Blogging is serious business; At least it is for those of us who do this for a living or as a side hustle.
As much as blogging when the fancy strikes you is perfectly acceptable, it’s not a viable option for those who’d like to take up blogging professionally.
One of the biggest takeaways from last year was the idea that I had to set and create visible and actionable goals for each quarter. It was the only way I’d be able to see any organic growth.
So, I did exactly that when I created my 90 Day Blogging Goals.
90 Day Blogging Goals
First, why 90 days? Why not 30 days or a year or a week?
90 Days has proved to be the ‘sweet spot’ when it comes to goal setting.
It’s long enough for you to see visible returns in terms of effort and investment.
It’s short enough for you not to get tired of the journey.
This post explains it rather beautifully.
Using the same principles I outline in this post, my Instagram account grew in organic engagement and growth between June and December 2019.
It was such a huge hit that my Free Instagram Course on the topic now has over 500 students enrolled!
Considering that today is the first day of a new year (and a new decade) it makes perfect sense to create your 90 Day Goals and actually see them through.
In the outline below, I have listed my personal goals. But I would recommend that you use them merely as a benchmark and create your own goals.
Because your progress will be different from mine.
Ergo, your goals would be different as well.
If you’re ready, grab a pen and an open, blank notebook and let’s get started with the 90 Day Goal Setting Plan!
- Pick your Personal 90 Day Blog Goals
- Identify a Main SMART Goal
- Pick a Sub Goal
- Set an Optional Goal
- Decide how much time you can spend on your goals
- Identify personal priorities
- Decide on posting frequency
- Identify your content buckets
- Eliminate Time Wasting activities
- Spend time intelligently on networking
- Gather your Resources
- Organize your Content
- Bookmark Relevant content on Pocket
- Block Days of the week for different tasks
- Create a Goals Tracker
- Set Weekly Targets
- Review Your 90 Day Goals
Pick your Personal 90 Day Blog Goals
This is kind of important and necessary.
As a blogger, what specific goals do you have in mind?
Take about 15 minutes to list out your goals for the next 90 days.
Determine how many goals you can manage? Do you think you can handle 3? Is two too many? Perhaps one goal is all you can take on.
Whatever works for you, go with that.
Be as specific as possible. I’ll go into detail on how to do this in the steps below.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- Do you want more traffic or more engagement on your content?
Based on this, you’d have to either go the SEO/Pinterest route or the social media route.
2. Do you want to make money from your blog? Then, you’d have to look at opportunities to monetize such as affiliate marketing, sponsored posts or brand collaborations.
TASK 1: List out your Goals for the 90 Day Period
Identify a Main SMART Goal
If you’ve listed your goals, it’s time to narrow them down next.
First, pick a main goal. This will be the prime focus of your journey for the next 3 months.
I explain how to set SMART goals in brief over here.
In my case, I’ve been blogging for 12 and a half years. And now, I am ready to scale and monetize the blog using passive income.
My primary goal is to increase page views and sessions during a 30-day period to get into a premium ad network such as Monumetric, MediaVine or AdThrive.
Each ad network has different thresholds. Monumetric needs 10,000 page views while MediaVine needs 25,000 sessions in the same period.
So, that would be my main 90-day goal.
Once you pick your goal, list the steps you’d have to follow to achieve it.
For example, to increase page views on my blog via Pinterest and SEO, I’d have to:
- Publish more fresh content each week
- Supplement it with some YouTube videos, if relevant
- Re-share high performing posts on Pinterest and social media
- Update older posts for better SEO
TASK 2: Choose One Primary Goal and List Steps to Take
Pick a Sub Goal
Now that I’ve chosen my main goal, I’d love to pick a goal that aligns with my first one.
It should be something that works in tandem or alongside the existing main goal.
Meaning, I shouldn’t have to invest as much time or energy as goal 1 demands.
So, my second goal would be to increase the number of my e-mail subscribers by at least 500 people by March 31st, 2020.
