It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of setting goals, both personally and professionally. Goals help organizations and individuals to focus their energy and to define priorities. Secondly goals also monitor the performance of certain activities, making it possible to revise and adapt the overall strategy along the way.
On the previous post of this series (read here) we talked about the mission statement and the vision. Apart from the vision, which can be seen as the ultimate goal, any company or project will also need smaller goals to guide the day to day decisions.
Suppose you have a blog about weight-loss. Your vision is to become the most popular weight-loss blog on the entire Internet. That is the ultimate goal, but you know that you will not achieve it overnight therefore you will need medium-term and short-term goals. The medium-term goal could be to hit the mark of 5000 RSS subscriber within 2 years, while the short-term goal could be to increase the blog traffic by 20% every month.
Once you have a set of goals in place it will be much easier to coordinate your actions, for example in order to achieve the short-term goal of increasing traffic by 20% every month you could commit yourself to comment on 5 new blogs every day.
Bear in mind, however, that you should follow some guidelines when setting goals, such as:
Goals must be measurable: Your goal for this year could be “I want to improve my blog in 2007 and make it very popular”Ãƒâ€šÃ‚. That is for sure a nice goal, but how are you going to know whether you accomplished it or not by the end of the year? Goals must be measurable so that you can track performance and be sure about whether you are hitting them or not. Use numbers, percentages, time frames and so on.
Goals should be realistic: If you are just starting out with a blog it would be really cool to to setup a goal like the following “Within six months I want to be receiving 10,000 unique visitors daily and generating $5,000 in Adsense revenues”. It would be cool but useless. Goals must be realistic and achievable, otherwise they will discourage rather than motivate you. Do not worry about stretching it a little bit, just make sure that you are not overshooting.
Goals must be consistent: You must not only believe that you will be able to achieve the goals, but you must also believe that they are important in your life and that they are not conflicting with other values. If you have a full-time job and a family to care it would make little sense to set a goal like “to blog at least 6 hours daily”Ãƒâ€šÃ‚.
As a blogger there are several parameters that you can use to set goals, including:
- RSS subscribers
- number of comments per post/week
- number of pages viewed by each visitor
- Alexa rank
- Technorati rank
- revenues generated
- search engine rank positions
- popularity on social bookmarking sites (i.e. Digg)
- popularity on online communities (i.e. MyBlogLog)
Finally, make sure that you record your goals, either on paper on by publishing them on your blog. The mere act of recording the goals will reinforce them on your head and motivate you to start acting immediately.