Measuring Your Web-Writing Results
All right, web writers … I have a question for you. Do you track your own results?
I ask for a good reason.
After all, you know it’s important to set goals … big, meaningful goals that you break into objectives and then tasks.
You know it’s important to review those goals regularly to keep yourself motivated.
I’ll bet you even know it’s important to measure your progress. But are you doing it? And, if you are doing it … how are you doing it?
How you track your results can have a profound impact on your levels of motivation.
Some tracking methods can leave you discouraged and ready to throw in the towel, while others will help you see the incremental progress you’re making and how it all adds up … and that’s an encouraging feeling, even when you’re not as far along as you thought you’d be.
Let’s take a look at two different ways of tracking your own achievements and how they can help you build a great, big success story out of lots of smaller, day-to-day accomplishments.
This is a common way that goal-setters measure their progress … especially in the early stages, when they’ve just started working towards a goal.
When you measure your milestones, you basically match up what you’ve done with what you planned to do.
For example, let’s say you set a goal of earning six-figures as a web writer in the course of a year. To do that, you determine you need to land 20 projects averaging $5,000 each.
Once you set that objective, you work out smaller objectives and tasks to help you achieve that. For example, you might:
- Launch a website within the next 30 days.
- Update your website twice a week.
- Set up a LinkedIn Profile and add two new contacts per week.
- Build a prospect list by adding 10 new names a week.
- Contact each name on your prospect list once a month.
- Guest post to influential industry blogs once a month.
Based on those objectives and tasks, there are certain things you need to do each month. You need to:
- Write the content for your website pages.
- Create eight updates for your site, whether they’re blog posts, videos, reviews, or podcasts.
- Add eight new contacts to LinkedIn each month.
- Add 40 new names to your potential client list each month.
- Make contact with your growing list of prospects whether by email, phone, direct mail, or through social media.
- Write a guest blog post.
So, one way of measuring your progress toward your goals is doing a monthly check-in to see how you’re doing in regards to those milestones you set for yourself.
Measuring your results using this method is important. It helps to keep you on track and forces you to implement your plan for reaching your goals.
But, it really only gives you a piece of the picture. It leaves out something very important … and that’s how much you’re growing.
Measuring your growth is a different way of measuring your progress. It tracks the changes you’re seeing as a result of the things you’re doing.
For example, if you’ve been writing and promoting a business blog on your professional web-writing site, measuring milestones means you check-in at the end of the month to see if you posted all the posts you’d planned to and to see if you took the promotional steps you intended to. You definitely want to check those things.
But — and this is a big but — what do those things matter if they’re not having the intended result? That’s where measuring growth comes in.
Measuring growth means you also regularly look at how much certain things are changing each month. Some good examples of growth-related changes to watch for are:
- An increase (or decrease) in website traffic
- An increase (or decrease) in e-letter subscriptions
- An increase (or decrease) in income
- An increase (or decrease) in project leads
For example, if you offer an e-letter subscription to potential clients, then maybe you want to see your e-letter subscriber count go up by 5 percent each month or maybe by 100 names each month.
Whatever the goal, it’s important you define the kind of growth you’re after, and then measure it regularly.
If you’re not doing this, you’re not alone — I know a lot of people who track their progress in terms of the actions they take and not in terms of the results they get. But, if you don’t measure your growth-related changes, then you don’t have the whole picture, and you really don’t know if you’re making the kind of progress you need to in order to achieve your goals.
A Combination Approach That’s a Better Motivator
Measuring your results effectively is really a matter of connecting the dots between tracking your actions and tracking your goals. On their own, neither of these gives a complete picture of where you’ve been, where you’re going, or how quickly you’re getting there.
If you’re only tracking actions, you have no idea what impact your actions are having. Are they working? Are they having the effect you want? Without connecting your actions to results, you really only have items on a to-do list … you don’t have an effective plan to keep yourself continually moving forward toward your goals.
And, if you’re only tracking growth, you’ll be in the dark about what it is that’s triggering the kinds of increases you want to see or causing the kinds of decreases you don’t. Without some idea of how the actions you’re taking are impacting your growth, you won’t be able to adapt your plans to make them as strong and effective as possible.
Tips for Tracking Growth
In addition to keeping track of the tasks you’ve set in order to reach your goals, start tracking the effects those tasks are having on your growth. Here are some ideas:
- Install Google Analytics on your website and watch how your traffic grows and changes.
- Keep track of the growth of your e-letter list, including where most new subscribers come from.
- Keep track of the number of inquiries you receive each month.
- Keep track of your monthly income.
You want these numbers to go up, up, up. If they are, then you will always be better off this month than you were last month, and that’s a good place to be.
Pay close attention to the types of activities and content that have the biggest effect on your growth. Do more of those things. Drop the activities that don’t produce growth or that lead to negative growth.
If you’ve ever felt like you’re doing everything you planned to do, yet you’re still not progressing toward your goals, I’d be willing to bet you aren’t tuned into your growth. Make this one change in how you measure your results, and you’ll begin to see clearly how to make steady forward progress.
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