Steven Hodson of WinExtra has an excellent post on his top 10 suggestions for new bloggers, including advice to set goals, narrow your focus, choose the right tools and pick a theme. If done well, he suggests you should have a target number of RSS feed readers, individual site visitors or even advertising dollars, whether for six months or twelve.
While good advice for those with specific goals, does that mean those without goals, and without limits, are inherently unsuccessful? I recently noticed I'd passed through both the Technorati Authority rank of more than 100, as well as a Feedburner subscription base of just over 100. Did I count that as achieving my goals? No, because I hadn't made them a target, but they are good benchmarks nonetheless.
I think there's something to be said for blogging for the sake of blogging, for not always narrowing your focus if you just don't feel like it. While I might get more readers if I stuck to just Apple Macintosh coverage, or Google watching, I enjoy talking about sports, or our dog, or the latest hits on our TiVo or Nintendo Wii. For me, while I've said my blog is my brand, it's not so narrow as to show me in a niche. Instead, while my interests are diverse, so will my blog be.
I don't have specific goals for my blog, except that I keep it up in a timely manner, that my posts maintain interest and quality, and that I keep conversations alive. For me, the blog is an outlet of discourse with people I may never meet, and a clean slate that captures those things I'm thinking about or want to call attention to. The WinExtra guide is fantastic if I were looking to start a blog with a target of being on the B-List or the A-List, and gaining notoriety, or simply covering the yearly hosting bills, but for me, I'd prefer to let fly, so I can communicate at my own pace and not feel as if I'm forever falling behind my own expectations.