I genuinely don’t like the word “goals.”
Because it sounds more like a dream or ambition.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with goals or setting goals.
But I prefer systems because they are more consistent – Systems that you can return to every single day so that your blog can actually grow and start making you the income you desire.
In this post, I am going to dive into blogging goals that I’m setting this year that you too can adopt if you want to see real success.
Welcome to Stray Curls.
For those of you who are new, my name is Angela and I am a 30-year-old blogger and Illustrator living in Bangalore, India with my 2 dogs. I currently have 4 blogs including this one and it’s definitely going to be a challenge growing them simultaneously.
*rubs hands together excitedly*
Please download my 12-page free blog planner if you’d like something pretty to print and keep on your table while working.
This post does contain affiliate links. Clicking on said affiliate links may earn me a commission at no extra cost to you. The money I earn from this blog is used to pamper my pups and myself and allows me to do research on blogging so that I can provide methods and strategies that are updated and actually work.
I’m really pumped for 2023 and I know this year is going to be very exciting blogging-wise.
That’s why I’m writing this damn post – to keep myself accountable as well as give you some ideas that you can take away!
The goal in this post is to set realistic goals that you can actually follow and there is a way of doing it without burning out or giving up.
Let’s dive in.
1. Plan your schedule
Look at your blog from a distance.
And look at your life realistically.
Ask yourself how many hours you can realistically put into your blog weekly.
This is something you need to sustain for a long, long time – so take a long, hard look at your calendar.
Everybody gets motivated at the beginning of the year – it’s normal.
But that motivation does not last. It does go away because we are human.
That’s why it’s critical to think of building a sustainable routine.
If you’ve already started a blog, then go about your routine but make small additions.
For instance, on Mind Space Cafe, I am consistently touching 40K pageviews (98% organic traffic) in the last 2 months and this month I want to start using Pinterest again to help reach that 50K session mark so that I can apply to the Mediavine Ad Network.
Currently, I only write content. I don’t even have an email list for that blog and I am planning to start one this year.
But because I am focused on making just 1-2 tiny changes, I am increasing my chances of sticking with it.
It needs to become a habit.
The habit slowly becomes a routine that you do on autopilot.
Like me eating potatoes…
If you don’t have a blog, start a niche blog.
They are very easy to start and maintain because you will be blogging about 1 topic completely. There are different types of blogs you can start that will help you reach success.
The chances of finding success are higher with a niche blog because you are attracting an audience with just 1 need.
For instance, if I have a blog on dogs, I’m only going to attract dog lovers.
- The rate of success for ads increases because partners will put dog-related ads on the blog.
- The rate of success of affiliate marketing increases, because people will definitely be interested in dog treats, dog houses, dog food, etc.
It is so much easier to grow organic traffic to a niche blog and build a sustainable income with it.
And when 1 becomes a success, you can build another one and another one, and so on!
This is why I have 4 blogs:
- Stray Curls (blogging and online business)
- Mind Space Cafe (personal development and relationships)
- Draw Cartoon Style (drawing)
- New niche blog (in Beauty niche) name to be revealed later
When you know how much time you have in a week and you do 1-2 blogging tasks, growing and maintaining a blog becomes so much more doable.
2. Do proper keyword research
You cannot get your blog to make money if you fail this critical step.
SEO is vital when you have a blog or are planning on starting one.
Google doesn’t give a damn about low-quality content – they strive to pay attention to blogs that provide quality content.
When doing keyword research, be very practical.
Instead of writing a post like “12 beautiful habits I started this year” write a post like, “12 easy healthy habits to adopt as a stay-at-home mom”
Because nobody is writing “beautiful habits I started this year” in Google Search.
But there are actually people writing, “easy healthy habits to adopt as a stay-at-home mom”
Keyword research is technical. But it also involves using a lot of common sense.
Think of your blog as a huge encyclopedia.
Each blog post has to add a page to the already wonderful plethora of information in your whole blog.
The topics have to be related and work together seamlessly to build a nice well of knowledge.
Similarly, you need keyword strategies and you require to use a paid keyword tool. The free ones won’t cut it.
