Every year except for 2011 I have published my blogging goals on this site. Needless to say, 2011 was probably my most stagnant year in terms of growth. I don’t think those 2 things are unrelated.
I’ve been seeing a lot of stuff online lately about “living with out goals” and stuff like that. I think it is nonsense. People without goals are the same ones who tend to get baked and watch TV all day.
At least for me, having some sort of benchmark helps. It forces you to think about what you have to do to reach them.
Here is what I’m shooting for in 2012:
- Across the board doubling in website traffic. I actually don’t think this is going to be as hard as it seems. Google was good to me in 2011. Everything broke my way with the Panda updates. I haven’t focused on search traffic, but I’ve started experimenting with a few key pages. I’m finding that without any link building, I can get pages into a competitive position over time. The key is the “time” part. I might do some link building for a few select pages, but I haven’t decided yet. I also hope to get some posts that go viral. Honestly, I have never had that happen on anything before. I have some plans for how to achieve this as well and have started collecting data on some of them.
- 30,000 RSS + email subscribers. I’m currently around 16,000. This would require slightly less than a doubling. I assume that 80-90% of that is going to come from email and not RSS. That is what the trend has been lately. I have a few ideas that might result in large jumps in subscribers, but I have no idea if they will work. I will be releasing a new version of my free travel photography ebook in January. I’m I will have over 100 images this time, up from 50. I am also going to start using Facebook more to drive email signups.
- 50,000 Facebook Fans. This is a much more aggressive growth number, but Facebook is unique for 2 reasons. First, there is a viral nature to Facebook which results in a higher rate of natural growth for fan pages. Second, it is always possible to run Facebook ads. I did a $100 experiment with Facebook ads in the past, but I don’t think I really figured out how it worked. This number will also help reach the above goals.
- Release my book. This should be listed first as this is actually the most important goal of the year. If I can execute well with this, all the other other goals will fall into place, probably quite easily.
- Stop talking about blogging. I have found talking about the business of blogging and travel blogging in particular to be a massive waste of my time. I’m especially talking about the Facebook groups (one of which I started) and commenting on other blog posts about blogging. If I have something to say, I’ll say it here or in a guest post somewhere. I’ve been cutting back and I hope to do so even more in 2012. I can see nothing but upside in staying out of controversies.
- Slow down. I had a huge issue this year with the pace I traveled and my ability to get things done. Many of the problems I had dealt with taking press trips. I do not plan on taking nearly as many in 2012. The more I take, the less they seem worth it. I have a backlog of things to write about and I really don’t want to get too much more until I get through what I have.
- Release an ebook. I’ve never done this because I didn’t have have a subject that I thought was worthy of releasing an ebook about. Just doing something on general travel wasn’t enough. I finally got a subject and I think it is a good one. Moreover, it is something that I would consider myself an expert on at this point and I don’t know of anyone else who has touched the subject. I hope to have it out in the summer.
- Turn a profit. This isn’t a goal because as of Jan. 1 I will be profitable. I’ve been putting this off for years but 2012 is the year. Many of my plans are already in motion. Now is just a matter of execution.
I have other irons in the fire as well, including my iPhone app, photo sales and maybe a project on the iBook store. I have no idea what the potential revenue is on these, so I’m not going to list them.