If you want your blog to grow and go places, then you have to know where it is you want it to go and have an idea of how to get there!
Goal setting is vital if you are to have direction and focus to make your blog a success.
When you set your goals, you should make sure they are SMART:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Achievable
R = Relevant
T = Time bound
It's no use saying
"I want a successful blog with lots of followers that's going to make me oodles of money."
Don't we all?
What you need to do is be specific - what do you mean by successful? Popular? Good content? Looks pretty? Be as exact as you can about every aspect.
For example: " I want my blog to look smart and professional with a clear focus and easy to navigate. Anyone coming to my blog for the first time must immediately be able to see what the blog is about, and be able to read more and explore easily. I want them to get relevant information that will help them to solve their problems/achieve their goals."
Add numbers too. This gives you something measurable to aim for. If you want lots of followers - then decide where you want those people to come from - Facebook? Google +? How many do you want and what kind of people - age? interests? Remember be specific so you know exactly what it is you want - this makes it easier to figure out how to get there,
Be honest with yourself when you set your goals and make your targets achievable. Don't say, "I'm going to start my blog today, write 3 posts each day and have 5000 followers by the end of the first week!" That's perhaps a little unrealistic! Decide what you have time for, and set smaller goals initially - try not to overwhelm yourself by trying to do everything at once!
(This is something I'm not so good at. Every week I start with a huge list of things I'm going to do 'on Monday' - inevitably it takes me to Friday to get through everything, but by the next week I'm all gung-ho to get it all done on the first day again! Will I ever learn?)
Make sure you set goals that are relevant. Do they relate to and help you towards your bigger and long term goals? It's easy to get caught up spending time on things that don't really matter or help you in the end towards achieving what it is you're working towards.
When you set your goals, you must decide when you want to achieve them by. You can have your ultimate goal with a deadline maybe a year or more in the future, and then smaller milestones to aim for in the days, weeks and months ahead. Making your goals time-bound gives them a sense of urgency and forces you to work upon them.
I set goals quite regularly for my blog, and have them written up on a whiteboard above my computer so I see them every day (and so they are easy to rub out, update and change as I go along.)
How about you?
Do you set goals for your blog?
Are they SMART?
And do you have any tips or tricks to help stick to your goals?