Blogging 101

Blogging Goals For Year Three

Introduction

Like last year, I am starting my third year as a blogger with a set of tangible and a few intangible but essential blogging goals. The ultimate aim is to transform FertileBrains (over time) into one of THE PLACES in the blogosphere where you enjoy spending a few minutes daily. Like last year, this year also I hope to make FertileBrains a place for shared learning on all things parenting (and occasionally, blogging) and will bank heavily on your support for doing so. As I go into my third year as a blogger, let me take a moment to thank you for being a part of my blogging journey so far and I hope that moving forward also you will keep tumbling down the rabbit hole with me here at FertileBrains.

Now, onto the goals till our next stop!

First Goal: Traffic

Traffic is, of course, any blog’s bread and butter. Without traffic and ever-increasing eyeballs on your content, what’s the point of even having a blog? One might as well keep an old-school hard copy journal instead! So, yes, the first goal that we need to cater to this year is traffic.

Daily/Monthly Page Views:

Right now, FertileBrains daily and monthly page views are still partly dependent on the new posts on the site. Even though unlike its’ first year, it has stopped going to 0 (on the days I don’t post) and has consistently stayed above 100 even when I took prolonged breaks from the blog, but that is not enough (It never is!).

So, the goal for this year is to shift the bottom line from 100 to 1000 (at least) for daily page views and consequently, the monthly page views north of 30,000. So in terms of this point, the individual goals are:

  1. Increase daily page views to greater than 1000
  2. Increase monthly page views to greater than 40,000
  3. Decrease dependence of page views on new posts
Monthly Unique Visitors

FertileBrains is yet to cross the 10,000 mark in monthly unique visitors (The highest we have reached so far is approx. 8.5K). But this year, I want to be a little more aggressive than before. So yes, this goal will be as follows:

  1. Increase daily unique visitors to greater than 500
  2. Increase monthly unique visitors to greater than 20,000

Second Goal: Engagement

High page views and monthly unique visitors mean nothing if the visitors are not invested in what you have to say. So, yes, the second top goal for this year is engagement. And this time around, I am focused on almost all aspects of this goal including but not limited to the below points.

social-proof

Monthly Comments Received

I haven’t paid much attention to the comments section until recently because well if there is one thing I have learned from publishing on authority sites is that you have to take each comment with a pinch of salt. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that comments are not important, especially when they are on your own personal blogging site.

When people outside your family and friends circle start commenting on your posts, that is when you know that there is some value in what you are blogging about. So, yes, for this year, I have a couple of goals for the comments received on FertileBrains:

  1. Increase monthly comments to greater than 10.
  2. Increase total yearly comments to greater than 500.
Bounce Rate

Nothing says crappy engagement like a high bounce rate; and although bounce rates from 70 to 98% are perfectly acceptable limits in the blogging universe, I would rather stick to the lower limit.

So, yes, this year I would love to confine my bounce rate to somewhere between 70 – 75%.

Average Session Duration

Again, a higher session duration means people are staying on your site reading your content for longer instead of just browsing through quickly and leaving. This year, the target is to have the average session duration somewhere between 2.5 – 3 minutes.

Number of Pages Per Session

If a user stops by to read something and is captivated enough to browse more than a single page on your blog, that is ideal. So, this year, the target is to have an average page per session value between 2.5 to 3 pages.

Total Email Subscribers

This is one very important metric that I have not paid much attention to. And it is not a good idea for any blogger to ignore building his/her mailing list. Well, we live and learn. So yes, there are two targets associated with email subscribers this year in my mind for FertileBrains:

  1. Increase the total number of email subscribers to more than 1000.
  2. Increase the email click-through rate to 10%.
Total Facebook Fans

facebook-tips

Facebook is my second best social network after Pinterest in terms of site referrals. But if you see the number of fans FertileBrains has on Facebook after two whole years…well, it’s dismal, to say the least! What can I say? I am not a very “Facebook”y person 😉 and never know what and how much to share and so tend to err on the side of caution.

Anyway, this year, I am segregating Facebook from other social networks and assigning this mammoth social media platform it’s very own target of increasing the fan base to 1000 (You can help me too by liking FertileBrains on Facebook and asking your friends to like us too. Pretty, please!).

Total Pinterest Followers

Like I keep saying over and over again, I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon very late and was pleasantly surprised by its humongous reach! So, I intend to keep focusing on Pinterest this year also and hope that I will be able to increase my follower count there to 4000.

Total Fans On Other Social Media

I have a hoard of other social media channels which are less than optimally used for FertileBrains blog promotions. In my defense, a one-woman-army can only do so much! Anyway, this year, I want to continue focusing on the other social media channels too (within reason) and keep increasing my reach there over time. The top three I want to focus on include: Twitter, Instagram and Google+ and I hope that cumulatively I will be able to increase the total number of followers there to 10000.

Post Share Count

During my first year as a blogger, I was over the moon when one of my posts was shared more than 100 times on social media. This year, 100+ post shares came easily for many posts on FertileBrains and the bar was raised for highest shares to more than 8K shares.

So, for the third year of blogging, I am hoping that I would be able to get at least a couple of my posts to even higher shares (greater than 15K).

Third Goal: Profit

Ah yes, profit. All the above goals and targets are nice to have achievements. But if FertileBrains is not able to garner some profit from all the hard work that I have been putting into it, well, it won’t exactly seem completely worth it now, will it?

