How To Effectively Plan Your Blog Growth Using Micro & Macro Goals

By Chris Lee 22 comments

Why is it important to set blogging goals?

Running this blog for nearly 3 years now has given me the chance to talk with a lot of people in this industry, a lot of whom who are struggling and looking for help.

Speaking with them, the biggest problem that I’ve noticed is that they don’t set any kind of blogging goals. Actually let me rephrase that. They don’t set specific, measurable goals.

Instead, most people’s blogging goals usually look something like this:

  • I want to build a lot of traffic.
  • I want my blog to make a lot of money.
  • I want it to take off.
  • I want it to replace my job.
  • I want it to make $X every month.

These don’t tell you anything, and give you no actionable roadmap.

So in this post, I’m going to share the exact, specific blogging goals that I personally set for every new site that I start today. You can, and should, copy them, as I believe that it’s the best way to organize an effective (and realistic) growth plan for any new blog.

Separate goals into micro and macro goals

I like to separate my planning into two groups: Micro goals and macro goals.

Macro goals = the big picture – where I want my blog to be in the long-term (years later).

Micro goals = the short-term picture – where I want my blog to be in the short-term (next few months).

There’s a clear distinction between these two, and that’s the time and speed in which they’re implemented.

Macro is all about strategically investing your time, money, and energy into efforts that will pay off in the long-run. You won’t see results overnight. You’re essentially making a calculated bet that the work you put in now will pay off in the future.

Micro moves at micro speed. It’s about hustling, finding and focusing on the things that accelerate growth. You’re looking for things that get you off the ground quickly. It’s most important (and really only plays a big role) in the beginning stages of a blog’s life.

Micro and macro can mean different things to different people, depending on what context you’re using them in, but this is just the meaning I give to them in relation to building out sites.

Timelines I give myself for each stage

For me, the timeline of the micro goals are from 0 to 12 months.
And the timeline of the macro goals from 12 to 24 months.

In other words, I’m hoping to reach my micro goals within the first year, and my macro goals in 2 years.

It’s extremely helpful to separate your goals using this format, as your site will be at very different stages for these two time periods.

From 0 to 12 months your site is brand new. You’ll have little search traffic, minimal amounts of content published, a small following, few backlinks, no strong network or relationships, no recognizable brand.

From 12 to 24 months your site will be more established in the search engines. You’ll have a decent amount of content published. You’ll have developed a readership and following from a good number of people, and have built up a solid network with colleagues and influencers.

Further reading: My First Year Of Blogging On RankXL: How I Grew RankXL From A Side Project To A 6-Figure Blog In Just A Year

My goals are set accordingly.

The macro and micro goals I set for myself

After nearly a decade of building and growing blogs, these 5 points now lay out my checklist for every new blog I start.

My macro objectives:

1. Driving 100,000 visitors per month by focusing on SEO.
2. Collecting an average of 100 email subscribers per day (without paid traffic).

My micro objectives

1. Building early traffic – doesn’t need to be consistent or long-term like SEO.
2. The entire purpose of building traffic is to get my first 1000 subscribers, then grow to 10,000 email subscribers.
3. Building and launching my first product & generating first $10,000 in revenue.

Let’s dive deeper into each one.

A closer look at my macro goals

For my long-term goals, I’m focused on 2 things:
1. Driving 100,000 visitors per month by focusing on SEO.
2. Collecting an average of 100 email subscribers per day (without paid traffic).

These are the 2 things that matter most. If I can hit these goals, everything else like “lots of revenue” will come naturally.

As a result, they’re all I care about.

Driving 100,000 visitors per month by focusing on SEO.

This will be easy in some niches, and extremely difficult in others – depending on competition.

But my goal with any site is to reach the 100,000 visitors per month mark. And that’s all with SEO.

Without paid traffic.

My time frame for this is after 2 years. I feel that’s a sufficient amount of time to reach this goal without killing yourself.

After I hit 100,000 visitors, the goal will change but the next milestone will always be dependant on the niche and the size of the market.

Collecting 100 email subscribers per day.

If I hit 100,000 visitors per month, I should be able to optimize the site to collect 100 email subscribers per day.

Let’s do the math to clarify:

100,000 / 30 days = 3333 visitors per day.

On average, I’ll convert about 2-4% of search traffic into subscribing using popups, well-placed forms, and some content upgrades.

Let’s take the middle point: 3%.

3333 visitors per day x 3% = 99.

Round up, and there’s our 100 subscribers per day.

Why does it matter if you get 100?

Once you get to 100 email subs per day, you can really start making a lot of money from a blog.

Doesn’t mean you can’t make a lot of money with less than that, but 100/day is what I aim for.

