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Blogging 201: Set Three Goals

First things first: let’s set some goals and plan for success.

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

Welcome to Blogging 201: Branding and Growth! We’re pumped about what we’re going to cover over the next two weeks, and we’re excited you’re joining us for the ride.

Despite his demeanor on True Detective, Marty gets really chipper when you think about goals.

Despite his demeanor on True Detective, Marty gets really chipper when you think about goals.

Today we want you to do a bit of thinking about your blog. With apologies to Marty Hart of True Detective, we’re going to ask you to make your blog the focal point of silent reflection:

Today’s assignment: consider what you want to accomplish with your blog. Write down three concrete goals you want to achieve. 

Why are we doing this?

  • Because writing down goals forces you to think carefully about what success means to you — “success” is different for everyone.
  • Because having goals helps you focus your blogging energy. If the thing you’re doing isn’t helping you achieve your goals, ditch it.
  • Because achieving a goal is a great feeling that motivates you to set and meet new goals, creating a continuous cycle of awesome.

Here are some questions to mull over to help you uncover/refine what’s most important to you about your blog:

  1. Why do you blog? To gain notoriety? To secure a book contract? To self-publish your work? To establish yourself as a leader in your field? To gain followers? Traffic? To connect with others? To work through and clarify your own thoughts?
  2. If your blog exceeded your wildest dreams, what would that look like? Would you have a different design? How many followers would you have? How much traffic? What sort of community would participate? What discussions would take place? How often would you post?
This snowman is giving you high fives just for thinking about setting goals. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This snowman is giving you high fives just for thinking about setting goals. Win! by David Cathrae (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Answering these questions helps you create a vision for your blog. Next, translate that vision into three specific goals. You can articulate your goals however you’re most comfortable, but we recommend making them simple, concrete, and time-based to create laser-like focus, like:

  • Gain 20% more followers by October 31st.
  • Increase my average daily hits 30% by the end of 2014.
  • Publish three times each week during November, December, and January.
  • Spend one hour each week visiting my followers’ blogs, reading their posts, and commenting on their work, from now until April 1st.
  • Establish a new weekly feature on my blog by December 31st (Throwback Thursdays, Wordless Wednesdays, Soup Sundays), and publish that feature each week through June 30th.
  • Create an editorial calendar for the next three months by November 1st.
  • Gain 100 new Twitter followers for my blog by December 31st.
  • Publish posts from three respected guests over the next three months.

For bonus points, write a post detailing your blog’s goals and publish it. Making your goals public ups your accountability. Your readers will cheer you on, and might even find ways to help you achieve your goals.

Stuck on what to pick for your goals? Not sure what’s actually reasonable? Ask your questions here, or head over to The Commons to bounce ideas around fellow challenge participants. You know the old saying: 1000 heads are better than one.

Woody Harrelson photo by David Shankbone (CC BY-SA 3.0).

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  1. My first goal is to publish at least a new post every single week without failure..2: To gain more followers (don’t know how many % should I set) & 3: To spend 2 or 3 hrs at least each week visiting my followers’ blogs to learn, to love and to comment on their works…

    Liked by 16 people

    1. They are realistic goals, I’ll do my deed to contribute to the second one (hoping you’ll follow my blog back!). Good luck with the third goal, as this is what I struggle with, finding time to enjoy others’ posts. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree with you… I would be very difficult for me to spend time to read and visit around.. At this moment, I am on my holiday and I can spend more than enough time to do so..Anyway, that’s the reason it became my 3rd goal.. Now, I ve set it and so I have to achieve it.. I ve just visited your blog and started following it.. A lot to learn from your posts…!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’d definitely like to spend more time reading my followers’ blogs as I feel neglectful on that end. That one is a great suggestion and one of the goals I’m implementing for the next month.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Yes, it is indeed difficult, thanks for commenting @EllenHawley. 🙂 This is why I myself have set this up as one of my goals. Good luck with everything, and thanks for following my blog back!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve got 3 goals. 1) increase my traffic by 30 percent by December 1. (I don’t know if this is realistic).
    2) Start using correct attribution for my photographs in a way that doesn’t detract from the piece.
    3) Have at least one recurring “feature” day a week maintained until December 1.

