How A Dream Killed My Blog and How I Revived It With a Goal

550 days ago I had a dream. I dreamed that I was going to make a lot of money online. How I caught it, found it, or came by it I do not remember – and it does not matter. I got it and I was going to do something about it.

The dream turned into obsession. Every mouse click and keystroke was aimed towards the dream. Hours turned to days which turned to months in pursuit of this dream.

A blog was created. Posts were written, ads were up. All the usual forms of attracting traffic were employed. Joining forums, writing articles, socializing with other bloggers.

Everything was in place. Everything that was suppose to be done to make my dream come true was done.

430 days ago my dream shattered. I do not why it came on that particular day. It just did. On that day the dream died. Not without reason of course, for the last couple weeks I was averaging 20 visitors a day and earning an equal amount of pennies.

I quit. Like a cheated lover, I never wanted to see my blog again.

For the next few weeks I stewed. How could this happen? All those hours spent on the stupid thing. All those hours spent thinking about it, devoting all my mental energy on it. Even the dog suffered – walks in the park were shorter. All for what? 20 visitors and less money then what I find every month in-between the couch cushions.

I cursed the dream and its siren song.

The problem with dreams is that they spawn out of every place except reality. They create a pretty picture, but do not show you how to paint it yourself in the real world. Make a lot of money online is a great dream. But how to make a lot of money online – the dream will not tell you.

Dreams are Vague, Goals Are Specific and Measurable

Dreams are good for poets to ponder and psychologists to probe. But for bloggers they only lead to disappointment. I don’t need a dream – I need a goal.

A goal is something you can touch. A goal has a beginning, a middle, and a end. A goal has a means. Dreams only have an end. With dreams you only see the end but you do not see the path towards it. With dreams there is no way to tell how close you are to achieving it. 120 days after the dream materialized I had made no progress towards turning it to reality. That is why the dream died.

Goals have a end and more importantly a middle. With goals you can see how close you are to achieving it. You see progress.

An example. I abandoned my dream of making a lot of money online. Too fuzzy and vague. Instead I made a goal. My goal: be on position 1 on Google search results for ‘make money website’. Sounds like a crazy dream but it is not.

Unlike a dream, with this goal I know exactly where the end is – position one. I know exactly where I am now – position 702. I can check my progress – do a search for ‘make money website’ and see where I am. I know what I need to do to reach my goal – optimize my blog for ‘make money website’ and get quality backlinks. The more optimized the blog and the more backlinks the higher up I go. Maybe in a couple months I will be in position 650 – progress.

Specific Goals Allow You To See Progress

The advantage with this goal is that I can see progress. With a dream like make lots of money online there was no perceivable progress – and that was really discouraging.

By having a goal that allows you to see the progress you are less likely to be discouraged. You are less likely to quit and have your blog die.

Some more examples of measurable goals:

  1. Get 1000 RSS subscribers
  2. Get 1000 visitors a day
  3. Get 1000 Twitter followers
  4. Be in position 1 for specific keywords

As you can see these goals are very different then having dreams like have a successful blog or make lots of money online. With these goals progress can been seen every time a there is a new subscriber or a twitter follower.

I have forgotten my dream. Now I focus on goals that allow me to measure their progress. So long as I keep moving closer and closer towards my goal I am happy and my blog will not die.

Roman runs a blog call How This Blog Makes Money. It shows how this blog makes money.

107 thoughts on “How A Dream Killed My Blog and How I Revived It With a Goal”

  1. Dino Vedo says:

    Interesting! It definitely is important to have a dream in which the goals are more attainable than just make millions online. If you pace yourself you will see more success!

    1. Yeah I agree. If you set attainable and measurable goals, you are more likely to progress ahead and meet your goals.

      The examples provided in the post are excellent. These are exactly what we should be aiming for.


      1. This is a great post… everything has to be tracked so that when you do see a little bit of results, you can expand on what worked.

        1. d3so says:

          And rule out what doesn’t work & understand why.

          1. Of course!… no point in doing something that doesn’t work… and don’t take anyone’s word for it. What works for you, might not work for someone else and visa-versa.

          2. I think it’s enough to rule out what doesn’t work.
            To understand why some things don’t work can take a long time and sometimes you may never find out.

