Welcome to the second part on my series on how to improve your blog through Setting Goals. In this post I will go through the goal setting process, aka Execution, step by step. By determing your purpose, your goals, area of focus, and creating a plan, you will find it easier to manage and suceed at blogging.
The first question that you need to ask yourself is what the purpose of your blog is. People usually blog for personal or professional reasons – is your blog personal or professional? Is it for friends, family and social networking? Will it be informal in tone and language? If so, will you be Blogging about yourself and random thoughts, or will you be Blogging about your interests and hobbies?
If you are creating a professional blog, why are you doing it? Are you doing it for credibility in your field, to have an “online presence”, or to earn income? Who is your target audience – clients, potential customers, or potential employers? Does it have to be formal, or can you be conversational? Will your Social Networking Activities be a part of it? These are the things you need to figure out first.
Here’s a sample worksheet for you to use:
You don’t have to stick to these options. You can mix them to create a customized outline that’s tailored to your specific goals for your blog. For example, you could create a Personal Blog with some of the characteristic of a “Pro” Blog, and vice-versa.
I’ll use MikeWayne.Com as an example, here’s my actual worksheet for it:
*Back in 2009
As you can see, this is my Professional Blog. It’s not the blog I would send Grandma to look at for new pictures of the kids, lol. It initially started as a Personal blog, and then became an Affiliate Marketing Blog, before eventually evolving into a Professional, Lead Generating Advice Blog. I use it to provide free advice, make contacts, and to acquire clients for my marketing business, MediaCraft Marketing. The reason for the evolution was partially a lack of a Blog Business Plan and partially me figuring out what business I wanted to be in.
I eventually spun-off my personal stuff into my other Blog, Michaelocity.Com. Imagine if I had a Blog Business Plan a year ago! I’m sure I would have had more newsletter subscribers, a larger RSS readership, and more targeted content, this is why you need to work this out as early as possible!
I have mixed opinions on Niche Blogging. On one hand, it’s good to have a focus and to send a clear message to your audience. On the other hand, I find it artificially pigeon-holes people into digestible packages. In real life, you are a complicated, multi-faceted human being. You have (usually) more than one interest. That’s why I personally take a roundabout approach to Niche Blogging. I choose a central topic that I can write “around” to cover related topics. My primary niche is Blogging for Income, which involves my other interests of marketing, design, and Social Networking (to acquire traffic).
I recommend focusing on a topic that is in line with your purpose, which we established on the worksheet above. So if you are creating a professional blog about social networking so you can land a job with Twitter, I would create a social networking blog focusing on….. Twitter. DUH. You can write about different Tweeters and focus on different uses of Twitter to write about your other interests too. So if you are a hardcore gamer, you could write articles occasionally about gamers who use Twitter for example. See where I’m going? I’ll use myself as an example once again to help you understand me better.
Once I realized that I didn’t want to focus solely on affiliate marketing to make an online income, I realized what I really wanted to do was re-focus on my prior career in web development and marketing. But I still wanted to “make money Blogging”J So I redesigned and reorganized my blog content to align it with my new goals – to focus on Blogging for Income, Marketing and Social Media. By creating a purpose, I knew who my audience would be – new bloggers learning how to make money with their blogs, potential clients, and social networking friends – so I knew who to write for.
I knew many friends of mine (online and off) needed Social Media and Blogging tips, wanted to make money online, and potential clients would have a better understanding of my skills and expertise through seeing a live example of my marketing and design work. By knowing your purpose, you can achieve your goals and take much of the guess work out of your Blogging endeavors. You’ll know what content to produce for who, and why. By using my blog to gain clients, I am addressing my Niche and Income goals as well – I’m gaining Income through Blogging!
If you have many interests, and can’t seem to figure out what niche you want to cover, the good news is that there are many services out there that will show you popular trending niches. I gotta keep it real with you – if you are not covering a “targeted” niche you’ll have a harder time attracting traffic. Without traffic you are Blogging for an audience of two – you, and your mom;)
Here are some good tools to assist you in selecting a niche based on your interests:
Don’t use them to Blog about something you don’t know or care about. Your writing and effort will reflect that. Choose something target, popular that you WANT to cover that addresses your goals. Doing that will greatly improve your chances of success!
