Grow Your Blog Strategically With SMART Goal-Setting

Blogging regularly might make you feel productive, but is it helping you to accomplish your goals?

Every blogger has his own reason for blogging. You might be trying promote your business, build your brand, practice your writing skills, or supplement or replace your income from a full-time job.

Regardless of your reasons for blogging, you have goals.

Chances are, you’re not going to achieve your goals by accident: it takes purposeful planning. If you don’t define those goals and create a plan to work toward them, you’ll never reach them.

Keep reading to find out how to set SMART goals – plus advice on goal-setting from a few successful bloggers who have achieved their own goals for their blogs.

What is a SMART Goal?

The quality of the goals you set for your blog will have a huge effect on your success in achieving them.

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

1. Specific

The more specific your goal is, the easier it will be to make a plan and work toward it. A vague goal is much harder to know how to tackle.

Examples:

  • Vague: “I want my blog to help grow my business.”
  • Specific: “I want my blog to help me increase the number of new client leads I get every month.”
  • Vague: “I want to earn money from my blog.”
  • Specific: “I want to earn enough money from my blog to pay for a week-long vacation.”

2. Measurable

Unless your goals are measurable, you won’t know when you achieve them.

Example:

  • Unmeasurable: “I want my blog to help me increase the number of clients I work with.”
  • Measurable: “I want my blog to help me to double the number of clients I work with.”

3. Achievable

An unachievable goal is not only a waste of time, but is also discouraging. Be sure to be realistic in your goal-setting.

Examples:

  • Unrealistic: “I want to earn a million dollars in my first year of blogging.”
  • Achievable: “I want to earn $1,000 in my first year of blogging.”

4. Relevant

Your goals should be consistent with what you want to achieve with your blogging. There’s no point in wasting time on a goal that won’t help you achieve your overall purpose.

Think carefully about how your goal is helping you to achieve your purpose in blogging.

Examples:

  • Irrelevant: “I want to double my Instagram audience.”
  • Relevant: “I want to double my blog subscribers.”

5. Time-Bound

Lastly, but just as importantly, you should set a time limit on your goals. If there’s no urgency to achieving your goal, it’s easy to keep pushing it off.

Examples:

  • Untimed: “I want to double my blog traffic.”
  • Time-bound: “I want to double my blog traffic by the end of this year.”

3 Tips on Goal-Setting From Successful Bloggers

Tip # 1 – Focus on One Big Goal at a Time

Carrie Smith of Careful Cents recommends focusing on one big goal at a time.

Carrie Smith of Careful Cents recommends focusing on one big goal at a time.

Carrie Smith was able to quit her job as an accountant after creating her Careful Cents blog, a community of solopreneurs and freelancers who are committed to building life-centered businesses. She now makes thousands of dollars from her blog every month.

Her advice on goal setting for your blog is about maintaining focus, and avoiding overwhelm:

“Successfully growing a blog has a lot of moving parts and can be overwhelming, no matter how experienced (or inexperienced) you are. Instead of trying to accomplish everything at once, like growing a following, building a community, becoming an expert and establishing a regular blogging routine, just focus on ONE of your top goals for 3-6 months. It will be much harder to increase your email subscribers if your focus is split, but if you have laser focus then everything will be a reflection of that. Because of this, you’ll accomplish your goal that much faster.”

Tip # 2 – Break Down Your Goals into Realistic Steps

Shirria Lovette is a social worker who blogs about personal finance at Goal Digging to Happiness, where she earns a regular side income from sponsored posts and freelance writing.

Shirria advises bloggers to break down big goals into smaller steps:

“I think what is most important about goal setting is setting realistic goals, that have accomplishable mini steps that encourage you to be doing something daily towards achievement. I myself set monthly goals that have been broken down from yearly goals. Each monthly goals broken down into weekly mini steps and sometimes daily steps if necessary. This, for me, eliminates the overwhelming feelings, and promotes much more success than failure.”

Tip # 3 – Be Realistic, But Don’t Be Afraid to Dream Big

Freelance writer & blogger Elna Cain advises setting a range of short-term to stretch goals.

Freelance writer & blogger Elna Cain advises setting a range of short-term to stretch goals.

lna Cain, freelance writer and coach at ElnaCain.com and WriteTo1K, advises bloggers to dream big while still keeping your feet on the ground:

“When creating your S.M.A.R.T. goals I suggest you make three types of goals: short-term goals that can be accomplished within a few months, long-term goals that might take 6 months to a year or longer to accomplish, and one stretch goal. This is an ambitious goal that may seem impossible to achieve.

Once you create your goals, a big motivator is to publicize them on your blog. Tell your readers what the plans are for growing your blog. This will help you stay accountable and makes it much more likely that you’ll achieve your goals.

At this point, start making a plan on how you will accomplish your goals by breaking them up into achievable tasks.”

How to Use Your Goals to Create an Actionable Plan

Now that you’ve chosen SMART goals for your blog, it’s time to create a plan for how to reach those goals.

As Shirria suggest above, you can begin by breaking down your goal into objectives. What steps do you need to take for your goal to become reality?

If your goal is to earn $1,000 in your first year of blogging, you can start by making a list of ways to earn money (you can get ideas from our post on 23 Clever Ways to Monetize Your Blog).

Break down your goal into monthly steps. If you’ve decided to try to land sponsored posts, your list might look like this:

  1. Redesign blog and clean up sidebar clutter by the end of February 1st
  2. Start an email list by March 1st
  3. Create a media kit by April 1st
  4. Compile of list of brands I’d like to work with by May 1st
  5. Starting in May, reach out to 5 brands per week

Once you break down your goals into smaller steps, even the loftiest goal can become achievable.

Remember, blogging without a plan won’t get you anywhere. Start growing your blog smarter today by brainstorming your SMART goals.