    If only I could say, “This, I command!” like Mum Ra.

    Liked by 12 people

    1. Your second goal is definitely among my goals too, although maybe not in my immediate future. I try to give credit where credit is due, but sometimes it is difficult! Good luck on blogging 201!!

      Like

    2. I would not know about the first one, but 2 and 3 are very doable! I have been working on a feature (two actually) a week, and while it’s a lot of work to put it together, it’s an amazing feeling once it’s done. And that does help bringing in more people as well. All the best Elias, looking forward to see how it all comes together! Keep us posted!

      Like

  3. My goals are:
    1) have an established routine by the end of the year.
    2) find a settled voice and angle on my area of interest (education) by the end of February 2015.
    3) find and cultivate my audience so that I can attract followers in a more systematic way than I currently do.

    Liked by 10 people

      1. Funny … I found No 2 to be quite challenging. I took it to mean trying to try to hone in on your particular focus and interest – your purpose in blogging .. and making your voice heard in that area .. ‘systematically’ without dissipating energies ‘blogging’ all over the place.? :).

        Liked by 5 people

    1. I would focus on 2 first, if not 1 and 3 won’t really come together. #2 can be real difficult but trust yourself, and your gut, and it will come to you. Don’t force it. Don’t ‘try’ things, just be yourself, and you will see your voice will flourish and develop organically.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My goals:
    1. Gain one follower each week until Easter 2015
    2. Post at least once every two days
    3. Connect with the online community and discover a new blog to follow every two weeks!

    What do you guys think? 😀 Do-able?

    Liked by 13 people

  5. This is a very useful and informative post. So, I suppose I should given three goals for my blog:

    (1) to publish at least two posts each week,

    (2) to increase readership by at least 10 % in November,

    (3) to spend at least one hour per week reading the blogs of followers as well as finding blogs I have not yet seen.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Most of us seem to have similar goals. Yours are more ambitious than mine as far as writing is concerned – good luck! Good luck with your novel too, I follow you now.

      Like

  6. My goals are: 1) make time to blog regularly. 2) practice the tools I learned in Blogging 101. 3) post at least once a week(for now) 4) become a better writer to give my followers what they deserve to read. 5) attract more followers because my writing is better. 6) focus to accomplish all these within the next 6 months, if not sooner. Am I in over my head?

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I don’t think you’re in over your head. In fact, I think you can do it in less than 6 months. Regarding attracting more followers, might I suggest commenting on others? I find that’s a great to get traffic to my blog.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks Elizabeth. I also believe i can do it. In less than 6 months. I’m in the process of re-evaluating the busyness in my life and rearranging and eliminating things so blogging can move to the top of priorities. I have been reading but not commenting. That will change-now.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. Let’s see three goals… hmmm I am already obsessed with posting more than 3 times a week… but I would like to 1) gain 50% more followers by the time I publish my novel next spring.
    2)create an editorial calender is a good one!
    3)have a guest post by the end of the month

    🙂 I’ll defiantly write a post about these goals.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. I am new to blogging and I had ulterior motive, which I still do. But I like a lot of what I read here I find I never get tired of learning, and I think I am beginning to like writing a blog for it’s own sake. Why do I blog ? I need to get that settled before I can move on, great question wish I’d though of it . Oh yea Woody’s cool

    Liked by 2 people

  9. While I’m not sure about exact numbers, I picked out what goals I would love to achieve on my blog:

    1) I want to increase engagement on my site. I would love for my blog, The Cheerful Times, to be a place of shared conversation and experiences, using my posts as a launching point. I don’t want my readers to feel self conscious about posting comments or offering words from their own experiences — I’d love that!

    2) I want to increase my average post frequency to three times a month by February 2015. Right now I’m averaging once every two months — yikes! I just feel awkward posting something when I don’t have anything super substantial to share.

    3) Last, I would love to increase my follower count by at least 25% by the end of Blogging 201 — bonus points if I increase it 40% by the end of 2014. Am I dreaming big with this one? Of course! But I’m not actively doing much to increase followers as of right now so hopefully some focused effort will be magical!