So yes, this year, the target is to not just to break even (which I was able to achieve with some spare change last year, thank you very much!), but also to make some part-time cash (if not more) from blogging.

Side Note: What I have learned this year is that it is somewhat easy to make a good deal of money from blogging if you are willing to take up each and every sponsorship deal that comes your way. Believe it or not, I have said “No” 3x times more than I have said “Yes” to all the sponsorships that I was asked for last year. But if you indiscriminately take up everything, it will harm your credibility in the long run. (During the first year if someone had told me I would be saying “No” so frequently, I would have laughed at their faces, but like I said, that’s the nature of the blogging beast and you just live and learn!). I will talk more about this and the lessons learned in a separate post, hopefully soon! 

Fourth Goal: Networking

During my first year as a blogger, I mainly worked in isolation. But like any other vocation, networking is part and parcel of the job description. A whole lot of what I have achieved during my second year as a blogger is due to networking with like-minded fellow bloggers and learning from the ones who have tread this path before me. So this year, I would like to continue to watch and learn and share and grow together with my tribe of bloggers.

Publish Guest Posts on FertileBrains

Publishing guest posts seem easy enough. You invite people to post on your site and when they submit, you publish them, right?

Wrong! There are a thousand things that need to be done behind the scenes before you can accept and publish a guest post on your site.

During my second year as a blogger, I have published 15 guest posts and I have learned 20 things I did not know about the process (This will need a whole different post, I will talk about it soon too, I promise!). So, this year, the guest blogging goal is a little less important for me.

I will still continue publishing guest posts on FertileBrains as and when a post makes the cut, but this time, I will be happy with less than 15 too.

Monthly Publications on Authority Sites

A few days after I published my blogging goals for year two, I was contacted by BabyCenter Blog’s assistant editor to write a post for them. Instead of hiding in my shell like usual, I decided to take a leap of faith and submit one of my previously published posts to her.

To my pleasant surprise, it caught on fire the day it was published on their blog. Before I knew it, the post was shared more than 6K times and discussed a lot on their social media pages (You have to remember that this happened when my highest post shares were 100+, so it was a super-big deal for me!). I saw a corresponding surge of traffic to my site too.

For the first time, I believed that I could actually write. Maybe not like the best writers out there, but in a voice that mattered and in a way that was my very own and yet others could identify with it too.

Since then I have submitted my work to many sites, sometimes original work, sometimes republications and have been lucky enough to be paid for some of my articles too!

But that is only part of the story, the happy part. And there is a sad part too. It is called the cycle of rejection (besides the cycle of nasty mean comments, which by the way is a whole different story!).

My posts have been rejected 2x times more than they have been published and it is very normal. As any fellow blogger/writer would tell you, it is the common cycle that every single one of them goes through. It is difficult, it is demotivating and a thousand other things. But it is a part and parcel of growing as a serious writer. And I am prepared to brace my share of rejections in the process too.

So yes, coming back to the goals – The reason why I wrote this giant prolog is to give you some background into the reason why this goal says what it says:

  1. Submit at least 2 posts per month to Authority Sites
  2. Get published at least once on Authority Sites per month
  3. Try to get through the door of ScaryMommy and Huffington Post.

Fifth Goal: Launch Digital Product

Oh yes, I have been going yap-yap about my software products (one for parents and one for bloggers) for quite some time now. But there are only so many hours in a day!

Anyway, this year, I intend to launch at least one of those digital products on my blog and believe it or not, this is a target I would hate to not achieve.

Sixth Goal: Blog Performance, SEO, And Other Optimizations

Finally, the last but very important goal from long-term sustainability, growth, and blog maintenance. This has been on my TODO list for ages and so, this time, I am putting it down in writing so that I have to be more accountable.

Load Time

After my theme change recently to a premium one, the load times have become a little more respectable than before, but it’s still not enough. So, this time, I want to take up performance optimization more aggressively and bring down my site’s load time under 2 seconds. Quite difficult, I know. But even a few milliseconds may make a whole lot of difference. So, I will keep trying.

SEO Optimization

There are some old posts which are stubbornly clinging to amber in terms of SEO Score. This year, I intend to change all of that to green.

Totally Unrelated Note: As per my son, my favorite color is Green. I don’t know why he keeps saying that because I am more of a black and white kind of person, but he refuses to budge! Kids, right?

Now back to the goals. I need to fix redirection 404 errors that I have on my site this year because I am tired of seeing them on my site logs.

Blog Sanitization

Blog sanitization for me is many folds. Let me see how many I can complete before the year is out:

  1. Delete unused images
  2. Delete unused drafts of posts, pages etc.
  3. Re-read old posts and fix their formatting, structure, language etc.
  4. Remove old posts which are no longer relevant to the direction this blog has taken
Review Goals

And last, but not the least, every time I achieve a target (for two consecutive months), I intend to review the target and up the goals. Why? Because I am lazy. If halfway through the year, I achieve the targets, I will just stop doing anything for the rest of the year! And that is equivalent to a death sentence in the blogging world.

Over To You

Yay! You made it to the end of the post. Here’s your free printable as a thank you for reading 🙂

free-download-blogging-goals-yearly-checklist
Yearly Blogging Goals PDF Checklist

If you would like to set similar goals for yourself, here’s the PDF version of the Goal Sheet for your perusal.

 

Not quite what you had in mind or want more? No issues! Check out this fabulous exhaustive list of goals that you can customize for your blog as per your needs.

So what are your goals for your blog? What goal do you think I have missed? Don’t forget to let me know in the comments section below.

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