Updating a blog regularly takes a lot of work, and sometimes it’s hard to keep the passion going so I decided to put together these book blogging goals to motivate myself. If you’re like me your aims will change as your blog evolves so I don’t follow all of these, but its handy to have them on hand and I hope that you find them helpful too. (To mention that most of these goals are transferable to other types of blog – not just book blogs!)
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My Blogging Journey
Your blogging goals are likely to alter over time as your style develops. When I started out, I was simply curious to see what it was like to translate my Bookstagram account into a blog format. Even though I’d blogged before, the whole culture and technology had changed massively so I was pretty clueless and had no real focus. After a while I decided that I’d be better off having some sort of framework rather than a big thought splodge. This is when I took the plunge and went self-hosted. You can read about what I learned in my first year here.
Just after this, I had a big career break so stopped blogging again, but really missed writing posts and became determined to revive it. However this time I knew I had to be more resolute if I was to keep the lights on in this cosy little online home and that’s the reason I wrote this post.
How to Set Blogging Goals
Everyone has different reasons for blogging and that’s OK. Some bloggers post for the community, some for review copies, others for financial reasons. Purists will tell you to stick to one goal or to write for love only, but it’s absolutely fine to have multiple aims and wishes for your blog. After all, you’re putting the time in. The main thing I would mention is to protect your wellbeing and mental health when setting blogging goals. Here are a few tips to help you achieve a balanced approach:
Set Realistic Blog Goals
It can be tempting to go for broke when creating blogging goals but over-estimating your success can lead to disappointment, especially if you’ve just started a blog. Take baby steps at first.
- Dream big and then break your goals down into manageable pieces
- Set achievable targets
- Establish generous timelines that fit with your other commitments
- Keep total aims to a comfortable limit
- Review your goals regularly
The last bullet point is probably the most important because reviewing is where you’ll learn and grow. Blogging can be a slow process so factor this in too. You’re unlikely to see significant changes within days. Think weeks, months and quarters. Setting monthly goals is a good way to start because this will give you time to work on your ideas without placing yourself under too much pressure.
Accept That Your Blog Stats Will Fluctuate
If you’re blogging mainly for community then this may not be an issue for you. However if you’re hoping to grow your book blog, then it’s likely that you will keep an eye on your stats.
It’s lovely to see a consistent increase in numbers, but in reality, this doesn’t always happen even if you put an amazing amount of effort into your blog. Some days, the figures just don’t play ball and there’s nothing you can do about it. The key here is to look at the long-term picture. If you are seeing upward movement over a month or so – even if it’s slight then you’re going in the right direction. Spikes are normal. However, a large drop could point to a more serious problem (usually technical).
If your blog has plateaued and you’d like to kickstart it, then take some time out to review your content and approach in detail. Sometimes, a break can be really beneficial.
Vary Your Blogging Aims
This one is related to the above, but it’s advisable to have a selection of blogging aims so that you’re not placing all your energies in one area. I like to think of our book blog as a home. And every part of the house needs upkeep – the design, the systems, the construction. Occasionally things break down and need replacing. If you’re inviting guests over, you want to make your site is welcoming, plus return the visits. Having multiple book blogging goals is healthier for you too so remember to include the things you enjoy in there (like reading books!).
TED Talk Video: Why the Secret to Success is Setting the Right Goals – John Doerr
This video by John Doerr summarises the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) framework which I find really helpful when setting goals. The actual system is much bigger than this, but the TED talk is enough to get your brain thinking in a productive way.
Types of Book Blogging Goals
To make it easier to pinpoint the different types of motivational goals you might like to aim towards, I’ve broken these down into various sections. Each one isn’t exhaustive and it’s likely that I’ll add to these over time. It’s up to you how many you choose to track, but don’t overload yourself.
Wider Reasons for Book Blogging
As John Doerr says in the video, it’s important to think about the wider aims for your book blog before you get to the detail because these intrinsic, value-based goals are the ones that will truly keep you going.
What inspired you to start the blog and where would you like to take it? I’ve made some suggestions about deeper blogging goals below:
- Becoming part of the book community and meeting like-minded readers
- Being able to share useful information, knowledge and skills with other book bloggers
- Becoming an expert on your favourite authors/books/genres and finding the best bookish recommendations
- Supporting the book industry by promoting favouite authors, publishers, bookshops and book festivals
- Developing writing, photography, SEO and digital marketing skills – perhaps with a career change in mind
- Making money from blogging
If you’re like me, it’s highly likely that many of these will resonate with you. If this is the case, then take some time to really think about each one. Which objectives would you prioritise? Brainstorm ideas. Think big then consider how to achieve each one by breaking them down into realistic chunks.
Technical/Design Blogging Objectives
These tend to be meatier goals and let’s face it, not everyone has time – or wants to do them, but I’ve listed them first as they can provide a foundation for your blog. Also, if you’d like to build your online presence more quickly then these actions can accelerate the process:
- Switching blog platform (e.g. Blogger to WordPress)
- Changing layout, design and branding
- Amending blog name
- Commissioning a bespoke logo
- Upgrading your blog package or transfering to a self-hosted website. We have hosted with Siteground for over a year now but always do your own research before signing up.