If you are just starting out, you need to aim for 0 volume keywords. Zero-volume keywords have a volume but they are so tiny that Google doesn’t put a number on them.
You have to write posts on zero-volume keywords because Google needs to trust you.
The chances of showing up on the first page are very high when you write a post on a keyword that only 10 people are searching for in a month.
Once you notice that you are ranking for many such keywords, slowly increase the number to 30 and then 100.
Move up the ladder slowly.
100 blog posts bringing you 10 pageviews a day will make 1000 pageviews.
100 blog posts bringing you 100 pageviews a day make 10,000 pageviews.
You have to be organized and systematic – that’s how you grow a blog.
But here’s the kicker.
Every blog post you write will rank for multiple keywords.
If I write a post on how to choose a stuffed toy for a 3-year-old, it will rank for multiple keywords like:
- choosing a toy for a toddler
- choosing a toy for a 3-year-old
- choose a toy for a toddler
- how to pick a stuffed toy for a baby
- how to pick a teddy bear for a child
And so on!
So even if you aimed for a keyword that only 10 people are searching for, you will rank for multiple keywords related to that 1 keyword, and your traffic will be more than 10 for that post.
I explain more about this strategy in my new eBook – Grow your Blog to $1K.
3. Write more content
Before you start just creating oodles and oodles of content, take a step back and re-evaluate your blog.
See what topics are going to be vital for your audience.
For instance, let’s say I want to start a book blog.
I’d start in 1 genre and try to cover multiple topics in that genre before even moving to another.
So, instead of writing lists about
I’d pick 1 topic (for example Romance) and write multiple types of posts within that topic:
- Fantasy romance
- Enemies to lovers romance
- Teen romance
- Old age romance
And so on.
I’d write multiple blog posts targeting different kinds of books all in the romance genre.
This was a terrible example because I read everything but romance books.
But you get my point.
Once you start writing content, make an effort to write a lot of content each month – your focus should be to build a library of content.
Likewise, let’s say you have a hair blog.
It would be preferable if you build a hair blog on 1 type of hair and cover multiple questions in that 1 topic rather than skip around and cover everything about hair.
This builds topical authority.
Those are the only 2 eBooks you need to start making money with your blog(s) in 2023 because it covers the strategies I use in all 3 other blogs to make ad and affiliate revenue.
They are detailed, cover multiple examples and talk about strategies that can be used in any blog niche.
If you want to save money, then buy the SEO and Keywords bundle together and save $30.
Okay, moving on.
Google loves topical authority.
If a person wrote a query on Google asking “How to train a poodle puppy?” they’d rather showcase an article from a blog that has over 200 blog posts on poodles than a dog blog that has about 10 articles on poodles.
They want to showcase expertise.
If you have personal experience and use that in your blog post along with high-quality content that covers the topic from every single angle, you’ve just banged out a top-notch article.
Pat yourself on the back please because this is what Google wants.
For instance, I wrote a post on “how to deal with watching your mother die” on Mind Space Cafe.
It gets me a LOT of pageviews because that post has tips that actually work and includes my own personal experience. I poured my pain into that post because nobody had covered that topic from that angle and I felt it needed a voice.
This is why I feel AI will never succeed – it may make things easier but in no way is it going to replace real human writing.
Sorry, not sorry.
4. Supplement your blog traffic with social media
Writing a bucketload of content is what will get you a massive amount of traffic but Google updates happen.
And no blog is safe.
It sucks, but it happens.
This is why you should NOT put your eggs in one basket.
Pick a social media and use it to add more traffic to your already growing SEO traffic.
Pick something you like (not just something everybody else is using).
- If you like Pinterest, use it.
- If you like Youtube, use it.
- If you like Instagram, then use it.
But pick something that you see yourself doing for a long time.
Don’t just put on a blindfold and follow the herd – you are going to burn out.
Once you pick a social media, start small.
If you have picked Youtube, focus on creating 2 videos a month.
Build the habit.
Then slowly increase to 4 a month.
And when that is doable, slowly increase it to 6-8 times a month.
This is how you set realistic blogging goals.
You see if the system is suiting you and slowly up the quantity as the habit is built.
