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9 First Step Goals for New Bloggers

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of July 2009 Other Income Streams 0 Comments

baby-steps.JPGMy youngest boy will take his first steps any day now. He’s been watching his older brother (and his mum and dad) run around the house for 12 months now and you can just see in his eyes the desire to be up and doing it too. This week he’s started pushing around the block trolley (right) and is practicing his standing up without the aide of anything to pull him up.

It’s not been a fast process and by no means do I expect to see him running around the house soon but he’s almost ready for his first steps.

Many bloggers start blogs these days with the dream of millions of readers and making large amounts of money.

While it is possible to build blogs that are widely read and profitable and there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big – the reality is that it takes time and a lot of work to build these kinds of blogs.

New bloggers would do well to spend more time thinking about their ‘first steps’ than just the big picture dreams and goals that they have..

Yesterday while chatting with a brand new bloggers who had some very lofty goals for this blogging I reflected back to him that I felt that in addition to the big dreams he had that I wondered if he might also benefit from having some realistic goals for the short term.

Here’s a list of 9 first step type goals that I suggested to him that might be a good place to start:

  1. Publish 10 Posts
  2. Getting your first comment from someone you don’t know
  3. Get your first link from another blog
  4. Build your readership up to more than 20 readers a day
  5. Hit a level of 20 RSS subscribers
  6. Getting your blog indexed in Google
  7. Get your blog earning $1 a week (update: only if making money from your blog is one of your goals – it’s not for everyone
  8. First guest post on another blog
  9. Having someone (not you or your mum) tweet about your blog

Note: Others goals might include goals more to do with setting up your blog including those related to design, platforms, setting up metrics/stats etc.

To someone who has been blogging for a while these kinds of goals might seem rather small and insignificant – but for a new blogger they’d be where I would start.

For new bloggers these goals might also seem a little insignificant also (in fact the blogger I was talking to told me I was thinking too small and dismissed my idea) – however I’d argue that to get to your big dreams there is a lot of steps in between – many of which might not be glamorous or as fun to think about. However sometimes it’s helpful to visualize the very next steps that you need to take in order to move towards your goals.

Tangent: I once had opportunity to meet a guy who had travelled the world climbing some of the highest mountains. When I said to him that it must be an exciting thing to do he told me that there are moments of exhilaration and excitement but that the reality is that much of what he does when climbing a mountain is pretty boring. It’s one foot in front of another type activity through foothills, carrying a heavy pack and not feeling like you’re making much progress. Of course once you make it to the top or conquer challenges along the path you have moments of excitement but it all starts with setting out from base camp and with the goal of getting to a point where the climb starts in earnest.

Once you’ve achieved these first goals start to increase them. You might want to double the numbers for the next step (although for different bloggers the numbers will no doubt be different) – then double them again and so forth.

What other ‘first step’ goals would you suggest to a new blogger just starting out? If you’re a new blogger what are your first goals?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Darren,

    Your posts are always so helpful. I liked this one because it’s so relevant to not only my clients, but to me as well. After writing for others for years, I’ve decided to blog for me. Thank you for the great starting points and the reminder that the big picture is great, but the first step(s) are the most important.

    Cute kids!


  • Nice post. I’m still stuck on goal #3, though.

  • Wow, I loved this post. With this advice I have learned that patience and taking baby steps towards our blogging goals are key factors for success. I started my blog less than a month ago and I already have 12 posts.
    Today I received my first comment, from a friend of mine (at least it wasn’t from Mom and Dad!). I will definitly use this post as a guide to keep track of my blog’s growth and development.
    Thanks a lot!

  • Thank you for this reminder. Like your blogger friend, I’ve got my expectations set high. Unfortunately, reality dictates a different rate of progress than what I’d prefer. All we can do is take each day as it comes while doing our best. And, you’re right, the best way to be a successful goal accomplish-er is to break them down into small, easy-to-digest bites.

  • Very good tips, I can understand why people suggest new bloggers check out your blog.

  • Thanks, Darren. Your site is one of the only blogging sites I read. You’re so humble and realistic. I really appreciate the advice.

  • I have just stepped into the world of blogging and confess I am quite clueless re how this all works.

    I’m especially confused re the “building of readership” piece, which I suppose must be the most important thing. (Advice?) I read somewhere that the number of new blogs coming out every day was ??? (A HUGE NUMBER), so competition for readership must be equally huge, with everyone saying “look at me!”

