This post was most recently updated on April 19th, 2022
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[This article was originally published in January 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.]
It’s been a year and seven months since I started Merry of August (June 2020) and two months for Cappuccino Cushy (December 2021). It has been a STEEP learning curve – especially setting up your goals for new bloggers like me. I knew nothing about this work until I threw myself into the wolves!
Many bloggers start blogs these days with the dream of millions of readers and making large amounts of money. When I first started, I wanted to make a list of my big dreams that were realistic but wasn’t sure what specific numbers I should be aiming for.
Should I focus on traffic? Social media? Money? It’s all so overwhelming in the beginning! And I’m alone.
While it is possible to build blogs that are widely read and profitable and there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big – the reality is that it takes time and a lot of work to build these kinds of blogs.
Could I quit my job because I was making 10k/month instantly from my blog? Could I get 10k views/month looking at my articles in my first year of blogging? I wasn’t sure. Probably not.
New bloggers would do well to spend more time thinking about their ‘first steps’ than just the big picture dreams and goals that they have. I know some bloggers had some very lofty goals for their blog. I reflected back when reading some comments or questions on my posts, I felt that in addition to our big dreams we had, I wondered if we might also benefit from having some realistic goals for the short term.
When I published my blog report in 2020, I received so much feedback and questions both on my Instagram and blog. I wanna say thank you to these supportive bloggers out there for the positive feedback, it does encourage me to do MORE this year!
I appreciate it when other bloggers are transparent with their blogging journey so I want to be completely transparent from the beginning.
I want to share with you the top 5 goals for new bloggers should be able to accomplish in their first year!
Because I work from home, I can dedicate so many hours a week to my blog. So what are some S.M.A.R.T. goals for new bloggers in their first year?
goals for new bloggers that might be a good place to start
Have at least 20 published and 10 more scheduled articles to publish. Publish your article consistently. If you are able to publish one article per week, that’s totally fine – as long as you’re consistent with your schedule.
I hit 70+ published articles after seven months of blogging because I started with three articles/week. In 2021, I changed it to two articles/week and start 2022 with three articles/week (can be more because of an unexpected schedule).
Other than published articles, engagement on your blog is also important.
Get the first comment from a stranger. This may mean tweaking your posts to include a stronger call to action and you may have to get out there and promote your posts on social networks. You want one comment from a stranger.
You might like to read:
- Before and After Publishing A Blog Post: 18 Checklist To Optimize Your Post
- Epic Blogging Schedule: 14 Magic Ways You Can Do
- 7 Fantastic Ways To Planning Blog Content Ideas
I can’t stress enough: traffic has to be your TOP priority! The more traffic you have, the easier all the other goals will be to achieve.
Get 30 unique visitors a day. Don’t try for 100, or 1,000, or 10,000 because that’s unrealistic and you’re setting yourself up for failure. Your first goal is to do what it takes to get 30 unique visitors a day. Then from that, get 3k page views/month.
Twitter and search engines (organic traffic) are my top referrals right now other than Facebook and Pinterest. For Twitter, I kept reading that you have to tweet at least 15 times/day to get the most engagement on Twitter. But that wasn’t true for me. I go with less than 10 tweets/day. I use Twitter for engaging with others and also promote my most popular articles.
Get your blog on the Google index. This should be easy. If it’s not, if you find your blog isn’t appearing on the index for any of your URLs, then look at your privacy settings on your dashboard to make sure you’ve made your blog visible to the search engines.
Get 500 subscribers. Again, keep it at 500 so it’s attainable.
Here are some of the best ways to build subscriptions:
- Sign up with Convertkit or Flodesk (the email provider I use), it’s easy to set up an automated welcome email. They provide you with templates that are so easy to drag and down.
- Add an email sign up bar to your homepage or sidebar. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to give you their email addresses!
- Offer freebies like a guide to create a blog, join with affiliate marketing, food recipes, fashion tips, so on.
- Create a lead magnet. This is some bonus piece of content like a short eBook or PDF cheat sheet that is general enough that most of your audience would want to download it in exchange for their email address. My goal is to create 2-3 different lead magnets this year.
- Use content upgrade. Content upgrades are bonus information pieces that relate specifically to a certain blog post. For example, in this 10 Free On-Page SEO Optimization To Skyrocket Your Blog, I offer a 30+ checklist to my readers which they can get after subscribing to my blog.
Making money with your blog will be more tangible the higher your traffic is. Only a few people who read your blog will buy something from it. This is why consistently producing new content and increasing your traffic have to be your top priorities always but especially in the beginning.
As of now, I made a few $$ from my blog, but, I didn’t expect to!
There are several ways to make money from your blog, here they are:
- Join affiliate marketing programs. This is one of the easiest ways to make money as a new blogger. You don’t have to create any new products, simply tell the world about products you love and earn a commission for it!
I will also focus more intently on writing posts that include popular merchants that work with ShopStyle or LTK because they work with many brands.
- Create Your Products or Promote Others’ Products. The most famous way to make money as a blogger is to create a digital product that you can sell or promote other bloggers’ products that benefit your audiences. This includes an eBook, templates, planner, or a course. Check my shop here to find beneficial products for your blogging journey.
- Display Ads. Right now, I have ads from Media.net but my traffic isn’t high enough to generate any much income from it. I’m working hard on increasing my traffic this year so I can sign up with Monumetric.
Work with brands
This will be an end-of-the-year goal because it will be easier to pitch a brand once I have a larger audience and grow my DA.
How to pitch brands? Here are some of my tips:
- Build a trusted audience and have an engaged audience. This is where social media comes in. Earlier I mentioned that I use Twitter to engage with others and also promote my content. If things go well, I might start working on increasing my engagements on Instagram.
- Increase your DA. Most brands will ask your DA, one of the best ways to increase your DA is by writing a guest post. Get one guest post published on another blog (has DA higher than you). This sounds easy but a lot of bloggers are afraid to even try. Step out of your comfort zone, find a relevant blog, and send them a guest post.
- Create a media kit. A media kit is essentially your blog’s resume. It includes information on your blog and social media traffic, your audience, your accomplishments, and what you can offer to a particular brand. Just like a resume, a media kit needs to be tailored to each brand to make it relevant to them and showcase why they should work with you.
- Make a list of brands or products you love (and fit your niche). Having a sponsorship wishlist can guide you on what brands you should engage with on social media. Only partner with brands you love because your readers have a surprisingly accurate bullshit detector. Be authentic in everything you do!
These are the goals new bloggers want to set in their first year, although you may come up with several more. Once you’ve accomplished one, set another. For example, once you have 30 unique visitors arriving consistently every day, bump your next goal up to 50 or 60, and do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Beginning bloggers often make the mistake of setting unrealistic goals to start with and when they don’t hit those goals they think they’ve failed. Instead, choose smaller, more manageable goals, and set yourself up for success.
To someone who has been blogging for a year, these kinds of goals might seem rather small and insignificant – but for a new blogger, they’d be where I would start. For new bloggers these goals might also seem a little insignificant also – however I’d argue that to get to your big dreams there are a lot of steps in between – many of which might not be glamorous or as fun to think about.
Once you’ve achieved these first goals start to increase them. You might want to double the numbers for the next step (although for different bloggers the numbers will no doubt be different) – then double them again and so forth.
What other ‘first step’ goals would you suggest to a new blogger just starting out? If you’re a new blogger what are your first goals?