Believe it or not, fine friends, December is here. It's incredible how quickly this year went by! I hope that when you look back at it, you had more peaks to celebrate than valleys.
And with the turn of the year, it's time to look to the future, which usually means "resolutions" (I hate that word). No doubt if you're reading this blog post one of your resolutions — or goals — would be to actually make some money from that blog of yours.
It's going to take some work. But you can do it if you enter into your new goals with the right mindset. I believe that the two big roadblocks most bloggers have when they're trying to make their blog their main business are:
- Not thinking of their blog as a business. If you aren't putting in the work and making money, then your blog is just a hobby and will remain that way until you start implementing some kind of structure and routine.
- Implementing structure, routine, and setting goals that matter.
As you can see, one feeds the other, so in order to really make some sick moves in 2016 — like making some actual cash from your blog, quitting your other job in favor of blogging from home, and loving the live you have — then you need to plan and set some serious goals, my lady friends.
Goals that will keep your eyes on the prize and help you execute your to-do list in a much more efficient way.
Goals that help you prioritize so you're not running around trying to do everything you "think" you should be doing as you run this blogging business solo.
[And speaking of running around, be sure to sign up for my free live workshop that will teach you how to run your blog in as little as 3 days a month so you can start doing the important business-building tasks without feeling the need to rip your hair out!]
Being a full-time blogger can be lonely and frustrating at times, but I'm here to tell you that you're not alone and you CAN make this happen with the right direction.
Now let's break out the GPS and talk about WHY goals are so important to launching your blogging business so we can get you into (and through) the woods of 2016 and come out the other side as a blog boss.
Why Goals Are Important
You've daydreamed about making money from your blog, but without goals — whether it's traffic to your site or an "I've friggin' made it!" income target at which you'd consider yourself successful — you have no idea how you're going to actually make the dough you've been dreaming of. Or where to start.
So in order to take the first step towards success, you gotta establish your goals and make a solid, step-by-step plan to get there, with smaller mile markers along the way to keep you motivated and moving in the right direction.
Let's say your goal is to get 10,000 visitors per month. Cool. You could just simply stop there and have that target in mind OR you could break that down to 333 visitors per day so you have an actionable daily target. From there, you can start focusing on what levers you'll pull to reach that benchmark every day.
This is called reverse engineering your goals, and there's an entire post dedicated to it coming up in a few weeks so be sure to check back for more on that.
But today, we're taking about what kinds of goals you should be setting in 2016 to make your blog a huge success. This isn't about "growing traffic" since that's a given (and I've got an entire podcast this month dedicated to making your goals super actionable, so stay tuned!). These are goals that are tailored to making your blogging BUSINESS a success.
Goals you may not have even considered before today. But trust me, you need them. Let's begin.
#1 Identify Your Ideal Reader
You may have heard me talk about this a time or two (like here and here), so being that it's numero uno on my list of goals should give you some kind of indication of how important this is.
I cannot stress it enough: if you don't know who you're talking to online, or know how your personal experiences, voice, and perspectives can help them, you won't make it. You'll struggle and flounder, and maybe find some mild success by hacking your way through the blogging world, but you won't be able to create the incredibly fulfilling #Bloglife you're dreaming of.
I'm not saying that to scare the bejezus out of you, I'm saying it so you understand the weight of this one. Knowing, down to their preferences and specific life situations, who your ideal reader is (aka, the kind of person you want to attract online) is your most important task of 2016. Because if you don't have a clear picture of who you want to attract, then you'll attract no one.
For me, I'm attracting women who have hobby to moderately successful blogs but want to step it up and make money from them as a second income in their family-focused household. There's a lot more detail I know about my ideal reader — like what she does in her free time, how many kids she has, what her personality is like — and you should know this about your readers.
I have a free worksheet that can help you with this so download it here.
#2: Start and Grow an Email List
If you want to make money from your blog, your email list will become your best source of income.
Not because you're charging people to subscribe, but because you have a direct line to your subscribers. Email is super personal, and if someone has invited you into their inbox, it means they trust you.
They like the content you're providing.
They're engaged with what you're saying.
I've heard lots of stories about entrepreneurs launching ecourses, ebooks, or other products to their email list only and making thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of dollars in a few days. That's not a fluke. If you're offering super valuable, FREE, content consistently through your list, your subscribers will jump at the chance to buy from you because they know your free stuff is so awesome that your paid stuff will blow them away.
#3: Establish Partnerships
For those of you in the Fempire Academy (and if you're not, you're missing out, girl! Here's the details on why you should join now.), you've gotten the lowdown on why and how link partnerships can bring you consistent traffic on the regular.
Just imagine getting 1,000 visitors (or more) to your site every month just by partnering up with a group of bloggers to send traffic around to each other's sites through a few links a month. Crazy, right?
And what if you could maintain your current posting schedule but get some time back by syndicating your partner's posts on your own blog? You'd be too blessed to be stressed, I'll tell you that much.
That's the power of link and syndication partnerships — they allow you to steadily grow your blog so you can spend less time blogging or running around marketing your content on social, and more time focusing on crushing these business-building goals.
#4: Optimize For Mobile
These days, people are visiting blogs, shopping, surfing, social media-ing on their mobile devices more than their desktop computers. Not surprising when you actually lift your head up from your phone and look around at your fellow commuters during the day.
That means, you'll want to optimize your site for all those mobile visitors by making sure your site is "responsive" — so when a visitor comes in to your site via mobile, it's streamlined and scales to the smaller screens. Most themes and hosting platforms do that, just double check to make sure yours is as big, beautiful, and bright as possible.
