In my first article I mentioned that I think it's important to treat this as a business. Blogging is a service business; a service of sharing information - information that gets monetized. In business there are concepts you apply to ensure you maintain clearly defined objectives, goals, and purpose to stay focused and on track. Since I have established my vision and mission statement, my next step is to set goals for my blog. I'm going to refer to good ole' Business Management 101 for this; following the fundamentals of setting SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic (or results oriented), and time bound. As I've mentioned in my previous articles, I've owned this site for about 7 years now, but I never knew what I wanted this site to be... I just thought the name was cool and knew that one day I would turn it into something. Over the years this site has been many, MANY, things; a social bookmarking site, a web directory, a classified ads site, a random blog, and a backlink site to my other sites - to name a few... all in hopes of lazily generating traffic. With all my feable efforts to find lazy ways to generate traffic to this site, all have been failures. This site is essentially starting from scratch. The only thing it has going for it, that may provide a "leg-up" is how old it is. I add this because my plan is to document my journey to virality and I think it's important that the site starts from scratch and that I am able to share everything I encounter, and what works and doesn't work, from day one, without any advantages... it's a blogumentary.
EeeRRrr- I have to pause - I'm pretty sure that's a term that has already been coined, but if not, you heard it here (first?)-
a Blogumentary. - Lol.
I finally have focus for this site; a purpose. A blog about my quest of virality. With that step one is setting up specific goals. Right now my blogging business is young, so there will only be a few specific goals, and keep in mind as these goals are achieved they will need to be adjusted, or they may need to change completely if I find they aren't meeting the criteria I begin with.
1. 300 visitors a day (within 3 months) - I set this goal because I want this site to have as many pageviews as all my other sites combined.
2. At minimum write 2 articles a week (for 3 months) - It's a little aggressive, but anyone can write an article a week and I want to strive for a little more than "anyone." This will ensure I keep churning out new content, as long as I don't sacrifice quality for quantity. It's important to note, the article writing part of my goals is probably the most important. I need to make sure I'm providing great content, which will require a bit of research. I'll need to review Google's Keyword Planner to make sure that I'm sprinkling in keywords that have a decent level of monthly searches. To me, a decent level is the 1k to 10k range and I want to focus my efforts on low level competitive keywords. This is a new blog so I don't think I'm quite ready to take on the "big dogs" just yet, chasing after competitive keywords. The low competition will also mean, I hope, that if backlinks do a play a role I won't need hundreds of them to place well in the serps.
3. Set up a Twitter account, a Facebook Page, an InstaGram, and get on Pinterest (by the end of October)- This is a quest of virality, and those are the "Big 3" that I assume will help me along in my pursuit of finding out what it takes to become viral. I anticipate I will find other big hitters out there once I start doing my research to see what is popular.
1. In reference to 300 visitors a day, I can measure the success, or progress, of this goal by monitoring my adSense account. I'm coming into this a bit blindly and this is a stretch goal, but I think it's feasible.
2. Writing 2 articles a week is measurable... however, I think the quality of the articles will be directly reflected in my goal above (300 visitors a day). If they aren't quality, then it will hinder my progress and hopes of attaining the level of visitors I'm hoping for. My position in the serps will also be reflected if they are sub-par... Google bots know good quality.
3. Setting up a social presense is critical to virality and while this is a basic goal, I'm going to need to spend time creating these accounts and be actively engaged with other users if there is going to be any success in these social tools.
The key to a good goal is making sure it is achievable, but the goals need to be "stretch" goals; just out of reach. The whole point of a goal is to have something to WORK toward, and the reward is the feeling of personal gratification of reaching that goal because of the hard work you put in trying to achieve it. I think all of these are attainable.
Similar to being achievable, these goals need to be realistic. What's the sense of setting a goal that isn't realistic? You're only setting yourself up for failure and potential disappointment if you strive for a goal that is unrealistic. While I really don't know if 300 visitors a month is realistic, it seems realistic given all my sites combined get this much traffic. A key here, too, is I've set 3 goals that all meet the criteria, so as long as I achieve 2 of the 3 I will feel like I accomplished my objective, and I can modify the goals as time progresses.
If you noticed, all three goals have been bound by time. I have said this is what I want to do, and this is when I hope to have it done by. Being mindful of the time constraint will keep me focused on my goals and help ensure that I work toward them if I want to truly accomplish them. If I didn't put a time constraint on these goals I wouldn't have a "target" or a schedule to work toward and could easily become sidetracked by other peripheral thoughts are tasks.
Now that I have set my goals, I need to put them into action, evaluate the progress, and decide if I need to make adjustments as I get closer to the time period I gave myself. I will periodically come back to this page and make adjustment to these goals and comment on what changes I made, with why they were made. It's also really important to document changes (with the when/why's) for evaluation purposes; lesson's learned.