Since I’d anyway be focusing on building traffic, the natural goal is to want to convert that traffic in some way.
Converting readers to buyers, clients or subscribers are all value-based goals.
My e-mail list is a primary focal point for me, so I’d love to give my readers something of unique value to convert them.
Steps to follow to achieve goal 2:
- Create more content upgrades for older posts
- Create free checklists for targeted posts on the blog
- Create more topic-specific opt-in forms
- Add more Pinterest pins with the intention to build an e-mail list
TASK 3: Choose a related sub-goal for 90 days
Set an Optional Goal
If you’re done with Goals 1 and 2, depending on the bandwidth, time and energy available, set a third goal.
This should be an interest-based goal.
For example, one of the goals I have for 2020 is to launch a paid course.
To that end, I’ve been testing and launching free products for the last six months and the response has been phenomenal.
But I also realise that a paid product needs to be outstanding, in-depth and provide immense value for the reader.
So, if I get time, I’d love to launch the paid product by the end of 90 days.
If I don’t get enough time, I’d simply move this goal to the next quarter. Simple, right?
TASK 4: Pick an optional goal
Decide how much time you can spend on your goals
Now, the next step in your goal setting is to practically determine how much time you have on hand.
Everyone has 24 hours but everyone also has different demands when it comes to figuring out how to spend that time.
Tracking your time is the best way to learn how to chase down your goals on a daily or weekly basis.
Identify personal priorities
You may be wondering what this has to do with 90 day blogging goals.
But a cohesive approach always incorporates these things effectively.
Determine if the blog is a personal priority for you at this stage of your blogging journey.
For me, there are three important priorities at this time:
- My Personal health and Fitness regimen
- My Nutrition Plan
- My Blog’s Organic Growth
Doing this will help you figure out exactly how much time you can actually spend on your blog.
Don’t skip this step.
Decide on posting frequency
Okay, so you’ve figured out how much time you have to work on the blog.
Now, break that down into the number of posts you are able to publish each week.
Remember that the longer your posts, the better they will tend to do in terms of readership, conversions and SEO.
Shoot for at least 1500 to 4000 words in length to be able to do justice to the topic as well as serve your readers.
Ideally, I’d love to post at least twice a week for the next 90 days. Fingers crossed that I manage to do that. 🙂
Identify your content buckets
I love this term that I read about in Lena Gott’s traffic transformation guide (Affiliate link).
Many bloggers will advise you to niche down, which is perfect.
But very few will tell you that you can effectively leverage content niches in multiple buckets.
For example, my broad niche is blogging and social media tips.
But, my content buckets can fall under multiple sub-niches such as:
- Pinterest Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Productivity Tips and Habit building
- Social Media Growth
- Blogging for Beginners
- Affiliate Marketing and how to make money online
When I do this, I easily get multiple topic ideas that I can generate for endless content to publish on the blog.
Eliminate Time Wasting activities
As a person who wishes to leverage SEO and Pinterest traffic, I would need to scale back on activities that do not move the needle forward for my blog.
One of those, for example, is participating in Facebook comment threads.
If you’re a hobby blogger, you’d be familiar with this idea. You post your blog link on a Facebook thread and visit other links on the thread in order to get visitors back to your site.
While this is a good way to network or find other bloggers in your niche, this is a heavy waste of time for serious bloggers.
Instead, use that time to write more search-engine related content, upgrade your posts, create new pins for older posts and target better content upgrades for your subscriber growth.
Spend time intelligently on networking
While Facebook share threads can be a colossal waste of time, the same need not be true of all social media activities.
For example, my most engaged readers and subscribers come from Instagram and Facebook groups where I offer help and tips for free.
Block aside time (up to 30 minutes a day) to be on those platforms where you can leverage the power of networking to achieve your specific goals.
Be helpful, offer support and pointers to other bloggers in your niche. This builds a valuable factor of trust and you begin to be seen as an authority in your niche.