If you have 100 subscribers per day, if you can convert 5% of them on a $100 product using an evergreen launch funnel, that’s $500 per day.

But the really big numbers come from product launches and higher priced products.

100 subs per day is 3000 per month (100 x 30 days).

If you’re doing a product launch every 4 months, your list is growing by 12,000 people every single time you launch!

That’s big.

I won’t do any math since it’s really variable upon how many subscribers you have in total, the price of your product, your conversion rate, how engaged your audience is, etc.

But if you get to these numbers, you’re going to have huge product launches and can potentially flirt with the 7-figures per year mark if you know what you’re doing, and you’re in a profitable niche.

A closer look at my micro goals

Unlike my macro goals, my micro goals have changed a lot over the years, as I experiment with new things.

There is a lot of room for improvement in the current process that people go through in their first 12 months blogging. Most people actually have no process at all, but just try to throw a bunch of things against a wall and hope that one sticks.

Not good.

Getting early traffic wins – doesn’t need to be consistent or long-term like SEO.

Long term, SEO is the best source of consistent, and large volumes of traffic. But for a brand new blog, SEO takes a while to kick in.

So what can we do for traffic before SEO kicks in?

I talked a bit about this in my last post, but essentially, I build links that drive referral traffic.

Instead of my focus being on building links ranking in Google, my main intention is to drive traffic.

What I normally go with are guest posts, and building links on sites where my target audience is hanging out already. Guest posting has been the most reliable/repeatable across all niches if you can do it effectively.

Building my first 1000 subscribers, then growing to 10,000 email subscribers.

All of my traffic building efforts are done for one reason: to collect 10,000 email subscribers in my first year.

This is separated into two milestones. I want to get my first 1000 subscribers in the first 3 to 6 months, launch my first product, then grow it to 10,000 by the end of the year.

These are both reasonable targets to work toward in year 1 and is doable across different niches.

Building and launching our first product & generating first $10,000 in revenue.

If I’m doing everything else correctly, I should be able to hit my goal of generating my first $10K with the blog.

The target goal here is set very low on purpose. It’s a target minimum.

The micro goal for the first year isn’t to exhaust myself trying to hit some crazy goal like a million dollars. All that will do is make me lose focus.

All I want to do is make my first $10,000 in revenue. The bigger numbers will come later when I hit my macro goals.

The first year is more like a development stage. I’m building my audience, releasing my first product, and making my first few sales.

And my results from this stage will reveal ideas and thoughts on the best ways to grow afterwards: Such as what price points work with my audience, what do they need help with, what future products can I build, what product formats are best, etc?

My micro and macro goals work together, and everything is done to achieve the next goal

If you noticed, my micro and macro goals work together. They’re only different in scale and speed to accommodate for the different conditions a new site goes through.

Furthermore, they’re realistic. I give myself challenging milestones, where I’ll actually have to work hard to get there, but nothing is unreasonable like “I’m going to start a new blog and grow it bigger than WikiHow… this year!”

You may have also noticed that everything is done strategically to help achieve the next goal.

For example, my micro goal of getting early traffic wins is done to hit my next goal of getting 1000 then 10,000 subscribers, which then helps hit my next goal of making my first $10K.

And my macro goal of growing to 100,000 visitors per month helps hit my next goal of getting 100 new email subs per day.

Conclusion

My goals weren’t always separated this clearly. I used to be like everyone else.

I would start new sites with only one thought in mind:

I WANT IT TO TAKE OFF AND GET HUGE!

I WANT IT TO MAKE…

But like I said earlier, this is a very ineffective way of thinking and doesn’t lay out a clear, actionable path to anything.

By setting specific measurable goals, categorized into micro and macro targets, the process of building new sites is much more streamlined and easier to follow.

I want to hear from you

If this was helpful in giving you a realistic range of targets and timelines, let me know 🙂

And if you use goals yourself, share them in the comments! I’d love to hear about them!

Leave a Reply

22 Comments

  • Reply sarfraz September 29, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    I love your blog its very helpful

    • Reply Chris Lee September 29, 2017 at 11:55 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Reply Jared September 29, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Yes, super helpful as always. More than anything it’s good to hear this from someone who’s actually done it multiple times. So many “experts” in the digital marketing space you sometimes don’t know who to believe.

    • Reply Chris Lee September 29, 2017 at 11:55 pm

      Happy to hear that. Thanks, Jared!

  • Reply Frank September 29, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Thank u for this article. I will start planning for micro goals for a month starting on October 2017.

    REQUEST:
    Am using blogger platform would you send me a good blogger theme which is highly reccomended for blogger for good SEO and money earnings ?