          3. But it’s good to try to figure out the ‘why’ so you can apply that knowledge in the future.

          4. know what doesn’t work, move on till you find something that does work…don’t repeat an unsuccessful behavior or you will ALWAYS get the same result.

        2. Bidet says:

          This is very true, seeing what worked and see what did not work can allow to focus on only the right things and keep improving because of them.

    2. I agree with you. Having dreams won’t make you to take action. But by having goals, you have an action plan on how to do it.

    3. I agree that the dream still has to be there to fan the fire like the oxygen but in order for the flame to not go out we need the fuel of goals.

      The goals have to be broken down to smaller short term ones in the same fashion as a huge piece of wood has to be cut into small pieces in order for the fire to burn brightly and not get suffocated by a large log.

  2. Setting measurable goals for specific milestones is one of the best tips anybody can give.

    Great post!

    1. PPC Ian says:

      I agree with Profit Addiction. Another tip: Put your goals in writing and you have an even greater chance of obtaining them!

      1. d3so says:

        I was thinking about that. I keep my goals inside my head. It would be better to write them down so you can actually keep track of them.
        The dream has been alive in me for many years now but life does get in the way and put me on hold ๐Ÿ˜›

      2. After you put them is writing you need to read them close to every day though.

        Otherwise it’s out of sight and out of mind very quickly. This applies especially to the smaller, stepping stones goals that lead to the big goal.

      3. You could also print out pictures of things you want to achieve… maybe a new house or a new car.

      4. Lakhyajyoti says:

        This is always important to to write your goalsand marked when you achieved it.

      5. I responded to this one, but it doesn’t seem like my comment was approved…but basically 95% of the population do not have their goals written down. The 5% that do, have a far more greater chance of meeting their goals than the 95% that do not….

        1. @ Expert Marketing Reviews

          Yes this trick is also effective and saw many people are using it to be on the track to get the goal.

    2. You’re right. Dreaming can only lead you to frustration if you are not able to achieve it in the future. But by having measurable goals, you are really motivated to keep on moving forward and you will see your progress, if you’re really close on your goals, chances are you will push for it much more stronger.

  3. But if you don’t have measurable goals how can you tell when you succeed?

    1. Success can be baby steps. It doesn’t mean you have to reach your end goal.

      1. Is there really any end goal? When a goal is achieved another goal takes it’s place.

        1. Unless you hit the billionaire status and decide to retire. I could settle for that goal… haha.

          1. Once you reached the billionaire mark … Trillion goal will be their for waiting … lollzz

          2. Yes, it would seem so from observing the mega rich. There are exceptions of course but even they still have goals but perhaps in different direction than making even more money.

  4. This is very wonderful article, Sure i don’t need to be a dreamer but goal is all we want in order to achieve what we want!. some of us believe in dreams of making money with-in a week in business but if they don’t have a goal first, their dreams won’t come through.

    Thanks for sharing this and keep up the good work.

    1. I think that goals start with having a dream first.

      Without a dream it’s very unlikely that you’ll set goals and stick to them.

      1. Lakhyajyoti says:

        Cent percent agree with you.

  5. What a beautiful post!

    I know many people can resonate with the author, I know I did.

    I completely agree with you. It is goals which turn into action and which in turn bring success.

    Goals can be measured and be accounted for. They can be more motivating and can make ‘taking action’ easier and more result oriented.


    P.S.Typo in post:

    “I quite (quit). Like a cheated lover, I never wanted to see my blog again.”

  6. Earl says:

    Great post – things that are measured can be improved. Kinda makes me wanna buy that scale that connects to my computer via wifi to track my weight loss.

    1. haha… i didn’t even know that technology exists. *Checks amazon now*

      1. lol indeed! I think i’d buy one of those ๐Ÿ˜›

    2. It’s a great post and inspiring too. You must be very hi-tech.

      To lose weight in addition to using a scale frequently it also helps to keep a daily food diary.

      Then you can set goals not only for how many pounds you want to lose but also what you’ll be eating.

    3. Lakhyajyoti says:

      Listen first time about that.

  7. Meg says:

    I love this. Having goals can really make you successful. Thanks for sharing this!

  8. I think having both a dream and measurable goals to help bring it into reality is the best way to go.

    Just having goals without a dream is not enough.
    Why do you set the goals if you have no dream?

