How to Set Blogging Goals:5 Steps to Smart Goal Planning for Bloggers (+ Real Blog Goal Examples)

Let’s talk about setting blogging goals. Maybe you’ve been kicking it as a side blogger for a while, but you’re ready to take your blog to the next level—you’ll need real blog goals to get you there. In this guide, we’ll break down the process of smart goal planning for bloggers, no matter where you’re at today.

How to Set Blogging Goals for Yourself (Blog Goals Planning Process) and Real Blog Goal Examples Icon

If you’re ready to take your blog to the next level, you’ll need real blogging goals in order to get you there.

You want to create more than a part-time income, and you’re tired of relatively low traffic. You may even be experiencing a backward trend—a downward tick in traffic, email subscribers, social media followers and income.

Are you ready to turn things around? Do you want to go from mediocrity to booming?

I remember when I decided to quit my job and start investing in my blog full time. It was scary and life-changing, but I also felt confident because I was ready with smart blogging goals.

If you’re ready to kick things into high gear, the best thing you can use is SMART blog goals to get you there. Whether you’re starting a blog for the first time or taking your existing site more seriously, blogging goals give you a clear direction so you know which steps to take for success.

Not sure what SMART blogging goals are? I’ll take some time to break them down for you and give you practical, actionable steps (including real blog goal examples) you can implement to take your blog to the next level.

How to Set Blogging Goals: 5 Easy Steps to Goal Planning for Bloggers (+ Examples)

  1. The Importance of Setting Blog Goals (Today)
  2. SMART Blogging for Effective Goal Planning
  3. Step 1: Set Specific Blog Goals (+ Real Examples)
  4. Step 2: Choose Measurable Goals
  5. Step 3: Pick Achievable Blogging Goals
  6. Step 4: Decide on Relevant Goals for Your Blog
  7. Step 5: Time-Bound Goals Will Keep You on Track

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The Importance of Setting Blog Goals (Today)

But first, why am I so certain blog goals are essential to rocketing your blog to success?

Because without goals for your blog, it’s like a ship captain setting sail with no idea where they’re headed.

They may have a great ship, be able to navigate by the stars, and have the perfect crew, but without a destination, they’ll be forever lost at sea.

In other words, you might be working in a great blog niche with a talent for writing, but without goals, you’re going to struggle to advance.

You’ll dabble in email marketing, skip to social media for a bit, write a blog post or two, and finish up by scanning a couple of SEO articles.

Sure, these are all important parts of blogging, but without direction, it’s a lot of fluff without results.

Making the leap from a part-time gig to a full-time blogging extraordinaire takes sitting down and really fleshing out what you want from your blog and deciding upon which steps you need to take to get there.

That’s exactly what we’re doing here together.

SMART Blogging for Effective Goal Planning

Ready to start establishing your blogging goals? I’ll take you step-by-step through SMART goals so you can put them into practice for your blog.

What are SMART blog goals?

S.M.A.R.T. blogging is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific goals
  • Measurable goals
  • Achievable goals
  • Relevant goals
  • Time-bound goals

Using the SMART goal-setting framework for your goal planning exercises will set you down the path to making sure you’re positioning yourself for long-term success.

How to Set Blogging Goals in 5 Easy Steps (+ Examples)

Ryan Robinson Podcaster and Blogger Working in a Coffee Shop

Now without further delay, let’s break down the how (and why) behind setting blogging goals that’ll help you unlock meaningful growth for your blog in the months to come.

Step 1: Set Specific Blog Goals (+ Real Examples to Use)

What are your specific goals for your blog? What do you really want to improve?

Consider some of these blogging goal examples:

  • How much money do you want to make from your blog?
  • What traffic goals do you have?
  • How often do you want to publish to your blog?
  • How much do you want to grow your social media presence?
  • What would you like your email subscriber list to look like?
  • What is your SEO strategy? How well are you performing with SEO traffic today?
  • How many backlinks do you have coming to your blog?

Instead of just saying “I’d like to make more money,” or “I want more traffic,” be more specific with your blog goals. How much daily or monthly traffic do you want to attract? Are you hoping for 100 people a day? 1,000 people a day? 10,000 people a day?

