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Great Expectations: goal setting when starting a blog

Great Expectations: goal setting when starting a blog

Duncan Riley> People get into blogging for two reasons, and two reasons only. The first one is on a whim, they’ve heard others are doing it, and they think they might give it a go, and maybe some friends and family will read it, and are content with some basic writing. The second reason is fame and fortune, although I’d qualify this is noting that fame doesn’t have to be huge and neither does the fortune: these are the bloggers who blog with a purpose, on a topic, and to reach more than their immediate friends, they’re also commonly referred to as number chasers. I’ll admit, I’m a number chaser, when I started writing The Blog Herald I did so because I saw a niche and it was a topic that interested me greatly. I wanted to write and have as many people as possible see it. If you’re in my boat you’ve got great expectations, that’s a good thing, because you should always aim high; but there are a few things you should consider if you want to make a reasonable go of blogging.

Setting goals
I can’t emphasise enough that knowing your market is the No. 1 point in any new project and it applies to blogs. Do your research, read lots of similar blogs, then set your goals. With new blogs I tend to work first and foremost on numbers.
No blog goes straight up, traffic is more like a rollercoaster, but what I am to achieve is X amount of traffic per day. For example, you might put down as your first goal 100 page views in a day. Some of you may laugh, but please don’t, you’d be surprised how many people never achieve this with thier blogs, but having said this it can be fairly easily achieved. Your next hurdle may then be 500 or 1000. I also work at maintaining consistent performance, for example if an earlier goal is 1000 page views I’m not only looking at obtaining that on one day (which I may be initially) but after it’s first achieved I’m looking at making sure every day the blog does 1000 page views a day. You can also pick and choose your stats, for example I sometime pick and choose between number of visits and page views, just to make sure I’m building up a recurring audience.
Personally I’m an Awstats man because I like to see lots and lots of numbers and information about a blog, but others may not have access to similar scripts. Webalizer can be used, or if you are on a hosted blog package check with your provider on how they record and present you with some statistical information. Personally I’ve never trusted the results from free script counters, but some people swear by them, your call on this one.
I tend to memorise my goals, but not everyone has this ability. My honest advice: write them down, and it doesn’t matter what they are or the format. You might prefer to aim for dates, and that works, or you might go for a bunch of dot point goals that you want to achieve over no partiucular time frame. Either way, for most of us to go forward, you need to know where forward is, and keeping a goal list helps
Other ideas
Sometimes you can also use other ideas, or even sub ideas as a way of driving up your overall goals, and the same rules apply. For example, you might decide that a good way of meeting your traffic goals is to get 100 incoming links on Technorati, or it might even be reaching 100 search related clickthru’s from Google thru better search engine optimisation, etc…. no matter what the idea or goal, record it and work towards it. Sometimes even pinning it up next to your computer can help as well so you can remain focused.

End Game
It would be remiss of me not to note that there’s no end game in blogging, because no one achieves everything and no one can get everyone on the planet to read their blog. Unlike aiming for a physical goal either, like for example an olympic gold medal, when you reach your own personal endgame you cant stop, because all of a sudden things go backwords without the continuation of the effort you are putting in. This is the cold, hard fact of blogging, and its not for everyone. If your happy plodding away and posting on occasion, great for you, but if you are serious about numbers you cant really rest for any length of time. Having said all of this though, if you don’t have a point where you’re happy with what you are doing, then you can’t ever get to the end game. My end game is to blog full time without having to rely on other income. Yours might be to earn $100 per month, $1000 per month, get 100,000 page views, everyone is different, and no matter what your goal is it’s not my place to judge it, because only you can decide what’s good for you, but I can say one thing from experience; that achieving goals and reaching your potential is a wonderful experience even aside from the material rewards this may deliver.
Never forget though: enjoy your blogging, stay focused to your goals, and you can be successful.

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