Redefining Your Purpose

I believe most of my readers who are bloggers or online marketers have been online for several months or longer. When you started your website/blog you obviously started it for a reason. Maybe you wanted to make money. Maybe you just wanted to share your thoughts and opinions with others. Have you stopped to think about how your current goals and purposes match up with your original reasons for being online?

Most of us have a lot of misconceptions about blogging and doing business online when we are just getting started. In most cases, we’ll learn more in a few weeks of doing than we could in a few years of studying. Maybe you’ve found better and more effective ways of doing things, or maybe you’ve even changed your mind about what you would like to accomplish.

Every now and then it’s a good idea to take a step back and analyze your purposes, what motivates you to keep going, and how are you setting out to accomplish your goals. If your purposes and goals have changed, you’ll probably need to change the methods and strategies that you are using.

An example from my experience:

I started blogging as a way to add a little bit of content to this website so that it would draw more search engine traffic. My goal at the time wasn’t to post frequently or to gain a large group of readers. I wanted to steer traffic towards our design services and profit by receiving more work.

As the traffic quickly picked up and people started to subscribe, I saw value in posting regularly and maximizing the traffic. The posting frequency increased dramatically and with the content of posts I now attempt to meet the needs of readers rather than catching the attention of search engines.

Now I am re-evaluating the blog because it is completely different than I originally intended (and in my opinion it’s a much more valuable part of the business than I anticipated). In order to keep the quality improving, more time and effort is going in to the blog.


Some things to consider:

1. How have your goals changed since you started your website/blog?

2. Have you changed your daily and weekly activities to reflect those changing goals?

3. What do you need to do to get to where you want to be?

It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of doing the same things day-after-day and week-after-week, but are those same actions still helping you to move in the direction that you want to move? If your goals and priorities have changed, so should your strategy for achievement of those goals.

I know there are a lot of readers who have experienced similar situations. I’d like to hear your thoughts on what has helped you to be able to make adjustments and what challenges you have faced.

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16 Responses

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  • Monika @ The Writers Manifesto, November 22, 2007

    Hi Steven,

    That was a thoughtful post. I have recently been going through this myself. When I started out I wanted to be a pro-blogger, and Internet marketer. Along the way I have discovered my love for writing which resulted into becoming a freelance writer. So far pro-blogging pays me good money, but not top money yet and the same goes for my writing.

    I always wanted to become famous and respected in the field and dreamed of being able to help newcomers make money once I reached this. Product creation is also in the back of my mind as well as affiliate marketing at which quite frankly I suck.

    I realize that by writing I won’t earn a residual income and that’s why I’m also eyeing toward IM.

    So far I’m on track and nothing has changed but the realization that I will get there. I’m still learning every day and having a ball. Never in my wildest dreams did I think to make so many great friends online. People I actually trust more than my neighbours.

    Maki and Skellie animated me to become a better writer by going into detail more rather than just covering topics. So this is my current mission besides trying to finally make money in affiliate marketing. Once I do, I can focus on my products.

    Sorry, this was probably too long a post. ;-)

  • Caroline Middlebrook, November 22, 2007

    Oh yes this is sooooo true! I actually went through this goal-redefining exercise a week or so ago and posted it on my blog. I had some ideas about what I wanted to do when I first quit my job but after a few weeks of doing it my goals changed.

    Now, a change in personal circumstances is making me re-think again. Really, I think it’s good to rethink things at least once a quarter or in my case, once a month :)

  • BloggingIain, November 22, 2007

    heh. Nice. Keep up the good blogging.

  • Vandelay Design, November 22, 2007

    Monika,
    Thanks for sharing so much of your personal experience. I think you do a great job with your writing and I’m sure you’ll reach your goals if you just stick with it. I’m hoping the same is true for me.

    I agree completely with what you said about meeting people online. I never really thought about the relationships that would develop, but there are a number of people that I’ve never met but I feel like I know very well.

    Caroline,
    Yeah, I saw your post last week. I actually had this one written already and waiting to publish and I had to decide if I should still publish it. I hope you didn’t feel like it was too similar to yours. I thought since we each shared more of our personal experience it wouldn’t be too much duplication. Your blog is developing very nicely and I’m interested to see some of the other projects that you have been working on.

  • Dave Walker, November 22, 2007

    I’ve always been a bit surprised at how a blog can take on a life and direction of its own. Trying to keep my blog’s editorial direction under control has been a challenge – it’s become more a free-form dumping ground for ideas and opinions than I originally intended.