    We were encouraged to develop a blog to help promote a game we recently released. We really do like the idea, and think this has great merit, but to date haven’t understood how to promote the site.

    To date, all we’ve really done is to write about ten posts. Weve had some nice responses to these, but mostly from folks we know. So; next steps? We plan to “work the program” as they say, and to start down the road (or up the mountain) with some of the advice and direction you’ve presented here.


    Dr. T

  • Thank you for the great post Darren,

    I know I only started commenting on your post recently, but I actually followed your blog for last few months now.

    By using your advice, my traffic numbers and readers gain everyday.

    Again, thank you for the great post. I will keep that goal in my mind.

  • Four down, six to go. Once I reach 20 RSS subscribers and have a guest post on another blog, ill be extremely motivated and can say my blog is going places.

  • The list of goals are great, but some of the goals are really hard for a new blogger i.e. to obtain it ‘fairly’.

    Thanks for the goals

  • Nice post – I think every ‘new’ blogger is finding this helpful because it’s something we can measure ourselves against since starting our blogs – seeing where we are at!

    I noticed a person who made a comment here, who had only been blogging for a week, and feeling a ‘little’ disappointed as not many people have visited their site – Keep going, its early days! :-)

    My ponderance/question is related to the earning $1 a week goal. I just don’t believe that people will click on ads. Perhaps it’s related to my blog topic, i’ve had about 4 clicks in 2 months (approx total of 2000 visitors) – I just don’t see it happening. Should I be giving the same advice I gave in the upper paragraph – keep going, its early days?

  • Hm…

    Those are great goals and all, but how exactly would one accomplish them? How does one get people to visit a blog that is completely isolated on the web? How likely is it that the few random visitors that I get on my blog would like the content, even if it IS well written?

    I know that the readers of the blog should be the main source of promoting it, but how do I get the first readers?

    Those are the questions I am facing right now.

    Please check out one of my blog posts:

  • Iris

    Consistency . . . that’s what I need to employ more of because I need to be reading your blog EVERY DAY on a more CONSISTENT basis! You offer such great advice and guidance — I’m so glad I stumbled upon you.

    Thanks, for delivering such great content!

  • What would be cool is a “ProBlogger Goals” plugin for WordPress that allows a blogger to check their progress on these objectives (or others they set for themselves in the Dashboard.

  • Thank you for the article. I digg it. :-)
    I like your 9 step list. I never really thought about having goals like this before for my blog.

    I’m about half way there.
    I would agree with Jeff about a wordpress plugin to help with measurable goals.

  • Yep, yep yep and yep… And this convinces me so much more that I need to write these things down… And darren, how does one, as a new blogger, actually chat with you about these things ? :)

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  • Hi Darren
    I just love your analogy! Thank you. I am very much a newborn to blogging and it can be overwhelming when I keep realising what I do not know. Thankfully with time and simple goals I’ll see the benefits.
    I look forward to reading and learing more.
    Thanks, Belinda

  • Agreed, Slow and Steady Wins the Race! (which means I should end up a BIG winner! LOL)

    No plans to make money, as of yet…just putting my perspective on things out into the Universe. Do with it what you will, lol.

    Thanks for the list of Goals, they have been Incredibly Helpful! :o)

  • Actually I just realised that I have completed seven from this list and I did not even notice them as milestones. I was quite concerned how badly it goes. Now you cheered me up. Thanks Darren.

    Still ahead:

    First guest post, 20 RSS subscribers and making money.

  • Hey Darren,

    Thanks for the “checklist”. Within 3 weeks, I’ve almost accomplished all (and that’s great, because I’m 14), including writing TWO guest posts, having a guest poster, and even reading your book! The only thing that I haven’t accomplished yet is monetizing my blog: I think it’s too new. If anyone has time, can you check it out and tell me whether it’s ready for something like AdSense?

  • I just started my blog two days ago, actually. I suppose my goal would be to get people to actually read it. I’d like some comments. I’d also like to make some money off of it. I haven’t yet reached any of these goals, but I’m working on it!

  • Good thing is also to avoid making spelling misakes like the author of this post does…

  • Hello Darren,

    Until now i’ve completed 8 steps from the 9 of the new blogger!
    The missing step is the rss subscriber:( I have only 14

  • I like the idea of taking it one step at a time. Too often, in today’s world we’re thinking about instant gratification as a way of getting things done. We forget that it’s a journey to get anywhere in life and too often we think that it’s the end result that matters the most; when, in fact it’s the very process of getting there that is the most meaningful. Being able to build a blog as well as a following requires that you be honest with yourself first, then; others will catch on and trust you as being a sincere person.

