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How to Become a Better Blogger 8: Goal Setting

letter and penThe better blogger is continually seeking to improve her blog, and this is the time of year when we are formulating new year’s resolutions.   Why not extend that process to include blogging improvement goals for the new year?

The most common reason to set goals for ongoing blog improvement is the  desire to  make content more valuable and appealing to an increasing readership.  Consequently, the most common goals set tend to be focused on:

  1. improving the design of the blog;
  2. posting more frequently;
  3. posting more authoritative ‘pillar posts’ as branding evolves;
  4. interacting with more bloggers within your niche;
  5. increasing participation in social media and social networks;
  6. increasing the number of comments;
  7. increasing the number of regular readers and subscribers.

Research, Goal Setting, Action Plan, Feedback

Researching where your blog is at and setting goals for the new year isn’t enough. What’s also needed is an action plan to achieve them and a feedback loop.

  1. Quantify:  How will you know when you have achieved each goal?
  2. Time:  When do you want to achieve it? Develop a time-line for each goal.
  3. Why: Why do you want to achieve the goal? What will it give you?
  4. How: How will you achieve the goal? Break each goal into steps.
  5. Flexibility: Remain flexible in your approach to achieving your goals and by remaining open to new means of achieving them.
  6. Feedback: Failure is excellent feedback on your success. Every failure contains within it all the elements required to achieve the goal in the future.


A useful approach to goal setting is to use the SMART mnemonic.  SMART stands for:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound

  1. Write your goals down: Be clear about what you are out to achieve. Writing your goals down helps to crystallizes them and also gives them more force.
  2. State each goal as a positive statement: There is more strength and power when you express  your goals positively, rather than negatively.
  3. Be precise: Set a specific  goal and be precise when it comes to dates,  times and amounts to enable you to measure achievement. Being precise and detailed  means  you will know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can celebrate having achieved it.
  4. Set priorities:  Assign a priority to each goal so you  direct your attention to the most important ones, and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  5. Keep operational goals small:  Make sure your low-level goals are small and incremental because if they are too large and disparate, it can seem you aren’t making progress by working on them.
  6. Set performance goals, not outcome goals: Focus on ensuring you  set goals over which you have as much control as possible, as nothing more dispiriting than failing to achieve a  goal for reasons beyond your control.  If you base your goals on your own performance, you can maintain control and draw satisfaction from achieving them.
  7. Set realistic goals: It is important to set goals that you can achieve. Setting goals that are too high, means  you may not appreciate obstacles,  or understand  how much skill you need to develop to achieve a particular level of performance.

Related posts found in this blog:
Release the Awesome Power of Setting Goals
How to Become a Better Blogger 1: Introduction
How to Become a Better Blogger 2: Online Privacy
How to Become a Better Blogger 3: Ethics and Links
How to Become a Better Blogger 4: Essentials
How to Become a Better Blogger 5: Your Online Presence
How to Become a Better Blogger 6: Theme Evaluation
How to Become a Better Blogger 7: Branding Evolution

24 thoughts on “How to Become a Better Blogger 8: Goal Setting

  1. Timethief, I wanted to come back to tell you that my google page rank jumped from zero to 4. As I previously mentioned, I re-tagged all my posts and added category names to each post. That may have been part of what has helped me with Google and I want to thank you again for your wonderful advice.

  2. Hi timetheif, I love the festive holiday banner. Looks great.

    I enjoy reading your blog and this is another stand-out post. One of the areas I’m concerned with is realistic goals. I have come so far in the growth of my blog and reached goals that I never thought possible 5 months ago. I’m not sure what “realistic” means for me personally. I feel like the sky is the limit. So I’m working on finding balance and coming back down to earth.

    Thanks your tips are always useful.

    • Hello Ileane,
      Thanks for the compliment on the header. I’m an artist and I love manipulating images. I have more … lol and I contemplating changing this one already … lol :D

      I’m glad you enjoy reading my blog. I have used this SMART acronym and approach for goal setting for about 5 years now with success. Like you when I first began blogging I also felt the sky was the limit. Then I recognized that I needed more than one blog, as I was interested in blogging on a wide array of topics that didn’t blend well enough to be all in one blog.

      I hope you have a great holiday season and wish you all the best with your blogging in 2010.