    As cathartic as this is, I need to examine the content and redefine the style; long essays (long for blogs, at least) don’t make for easy daily reading. I’d love to build my readership, but to do this, I have to find a more reader-friendly style – time to repurpose and re-evaluate.

    Thanks for such a timely post – I consider my butt kicked!

  • LGR, November 22, 2007

    Reevaluating goals is important, but some people reevaluate them to often or quickly and tend to switch plans to quickly without having actually stuck to something long enough to know if what they were doing was going to work or not.

  • Vandelay Design, November 22, 2007

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. My personal opinion is that longer articles can work if they are high quality. I think DoshDosh is a good example of this. Maki’s posts are much more in depth than most bloggers’ posts, but he gets tons of readers because they provide so much info. Of course it’s not easy taking this approach.

  • Vandelay Design, November 22, 2007

    LGR,
    That’s true and it’s certainly not a good idea either. In my case I don’t think I’m so much changing what I’m doing or giving up on old methods, but I am changing some of the things that I want to accomplish (if that makes sense). I think I realized that by going about things that same way that I have already been doing I can accomplish something different than what I originally set out to do.

  • Free webmaster ebooks, November 22, 2007

    Hi,
    You just made me think. My primary motive to start a blog is to make money using it. But I never had a real plan other than adsense. I tried all those paid blogging which came up in the blogosphere and also some affiliate which worked. But still I don;t have a clear plan.

  • Vandelay Design, November 22, 2007

    I’m glad it made you think about your situation. Hopefully it helps.

  • Madhur Kapoor, November 22, 2007

    A lot has changed with me too. Initially i started blogging to share my thoughts with others. But as time passed and i started making money from blogging, i started devoting more time to my blog than i had initially anticipated. So i think my focus has shifted to making money online.

  • Wayne Liew, November 22, 2007

    My goal change was terrible. I started out by wanting to just have a personal blog about my personal life and thought of making money with the blog by only having sponsored posts.

    I began to love writing blogging guides after seeing people starting to ask questions from me. Ads on my site began to cut down and I only have 2 reviews on my blog which is surely not my plan after my blog is now over 90 days old (should be full of sponsored posts).

    I see my blog serve a very different purpose from the start. Questions have been posted and answered. I am going in a different direction and having s new set of goals.

    This happens to everyone, maybe due to under or over expectation. Sometimes it is about the changes that is always happening within the blogosphere.

  • Vandelay Design, November 22, 2007

    Madhur,
    I’m glad to hear that you have been making some money with your blog. Hopefully that will happen here soon too.

    Wayne,
    I think your situation is not that uncommon. Especially for 1st time bloggers it seems pretty common to have some misconceptions that eventually lead to changes like this.

  • Hi Steven,

    From the comments, I guess your latest post has just struck a chord with so many bloggers, including myself.

    For myself, my goals has been constantly changing as well; but in a slightly different manner. It’s “crystalizing”, if I may call it that way.

    I first started out aiming to deliver personal development content to help people. But over time, I’ve learned that I needed to be a little be more focus in my content, target audience and writing style.

    Instead of writing everything under the sun about personal development, I am currently aiming to provide tips related to career, relationships and personal finance. They are still big areas in themselves, but I am not sure if I want to narrow in further. I guess I will refine this over time.

    In terms of writing style, I first started off talking about vague personal development concepts; but now I am changing to writing more practical tips (applications of personal development) as I find that my target audiences can relate better to these and can immediately apply them in their life.

    All these changes are in fact thanks to bloggers who write about blogging like yourself. From you, I have learned that having good advice alone is not enough; we must deliver the advice in a way that the audience can relate to and want to read in order to be useful.

    Woah, a long reply… But thanks for the help so far, Steven. You’ve been great, and I will continue to support your blog.

  • Achieve Financial Freedom, November 24, 2007

    Good points! My first goal with the blog was to provide visitors with as much useful info as I could regarding internet marketing but now I am slowly moving towards posts related to freedom and personal growth.

    I’ll try and mix in some money making tips too since that always attracts readers and links but I am trying to see the bigger picture in life than just getting a bigger number in the bank account.

    Regards,

    Tomaz Mencinger

  • Reverse Funnel System Blog, November 26, 2007

    Its good to write a plan and goals what do you want to achieve in next month, year.

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