What are your actual blog income goals? How much do you need to make in order to be a full-time blogger? What is the gap between what you’re earning from your blog now versus what you need or want to make?

How often do you currently publish new blog posts? How often would you like to post new content on your blog?

Let’s use a hypothetic set of specific blog goal examples one might use:

  • Publish new blog content once a week
  • Grow to getting 25,000 visitors a month
  • $40,000 in annual blog income
  • 10,000 email subscribers
  • Double social media followers
  • Improve SEO rankings for all content
  • Increase domain authority

These may not be your exact blog goals, but we’ll use them as a reference point throughout this guide, so you can see how SMART blogging goals work in action.

Step 2: Choose Measurable Goals

Another important step in SMART blogging is to choose goals that are measurable.

Many of the goals we created above are easy to measure.

You’ll know if you’re posting new content, how many visitors you’re getting, and if your income is growing. You can make it even easier to measure by breaking down these goals into smaller increments.

Break Up Your Blogging Goals for Measuring Success

Creating Measurable Blogging Goals is Essential to Success (Image)

Let’s look at the income goal. You want to make 40,000 annually, but this can be broken down into months or even days for a better idea of how much you need to make.

  • That’s $3,333 a month
  • or $109 a day

Keep in mind, though, that you may not be reaching your daily income goals as soon as you start. You might make $50 a day now, and $200 a day by the end of the year.

You may want to increase your income goal incrementally by day or month to reach the $40,000 mark.

Your blogging goal may be:

  • $60 a day in September
  • $80 a day in October
  • $100 a day in November

The same is true for the visitors you attract to your blog.

Let’s say you’re currently getting 5,000 visitors a month. Setting your traffic goals by month makes sense because you’re probably not going to jump from 5,000 to 25,000 immediately. You may want to say:

  • 6,000 visitors in March
  • 8,000 visitors in April
  • 15,000 visitors in May

…and so on, until you’re consistently hitting that 25,000 mark.

Something else to understand about blogging is, you’re going to pick up momentum as you go.

It’s hard to clear the initial hurdle of the early days of few visitors and low income. You’ll likely have a harder time going from 0-5,000 visitors a month than you will going from 10,000 to 20,000 visitors a month.

Get the Right Tools to Measure Your Blogging Goals

Blogging tools can help you keep track of your goals and measure how well you’re succeeding. Some of my favorite blogging tools for these metrics are:

  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics keeps track of a myriad of metrics including visitors, what content is being viewed, traffic sources, new vs. returning visitors, and more.
  • Site Kit by Google: This free tool is a WordPress plugin that allows you to connect your WordPress blog to Google’s suite of web tools, including Analytics, Search Console, AdSense and Speed. This means you can view all of the essential data about how your blog is performing, without having to ever leave the WordPress dashboard.
  • Yoast SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important part of a good blogging strategy, and Yoast SEO is a free WordPress plugin that can help you determine if your blog posts are SEO-friendly. This tool can help you write better headlines and meta descriptions, and will also give advice on how long your post should be, how often you should use a keyword (or keyword phrase), and how many links you should use.
  • Ahrefs: Ahrefs is another awesome blogging tool that can help your blog with SEO goals. With detailed data on competitors in your niche, site optimization tips and analysis, and keyword research this tool packs a big punch. It also has a free backlink checker so you can see how well your website is performing in terms of domain authority.
  • ConvertKit, Aweber, or Mailchimp: Those of you interested in growing your email subscriber list will benefit from any of these email marketing tools. They help you keep track of your email subscribers and offer detailed analytics on how well you’re performing. My personal recommendation is ConvertKit for bloggers of all different stages of growth, since they rolled out a robust free plan recently. You can check out my review of these three tools and decide which one would work best for your blog.

Step 3: Pick Achievable Blogging Goals

A stands for achievable.

We all like the idea of shooting for the stars, but there has to be an element of reality when you’re choosing your blogging goals. You’re going to be the first person to feel like a failure when you’re unable to reach unattainable goals.

The hard, honest truth is that blogging takes real time and effort. The hard work you put in today may not reap real benefits until months, or years, down the line.

You don’t instantly rank #1 on a difficult Google search the first day you publish an article.

You’re probably not going to have a million followers on social media with your first, second, or twentieth post. You’re not going to make thousands of dollars from affiliate marketing after posting two or three blog posts.

