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The Internet is a somewhat scattered place. Google, Facebook, and other platforms work hard every day to try and bring order to the chaos, but everything from connections of content to the definition of success on the World Wide Web remain nebulous at best. However, for those willing to take the time and do some internal evaluation, meaning, purpose, and victory can be found in the ever-changing network that connects us all. In this post, we’re outlining ten reasons why setting goals is important when it comes to success online.

Goals Push You Forward

Consider a baseball player. Baseball is a complex game full of myriad statistics, all pointing to the significance of one player’s contribution in broad and niche situations. Let’s say our baseball player is a prolific slugger (someone who hits home runs), but his team continues to lose. By all accounts, our player is doing a great job, putting points on the board.
But after a little scrutiny, it’s determined that he only hits well when the game is going well. Now, this player, who had no real motivation to improve or change his play, has a purpose; an aim. Defining this area for improvement and setting a concrete goal will help him push forward when the hours get long and the body feels tired.

Defining Success is Essential

This example reveals an additional benefit of goal setting: the definition of success. In isolation, our player is a success. Even if he has the highest number of home runs in a season, however, his team isn’t winning. Therefore, we establish a goal: the playoffs, and suddenly the player’s job takes a new shape. Understanding what your aim is and how your goals will help get you there not only molds individual efforts, it points all team members in the same direction.

Goals Hold You Accountable

So our player begins working on his mental toughness. He plays loud music when he’s in the batting cage, he keeps a journal of his performances, and notes his mentality when things get rough so that he can fix mistakes. Finally, his numbers improve and the team starts winning.
This motivation to change, this extensive extra practice, all arose from a clearly defined expectation. Setting a goal for that individual player meant that, should he not improve, the organization could change his focus or make a personnel decision. It’s hard to admit when you fail, but understanding the definition of failure, alongside the definition of success, is necessary to evaluate your goals and the methods used to reach them.

You Need a Measuring Stick

This may seem obvious, but in all this work, the player and the team needed some way to measure “success”. In our player’s case, it was an esoteric statistic that pointed to a larger problem. By having some kind of standard by which to measure progress, the team suddenly had a clearer understanding of the results of his work.

Goals Inform Action

Now, let’s extend the analogy to your website, video channel, or whichever media by which you’re measuring your success. Taking a look at your “team” and determining how each element can improve is an important step because, in order to move forward toward your definition of success, you’ll need to act. By developing goals for your channel, product, or content, you can determine what needs to be done about each component, if anything at all.

Goals Set Priorities

Furthermore, the process of setting expectations for each aspect of your online presence helps define what’s important. Obviously, since you can only work on one goal at a time with each action, determining where to start and make the biggest impact is the most important. What’s key, however, is understanding how goals work together. For example, if your site traffic is low, this goal should be low on your list of priorities because other goals feed into it. Focus on what will make an impact, and know that each goal helps inform future goals.

Goals Communicate Meaning

Whether you’re working alone, or working on a team, setting goals not only defines priorities and success, it communicates that information to others. A coach that tells his star player that his RBI average needs to improve is clearly telling the rest of the team that there’s work to be done, as well as what that effort should seek to improve. In the same way, your internally stated site goals will tell your employees what needs to happen, when, and to what end.

Tracking Progress is Important

Big, lofty goals like ubiquitous social presence or a world championship are admirable (and necessary), but even the best laid plans, if not monitored, can lead you off-course half-way. Individual goals that seem to make sense initially may lead you awry, which is why tracking your progress and re-evaluating your methods, your strategy, and your work along the way will help keep you on a track.

Recognizing Progress is Important

Furthermore, the path from A to B can mean tired minds and waning enthusiasm as the trudge drags on. Having these smaller goals along the way provides cause for celebration and a shared recognition of a job well done. Goals can take years to accomplish, so acknowledging little victories can build momentum toward big achievements.

Goals Help Morale

Your metrics are fine, your goals are great, but people are the ones that turn them into profit. For this reason, taking care of your people should be priority #1. Doing so will help avoid burnout of valuable contributors and keep your leadership strong when the going gets tough. As much as we’d like to operate as calculators, churning through data without emotion or disappointment, we are not. Keep your team, your organization, and yourself happy and give everybody something to strive for, fight for, and win.
Knowing what defines your success and building guideposts to its attainment will help get the ball rolling, or right a wayward team. Know your priorities and desired destination, and use their articulation to motivate change. Act with purpose based on the right metrics and use the common aim of your team to achieve little victories. Doing so will require some organization and a brief pause of efforts, but this common drive, momentum, and attainment, will mean more than you know when the trophy is finally hoisted.

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