    The dream isk the destination and the goals are the milestones on the way there.


  9. AlRitch says:

    Wow, I love this post. It inspires me to do better with my blogs. Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Right?? I mean isn’t this really inspirational?! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. PPC Ian says:

        I found this post to be inspirational too!

  10. One big thing you missed on your goals is a timeline. Always have a timeline. 1000 hits a day by Dec 31, 2010 – measurable. Always know WHEN you didn’t meet your goal.

  11. You really have come a long way since we last exchanged emails Roman ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am sure you are now on the right track, SY

    1. Indeed he does look like he’s in the right track! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. A Lloyd says:

    Goals have more focus. You cannot lose focus when trying to create a profitable website. Define your success.

  13. Ary says:

    I never had dreams, but I always have goals.But honestly, I had set some goals in the past, that were never achieved, maybe because I had lost my confidence seeing that it will never be accomplished. That’s why today, I ain’t focusing on dreams nor goals, I’m just focusing on the blog. Because if I’ll set up goals again, there is a chance that I wont be sure of them, so I’ll give up.

  14. This is very inspirational. Baby steps.

  15. Hi there!

    Great article!
    John, i think you’ve got a style in your articles which is … natural, i would say. It’s entertaining, funny and exciting to read your articles. I discovered this blog just a few days ago and read some articles – and they have all YOUR style.
    That’s great! And such an article is THIS one, too! A bit funny, a bit exciting and big bit useful ๐Ÿ˜‰


    Greetings from Germany,

    1. PPC Ian says:

      This is a guest post by Roman. I agree with you that it’s a great one!

      1. Isn’t it funny how many people give John the credit for how well the guest posts are written? And even say “โ€“ and they have all YOUR style.”, like all the guestbloggers here would be little John Chow clones ๐Ÿ˜‰ SY

        1. Don’t you know that’s his next step in world domination?

          1. Rofl, I nearly spilled my drink allover my keyword, yup, I can see it, the book he will write in 20 years “John Chow – The Roadmap of the man that dominates the world with his internet clones.” SY

        2. I think that they give credit to John because they don’t read the posts carefully enough to notice that a guest has written a particular post like this one.

          1. Yeah that’s right. Didn’t read it carefully enough…
            Okay, John, you’re out. Roman you’re the king! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Chris says:

    Cool post. love inspirational posts like this.

  17. Excellent Post John. I think it would help more if we write our goals in pencil and read it once we wake up and before we go to sleep.

    1. Or just use a sticky note (either virtual or real) on your computer screen. That is what I do, SY

      1. A sticky note on the edge of a computer screen works wonders. I use it and I’ve seen SY use as well. She is telling the truth every time.

        It works best if you only use one note at a time and maintain the habit of looking at it several times a day.

        If you have too many notes you won’t read them or even if you do you’ll lose focus.

    2. Everyone is different. Some people respond well to putting what they want to achieve from their goals… i.e. a picture of a car or a new house.

  18. rantgatorant says:


    A really profound and thought provoking post. Dreams are useless, and I say that as a bit of a dreamer. SMART = specific, measurable, attainable, timely and realistic – all of our goals should follow this simple formula (though I’m not sure about the realistic part).

    Nonetheless, I don’t think you should disregard the dream entirely. Only by dreaming do we find the motivation to achieve, only by dreaming do we aspire to achieve more. It’s a matter of striking the right balance.

    The information you have provided here has been sighted again and again, albeit from a slightly different angle. Nonetheless, this article contains points that we all need to heed, learn from and act on.

    Excellent post.

  19. d3so says:

    How do you check where your site ranks for keywords?
    Surely you don’t check page by page on google ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. Lakhyajyoti says:

      Same question.John how you check your site ranks for keywords.

      1. d3so says:

        So, I’m guessing everyone knows but no one cares to share? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      2. Roman says:

        That is exactly the way I do it. Sometimes the only way is the hard way.

        To find my keywords (make money website) I set my Google preferences to 100 results per page. Then I searched for โ€˜make money websiteโ€™. Going page by page and searching each page for โ€˜howthiswebsitemakesmoneyโ€™ I found it on page 7, second entry down, which means my position was 702.