More advanced (for self-hosted websites)
- Trying out new plugins and widgets
- Installing Google Analytics or other tracking software
- Improving SEO for your book blog by investing in a course or keyword tool
- Paying for a blog audit
- Setting up a newsletter
Book Blog Content Goals
Content goals are an essential for all blogs. If you’re lucky then you might find the right blend for your pages straight away, but I’ve found that my content has changed over time so I often review these areas.
- Amount and types of categories
- Blog series you might like to develop (book round-ups, guides, interviews)
- Number of blog posts published per week/month
- Types of blog posts published per week/month (for instance will this be one per category/subject? Would you like to try different formats and lengths?)
- Number of images to create/source each month
I always aim to keep blog material fresh, varied and useful. This includes regularly checking and updating old posts.
Blog Engagement Goals
Although the listings below are the most visible and often cause the most stress, they shouldn’t necessarily be at the top of your list when setting blog goals. These external interactions are amazing to have, but they shouldn’t be seen as the sole barometer of success or quality. Unlike on social media platforms, a blog can be hugely powerful behind the scenes. What matters is that you are building real relationships and posting content that people actually want to read.
- Blog follower count
- Likes per blog post
- Comments per blog post
- Social shares for each blog post
- Newsletter/subscription sign-ups
Engagement is a two-way process so it’s important to think about how you can support your fellow bloggers with these aspects too.
Blog Traffic Goals
If you’re running a blogging business then these are the stats you’ll want to track although they may not be as much concern to the casual blogger.
- Amount of users (new and returning)
- Number of pageviews
For more advanced bloggers with Google Analytics
- Number of sessions
- Bounce rate
- Click through rate
Collaborative Book Blogging Goals
One of the joys of the book blogging world is that we have a huge community around us – from other book bloggers to publishers and there are many ways to get involved. Guest posting and round-ups are good ways to bond with other bloggers, as are book tags. These also give you a real sense of achievement and integration with the book industry.
- Number of collaborations and guest posts with other book bloggers
- Tag posts per month
- Blog tour sign-ups
- Review copy requests (how many requested and how many received)
- Merchandise/sponsorship requests
How to Join Book Blog Tours and Request Advance Reader Copies (ARCs)
I recommend joining Twitter for both of these as it’s a treasure trove for bookish opportunities. Follow your favourite publishers and authors to look out for giveaways and sign-ups.
Do your research before joining book blog tours as some of these have run into trouble recently. The Write Reads is a highly active blog tour organiser and very supportive of bloggers (although I haven’t personal experience of participating on a tour yet). If you know of any more book blog tour organisers then leave them in the comments,
NetGalley is another handy place to request e-book ARCs.
Making Money From A Book Blog
Of all the book blogging goals, this is the hardest to achieve. As with Bookstagram influencing, it’s a challenge to earn money from your book blog but it is possible with a lot of work. If you want to go down this route then these are the top goals you need to consider.
- How much do you want to earn from your book blog?
- If so, how will you achieve this? (affiliate links, ads, sponsorship)
- Do you have a contact form, about page and media kit?
Keeping Track Of Your Blogging Goals
It’s a good idea to have a special place to record your blogging goals – either online or offline. I use both, but I prefer having a physical copy so that I can scribble down notes. It can be refreshing to take a break from the screen to write in a journal or on a planner. I created one especially for this purpose and you are very welcome to use it yourself.
Free Printable Blogging Goals Planner
I made this printable blogging goals planner to help me on my journey and thought that other bloggers might like it too. The design is deliberately simple – to hone down priorities and reduce overwhelm. You are very welcome to download the planner (simply click and save the PDF) but please do credit us if you share it with friends.
Make A Short Video of Your Blogging Objectives
Making a video of your wider blogging objectives can be a powerful reminder to keep going when you lose your motivation. Choose a time when you’re feeling really enthusiastic about your aims and then record a video of yourself talking about your vision. We can forget so many of our dreams when life takes over. This could reconnect you with an aspect of blogging that you’d forgotten.
Reviewing Your Goals
Reflecting on your aims regularly will help you to create a book blog that meets your personal values and targets. However, it’s vital that you review your goals objectively and with kindness, particularly if everything hasn’t gone to plan. Here are some questions to ask if things haven’t turned out as you’d hoped:
- Were there any external factors which affected my goals?
- Were my goals achievable? If not, how can I make them more realistic next time?
- Can I delay some of these goals until later in the year?
- What do I really want to focus on at the moment?
- Am I able to outsource any of my objectives?
Taking A Break From Blogging
Too much on your plate at the moment? If that’s the case then give yourself permission to step back from blogging and do something else for a few weeks. If you’ve had a blog for ages, you might need new inspiration. Paint, draw, read, watch films, walk, travel, sleep, eat, laugh, swim, spend time with family, friends and pets – whatever it takes to fill you with happiness.