Blog Traffic
- Social Media
- Affiliate Income
- Sponsored Post
- Blog Branding
These are just some general ideas to get you started. Think about your major goals (why you’re blogging in the first place) and then incorporate some of these areas of focus in your smaller, monthly goals.
Set Achievable Goals
Guys, this is so important. If you set goals that are basically impossible, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. It can be very discouraging to set all these big goals and not really get anywhere with them.
Sometimes, this can be why someone stops blogging, because they feel like it’s just not working out because they’re not crushing their goals. But maybe you’re just not setting achievable goals.
So how do you know if a goal is achievable?
Well, for starters you’ve gotta be realistic. To say, ‘I want to make a million dollars from my blog this year’ is nice (and possible, if you’re Michelle from Making Sense of Cents) but for most, it takes years to achieve that kind of success.
So, maybe a more realistic goal would be, ‘I want to make my first affiliate sale this month.’ This is much more doable and realistic, especially if you’re a new blogger. Plus, it still lines up with the major goal, which in this case is to make money from your blog.
(By the way, if this really is a goal for you, I totally suggest reading House of Brazen’s e-book, How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours! It’s simple, straightforward, and best of all, cheap! Total game-changer!)
The key to great goal-setting is to take baby steps and understand that it takes time to achieve the success you want.
And hey, if something’s not working, change it. Don’t feel like you have to do what everyone else is doing just because they’ve had success with something.
A good example of this is Tailwind. It’s this amazing tool for bloggers that schedules pins from Pinterest for you to increase your reach, Pinterest followers, and ultimately blog traffic.
I use Tailwind religiously, and stand by it, but I completely disagree with those who say the ‘perfect amount’ of pins that you should pin each day is 40-50. I actually tried that for a while, and my engagement, follower count, and virality score all went down pretty fast. So, I changed from 40 pins a day to 20, and voilà! Everything went back up and I gained more followers much quicker.
(Want to try Tailwind out for free? Use my link and get 100 free pins!)
My point is, every blog’s audience is different and you know your audience best. What works for some bloggers may not work for you and your audience, so don’t be afraid to change it up and find what works best for you.
Set a deadline
Once you’ve got an idea of what goals you should be setting, you’ll want to set a deadline. Giving yourself a deadline helps keep yourself accountable and on-track.
Let’s say my goal is to gain 30 Pinterest followers every day. Typically, I see around 20-25 new followers every day, so this is pretty reasonable. Giving myself a deadline helps motivate me to work harder for this goal, and work to figure out exactly how I can up my Pinterest game.
Tailwind is definitely a game-changer for this goal, but I can also display my Pinterest boards along my blog’s sidebar (which I already do!) and add a CTA (call-to-action) at the bottom of my posts, asking my readers to give me a follow!
There are tons of ways I can achieve this goal, but having that deadline kicks my butt in gear and motivates me to get it done quicker. Your goals should be what drives your blog and motivates you to keep growing your business. If you’ve got a deadline, you’re forcing yourself to take actionable steps in achieving your goals and therefore grow your blog.
How are you going to do it?
Okay, so we know what we want for our blog, and we know when we want it done, but how are we going to get there?
This is probably the hardest part of this whole process. You’ve got to take a look at your goals and ask yourself, How can I get this done?
If you’re unsure of how to achieve a goal, I’ve found the best way to find inspiration is from those who’ve paved the way before you. There are tons of income reports, tutorials, case studies, etc. online from other bloggers who have shared their extensive trial-and-error processes in order to help you figure out what worked and didn’t work for them.
Like I said a minute ago, every blog is different, so what works for one blogger may not work for another, but hey, that’s part of the fun! You’ve got to pave your own path, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t try what others have, and see how it plays out.
To give you some examples of achievable goals and how to accomplish them, I’ve included my blogging goals for 2018!
My Blogging Goals for 2018:
- Increase my mailing list by 50 every month. To do this, I am going to be creating opt-in freebies for my most popular posts, and I’ll also be sending a monthly newsletter each month, often with free goodies to thank my readers for being amazing!
- Launch an E-book before 2019. By far, this is the most exciting goal I’m looking forward to in 2018! I’ve started drafting it out (sort of, haha) but I’ve got a lot of research to do before it goes live, for sure. Mostly I’ve just got to stay focused to get it done!
- Earn $5,000 from my blog. This is a super ambitious goal for me, but I think I can make it work. I’m hoping to really grow my social media channels next year, which will bring more sponsored post opportunities and increase my blog income. Affiliate income has been really good this year, so I’m not too worried about it at the moment.
- Reach 50,000 monthly page views. I’ve considered doing promoted pins on Pinterest, but I don’t know if it’s worth it? (Let me know below if you’ve used it, and how it went!) but I definitely want to increase my page views (I’m sitting around 20-25k right now, but a few months back I hit 40k so it’s possible!)
- Reach 10,000 Pinterest followers. I’m currently at just over 2,000, and Tailwind has been the main reason behind my growth.I plan on continuing to tweak my strategy and see if anything changes, although my growth has been steady which is nice!
These all seem fairly attainable, but it’s definitely going to be a challenge. But hey, how can a business grow if you don’t challenge yourself?
Hopefully this inspires you to start setting goals for your own blog/business! What are you most excited about in 2018? Let me know below!
I’m excited to see how the upcoming year plays out. Have a happy new year everyone!
(And if you’re a Star Wars fan, hope you get to watch the new movie this weekend! Me and my husband are going tonight! Eeee!)
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