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Sharing Blogging Secrets: Setting Your Goals

Setting goals for your history blog is super important. That’s no secret eh? But what is less known are the many ways you can make setting your blogging goals work for you hour-to-hour, save you time, money and be motivational as hell. Want to know how to do this? Then read on and find out if you’re setting smart goals for your history blog. 

Sharing The First Secret About Setting Goals for Your Blog

I spent years setting goals for communication teams in the UK Civil Service. Of course, I would try to make them inspirational and exciting but really they were goals being imposed on people hired to do a job for someone else’s benefit (even if constitutionally that was Queen Elizabeth II!). 

The difference is, when it comes to blogging, you are the boss and the goals you set yourself can be whatever you want them to be. Good news, because you’re in control? : ) or mega scary news because you’re only accountable to yourself? : ( 

I understand setting your goals can be scary. Why? Because goals are all about 

a) knowing what you honestly want 

b) articulating what you want into actionable steps, and 

c) seeing them through when it gets tough. 

But, hiding away from setting goals, getting ‘shiny object syndrome’ when it gets a bit tricky and setting vague or too-narrow goals you can’t actually meet will damage your blog’s growth, cost you money and time and ultimately kill the fun factor! 

Five More Secrets to Setting Smart Goals for Your History Blog

Secret No.1 – No-one knows what they’re doing 

Think of the person whose channel, feed, blog or podcast you admire the most. Now, go and find the first few uploads they did. Interesting eh! 

Sometimes ‘experts’ make it look so easy, so when we set goals like “I want 1000 new Instagram Followers” we don’t factor in the learning or personal development time the people we admire went through and that we need to set aside for ourselves. So, we post, like and comment like crazy, but we don’t reach our goal and get deflated. It’s OK not to know how to do everything right now. But, make sure your learning supports your goals.

Question: Have you built-in learning time into the goals you’ve set yourself? 

Secret No. 2 – If you don’t get specific you’ll fail

Imagine you’re in a car and you set your SatNav for Westminster, London. Sure it’ll get you there, but it won’t get you to Buckingham Palace, which is where you actually wanted to be, because it wasn’t specific enough. 

You’ve probably heard of SMART goals. These are what you need to test your goals against. So, think of the goals you’ve set for your blog. 

Are they:

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Achievable

R = Results Focused

T = Time-Bound

Some examples of goals are: 

  • Increase your email list by 50% in 60 days
  • Grow your traffic by 5% per month
  • Write a 3000+ word Freebie or Lead Magnet such as a Work Book in 3 months

Next, break each goal down point by point. 

Specifically, how are you going to achieve this goal? How will you measure or know it’s complete? If you want an email list of 5000 people in two months, are you sure it’s achievable? What result will this give you – more traffic, potential customers? Also, work, study, kids and life happen so what is the realistic time frame for you to complete your goals?

Question. Looking at your goals. Are they SMART?

Secret No.3  – Every goal should drive your blog forwards not just make you feel good.

I started a blog because I love writing, I love history and the whole creative process but ultimately I want my blog to grow and expand into other services. This means, without losing the heart and soul of what I’m doing, I need to see it like a business and my goals need to reflect that. 

For example, ‘I want to grow my traffic by 7% every month’. This means aside from the joy of writing and creating pretty graphics for IG posts, I need to do some not-so-sexy work behind the scenes:

  • Set up a Google Analytics account and put code it into my site
  • Learn from experts how to use Google analytics to tailor content
  • Use tools such as Ubersuggest, from the amazing Neil Patel, to make sure my blogs have the right keywords
  • Optimise all of my blog posts (+ site overall) to be SEO-tastic!
  • Set-out an achievable three-month editorial calendar to ensure consistency 
  • Reach out for guest posting opportunities each month to create backlinks to my blog (Ok, actually I like this one : )
  • And much more…

Question: Looking at your goals, do they drive your blog forwards or are they well-meaning nice things to do?

Related Link: If you’re looking for content ideas for your editorial calendar check out History Blogging – 35 ideas for Blog Posts

Secret No.4  – Setting clear goals will save you time and money

So this is the biggie! If you’re still thinking, “I don’t need to set any goals Elizabeth, it’s all a bit serious and my blog’s just for fun” – this list may just change your mind.

  • Goals make you intentional with your precious time.
  • They give you an instant to-do list that gives you growth not just tasks
  • They stop you from wasting your money on the latest ‘must-have’ software, apps or tools. You can legitimately say “Thanks, but they’re not going to help me achieve my goal right now.”
  • If you’ve set a writing goal it will make your editorial calendar easier
  • They get you off the hamster wheel and able to feel real achievement and reward
  • It will give you a focus on helping to prevent burnout or paralyzing overwhelm.
  • With so much information about strategies and tactics, you should be doing coming at you, imagine the relief of knowing what you’re not going to do!  

Secret No. 5 – Making your goals public gives you a new boss!

Firstly, most people don’t achieve their goals because they forget what they are (yes, seriously) so, don’t keep them hidden away in a Word.doc or Notepad print them out and where you can see them every day.

Also, work in public, maybe through social media posts; tell people what you’re working on or what you’ve learned. If you’ve set a goal to blog every Wednesday or post a monthly book review, come hell or high water, then be open about it to your followers. Your respect for people who invest their time in you will hold you to account, as will they directly when your blog starts to grow! 

Secret No.6 – If you don’t meet your goals you need to change you not them

I’ve covered lots of reasons why you might not be reaching the goals you’ve set for your history blog. But, the final piece in the puzzle is you. 

The human brain avoids pain, therefore you will avoid achieving or even setting goals if any of the following statements apply to you.

  • I have doubts about my abilities
  • I don’t believe in the value of my blog’s content
  • I can’t be bothered doing the slog for months on end
  • I’m never going to understand all the technical stuff
  • I think I picked the wrong subject for my blog
  • My blog doesn’t inspire me
  • It’s all got a bit difficult lately and I’m not getting anywhere.

I was always the kid at school that hated sports. But in 2019 I ran the London Marathon. Six months prior to doing 26.4 miles around the greatest city in the world I celebrated lightly jogging for twenty-minutes on a treadmill without stopping. But twenty minutes turned into an hour and an hour turned into six. Did I want to give up sometimes – absolutely! Did I look for excuses not to train – err yeah! But, I had made a commitment to my sponsors and myself so I pushed through. 

My point is giving up way too soon, getting distracted, making excuses and giving into setbacks are you getting in your own way of what is possible. Set goals, hey even just set one goal and focus on that, and celebrate the little wins that keep moving you forward. Or, stop beating yourself up, stop everything to do with your history blog and see if you miss it.

Right, over to you now. I’d love to know what your blogging goals are? Plus, if you want to test if the goals you’ve set for your blog are SMART drop me a message.

Until next time.


Elizabeth Hill-Scott

Elizabeth Hill-Scott teaches entrepreneurs and bloggers who want to start, grow and monetise a successful niche blog in the fascinating field of history. She is also a post-graduate and communications expert who spent over 15 years advising senior UK politicians and public figures.