Again, if you get up and decide to do 1000 push-ups every day and you’re like me who’s never done a push-up, how long do you think you’ll last?
Instead, build the habit.
Show up every day and do 1-5 pushups.
Slowly increase the number and you’ll find yourself with a sustainable habit.
I use Pinterest for 2 of my blogs because it makes sense and my audience is on Pinterest. It works very well for my art blog because it is a very visual niche.
And I honestly don’t mind creating 3 pins a day for 10 days for that blog.
I talk more about the manual Pinterest strategy I use in this post.
Anyway, once a few months have passed and you are consistent with social media, start an email list. The email list is going to be filled with regulars that are going to keep coming back to your blog to read your content.
Once you have a nice, large group of regulars, create a product to sell to them.
Do you see how you will gradually build traffic and improve your income?
This is what I’ve been doing since 2018, yo.
5. Create progress and analysis reports every single month
You cannot grow if you cannot know what’s working and what isn’t.
Every single month (at the end of the month), take a good, hard look at your blog.
See what is working and what isn’t.
This is boring, boring work but I force myself to do it monthly because I’ll go insane if I do it at the end of the year.
Look at what is bringing you more results for very little work/effort and do more of those tasks.
Rinse and repeat.
If something you’re doing is bringing you fewer results – give it up.
It isn’t a strategy that is working.
But please don’t do this if you haven’t given the strategy enough time to work.
For example, SEO takes 9-12 months to start working and bringing in traffic.
But if you’ve been trying something for some time now and it’s bringing you meager results – give it up.
For instance, I was using Facebook for blog traffic for 3-4 years.
But I started noticing a huge drop in blog traffic from Facebook as the algorithms changed.
I noticed that I’d rather put my effort into my email list or Pinterest so after 3 years of using Facebook, I gave it up.
It just wasn’t bringing in enough traffic for the amount of effort I was putting in.
I now focus on my email list and I’m quite happy with the results it brings.
Similarly, look at blog posts that are getting a lot of traffic and write more such posts. This is one of the easiest ways I was able to go from 1.5K pageviews to 40K pageviews in less than 6 months on Mind Space Cafe.
It was easy because I simply replicated the success.
6. Learn from the right bloggers
It is very, very, very, very important to keep yourself updated when you are blogging.
Apart from doing research in your own niche and seeing what is trending in your niche, keep reading up on Google updates and SEO guidelines.
Up until last year, keywords were very important.
But right now, keywords and topics have become of equal importance and the goal right now is to build topical authority so you can build expertise and trust.
The rules are constantly changing and you need to follow bloggers that you know are the real deal.
When you follow a blogger, make sure that they:
- Have experience starting and growing blogs
- Are promoting knowledge that is updated
- Acknowledge when they make mistakes (because we all make mistakes and humility always wins)
- Are constantly researching and experimenting with their techniques
You want to follow bloggers who are grinding and hustling daily.
Don’t follow bloggers who talk the talk but don’t get into the details.
A lot of bloggers who teach blogging are just in it for the money. They’ll have a blog about blogging and that will be about it.
They’ll have no real experience of growing a business from the ground up that isn’t about blogging or online businesses – yes, these bloggers actually exist.
They’ll throw some crazy numbers around and pretend that blogging is easy to do and results are easily achievable in 2 months.
Nawwww, it takes a hell lot longer than that.
I talk about that in my post on how long it takes to get organic traffic.
There are a few of them out there and it’s easy to get blinded by numbers and screenshots.
7. Navigate change
When you’ve been in this field for as long as I have, you’ll know that it is normal for updates to come and go.
Traffic drops and spikes are normal.
You cannot freak out every time you lose traffic.
You have to wait 1-2 weeks for the update to stabilize and then slowly analyze what is it that could have gone wrong.
Never make immediate changes to your website when traffic has dropped – it isn’t going to work.
I remember when AI was the talk of the town last year and a lot of bloggers jumped on the bandwagon creating epic loads of content for their blogs and focusing more on quantity than quality.
A lot of them got caught in the recent Google updates and lost a whole lot of traffic and income just because they wanted to hop on the trend and save time.