    • Reply Chris Lee September 29, 2017 at 11:56 pm

      I haven’t used Blogger in years so unfortunately wouldn’t know which theme is best. Googling it should give you a ton of results I’m sure.

  • Reply Suresh Bist September 29, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Hi Chris,

    You thoughts on short term ‘micro’ goals is interesting, because you are suggesting focusing on building subscribers list and trying to make money by selling a product in the first year.

    I think most others try to do the usual adsense/amazon in the first year of building their site, and of course, they make peanuts due to obvious reasons. I guess ‘making product’ puts off most newbies probably because they think its difficult, and that’s why they don’t introduce it much earlier.

    Will definitely give this approach a try on one of my newer sites.

    Thx
    Suresh

    • Reply Chris Lee September 29, 2017 at 11:57 pm

      Yeah, definitely. Building an email list and selling a product really allows you to get to those higher revenue numbers without needing those big traffic numbers.

  • Reply Steve September 30, 2017 at 12:15 am

    I just want the course already

    • Reply Chris Lee September 30, 2017 at 12:56 am

      October 3rd 🙂

  • Reply Wilson September 30, 2017 at 6:01 am

    Hi Chris,

    Awesome article as always. I personally have a 3 year plan, which is broken down into 1 month micro goals.

    One thing that I have struggled with is that I can understand how to make money with Adsense and media.net, but have no clue on how to actually make my own product in the niche.

    How would I get people to pay me 50-100$, when I don’t have appropriate amount of value to give back to them. It’s a really specific niche, I know some about the topic, but couldnt imagine myself writing an ebook or a video course that could be valuable enough to sell for 50+$.

    How do you do it in niches where you are not a true expert in?

    Thank you very much,
    Wilson

    • Reply Chris Lee September 30, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Hey Wilson. That’s awesome that you’ve planned so far ahead and was still able to break it down into monthly goals.

      As for building a product, that’s a very common question. And in that case, you have to think about it in terms of value in the product, and not so much the author.

      There are 2 ways to look at it:

      1. You’re an expert already: If that’s the case, you would be selling yourself, and your knowledge, in the product.

      2. You’re not an expert, but you run a blog in the niche: Then you would create something helpful that helps your audience and sell that, and not so much yourself and your own results.

      A lot of people who’ve never built products think there’s only option #1. Not every product needs to be a personal journal/biography type of thing to do well.

      Figure out what your audience needs help with. Create a helpful premium guide around that based on your own research.

      Organization and steps are really valuable in products. Blog posts are all over the place. People want systems – step-by-step guides that will tell them exact what to do.

  • Reply Bruno September 30, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Thanks very useful but I can not get your affiliate link. 🙁 But I’m following you are one of the best

    • Reply Chris Lee September 30, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks a lot, Bruno! 🙂

  • Reply Brian September 30, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Interesting. For that traffic and in a market with buyers for that many info products are you just doing health, wealth, and relationship big info product niches or still doing in little niches that don’t have many info products. I guess how niche and how are you proving a market.

  • Reply Bhuboy October 1, 2017 at 1:52 am

    Thanks for this another helpful post Chris

    • Reply Chris Lee October 1, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      Glad to hear it was helpful, Bhuboy 🙂

  • Reply Max October 2, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Another great post. I’m always setting miniature goals within my startup – whether it’s guest blogging, writing new content or ranking for a new term. Definitely a great way to stay motivated and focused.

    • Reply Chris Lee October 2, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      Great to hear! Thanks, Max 🙂

  • Reply Mohit Gangrade October 3, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Hey Chris,

    Great post. I love the idea of having specific blogging goals.

    For me, it’s always been systems over goals.

    I just think of a goal, create a process I can follow every day and then follow the process vigorously. It has always helped me exceed my goals.

    My current goal is to write 100,000 words in just one month on Medium and all my blogs to create a lot of good quality content, and to improve my writing skills.

    For my blog growth, my earlier goal was to create 20,000 words of high-quality content and then spend 2 hours a day promoting this content.

    I used to follow goals but since I started creating systems, I always overshoot my goals and expectations.

    For example, my goal for this month is to write 100,000. It’s been just three days and I am already at 20k words.

    It’s what works for me. For most of my friends, this just doesn’t work.

    By the way, I once read about a Psychology study that suggests as humans we overestimate what we can accomplish in one year, and underestimate what we can accomplish in 3 years.

    Anyways, great content like always 🙂

    Thanks,
    Mohit

    • Reply Chris Lee October 5, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      Wow, that’s awesome Mohit! I don’t know if I’ve ever written 100,000 words in a single month. Insane!

      I heard that saying too. But I heard it the other way around haha. Humans overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, but underestimate what they can accomplish in a month.

      Both very true, imo 🙂