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Why is it important to set blog goals?
Running this blog for nearly 3 years now has given me the chance to talk with a lot of people in this industry, a lot of whom who are struggling and looking for help.
Speaking with them, the biggest problem that I’ve noticed is that they don’t set any kind of blog goals. Actually let me rephrase that. They don’t set specific, measurable goals.
Instead, most people’s blog goals usually look something like this:
- I want to build a lot of traffic.
- I want my blog to make a lot of money.
- I want it to take off.
- I want it to replace my job.
- I want it to make $X every month.
These don’t tell you anything, and give you no actionable roadmap.
So in this post, I’m going to share the exact, specific blog goals that I personally set for every new site that I start today.
You can, and should, copy them, as I believe that it’s the best way to organize an effective (and realistic) growth plan for any new blog.
Setting SMART Blogging Goals
Goals without deadlines are just dreams and wishes.
To make progress, you need to set SMART goals for your site.
What are SMART goals?
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-Bound
In other words, every blogging goal you set needs to have these SMART qualities.
For example, “I’ll create lots of content for my blog” is not a SMART goal.
“I’ll create 4 blog articles of 1500 words each about email marketing and SEO in the next 30 days”
That’s what you call a smart goal because there are no ambiguities in it.
It is crystal clear what you want to achieve and how you’ll do it. Plus it’s very practical.
Whenever you set goals, apply the SMART filter to them so that you can make actual progress and not just dream about achieving them.
Separate goals into micro and macro goals
I like to separate my planning into two groups: Micro goals and macro goals.
Macro goals = the big picture – where I want my blog to be in the long-term (years later).
Micro goals = the short-term picture – where I want my blog to be in the short-term (next few months).
There’s a clear distinction between these two, and that’s the time and speed in which they’re implemented.
Macro is all about strategically investing your time, money, and energy into efforts that will pay off in the long-run. You won’t see results overnight. You’re essentially making a calculated bet that the work you put in now will pay off in the future.
Micro moves at micro speed. It’s about hustling, finding and focusing on the things that accelerate growth. You’re looking for things that get you off the ground quickly. It’s most important (and really only plays a big role) in the beginning stages of a blog’s life.
Micro and macro can mean different things to different people, depending on what context you’re using them in, but this is just the meaning I give to them in relation to building out sites.
The Timelines For Micro And Macro Blogging Goals
For me, the timeline of the micro goals are from 0 to 12 months.
And the timeline of the macro goals from 12 to 24 months.
In other words, I’m hoping to reach my micro goals within the first year, and my macro goals in 2 years.
It’s extremely helpful to separate your goals using this format, as your site will be at very different stages for these two time periods.
From 0 to 12 months your site is brand new. You’ll have little search traffic, minimal amounts of content published, a small following, few backlinks, no strong network or relationships, no recognizable brand.
From 12 to 24 months your site will be more established in the search engines. You’ll have a decent amount of content published.
You’ll have developed a readership and following from a good number of people, and have built up a solid network with colleagues and influencers.
Further reading: My First Year Of Blogging On RankXL: How I Grew RankXL From A Side Project To A 6-Figure Blog In Just A Year
My goals are set accordingly.
How To Set Macro And Micro Blogging Goals
After nearly a decade of building and growing blogs, these 5 points now lay out my checklist for every new blog I start.
My macro objectives
1. Driving 100,000 visitors per month by focusing on SEO.
2. Collecting an average of 100 email subscribers per day (without paid traffic).
My micro objectives
1. Building early traffic – doesn’t need to be consistent or long-term like SEO.
2. The entire purpose of building traffic is to get my first 1000 subscribers, then grow to 10,000 email subscribers.
3. Building and launching my first product & generating first $10,000 in revenue.
Let’s dive deeper into each one.
A closer look at my macro goals
For my long-term goals, I’m focused on 2 things:
1. Driving 100,000 visitors per month by focusing on SEO.
2. Collecting an average of 100 email subscribers per day (without paid traffic).
These are the 2 things that matter most. If I can hit these goals, everything else like “lots of revenue” will come naturally.
As a result, they’re all I care about.
Driving 100,000 Visitors/Month With SEO.
This will be easy in some niches, and extremely difficult in others – depending on competition.
But my goal with any site is to reach the 100,000 visitors per month mark. And that’s all with SEO.
