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When You Measure Things, They Tend to Grow

Nothing builds excitement for a website owner like a sudden surge in traffic. (Traffic is the number one desire for any blogger or writer, no matter what they tell you.)

Some people call it “expanding reach”, others call it “building relationships”, but peel away the jargon and you’re left with what it’s really called: more eyeballs.

The idea is that as more people visit your site, then more people are going to be influenced by you. So, if you want to be an influencer (who wouldn’t?), then you need to have more traffic. Simple, right?

Yet, every day new and seasoned site owners alike will all make the same mistake: they don’t set or track any goals. They have no goals for site traffic, or new subscribers, or any other metric. They don’t set posting goals for each month (I try to average two posts a week here). Not surprisingly, their sites don’t grow like they hoped.

It’s not hard to overlook measuring goals. After all, one might rightly say that there is no way to know just how many people will come to your site, so why make a goal? It’s all chance. But if you’re smart and a bit creative, you can create some metric that will indicate improvement for just about any goal.

The thing is, defining goals forces us to take the next (hardest) step and figure out how we’re going to actually achieve those goals.

Through high school and college I was a long distance runner. (If you run longer distances, the real training happens when you start to put hours of practice into each day.)

However, now that I haven’t been running as often as I’ve liked, it’s starting to show a bit around the edges. So, one of the things that I’ve been trying to do is pay more attention to what I eat.

My wife and I decided to download a little iPhone app that let us log how many calories we burned and consumed throughout the day. Thanks to paying attention to one important metric, we started to see results quickly.

The key to goals is measuring a really specific factor.

How many calories you consume is vastly different than ambiguous goals like “I’m going to exercise more this year”. There’s nothing that can easily be tracked about that goal. Without the ability to measure something concrete like calories or pageviews or sales, we’ll never achieve the goal.

You can’t have a goal unless you’re tracking something. And the more specific, the better.

The truly amazing thing about goals is that when we work towards them every day, measuring the results carefully, things get accomplished. Successes grow when we cultivate and measure them.

True goals deserve the daily cultivation that they need.


If you live in Kansas City/Lawrence area, I’ll be hosting Chris Guillebeau for his Kansas stop on his 50 state book tour. We’ll be meeting at Signs of Life (map) in downtown Lawrence at 7pm, and it’s going to be a fun time.

Chris will talk about non-conformity, among other things, and it’ll be a great opportunity to meet someone who has positively mastered goal-setting. Chris’ method for his yearly reviews has been a huge influence on how I plan my goals and life.

Anyway, It’s going to be a great time. Hope to see you there!