Where Do You See Your Blog In 5 Years?

by Robb Sutton

For many bloggers, 5 years seems like a really long way away. In all reality, blogging has not even been mainstream for that long…let alone planned for in that kind of time period. But…just because blogging is in its infant stages, that does not mean that you…as the blogger…should not be planning for the future. Successful businesses are nothing but an accumulation of smart short term decisions that bring you to a long-term goal. As you look into your magic 8 ball and plan for long-term growth, are you looking at the necessary items in your blogging to get where you want to be in 5 years?

Everyone that starts a blog with the dream of big profits and the dot com lifestyle sees the big picture. They can picture the fancy cars, the large house, the massive amount of free time, traveling the world and making a killing at the same time…what they can not see is what it takes to get to that point and the amount of work it takes to get there.

Setting Your Long-Term Blogging Goals

As you look at your blogging and where you want it to be in the coming years, your first step in achieving that growth is to actually sit down and lay out those benchmarks. How are you ever going to achieve what you want if you do not know where you are headed? I – typically – lay everything out on a whiteboard so I can visually see where I need to be. You might have another thought gathering medium that works best for you, so I recommend doing whatever you feel most comfortable with…but do something!

The key with making these long-term blogging goals is to make them realistic and have them blogging related. It is great that you want a gun metal gray Ferrari F430 with blacked out rims and an exhaust note that is just music to your ears, but that is not a blogging goal. A blogging goal would be to have a monthly revenue of $35,000 in 5 years. See my point? You do not want to be putting physical objects on this list. You want to have the aspects of your blogging that allow for those objects.

  • How many subscribers do you want to have?
  • How many newsletter subscribers?
  • Monthly revenue?
  • Growth percentage?
  • Number of outside writers?
  • Do you want to expand your niche?
  • Add a forum?

You need to picture, in your head, what your blog will look like 5 years down the road. By visualizing this growth and success…you can now move on to the next step of long-term blog planning.

Setting Short-Term Goals That Lead To Your Long-Term Blog Success

After you have your goal, you need to figure out what steps you are going to take to achieve that goal. Most bloggers are just winging it. They are putting up articles on a daily basis, promoting here and there to get more traffic and subscribers and eventually hope that all of this work turns out to be something. What they do not know at this time is how today’s actions are affecting tomorrows outcomes. There are no goals…just hope.

The key to setting your short-term blogging goals is to chop off your needs in chunks of time. Each of these short-term goals are the means to achieve your long-term goals. All of them point in that direction because that is where you want to head. By setting short-term blogging goals, you are laying out the foundation of your blogging and creating an organized attack to achieve those goals. You are no longer just wondering in the forest hoping you make it home.

Plan these goals out in short time periods. I do this by making goals for the month, then 6 months and year increments. What am I going to do to achieve my long-term goals in my blogging.

  • Guest post on popular blogs in my niche?
  • Change my branding and how new readers perceive my site on the web?
  • Start writing different articles that promote and attract a different segment of readers?
  • When I hit 10,000 subscribers, I am going to launch a forum to add to the blog’s value.
  • Launch a free ebook to encourage newsletter subscriptions this month.
  • Sign on direct advertisers with 6 month contracts.

See how these short-term goals are a means to achieve the long-term goals? You want to provide action steps that are the road map to your long-term success. This will keep you focused and show you – visually – exactly what you need to do so that the 5 year mark doesn’t come and go without any changes in your lifestyle. As you accomplish these goals, celebrate your success and add new short-term goals to the list that further your progress towards your long-term goals.

The #1 Mistake I See Most Bloggers Make

The #1 mistake I see in most blogs is this lack of action and organized attack. Yes…some blogs will make it without even knowing why, but this percentage is so small that you need to ignore it. You need to treat your blog just like any other business and start to plan where you want to be 5 years down the road. Without this plan, you are literally wandering in the woods with zero clue on where you are heading. You might feel like you have a handle on things. Your blog might be growing without any real long-term planning. But…I can assure you that long-term success is 100% dependent on knowing where you want to be at that time and taking action on the steps that will get you to that goal.

Typically…a funny thing happens to bloggers and business owners to setup their businesses to achieve long-term goals…they hit those goals in a time period that is shorter than the original plan. You know what we do then? Make more long-term goals with short-term action steps to get there…


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Elie Kochman November 2, 2009 - 10:06 am

Robb – excellent way to phrase this. Yes, for some blogging is just a hobby, but for others, it’s the hope of a business. Anyone who says “I hope to make a few dollars from my blog” needs to think about how they are going to do that – what it’s going to take, and what they’re going to do to get there.

Robb Sutton November 2, 2009 - 12:27 pm

And blogging as a hobby is fantastic! Just…like you said…a different goal. If you are looking to make any income…it requires a different approach.

Jason Markow November 2, 2009 - 1:15 pm

Robb, Great Post! I think the “5 year” question is a great way to test if what you are blogging about is something you are truly passionate about. It is also probably one of the harder “mistakes bloggers make” to track. Are there any other common mistakes you see?

Robb Sutton November 2, 2009 - 1:21 pm

The 5 year question also keeps you focused. The 2nd biggest mistake I see is jumping from project to project too fast. There are a lot of beginning blogger that move from one project to another without giving the first project a chance.

Nothing is going to just explode in the first 6 months. You have to keep at it and tweak your ideas/goals…not change subjects completely.

Anne Lyken-Garner November 2, 2009 - 2:03 pm

You’re right. It takes time to build up a network. It’s very scary as well. There’s no one to tell you how to do it. Sometimes it can feel like you’re stumbling around in the dark.

A very helpful post. Thanks.

Ben Lang November 3, 2009 - 9:44 pm

Thanks so much, I really need to take this in account more seriously when contemplating the future of my blog.


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