    • Hi Linda,
      Welcome to

      I prefer to dialog on my blogs posts rather than in personal emails. When discussion is conducted one-to-one in emails usually only one person benefits. But when the discussion goes on in the blog comments section, everyone can share their observations and innovations and the possibility of coming up with unique approaches increases. Also note that I go back over these comment exchanges and use them to create new posts. See: Blog it! Writing Ideas Checklist

      Please feel free to ask questions because I like answering them :)

  3. Love SMART goals. My “A” and “R” are slightly different. Many people change the letters and I have found when working with others using Agreed upon and Realistic work best. That is because I am a coach, therapist, and the changes apply when working for or with others.

    A is for agreed upon. Too many therapists, coaches of all kind, and just plain people trying to be of service to others, for free or to get paid, don’t make sure the goals are the other person’s goals. We are all prone to the grandiose delusion that what we want is what the other person wants. Agreed upon goals are more likely to be attainable goals.

    R is for Realistic and that certainly relates to being attainable. Anyone who has ever watched the try outs for American Idol has to tumble to the fact that far too many people do not have realistic ideas about what is possible. As one of a coach’s main responsibilities is providing objective feedback, no coach should agree to a goal that does not match the coachee’s abilities. Of course, many guru’s and coach’s promise that if you believe you will achieve. Gets clients, but is not always ethical.

    Just my preachy two cents. Stay strong.

    • @meotfit
      Thanks do much for contributing to the discussion. I like your terminology and the reasoning behind them makes perfect sense to me. Getting to know you better is a pleasure so don’t be a stranger. :)

  4. If you’d like a tool for setting your goals for 2010, you can use this web application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A Vision Wall (inspiring images attached to yor goals) is available too.
    Works also on mobile.

  5. There is always so much that bloggers want to improve upon their websites, that it can get pretty frustrating as it seems like there is so much to do, so little time. Organizing all of the things you want to do and prioritizing them will help you be able to go one step at a time, without feeling so pressured. Very informative, helpful post for bloggers!

    ~ Kristi

    • @Kristi
      Thanks so much for your encouragement. I’ve had a lot of success with using the approach I describe above and wanted to share it. Have a great holiday season. :)

  6. Thanks Timethief for the links and for your valuable time.

    I added tags and categories to my photos as you suggested. Plus my blog is listed in 4 photography blog sites and one photography forum.

    This has been very hard for me as I have (unfortunately) little experience with blogging. Starting next month I am taking courses in web-page development and SEO. Hopefully by late spring I will have created my own photography website which will link to my blog.

  7. Timethief

    I had many tags and categories but I deleted them! Why? Because I went here to installed this Firefox plug-in which indicated that my page had 82 outgoing links. Someone who specializes in SEO told me 82 was way too high a number and that they took away from my internal link structure. So I tried to reduce outgoing links by cutting out tags and categories. I now have 48 outgoing links. The problem is that I cannot delete the majority of those links because they are part of WordPress. What should I do about the outbound link #?

    • @Kala
      At present you have only “photography” so if I’m a reader searching for a photo of a grasshopper on a flower I’m not going to pursue search engine results that state anything other than “photography, grasshopper, and flower” all in the same search result entry. Keeping a balance between outbound and inbound links is important but chopping outgoing links to create a balance when what you are chopping is keywords, categories and tags makes little sense to me. What would make more sense IMHO is to set the goal of securing more backlinks. I’d like to recommend this blog to you as it has free SEO tutorials Also note that your blog may benefit from you joining online photography forums, groups, etc.

  8. Thank you for teaching people how to blog. I am kind of lazy most of the time, but will consider your hints a great deal.

  9. Timethief, I’ve commented before about how helpful your blog has been, especially to those of us who are new to blogging.

    I am wondering about something specific to my blog and I hope it is ok to ask it here. If not, is it possible for you to send me a reply by e-mail? My question is this: My blog is 2 months old. My website grade is 84. I’m in the top 20% per Alexa with almost 1,700 backlinks and over 200 Google indexed pages. But my google page rank is zero! What can I do to improve this OR is this a reflection of how old my blog is?

    I would so much appreciate your help on this. My goal for 2010 is to improve this darn page rank!!

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