  • as a blogger, my first goal is to get many followers as possible.

  • Thanks for the tips. My first blog is now 3 weeks old. It’s a personal blog. I have to follow these tips now. Thanks.

  • The Internet “browser”… is the piece of software that puts a message on your computer screen informing you that the Internet is currently busy and you should try again later.

  • Great list! As I am currently setting up a new blog on self development, I will be keeping this in mind.

    Even though I am not new to blogging (I have 2 blogs on music, 1 on writing and 1 on programming), I am new to blogging “regularly” and I believe in the importance of doing it one step at a time.

    This is the approach I apply to everything I do, whether it is recording an album or writing a novel, and it has worked well for me so far so hopefully, it will work well with blogging too!

  • “8. First guest post on another blog”

    1 to go ><

  • 1st of all, thank you for the wonderful resource that is problogger! I have dozens of your articles bookmarked, they are very helpful and encouraging :)

    So far I’ve achieved… almost #1. I think I have 7 posts. I just started my blog a week or so ago I think. I’d been setting it up – playing with the template, the HTML, the widgets – for a couple of months but not until just recently did I actually start posting.

    This list is very helpful to me – thank you for giving me goals to strive for!


  • Hey Darren!

    Great post – it puts things into perspective and sets some great goals to aim for.

    Like many others, I’ve hit some of the targets already, and in just a few short weeks of blogging. I’ve had some great feedback from the comments that I’ve been left on my blog – but now you’ve given me “the next steps” to take, and helping me to ensure I keep the momentum moving forward for my blog.

    Cheers Darren!


  • Working on my blogs have been a little hard. I came to note that choosing the right content may solve this problem.

  • something i would suggest to upcoming bloggers is that the first commandment to on line business is never to spam. this can reduce their lifespan in business drastically!

  • I am new to internet marketing, but I think that posting on a regular basis, at least three to five times per week, starting out is something that new bloggers can do, this will start their traffic climbing and get them a good rating with Alexa.

  • Thats an amazing gist of what actually a person has to start, to become a successful blogger.I’m on the start with my blogging. Although i’ve posted enough content, im yet to achieve some of the targets. I just wanted to say that your website has given me more innovative methods for building my blog and im very thankful for it…
    Keep Going…
    All the best Dude…

  • Karen Kalata is right. posting regularly is an essential thing to do.

  • Thanks for all the tips. I’ve set myself the goal of at least three posts a day. I’t a field I’m passionate about so shouldn’t be too hard. Thanks again Darren :)

  • its really a great information for the novice blogger like me.
    thanks a lot for sharing. I shall implement most of the steps mentioned above very soon, for sure :)

  • To tell the truth, these goals aren’t that hard to think up – it’s hard to accomplish them, though, and you don’t mention how to do that.

  • Before all these steps I think the main objective is to establish what the purpose of the blog. If for commercial purposes, make money or just fun :)

  • yes you are right, its really funny how key phrases such as “how to become a millionaire over night” are popular search key phrases in Google!!

  • Gaining RSS readers is a big issue I’m running into right now myself. I already get a steady stream of readers, but convincing them to subscribe to my site, thus ensuring them as repeat readers, can present quite a challenge in itself.

  • As a new blogger, etting realistic goals has been key to me keeping my sanity. Its great to have lofty ambitions and to keep them in mind daily, but its the small accomplishments that have kept me going everyday. Its easy to get a little discouraged otherwise. Great starter list!

  • Great post…thanks :)

  • That is a pretty useful list of first steps for blogs. I’m personally aiming for the 20 readers a day currently.

  • These all sound like great ideas and a good start to a beginning blog. Making money is not my main goal with this blog, so they money tips don’t really apply to me, but I will be sure to try some of the other things. My blog is brand new and I am trying to get it going right now. Hopefully your tips can help me get some traffic.

  • I have been looking for information on starting a blog, and found this article very informative. It seems like such a daunting task to start a blog and develop a readership, but this simplified it quite a bit for me.

  • My problems are now getting solved!

    healthy growth exercise,

  • I need #5 and #6. RSS feed subscribers only 16, and I made .52 in August. Im working on it. That’s why Im here :) Thanks for the great info once again!