Without paid traffic.
My time frame for this is after 2 years. I feel that’s a sufficient amount of time to reach this goal without killing yourself.
After I hit 100,000 visitors, the goal will change but the next milestone will always be dependant on the niche and the size of the market.
Collecting 100 email subscribers per day.
If I hit 100,000 visitors per month, I should be able to optimize the site to collect 100 email subscribers per day.
Let’s do the math to clarify:
100,000 / 30 days = 3333 visitors per day.
On average, I’ll convert about 2-4% of search traffic into subscribing using popups, well-placed forms, and some content upgrades.
Let’s take the middle point: 3%.
3333 visitors per day x 3% = 99.
Round up, and there’s our 100 subscribers per day.
Why does it matter if you get 100?
Once you get to 100 email subs per day, you can really start making a lot of money from a blog.
Doesn’t mean you can’t make a lot of money with less than that, but 100/day is what I aim for.
If you have 100 subscribers per day, if you can convert 5% of them on a $100 product using an evergreen launch funnel, that’s $500 per day.
But the really big numbers come from product launches and higher priced products.
100 subs per day is 3000 per month (100 x 30 days).
If you’re doing a product launch every 4 months, your list is growing by 12,000 people every single time you launch!
I won’t do any math since it’s really variable upon how many subscribers you have in total, the price of your product, your conversion rate, how engaged your audience is, etc.
But if you get to these numbers, you’re going to have huge product launches and can potentially flirt with the 7-figures per year mark if you know what you’re doing, and you’re in a profitable niche.
A closer look at my micro goals
Unlike my macro goals, my micro goals have changed a lot over the years, as I experiment with new things.
There is a lot of room for improvement in the current process that people go through in their first 12 months running their blog. Most people actually have no process at all, but just try to throw a bunch of things against a wall and hope that one sticks.
Regularly Publishing High-Quality Content On My Site
When you’re starting a new site, you need to publish a lot of content to build momentum and start ranking for long-tail keywords. Plus you want the quality of your content to be great becuase you’ll be building backlinks to it in a few weeks’ time.
So how much content should you be aiming for?
I try to churn out at least a couple of 1000 word posts every week on a new blog. If that’s too much for you, aim for at least one 1000-1200 word post per week.
Anything below that means your blog will take a lot more time to grow.
You need to push yourself harder and aim to reach 200 pages on your site as fast as possible.
Now 200 is a lot, I know, and it seems more like a long-term goal because if you publish 4 articles a week, you’ll have around 50 articles in a year. Reaching 200 could take you 4 years at that pace.
If you publish 4 articles per week, you can reach that goal in one year.
But since 4 might be a bit too much for most people, 2/week is the magic number you should aim for.
As for the length of your content, it primarily depends on who you’re competing within the search results. If your competitors are publishing 1500-2500 word articles, you won’t stand a chance with 1000 word posts.
But then probably you shouldn’t go into a niche where people are already publishing 2000+ guides.
Anyway, whatever your competitors are doing, you need to do it better to beat them.
When it comes to content, your objective is not to reach a certain number of words or posts on your blog only. The content should also be link-worthy so that you can easily build backlinks to it and rank t for competitive terms.
For this, you need a content template that you follow for every piece of content you publish.
I’ve already done an article about content templates so I recommend you read that.
But I’ll quickly give you a few pointers
- Always use numbers in your blog post title
- Limit introduction to 100-150 words and get straight to the point
- Add a clickable index after the introduction
- Break down your article into as many sb-headings as possible
- Keep an eye on the numbering of your sub-headings
- Divide every subheading into further sub-headings (if required) and bullet points
- Write descriptive and benefit-driven sub-headings
- Use at least one screenshot or image in every sub-heading
- Cite at least one example for every argument you make in your article.
- If possible, use data references and numbers throughout your articles.
- Add an FAQ section at the end of every article by pulling questions from the “People also ask” section of the search results for your target keyword.
Using this format, accelerate your content production so that you can have a decent volume of content on your site by the end of the first year.
Getting early traffic wins – doesn’t need to be consistent or long-term like SEO.
Long term, SEO is the best source of consistent, and large volumes of traffic. But for a brand new blog, SEO takes a while to kick in.
So what can we do for traffic before SEO kicks in?