Having a successful blog means consistently doing the hard work day after day, month after month, and year after year. It also means setting attainable goals.

You know you want more visitors to your blog.

If you’re currently bringing in 1,000 visitors a month to your blog it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to reach 500,000 visitors in a short period of time. If you currently have 50 email subscribers, you’re probably not going to have 10,000 subscribers by next month.

If you’re making $10 a day now, chances are you’re not going to become a millionaire anytime soon.

How to Know if Your Blog Goals are Achievable

How do you know if your blogging goals are achievable? This is a great question, and the answer isn’t going to look the same for every blogger.

The first thing to do when setting SMART achievable goals is to take an inventory of where you are now. Using our list of blog goals from earlier in this guide, ask yourself a series of questions like:

  • How many visitors a month are you attracting?
  • What is your current annual income?
  • How many people are subscribed to your email list?
  • How many social media followers do you have now?
  • What number of backlinks does your blog currently have?
  • How often are you posting content?
  • How many pages/posts need an SEO update?

Another question to ask yourself is how far have you come since you started blogging.

Analyze the days, months, or years of data that you have about your blog.

What trends do you see? Are you seeing a steady rise in visitors, profit, and email subscribers? Were there times you were seeing more traffic than you are now? If yes, what was happening when you were more successful? Were you posting more? Promoting more?

Once you’ve compiled this data, imagine what can be possible for your blog.

  • If you currently average one blog post a month, are you capable of posting four times a month?
  • Do you realistically have the time, energy, and resources to post that often?
  • If your life doesn’t allow you to post that often, are you willing to give up something else in order to have that time available?

If your goal is to make $40,000 a year, but you’re making very little money blogging, it’s probably not a realistic goal unless you make some major changes to your blog. It may be time to evaluate why you’re not making money.

Do you have a high volume of visitors but very little profit? It could be that you’re attracting visitors, but they’re not converting to any type of profit.

Perhaps you don’t have enough sources of income on your blog, or it could be that your content isn’t written in a way that converts to sales.

This is the time to be honest with yourself about what is and isn’t working with your blog. It’s also the time to really evaluate how much time you want to invest in your blog.

If you’re only able to spend one or two hours a month blogging, you’re not likely to see a huge improvement. In fact, your blog probably won’t ever pick up momentum if you can’t or aren’t willing to invest some hard work and time into it.

Step 4: Decide on Relevant Goals For Your Blog

The fourth part of the SMART blogging acronym is R, which stands for relevant. What does it mean to choose relevant blogging goals? It means choosing goals that make sense for your blog.

Don’t choose your goals based on what other people are doing, choose your goals based on what works for you and your blog.

For example, one of our imaginary goals is to double social media followers.

Social media can be a really helpful way to drive traffic to your blog, but it can also be a colossal letdown. Simply having followers on social media doesn’t mean you’re increasing your blog traffic.

Many social media platforms intentionally limit the number of people that see outside links. So you may be posting links to your blog on Twitter or Facebook, only to realize a limited number of your followers are seeing it.

If you’re a social media guru and know how to work those algorithms, choosing to grow your social media presence as a goal can be a really helpful tool.

BUT…

If you’ve been pouring a lot of time and effort into social media platforms and not driving traffic to your blog, it’s probably time to pump the brakes on that and use your precious time on something more rewarding.

Step 5: Time-Bound Goals Will Keep You on Track

Setting Blogging Goals that are Time-Bound (Example) Image of Clock
The last SMART blogging goal is T for time-bound.

Having your own blogging business gives you a lot of personal freedom.

You can choose your schedule, what you want to write about and your working location… you can blog at home, in the park, or at your local coffee shop. You can even travel the world and continue blogging.

Starting a blogging business ALSO means that you need to be your own boss.

Give yourself deadlines just like you would have if you were working for a boss. If you had a corporate job, your boss wouldn’t say, “Go ahead and get me that report whenever you have the time and feel like it.”

Instead, they’d say, “Your deadline is 3:00pm on Friday.”

In order to succeed as a blogger, you need to establish that same kind of discipline. No one will be there to force you to work on your blog. The initiative starts and ends with you.

