People start blogs for all kinds of reasons. But they fail at a faster rate than ill-conceived restaurants. Why? I believe the reason is tied directly to why the blog was started in the first place.

It’s important to have a goal, maybe even a dream. It’s especially important when starting a blog. Blogging can be hard—hard to find the time, hard to find the motivation and hard to prioritize it versus all the other to-do’s on your list.

How do you get through all those barriers to progress? By focusing on your goal. This doesn’t work if your goal sucks.

Here are four dumb, but common reasons people start blogs and probably equal reasons why blogs built on these goals often fail.

  1. “I want to promote my business.” This might be the most common goal of all. After all, why do we work at all?  This goal fails completely, based on it’s utter vagueness and lack of heart. Now, you might be passionate about the business you’re in. For example, if you practice family law, you might be really jazzed about some of the cases that come across your desk. So think about what excites you the most about the work you do. Is it helping people? Is it finding solutions to problems? Whatever it is, discover it and write about it. Your passion will come through and readers will follow. And by the way, this may help to promote your business.
  2. “I want to increase SEO.” Maybe you read some articles about how Google looks for fresh news and the new way to win the search lottery is to have a blog because it’s refreshed regularly. While there is some truth to this, it’s too simplistic a view. Google looks for content that is good and it measures that by how many people are sharing it and the author’s overall “influence”. That means that your blog needs to be widely read, cited and shared for Google to care about it. What does increase SEO is becoming a thought leader, an influencer and someone who demonstrates subject matter expertise regularly. Shoot for those goals and the SEO will follow.
  3. “I need more leads, traffic, clicks, unicorns etc.” When you’re sitting down to write your 112th blog post, when you could be watching Real Housewives or the ballgame or scrubbing the bottom of the stove—will you be motivated by increasing your click rate by 20%? Or would you be more motivated by helping others who can benefit from your expertise, getting asked to speak at a national event or getting a position at your dream company because you wowed on your blog demonstrating your mastery of your craft?
  4. “I have to because my boss or marketing director told me to.”  Ok, so this isn’t so much a goal as a mandate. And sometimes, you have to do things because someone told you to. My advice? Take advantage of this mandate to achieve a personal goal. Make sure your name is on the blog—own it and use it to raise your own personal profile. See some goal ideas below to get inspired. Rock that blog!

Company goals are great, but most of us are better motivated by personal goals. Here are some that work for others. Don’t be afraid to dream big.

  • Become a nationally recognized expert in your field
  • Be asked to speak at a national conference for: Insert your field/expertise here.
  • Gain more recognition within your current company—maybe get more choice assignments, more respect, promotions etc.
  • Get hired at the company or position of your dreams
  • Get to know industry leaders. I’ve heard of people blogging for the sole reason of getting to meet Guy Kawasaki or Ariana Huffington
  • Helping others get better at your beloved profession–Kevin O’Keefe’s popular blog, Real Lawyers Have Blogs, about blogging and social media for lawyers is a prime example of this goal

Steve Jobs once said “If you don’t love something, you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much.” Be sure your blog is a labor of love and it will take you where you want to go.