I talked a bit about this in my last post, but essentially, I build links that drive referral traffic.
Instead of my focus being on building links ranking in Google, my main intention is to drive traffic.
What I normally go with are guest posts, and building links on sites where my target audience is hanging out already. Guest posting has been the most reliable/repeatable across all niches if you can do it effectively.
If you’re just starting a new blog, I’d recommend setting a target of at least 4 guest posts per month on blogs with similar or higher domain authority to yours.
Use this for two objectives.
The primary goal is to get backlinks from higher authority websites and gradually build your link profile.
Secondly, use guest posts to route traffic to your lead magnet and turn them into email subscribers.
Don’t have one yet?
Create it and place it on all the key areas of your site including the sidebar, at the end of every blog post, and in pop-ups.
Let me tell you how.
Reaching 1000 Email Subscribers And Growing Them To 10,000
All of my traffic building efforts are done for one reason: to collect 10,000 email subscribers in my first year.
This is separated into two milestones. I want to get my first 1000 subscribers in the first 3 to 6 months, launch my first product, then grow it to 10,000 by the end of the year.
These are both reasonable targets to work toward in year 1 and is doable across different niches.
How do I get to 1000 subscribers fast?
By building an enticing lead magnet that my visitors can download for free in exchange for their email address.
A lead magnet can be any free resource but for affiliate sites, content-based lead magnets like ebooks, video tutorials, checklists, cheat sheets, etc. Work really well.
Your lead magnet doesn’t need to be a huge resource either.
I see a lot of the new sites offering 300 page eBooks as lead magnets.
In my experience, they don’t convert as well as a 10 page eBook or a quick checklist becuase with lead magnets people are looking for bite-sized information that they can immediately put to use.
Choose one or two of their major problems and create an actionable resource around it. As an affiliate, you can also look to create a lead magnet around the problems that your product solves.
For example, if you’re promoting email marketing software on your site, you could make a lead magnet about “Six-figure email campaign secrets” or “A million-dollar email marketer’s checklist”
Once you have a lead magnet, make sure your audience see it everywhere. Place it in your blog’s sidebar, at the end of every article, in pop-ups, and link to it in your guest posts and forums contributions.
This step is crucial because you can’t convert visitors into email subscribers unless you have a really good email lead magnet.
Building and launching our first product & generating first $10,000 in revenue.
If I’m doing everything else correctly, I should be able to hit my goal of generating my first $10K with the blog.
The target goal here is set very low on purpose. It’s a target minimum.
The micro goal for the first year isn’t to exhaust myself trying to hit some crazy goal like a million dollars. All that will do is make me lose focus.
All I want to do is make my first $10,000 in revenue. The bigger numbers will come later when I hit my macro goals.
The first year is more like a development stage. I’m building my audience, releasing my first product, and making my first few sales.
And my results from this stage will reveal ideas and thoughts on the best ways to grow afterwards: Such as what price points work with my audience, what do they need help with, what future products can I build, what product formats are best, etc?
My micro and macro goals work together, and everything is done to achieve the next goal
If you noticed, my micro and macro goals work together. They’re only different in scale and speed to accommodate for the different conditions a new site goes through.
Furthermore, they’re realistic. I give myself challenging milestones, where I’ll actually have to work hard to get there, but nothing is unreasonable like “I’m going to start a new blog and grow it bigger than WikiHow… this year!”
You may have also noticed that everything is done strategically to help achieve the next goal.
For example, my micro goal of getting early traffic wins is done to hit my next goal of getting 1000 then 10,000 subscribers, which then helps hit my next goal of making my first $10K.
And my macro goal of growing to 100,000 visitors per month helps hit my next goal of getting 100 new email subs per day.
My goals weren’t always separated this clearly. I used to be like everyone else.
I would start new sites with only one thought in mind:
I WANT IT TO TAKE OFF AND GET HUGE!
I WANT IT TO MAKE…
But like I said earlier, this is a very ineffective way of thinking and doesn’t lay out a clear, actionable path to anything.
By setting specific measurable goals, categorized into micro and macro targets, the process of building new sites is much more streamlined and easier to follow.
I want to hear from you
If this was helpful in giving you a realistic range of targets and timelines, let me know 🙂
And if you use goals yourself, share them in the comments! I’d love to hear about them!