Use Successful Habits to Effectively Reach Your Goals

It’s my opinion that you can’t achieve SMART goals without using smart habits. You may want 25,000 visitors a month to your blog, but what are you going to do to make that happen? Goals are great, but how do you achieve them?

Goals are the destinations, but smart habits are the vehicle that will get you there.

For example, you know you need to create and promote content in order to attract traffic.

But are you actually intentionally setting time aside to do this? Are you organizing your week so you know you’ll have time to work on your blog, or are you trying to randomly fit it into your overly busy life?

If you’re not physically blocking off at least a few hours a week to work on your blog, you’re not going to see the achievements you want.

You may have intermittent success, but you’re not going to see that consistent ongoing success you need to be a full-time blogger.

If you’re interested in learning more about setting up these habits, my eBook The Habits of Highly Successful Bloggers will teach you how.

I cover three habits any blogger can start doing and benefit from. This isn’t niche-specific, so you can apply these concepts to any blog.

The habits I share in my book won’t provide immediate results. You’re not going to see an explosion of visitors because you used smart habits for a week.

If you are willing to use them for six months to a year, then you will see real growth and progress. With consistent use of these smart habits, you’ll see a substantial increase in readers, subscribers, and profits.

Use a Helpful Blog Planner

Don’t worry, if you’re still not sure you can stick to these smart habits, I have another resource for you: a free printable blog planner. Setting deadlines is much easier when you have every step written down in a planner.

My blog planning bundle includes:

  • Brainstorming prompts for blog topics including tons of great blog post ideas to write about
  • A keyword research checklist, which helps with SEO and makes sure your content is relevant to your readers
  • SEO checklist. Are you using all the best SEO practices with every post? Prioritizing SEO when you first publish means less work in the future
  • Promotion checklist to help plan where and how often are you going to promote your blog content
  • Content calendar for visually planning your blog posts to see when you’ll write and publish your new content
  • A to-do list with weekly deadlines and examples of tasks to perform for greater blogging success

You can grab my planning bundle of resources for free today.

Are You Ready to Set the Right Blogging Goals Today?

How are you feeling now? Do you feel pumped? Are you ready to take on the world and knock it out of the park with your blog?

I hope this guide on setting SMART blogging goals will inspire you to set (meaningful) new goals for your blog—and I want to be a part of your journey here.

Built to Blog Online Course with Ryan Robinson Hero Image (Camera and Microphone)

Whether you’re a brand new blogger or you’ve been blogging on the side for years, the choice to step into full-time blogging is both thrilling and intimidating.

Blogging goals are an important step in becoming a full-time blogger, but remember your results are individual.

One blogger may achieve a greater level of success than another, even when they’re both using SMART goals and working hard.

If you’re looking for even more information about how to become a successful blogger, I always point my visitors in the direction of my ultimate guide: How to Start a Blog

Many of you have already started your blog, but this post is packed (I mean packed) full of the best and most up-to-date information I have about how to run a successful blog business. You don’t have to be a brand new blogger to learn something new to help boost your blogging business.

What about you?

What are some of the most essential successes or failures you’ve experienced as a blogger? What’s kept you from going full-time as a blogger? Do you feel ready now? Have you tried SMART blogging goals with your blog? Was it successful?

Leave your comments below. I’d love to hear about your experiences!


Want My Free Blog Business Plan Template?

Grab my free blog business plan template in both Google Doc and PDF format (that’s helped me build a six-figure blog) and reach 500,000+ monthly readers today.

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Hi I'm Ryan Robinson

Full-time blogger, podcaster and side project aficionado. Join me here, on ryrob.com to learn how to start a blog, make money blogging and grow a profitable side business. I also write for publications like Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, Business Insider and more. Let’s chat on Twitter about business and side projects.

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8 replies to “How to Set Blogging Goals: 5 Easy Steps to Goal Planning for Bloggers (+ Blog Goal Examples)”

  1. These blogging goals are the best I’ve seen online so far, but the problem people have is following these plans with the zeal to reach it.

    Reply
  2. Thanks Ryan
    It is helpful to see some figures as to realistic goals to set.

    Reply
  3. Don’t understand how come this guide is so relatable on every aspect. I copied all goals in my notebook. Will make a plan like this for next two months.

    Reply