After establishing your Purpose and Niche, you need to set goals. Blog Traffic Goals, ROI, Newsletter and RSS subscribers, even Social Networking connections need to be monitored and measured. Unmeasured endeavors usually result in failure. Do you have a page view and unique visitor goal per day, week and month? Hoe many RSS subscribers do you want? How many newsletter subscribers do you want? Your blog will languish in mediocrity for months and years if you do not take it seriously and set goals for it.
See my worksheet below for example:
* Bounce rate is the average percentage of initial visitors to a site who “bounce” away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site.
By establishing goals, you are forcing your mind to come up with solutions and methods to succeed. If you toil away day by day with goals, you will eventually get frustrated and give up on Blogging all together. Goals are the roadmap to your success!
Like I explained in Part One, your mission statement is basically the “elevator pitch” of your Blog. It’s a one line statement that describes what your Blog is about to your readers and yourself. It should be quick and to the point. By focusing your Blog’s goals in one sentence it will help you to refine and focus your idea’s to eliminate the “fluff”. My Mission statement describes my Blog to perfectly; Mike Wayne Dot Com -Free Blogging, Social Media and Marketing Tips. While it may not win any creative writing medals for style, it immediately tells you what it’s all about. If you can’t describe your Blog in one sentence, it’s time to start focusing!
It’s important to create a publishing schedule and to stick to it religiously. Not only does it make your Blog more appealing to Google (they love frequently updated content), but it gives people a reason to visit your blog daily. It’s important to realize that you do not have to write every day in order to update every day. You can create a “queue” of posts and write articles in batches. This makes it easier for you to keep things fresh and makes up for those “lazy” days that we all have from time to time.
As also stated in Part one, you should also create a publishing schedule like a real magazine would to create more variety for your content. You can use article types such as Features, Reviews, Multi-Part Series, How-to’s. Opinions/Editorials, and Lists in Addition to “regular” postings. You can then create a frequency schedule to decide which days will feature which type of article. I usually create a list of 31 line list Google Docs and assign different categories of posting for each line. I then brainstorm article titles and begin planning my content based on that.
Here’s an example of a seven day list:
Sunday > Feature (The Effects of Twitter on Blogger Productivity)
Monday > How-To (How to Create an Online Newsletter)
Tuesday > Review (The Flip Video Camera for Video Blogging)
Wednesday > Multi-Part Series Part 1 (How to Create and Promote Your Youtube Channel)
Thursday > Multi-Part Series Part2 (How to Create and Promote Your Youtube Channel)
Friday > Op/Ed (Why Blogger Sucks as a Blogging Platform)
Saturday > List (The Top 10 WordPress Plugins)
It’s that easy. Just do what I did above, but for 31 days. Choose a day when your are feeling creative and have a lot of time on your hands. I actually find it incredibly useful and fun to do. I loved brainstorming ideas! It’s also much easier to know what I’m doing in advance, so I can write content that flows logically from article to article.
Well, that’s it for now. Check back here tomorrow for part three in this series, Blogger Tech: CMS, Graphics, Domain and Hosting!
Mike Wayne (me!) is a Serial Entrepreneur residing in New York City. I created this blog to provide tools, advice and tips to help Entrepreneurs understand the world of Online Business. I’m also the Founder & Lead Developer at MediaCraft Marketing, a New York Based Internet Marketing Firm that reeks of Awesomeness =)
How to Create Automatic Daily Backups of your WordPress Blog for Free
How to Use Twitter to Gain Exposure For Your Blog
Why Your Blog Needs A Business Plan
Setting Goals to Improve Your Blog Part Seven: Networking and Relationship Building
Setting Goals to Improve Your Blog Part Four: The Legal Aspects of Blogging
Setting Goals to Improve Your Blog Part Five: Learning SEO and Setting Traffic Goals
Setting Goals to Improve Your Blog Part Six: Creating Revenue Streams, Sales Plans and Forecasting
Setting Goals to Improve Your Blog Part Three: Blogging Tools & Technology