    Excited to start making my goals come into fruition, and making my blog all it should be! 🙂

    Liked by 7 people

  10. Alright, there are so many great goal suggestions. Being so new to this, it’s hard to choose. Here are my three.

    1. Increase followers by 50% by the end of December.
    2. Have a post of mine be shared.
    3. Post at least three times a week.

    The overall goal is that this blog gets noticed, and that people keep returning for more. I want to retain my viewers, and convince them to want to follow northlovessouth.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. My first goal is to make sure that my blog is useful or helpful to those who seek out the information. My second goal is a continued goal of promoting my blog on social media at least 3 times a day. My 3rd goal is to continue to believe in my blog and continue my hard work to make it sucessful

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Well my goals are:
    ->To be more involved in the blogging community.
    ->To gain more followers.
    ->To work on my writing skills; to be closer to my ideal way of posting/writing by April 2015.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. What a great article! Very inspiring and thought provoking. I am going to have a good think about what my goals are. At the moment I thoroughly enjoy writing posts about spiritual and personal development and I write when I feel inspired to do so, but I can see how it would be valuable to have some more structure around it. Thanks – I’ll get to work!! Sharon

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I blog to connect with others while providing information and great photos.
    My goals: 1. Consistently post 3-4 times a week. 2. Increase followers and comments by at least 30% by January 1, 2015. 3. Weave my personal story with everygreen information starting now. 4. Get sponsorships for 2015 travels. 5. Continue to improve photography. OK, so that’s more than three but I’m an over achiever. Doesn’t seem unrealistic to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi everyone! My three ambitious goals are:
    1-Develop expertise that is of value to my readers. I’m not sure what that will be yet.
    2-Double my number of followers by giving them a pretty, mostly positive blog to look forward to reading
    3-Post twice weekly, including a recurring theme to be determined. I currently post weekly (on average)

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Hi everyone!!! (or whoever I can attract to read this and comment back ;)) I am new to the blogging world and thought this post was very pertinant to me. While I do not have specific goals such as gaining more followers, I will say that the one thing I will continue to do is write from my heart. I decided to start blogging about a week ago and it sparks something in me. I am still learning about how to use wordpress so I suppose I will also say that another goal of mine is to get to know it like the back of my hand by November 19, 2014. One month from now 🙂 Happy blogging!

    Liked by 9 people

    1. I would like to echo your goals as they are the same as mine. I also just started blogging and have realize the same spark. I have also followed your blog and would like it if you would come take a peek at mine theclutteredsoul.com

      Liked by 2 people

  17. My three goals are:

    1) Be a consistent participant in the blogging community. If someone comments on my blog, I want to acknowledge it and have it become a point of interaction. If I follow a blog, I will aim to add to thoughtful comments to their posts.

    2) I have two blogs – one that’s personal and one that’s entirely business. My partner is an artist and I handle the social media/marketing end of things. In the business blog I’d like to use it as a tool to gain notoriety. I’m looking to generate enough attention that she has a waiting list for her paintings. Within a year I’d like the blog to have a solid following of clients and other artists.

    3) I want the blog to be engaging. When Michele get’s a commission I want the client to follow the progress of the painting through the blog. Watching a painting evolve from the sketch stage to the final product is exciting. I love watching it happen and want them to be able to experience it too. My goal is to post a progress shot three times a week, with commentary. Hopefully, aspiring painters will also come to the blog and enjoy seeing how to make a living from their painting/illustration talent.

    Suggestions and criticism welcome. Good luck to everyone!

    Liked by 4 people

  18. We don’t have goals yet, but this is very inspiring. We’ve actually been trying to put something down on paper about this over the past few days. There are many great ideas here! We are so excited to be in this blogging course!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, what exciting times ahead for you! Have fun seeing the world and blogging about it! I blog because I love travelling too. I like going through my old photos, and I hope that sharing the knowledge that I have gained from my travels can inspire others to travel more too.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I like helping others..
    So my goals are :
    1.To Give informative posts (That can be either to give information relating to tips and tricks ,or how to do something or any other info’s)
    2.To Post at least 2-3 articles in a week.
    3.To enhance the Quality of my posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Those two questions on why we blog and what our blog would ideally look like are so valuable, and have definitely helped me refine the direction of my blog. They are very complex questions though and I think we need to continually ask them as we go. Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person