#5: Invest In Design
Given that your blog is currently making little to no money, upgrading and paying for a professional design is probably the last thing on your list you'd want to spend money on. But hear me out: presenting a professional, clean, and well-designed website automatically makes people trust you more.
And if they trust you, they're more likely to hand over the money.
Think about it: how likely is it that you'd pay for an ebook or course from someone who's blog looks like it was hacked together using crazy fonts, clown colors, broken links, and no clear focus?
For me, the likelyhood would be at zero. I just wouldn't give them my credit card number. Think of your blog as your businesses' interview attire. People visiting your blog are evaluating who you are and how you do business by the way your site looks.
You don't get a second chance to make a first impression, so make sure your first impressions are kick-ass and amazing.
#6: Establish Your Monetization Methods
Let's face it: Adsense is never going to make you any REAL money. You'd have to get millions of visitors in order to pull that off, and no one is looking at sidebar banners anymore so it's kind of a waste that you're putting ads there.
There are alternatives to making money from banner ads, though, and you should decide which ones you want to focus on now so you can begin to implement a plan of action before the clock strikes 2016.
I've got a free download that tells you about the 7 ways you can make money from your blog — everything from affiliates to ecourses to premium content — so check it out, read it over, and pick one or two that align with you and your ideal reader.
Don't forget — it's all about matching up your experience and personality with a reader that needs to hear what you're saying. How would your ideal reader prefer to buy from you? Start there.
#7: Regularly Track Your Metrics
If you're not tracking your current metrics, how the hell are you supposed to grow your blog?
If your goal is to get 10,000 visitors per month, and you don't know what your visit count is right now, how will you know that your goal is achievable? If you're getting 100 visitors per month right now, does jumping to 10,000 really seem that logical? No. No it doesn't.
Break out a spreadsheet and your analytics platform of choice (Google Analytics is free, y'all!) and write down the following metrics for the previous month: Visitors, pageviews, time on page, top five referral sources.
Then do that again for the trailing two months. You'll now see what your averages are for the past three months, which gives you a good idea of what to expect this month if you did NOTHING different. From here, you can set a realistic goal of what you want next month's traffic to be and plot exactly how you'll get there.
Starting by the month is good, but you should ideally track your metrics week after week so that you can see which of your efforts are bringing in the best results. Then do more of that.
#8: Programming Your Content Yearly
One big headache bloggers say they have again and again is coming up with good ideas to blog about. And do you know why this continues to be a headache? Because they're not planning ahead.
They're flying by the seat of their pants, showing up at the computer the day a post is due, and drawing hella blank stares from that blinking cursor. The cure to this head-pounding situation is planning. With it being December, NOW is the perfect time to plan your big picture 2016 content and money-making efforts.
Spend some time plotting out the entire year ahead. Yes, the entire year.
First, let's start with how you'll make money. Go back to point number six and decide how you'll bring in the big bucks. If it's an ebook, give yourself a due date to finish it and mark that on your cal with a huge red pen. Then, start looking at ways you can blog about your ebook before you actually launch it without going into total "sales" mode.
If you're writing an ebook on creating better relationships with your kids, write some posts about common challenges parents and children face as they grow up. Tease your book. Then go back and drill down into each month, listing other ideas you may want to blog about, preferably that supports your ebook launch.
I'd start another spreadsheet (Hello, my name is Kristy and I'm a spreadsheet addict) and break out 12 columns, one per month. From there, go month by month looking at how major holidays and events can play into your overall ebook launch strategy.
Start braindumping ideas into each column, and please — don't erase anything. Do this until you've got your entire year plotted out with a handful of blog post ideas for each month. I challenge the headaches to return.
#9: Pay Attention to News and Trends
Blogging about your topic is awesome. Blogging about how your topic relates to current events, news, and trends? Even better, because you're getting into conversations that are already happening online.
Example time: Remember when there was that Sriracha shortage a year or so ago? If you were a food blogger, you might want to come up with your own Sriracha recipe and blog about it. Or, create new recipes where Sriracha is the star ingredient.
This gets you in the circle of conversation that other people are already having. It's also awesome for SEO and search traffic since you're creating content that people are actively looking for online.
It's a great way to get a boost of traffic and something a little more advanced, but staying up to date with news and trends should be a goal of yours next year.
#10: Repurpose More Posts
If you've been blogging for a few years, you likely have a huge archive of material just sitting on the Interwebs collecting dust. This is a damn shame, and I'm here to tell you that it's time to freshen up your old content and bring it back from the dead.
In 2016, I'm all about working smarter, not harder, and one way to do this is to use the content you already have to free up more time to build up your blogging business. Take a look back into your archives and find a handful of posts that are still relevant today. Swap out the images, make tweaks to the copy, and freshen up the headlines, then republish that baby on a regular scheduled day.
This will not only free up your time for partnership and money-building activities, but it's also a great lever to pull when you want to do a story swap, or need more time with your family during vacations and holidays. There ain't no shame in bringing back an old post (you did create it, anyway), so do this a few times a month or quarter to build your business faster.
In Closing: Two Things
If you want more tricks and hacks that will save you time, sign up for my free live workshop that will teach you how to run your blog in as little as 3 days a month. A MONTH. It's going down on 12/18 at 11:00 AM PST / 2:00 PM EST. Sign up here!
So there you have it: 10 goals you need to have on your New Year's resolution list in order to really turn your blog into a business in 2016. To help you,
I've created a FREE 5-Day #BlogGoals Challenge Workbook that will get your new year started right — pages and pages of actions, challenges, and list-builders to help you get focused and organized. Click the button below to download!