Remember, if the action serves your blogging goal, then it makes sense to follow through and spend time on it.
Gather your Resources
Now that you’ve worked out your blogging goals and the time needed as well as the content buckets you’d be focusing on, it’s time to take action.
To help you achieve each goal, you’d need tools and resources.
So, this will take a bit of time if you have a lot of material already, but do this step so that you don’t waste time looking for it later.
Specifically for blogging goals, the best resources would be the following:
- Free Blogging Courses
- Paid Blogging Courses
- Checklists relevant to your goal
- E-books pertinent to your goal(s)
- Blog Posts by experts that will help you reach your goals
Organize your Content
For Downloadable material (e-books/checklists/courses), create target folders on your desktop to store the content.
Here’s a quick video to show how I have organised my own content resources on the desktop.
Here’s the post I reference in the video above: How to Organize your Computer Desktop like a Boss!
For online courses and content, I use Trello and Google Sheets to keep track of where my content is stored.
I started using Trello six months ago and it’s perfect for all bloggers. Best part is that it’s totally free to use!
A detailed tutorial on how to use Trello will be up soon on the blog.
Here’s an overview of my paid Courses Folder, organized by niche, on Trello.
Bookmark Relevant content on Pocket
The internet is a vast and massive resource library for the eager learner.
It can also be very overwhelming.
So what I do is whenever I find content pertinent to my target goal, I first bookmark it on Pocket and assign a tag to it.
For example, a post on building backlinks can be tagged as ‘SEO’.
A post on affiliate marketing can be tagged as ‘making money’.
When I sit down to study the content, I have to search just the relevant labels and find what I need. It cannot be simpler than this 🙂
Block Days of the week for different tasks
I love the idea of time blocking but I love the idea of day blocking even more.
The principle is quite simple and I’ve explained it in detail on this Instagram post below.
Effectively, it helps to set aside different days of the week for different tasks. This helps you work towards your goals in a more sustainable fashion.
For a sample weekly day-blocking schedule, see my Trello board here. Feel free to make a copy for yourself!
Create a Goals Tracker
The only way to keep track of your goals is to put it in writing.
This will include an overview of your 90 day goals, your monthly task checklist, your weekly targets and your day-specific checklist.
WHOA! That sounds time consuming! And yes, it can be.
Fortunately, for you, I’ve created a free template that you can use for your own goals.
Click here to view the template and make a copy for yourself. Add your own goals and steps to follow for each target that you’ve chosen.
You can do this in under an hour for the entire 90 day period.
I’ll also share a video very soon on how to actually use the template for your own benefit. 🙂
Set Weekly Targets
It’s time to narrow down the focus from the broad to the specific.
You’ve got your 3 month goals in place as well as the resources available.
Now it’s time to create your weekly targets.
The benefits of weekly goals are such that they help you visualise exactly how your goals are progressing and if they are on track.
For instance, if my aim is to increase page views, I first determine how many page views I got the previous week.
Assuming I got 1000 page views last week, my goal should be to target at least 200 page views more for the week ahead.
Then, I should drill down to see which of my traffic sources sends me the highest volume of page views and the quality of them too.
Sample Weekly Targets for my Primary and Sub Goals would be:
- Publish 2 New blog Posts
- Update 2 old posts for SEO
- Add 2 Pins each to 3 older posts
- Check Google Analytics for Progress on Page views as compared to previous week
- Check MailerLite Subscriber growth compared to previous week
Review Your 90 Day Goals
Towards the end of the 90 day period, set aside 3 to 4 days to assess and review how you’ve progressed with your goals.
Did you manage to achieve what you set out to do?
What worked and what didn’t?
Where are the areas that have scope for improvement?
This may seem rather elaborate when it comes to blogging, but creating a schedule and setting actionable blogging goals is the only way to actually achieve what you set out to do.
Follow these steps given and I guarantee that you’d see your blog grow significantly in the next 90 days.