One of the very first things I did when I launched my site, even before writing my first post was to set out the goals and successes that I wanted to achieve with my site. Now if I asked you right now what’s the most important goal you’d like to achieve with your site, you’d have some answers ready to go, but the only problem is you can only have one most important goal.
It’s important to list out the goals for your blog starting with the most important and moving down toward the lesser goals. Once you have this list you can then take a look at your blog from an outsider’s perspective and see whether or not your blog is aligned to its full potential with those goals.
Here’s an example for a new blog starting out:
1. Generate Traffic
2. Build up opt in subscribers
3. Gather 2000 fans, followers etc. to social network
4. Will make enough money to cover the blogs costs
Notice that making money comes last? It’s important to build up a few other aspects of your blog before going after people’s hard earned money. As a blog grows, the goals will change and adapt. You may find that you excel at building up subscribers and are able to move it down the list while still maintaining a favourable growth in that area.
Now since in this case the number one goal is to generate traffic, you are going to want to have your awesome content above the fold on your homepage, and easily accessible to visitors. Perhaps you’ll have a listing of your most popular posts in the side bar. If something is going to drive more traffic, give it space and allow it to do its job.
Since building an opt in list is this particular blog’s goal you’ll want to have an attractive opt in form with some great and amazing giveaway that can only be found on your site. Not only that, but you’ll most likely want that opt in box to be site wide, and also have some additional help in the form of a light box hover (fade in subscriber box), and perhaps a subscription bar at the top like I’ve implemented recently. The more avenues that lead to a person subscribing, obviously the more subscribers you’ll enjoy.
Building your social network does several things for your blog at once. It gives you additional reach and allows you to find visitors that frequent those networking sites on a regular basis. Remember, just as you can email out to your subscriber list, you can also reach out to those people following you on social networks. If you have 5000 fans on your fan page, you can easily send them a special offer to purchase a copy of your new e-book or video course. The more people you are connected to, the larger the audience you can reach out to, and tap into for either traffic to your latest blog post, or your newest information product.
I’m going to assume you’ve chosen goals that are going to bring you closer to the success you seek, but the part that often gets missed is making sure that those goals are reflected in the message you are sending with your blog. If building a community is the number one goal for you at this time, then make sure you’ve invested in the commenting system that reflects that. Perhaps you’d like to integrate a forum where your readers can interact, and communicate directly with yourself, and each other.
Without looking at your current blog setup, write out what’s most important to you right now at this point in your current situation. Then go back and see if those goals are being reflected to the best of your blogs ability. A blog is a constantly evolving system that grows alongside the blogger!