Blogging is hard work and anything that guarantees a shortcut is something you need to analyze and think about.
There is always a solution.
So, let’s say something bad happened and you lost a huge chunk of your traffic.
You can stay calm and find out what has happened.
How do you see which blog posts have lost traffic using Google Analytics?
Go to your Google Analytics, Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages
You will get a list of your posts in the order of the traffic they are bringing you.
Now, go to the top right corner of Google Analytics and do a comparison of this month and the month before that or this week and the week before that.
And you will get a list of all your posts and how much the traffic has increased or decreased.
Here, you will get a percentage of the fall or rise also – and this will help you understand what posts have fallen. If it’s a few posts, that’s normal – it happens.
More often than not, it will be 1-2 posts bringing you a lot of traffic that just dropped in rankings.
It’s normal, so there is no need to worry as rankings keep moving all the time.
If it’s a lot of blog posts, then ask yourself if the blog posts were good or better than the ones on the front page of the SERPs.
If not, you know you need to work on quality.
If yes, then just wait for the storm to pass, and eventually, you will get back the rankings if you have been putting in the work.
If your posts are good but they are not SEO optimized or presented clearly, then work on your SEO. Look at other posts that are ranking and study how to format your articles.
Or better yet, just get my eBook bundle and learn everything you need to know about SEO easily. I also discuss what to do if your rankings drop and how to fix it.
Bonus: Stay consistent and be patient
Why don’t enough people talk about this?
You can make the best blogging goals this year, but if you make them really hard and unsustainable, you are going to get burnt out quickly.
It’s the same as losing weight.
If you don’t start small and take it up slowly but instead try to do all the things at once, the chances of you quitting increase rapidly.
I am a huge advocate of consistency.
It is the one thing that I can say helped me become a success – whether it was making comics, working with clients, or blogging.
Whenever I’ve tried to do everything at once, I have ended up failing because I eventually get burned out.
When you create your system and set realistic blogging goals that suit your lifestyle, you are creating a system that you can follow for as long as it takes.
Consider your life and the real number of hours you can out a week.
Don’t do something just because other bloggers are doing it.
They may not be staying with family or they may not have a day job or college to go to.
You cannot follow a schedule that works for them. You don’t know their story.
So, sit down and really look at your life and implement small tasks like:
- Doing keyword research
- Writing content
I always tell my clients, if they can’t do social media or run an email list – just write content.
Stop being fancy, stop making it harder than it already is.
Focus on getting out blog posts that are very relevant to your niche and highly SEO optimized.
And most importantly, have patience.
If you are new to starting a blog, then be patient.
You are going to make mistakes (we all do) and you are going not see success right away.
Stick to 1 thing every day – whether it is Pinterest or whether it is content or whether it is youtube videos. Do that 1 thing for a long time. This is the best way to learn the game and play it well.
This helps you amass an audience that will start loving what you do because you are:
- Solely focused on 1 niche
- Using 1 form of media (either videos/posts)
And please, please be patient.
If you actually read this whole blog post, thank you for reading my non-stop rant.
Here’s everything I’ve said so far if you have a teeny-tiny memory like mine:
- Plan your work in advance (see the number of hours you have available each week).
- Do proper keyword research. Use a paid Keyword tool like Keysearch. (Use coupon code KSDISC to get a 20% discount during purchase)
- Write a lot of content but make sure it’s related.
- Supplement your blog with a social media like Pinterest or Youtube
- Create analysis, financial and progress reports each month for your blog.
- Learn from the right bloggers.
- Navigate changes when they come.
- Be patient anddddd consistent.
And be sure to download my free blog planner here:
Okay, I’m done.
What are you most excited about your blog this year? Please, please tell me so we can giggle about it like teens in college.
Talking about blogging seriously gives me a rush.
Oh! And here are a few more posts you may find helpful:
- How to draft a kickass business plan
- How to start a niche blog that makes money consistently
- How to create an art blog from scratch
- How to create a book blog from scratch + ideas and examples
- How to start a lifestyle blog that is actually successful
- How much money I made in my 6th month blogging on my art blog
- The most frequently asked questions I get asked about blogging [Answered]