Ricardo Arce, Unsplash Photo
This article is based upon episode 218 from the ProBlogger podcast.
It’s been a very long year, and like most people you probably can’t wait for it to be over. It’s the perfect time to start setting goals for the next year in blogging.
It is crucial to set clear goals if your goal is to build your blog. It will help you focus your time and energy on what’s most important. And knowing what you’ll be achieving will give you some added incentive to keep going.
Attaining SMART goals
There’s a lot of information out there about goals and how toThese are the things you should do. A popular method to use is the SMART acronym. Smart, measurable and achievable. And that’s the one I’ll be referring to in this post.
But I’ll be attaching a few more words to some of those letters to make it more specific to blogging.
S is for…
You should make your goals as precise as you can. Don’t set vague goals like, “I want more traffic for my blog,” or, “I want more money from my blog,” or, “I want to post more often.” How much more traffic do you want? What amount of money would you like to make? How frequently do you desire to write?
Instead, think about what you are trying to accomplish.
Not only are these goals far more specific, they also satisfy another criterion that starts with ‘s’ – significant.
You must set goals if you wish to expand your blog. But don’t start making them just for the sake of it. Set significant goals to get closer towards your long-term objectives.
Do you want to blog your way to a million bucks? You probably won’t get there in a year, but you can certainly set yourself a goal (“I want to make $50,000.”) that gets you closer to that lucrative figure.
You want to be able to book deal. You may not get one this year, but you can certainly set yourself a goal (“I want to publish a new post every week.”) that will get you closer.
It is important to set clear goals. Perhaps you are looking to earn $50,000 in order to buy your first house or a car. Now that goal is a lot more significant, and you’re going to be more motivated to achieve it.
M is for…
The next step is to make your goals measurable. As Peter Drucker once said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
The specific goals I mentioned in the previous section are also measurable because it’s easy to work out whether or not you achieved them. At the end of the year you’ll know whether you doubled your traffic, made $50,000 or posted something new every week.
Not only that, you can work out how well you’re tracking and, if necessary, make some adjustments. Let’s say your goal is to earn $50,000 in a year. It would be $137 per hour or $4,166 per monthly. And so at any time during the year you can compare how much you’ve made with how much you should have made to see how well you’re meeting your target.
And when you’re planning your goals, keep another M word in mind – meaningful. You’re far more likely to achieve your goal if it means something to you. One blogger had a goal to raise $10,000 to support school for orphans in Africa. It had nothing to do with growing her blog, but she’d visited the orphanage a few years before so it was a meaningful goal for her.
A is for…
These goals will push you to the limits and motivate you to do hard work. But they should also be achievable based on the situation you’re in.
If you can only blog in the evenings because of work and family commitments, you probably shouldn’t set a goal to publish a new blog post every day. Publishing a post every other week is not enough. You may be better off setting a goal to publish a post once a fortnight to start with, and then see how well you’re tracking after a couple of months.
Setting goals you can’t actually reach can actually hurt your blog. Your blog may lose motivation and your quality content could drop. This can lead to a loss of credibility.
By all means stretch yourself, but don’t bite off more than you can chew. When you’re creating your goals, take the time and resources you have into account. What you’d like to be a one-year goal may need to become one of your long-term goals instead – at least to begin with.
And if you’re part of a team, then your goals should also be agreed-upon. That means not only letting everyone know about the goals you’d like to achieve, but also getting them to take those goals on board so you can all work together to achieve them.
R is for…
Chances are you’ll be making a number of goals for the year. But once you’ve created them all, check to make sure they’re all still relevant. Some of the goals may conflict with other ones, or are already covered elsewhere. Others may not be ready yet.
One of my 2015 goals was to organize an event in America. It was a worthy goal because we have many readers in the US. However, when I looked back at the other goals that I had for that year I realized that I would have to work harder in order to run an event here. So I put off that goal.
It was two years later that I re-examined my goals and saw how I could help us run the US event. In the intervening years I’d met some people who could help us make it a reality. The Success Incubator was the outcome of my efforts to free up time.
Just because a goal isn’t relevant at the moment doesn’t mean you should discard it completely. To make your goal a success, you may need additional resources, contacts, or work preparation.
T is for…
Your goals must be achievable within a set time frame. Also, your goals should be time-bound.
This not only makes your goals specific and measurable, it also helps you work out how you’re going to reach your goal.
If your goal is publish blog posts every Friday, you can go backwards and work out the time you have to complete your research and write your first draft.
A tip for deadlines is to spread them out rather than having them all in one place at the end. That way you won’t be facing a pile of deadlines at a time when you should be winding down rather than speeding up.
Spacing them out also means you’ll be achieving goals regularly, which can do wonders for your motivation.
You are the best!
How do you see 2022 being? What long-term goals can they help you reach? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.
This was published originally on Dec 17, 2020. It has been updated Jan 13, 2022.