January 22, 2008

"Three goals webmasters make, and why you should not make them yourself."

Maintaining a website or blog means you have to set goals from time to time. Whether it's goals with the amount of traffic you are - or are not - receiving, goals with the amount of content you provide, or even goals with the amount of goals you want to achieve, having goals for your site can mean growth for you.

Not surprisingly, webmasters tend to make goals for their website or blogs that are very similar. But what is surprising is that a lot of the goals webmasters tend to make aren't beneficial to them or their sites. So, to help you in your site goal process: here are three goals webmasters make, and why you should not make them yourself.

Get a specific number of visitors/subscribers.

Setting a goal to get a set number of visitors or subscribers isn't necessarily a horrible goal to make, but it does have a problem: you don't have much control over the outcome.

Sure, you can do everything in your power to get people to visit your website, but ultimately the amount of people who visit your website or subscribe to your blog is not up to you, and there is not much you can do about it.

Instead of setting a goal based on other people and variables that are out of your control, focus on a goal that you CAN control; like getting a certain amount of links (you can actively search out and get links to your site easily), or spending a certain amount of advertising dollars.

Don't set goals that you can't completely control the outcome of, you'll end up wasting more time and resources than if you set a goal that you can take complete action on.

Post new content every [insert random number] days.

Trying to get a specific number of site visitors or feed subscribers is slightly out of your control, so picking a goal that is more of a direct result of your actions is a must; unfortunately, setting a goal to put up a set amount of new content per [number].

It's great that you want to have new content on a scheduled basis, but setting such requirements for yourself can dramatically decrease the value of the content you are providing.

What happens if you wake up one morning and are too busy to write up some great and valuable content? What if there is a personal emergency and you never get around to perusing your content goal?

Setting a goal for when to add new content - as well as how much to add - is setting yourself up for failure, and definitely de-valuing your website or blog.

Instead, set a broader goal that won't hinder your creativity, and that won't restrict you to avoiding personal issues. Setting a goal like "Have 100 articles online within four months" is broad enough to give you creative space, but still requires you to put effort into it.

Set [blank number] goals.

Regardless of the number and types of goals you may - or may not - have already been setting for your site, they won't mean anything if they aren't for your growth.

A lot of webmasters set goals and then get discouraged when they don't achieve those goals, so they make another goal to set more goals and reach them. Then, when they don't reach their new goals, the webmasters will either set even more unachievable goals, or give up on their website altogether.

You are not suppose to be creating goals that will be the fuel behind your site or marketing efforts; instead, you should be creating goals at times that you see fit. If you are not seeing much traffic coming into your blog, set a goal to buy more advertising and try to influence more traffic.

Ultimately settings goals for your website or blog are for YOU, nobody else and for no other reason.

Goals should be set with growth in mind - and not just in a traffic kind of way. You should be able to learn what makes your website great, and what doesn't work. You should be focusing on ways that YOU can learn to be a better webmaster or provide better content, not what you can do to make yourself temporarily happy.