1. Technology

SMART Goals

Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time-Bound

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Websites Need Goals Too

When you build websites, it can be tempting to design the site, create the layout, build the HTML and CSS, and then ignore it or let someone else manage the maintenance. And if you can get away with that, more power to you. But for the rest of us who need to maintain websites as well as build them, writing down goals for our sites is a great way to keep improving them.

SMART Goals for Websites

SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Specific Goals

Ask yourself:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • How?

A specific goal will answer all of those questions. And as a bonus, if you get all those questions answered in your goal, chances are it will also meet the other SMART goal rules.

Measurable Goals

A goal is measurable if you can measure the results. For example, a goal to "build a better website" isn't measurable. Do you mean better for customers? Better articles? Better design? And how will you judge that you're better? A measurable goal would be "Create 10 new articles by February" That is measurable. If you write 9 articles, you haven't reached it and if you write 11, you have.

Ask yourself:

  • How many?
  • How much?
  • How will I know when I've achieved this goal?

Achievable Goals

You need to create goals that you can accomplish. Some coaches will tell you to set "stretch" goals - goals that are so ridiculously high that only a giant could achieve them. The idea is that if you're striving for the moon, you might climb a tall mountain. Unfortunately, most people get discouraged by these types of goals. Instead of continuing to strive for the unattainable, we give up and stick with the status quo.

A goal is achievable if it's something that you know you can do. Perhaps its been done before or if you have the right training, you can do it.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this something I can commit to?
  • Do I believe I could do this (even if it's hard)?
  • How much time do I have to spend on this goal?

Realistic Goals

Realistic goals don't have to be easy. One way to make a goal realistic is to change the time frame. For example, it might be impossible to grow your pageviews from 100 per week to 100,000 per week in 2 weeks. But in a year? two years? Another thing you can do to make difficult goals more realistic is to come up with a plan of attack. Rather than a goal to get to 100,000 pageviews by next year, you set a goal to write 3 new blog posts a week by February. Then you see how that's affected your pageviews.

Don't make your site goals too easy, either. Doing that tells your sub-conscious that you're not very capable, and in fact can't reach even simple goals. Also, when you set a goal that is hard but realistic, you will feel more accomplishment when you complete it.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this a doable goal?
  • Is the timing right for this goal?
  • Is the goal too easy? too hard?

Time-Bound Goals

For a goal to work, it should have time limits. Otherwise, your inner (or outer...) procrastinator will continue to put it off. By setting a goal with a deadline, you have somethign to work towards.

Be wary of setting arbitrary deadlines just for the sake of a time limit. Come up with a time frame that is reasonable and makes sense for the goal. Otherwise you risk not taking the deadline seriously. I try to link my site goals to other things that have dates. For instance, a personal website might need to be completed by my birthday. When I have a reason for the deadline, it's easier to work towards it and not blow it off.

Ask yourself:

  • When do I want this goal completed and why?
  • What other projects rely on this goal and what dates do they have around them?
  • How much time do I have to spend on this goal?

Write Down Your Site Goals

Writing down your goals helps cement them in your mind and in your subconscious. You can write them down in a to-do list or electronically, or just put post-it notes on your computer monitor. But having the goals written down helps you make them happen.

And once you've written them down, look at them periodically. Evaluate your progress. Decide if you need to reevaluate them or change their focus or timeframe. When you look at your goals periodically, you'll know where you stand and what you still need to accomplish.

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