Shortly before I launched my blog I listened to a podcast on setting goals. It gave some insane statistics about how many people quit blogging before they’ve barely even begun. I’m finding this information annoying ungoogleable, but it basically said a huge chunk of new blogs are abandoned within a month. Then even more— like a shit ton more— are dead within six months. I wish I could find the numbers (even though maths are the worst) so you’d believe me— but if you’ve been blogging for very long at all I’m sure you’ve already come upon this. You make a blogging friend/person you stalk, you’re accustomed to reading their stuff and then POOF they just disappear. The date of their last post gets older and older until you eventually stop going back.
That’s sad trombone, you guys.
There’s probably a couple reasons for this—maybe starting a blog was just an impulsive thing the creator thought would be something other than what it turned out to be:
“I will start this blog about living a perfect life and it will magically cause me to live a perfect life.”
Kind of like when you pin ten thousand things on Pinterest about how to get rock hard abs or live off of quinoa pellets and naturally farmed eggplant peel but you end up eating ice cream for dinner because organizing your new healthy lifestyle exhausted you beyond your ability to actually do any of it.
More often than not, I think people abandon their blogs because they get discouraged, fail to see the point, and decide it’s easier to just pull the plug and pretend it never happened. The MOST effective way to ensure this doesn’t happen to you is to make sure you’re setting goals for your blog.
“But I already have goals, Aussa! I want to write the like most best blog EVAH.”
That is a worthy pursuit, my friend. But you’ve got to put some bite with that bark. I’ve got a whole other post about the things you need to think about before you start a blog, but let’s drill down into how setting goals for your blog. They need to have these five components:
I think the hardest thing for most people is the SPECIFIC part. You absolutely MUST decide what you want. Then you can decide a reasonable growth trajectory and develop a way to measure this on a set time frame.
Example Goal #1: Grow traffic to a certain point
Track your natural growth over a few weeks, then plan on increasing it by a set percentage, depending on how ambitious you want to be. If you got 5,000 hits last month, try and increase it by 20% this month. That means 6,000 hits.
Break it up by week. If you need to increase by 1,000 hits in a month, that’s 250 hits a week.
This is the sort of math that even a moron (like myself) can keep track of. I track from Monday to Sunday. So if I get to Thursday night and I’m no where near my goal, I know I need to push-push-push to hit it. Likewise, if I’m way over the goal I can easily look at the last few days to figure out what’s been working so well.
This also helps you figure out whether you’re wasting your time on something. If, on week #2, you spent 19 hours promoting your blog on a random forum or social media site and saw ZERO increase then you know not to keep wasting your time.
You can track this data in a spreadsheet or on the back of a pizza delivery flier. It doesn’t matter, just write the dates and numbers down where you can see them and they can speak to you.
Example Goal #2: Get a certain number of comments
You should track this in the exact same way as above: By the week. Then you can start experimenting with different ways to inspire comments.
No matter what you’re writing about, people can relate to it in one way or another. I’ve blogged about some super random shit and still inspired a load of comments:
Question I asked: “What’s the most back handed compliment you’ve ever gotten?”
# of Comments: 504
Question I asked: “Does anyone in your life tend to overact to fairly simple situations?”
# of Comments: 330
Question I asked: “What did YOU learn at your first job?”
# of Comments: 409
It’s YOUR blog, you control the conversation. Think about the core *thing* you’re communicating and that others might be able to relate to. If that’s something you even want. To some, blog comments are an overwhelming chore. So maybe it’s social media shares you want. Regardless, approach and track it from the same way.
So, to review. When setting goals for your blog you have to be honest with yourself. You already know what it is you actually want, so don’t hold back or act like it’s anything other than what it is. Be specific.
Determine how you get to that goal. If you want 500 subscribers in 6 months, how many is that per month, per week? Do you expect it to get easier or harder the longer you go on? Start with week 1, track it, then re-evaluate it at the end of the week.
Document it. Even if you only get 1 new subscriber, you write that shit down because that’s 1 more than you had before. You need to be able to look back at every bit of progress you’ve made.