My 2017 goals – and why I’m not worried about boosting my blog stats

Yeah, I know. Yet another blogger writing about their 2017 goals or New Year resolutions. But this one’s different. Honest, guv.

For one thing, I don’t actually make New Year resolutions. I’ve never been any good at keeping them anyway. And if you want to set a major goal, why wait until January 1st to do it?

Another thing. Unlike many bloggers, I don’t set quantitative targets relating to my blog stats. I don’t want to achieve X amount of page views (as nice as it would be for my ego to do so). I don’t need to crack the top 100 of the Tots100 ranking (been there, done that and – spoiler alert – it doesn’t magically transform your life when you do). My year will not be made by breaking the 10,000 Twitter follower barrier. Or by registering my first £1,000-earning month.

I’m not criticising those who do set targets such as the above. But because monetising my blog isn’t something I focus on, I simply don’t need to worry about my stats. So I don’t worry about them – a sentiment I followed through in the autumn by removing myself from the Tots rankings altogether.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to grow my numbers. It’s just not what drives me when I wake up in the morning, so it’s not something I bother setting targets for, even though many bloggers do.

What I said I’d do in 2016

When I wrote the equivalent beginning-of-the-year post last year, I talked about not doing more things – because adding to an already unattainable to-do list is a sure recipe for failure – but on focussing on the few things that really matter. Less is more, as it were.

I set myself three goals:

  1. Complete a first draft of my book – an epic fail there.
  2. Expand my podcast, going from a solo podcast with weekly guests to one with a regular team. 37 episodes later, the Meet the Parents podcast is just a few weeks from its first birthday.
  3. Whatever happens with the blog happens. Don’t get hung up on stats and reduce the number of posts published from 253 in 2015 to under 200 – I wrote just 186 posts last year but still increased total page views.

Two out of three isn’t bad, I suppose – but still room for improvement.

What I’m planning to do in 2017

This year I’m making plans along similar lines. No ‘standard’ blogger metric goals for me, just a few specific to-dos.

The one thing I am doing differently this year is to learn from past experience, which has taught me that if I set a series of goals with a 12-month timescale, I’ll procrastinate for months until I’ve either forgotten about them or I’ve left it too late to get started. So this year I’m setting more short-term targets within the context of a longer-term goal.

For me the overall goal is two-fold. In terms of writing, to keep enjoying what I do. And in terms of blogging, to become and be seen as one of the leading experts in the parent blogging field.

The first objective means being strict about writing what matters to me, not what I think will generate traffic. I get more enjoyment out of finding original ways to tackle the topic of parenting than I do from the numbers my posts generate, or from nailing a narrative or a specific emotion. I managed that a handful of times last year – you just know when you’ve got it right – and hopefully I can do that more often this year.

Becoming and being recognised as an expert blogger is different. This means building my knowledge but also sharing it more with others, and continuing to stretch myself in areas where I’m not currently an expert.

So, anyway, here is my slimmed down list of specific goals for 2017, complete with timescales:

  1. Start ‘Photography 101 for Bloggers’ series (1st quarter)
  2. Redesign and rebrand the blog (2nd quarter)
  3. Present a session at a blogging conference (2nd or 3rd quarter, depending on which conference)
  4. Create another new series of posts to follow on from the photography series (3rd quarter)
  5. Attend at least three blogging conferences/social events
  6. Record episode 80 of the podcast (currently 37)
  7. Write, record and publish at least 10 parenting parody songs – because it’s the one thing I most enjoyed about blogging in 2016
  8. Restart writing that first draft of my book (4th quarter, realistically)

And that’s it, really. Nothing that isn’t achievable but equally nothing easy. I might end up the year with fewer page views and fewer social media followers but, even if I do, if I can tick off all eight of the above my year will have been a success because this is what I truly want to achieve in 2017.

And finally …

Oh, and there is one more thing, which on the face of it is non blogging-related and yet is totally dependent on keeping my focus when blogging.

I need to be there more for my family. That means less time hiding behind a keyboard or a phone and more time being a good dad and husband, a balance I have historically struggled with. I think the goals I’ve set out are realistic enough that they can be achieved without sacrificing family time. But what will scupper me is if I lose focus and start doing lots of little extra things on the side such as writing posts I wouldn’t normally write to chase page views or worrying too much about building my Instagram followers.

If you catch me doing any of these things, you have my permission to shoot me. Although sending me a direct message on Twitter to gently remind me might be less painful all around …

Do you have any specific goals for 2017, either blog or non blog-related?

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