        Now that I know where it is, I simply go to page 6 or 7 and find my website. It fluxuates everyday, so far the best it has done is 690. Long way to position 1 but making progress.

        1. There’s a much easier way. Download SEO for Firefox and the SEO Book Toolbar. The toolbar has a little icon towards the right end called Search Engine Rank Checker. You can put your keyword in and target a specific site. It takes approximately a minute versus blindly searching google search results.

        2. d3so says:

          Don’t rely on google especially if you’re 700 for a keyword.
          Once you become big, google won’t be able to ban you due to bad user experience. Same thing happened to John.

      3. Roman says:

        One of the first things I did when I started my blog was to read the Google Webmaster guidelines. Under the quality section it states : โ€œDon’t use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service.โ€œ

        If Google tells me not to do something then I do not do it. The worst thing that can happen is for me to voilate the terms of service and be removed from the search index. That would be the true death of the blog โ€“ banishment. Without Google my blog is nothing.

        So, I do things the hard way โ€“ manually find my position and check its progress every couple of weeks.

    2. Google search “rank checker” and the first result is a piece of software that works like a charm. It is a firefox plugin.

    3. I use to check my rankings in the SERPentines, and much, much more like keyword value, back link sources etc. They have a free 12 days trial (no credit card required, only email address) if you want to test it. I normally set up a project for each website I have and which keywords I want to target / monitor. One click, a few minutes (depends on size of project) and I can see with one look how my sites / articles etc rank for different keywords in Google, Yahoo and Bing. Full review here: SY

      1. Market Samurai is also a great tool… I use it everyday.

        1. d3so says:

          Thanks for recommending which tools to use.
          I appreciate it very much! ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. You are welcome! BTW, the keyword research feature stays available, even after the free trial has expired, SY

          2. d3so says:

            Thanks again for the heads up!

  20. yes having specific goals allows you to focus your efforts on accomplishing them

  21. Jordy says:

    This kind of post is why I keep the RSS feed for John Chow in perfect sight.

    I have set very long term goals and obtainable daily goals that force me to stay busy online.

    When I look back to two years ago when I was making about twenty cents a day to where I am today, I am inspired to keep building.

    This Internet stuff works, but it takes a lot of work. Here’s the thing though, the reward is passive income!

    Once everything is set on auto pilot, I’m going to the beach!

    1. Sounds like a great plan to me! Who doesn’t love the beach?

  22. PPC Ian says:

    I love it! Best post I have read in a while! Very true advice.

  23. You have to start small with your goals and then build up to larger goals

  24. Lakhyajyoti says:

    Another great article from you john.I love it

  25. Addy Kho says:

    goal setting is important.. or else you will be flying blank

  26. great point about setting goals instead of dreaming. love it john.

    1. d3so says:

      Wow, people need to pay attention to who the author of the article is. I guess that’s the downside when you have the blog under your name.

      1. Either way, John was responsible for putting it on his blog and therefore is responsible for you viewing this article. Don’t be so harsh man.

        1. d3so says:

          Well, how do you think the author feels about not being praised but instead it look like John gets all the glory for something he didn’t write.
          I don’t mean to be harsh. I’m just saying, give credit where credit is due.

          1. I’m with d3so on this, at least when it comes to people who frequent this blog regularly.

            The author of the post should be given a credit. Otherwise it looks like the people who read it are only interested in praising John.

            John is a great guy and I don’t want to take anything from him. But those who praise him when in fact he’s not the author show disrespect of him as well.

            It’s entirely understandable for someone who visits this blog for the first ime or the first few times that he or she will give all the credit to John.

            But come on you regulars, can’t you tell when John is the author? If you can’t you aren’t reading the posts but just give a lip service.


          2. Bidet says:

            It happens quite often when people don’t read the author of the post.

  27. Very inspiring story. Gave me a lot to think about. I’m glad for you

  28. Lady747 says:

    I am extremely inspired, motivated and encouraged from this post. I did a post entry about your blog, I hope you don’t mind if I took a screenshot of your blog. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyways, I myself am working towards that “goal” now, even if it takes me cents per step to do it. ๐Ÿ™‚ well, LITERALLY! Thanks John Chow!

  29. Mike CJ says:

    Roman – we’ve had this conversation before. Your blog didn’t die because you didn’t set an objective. It was much simpler than that. it died because you didn’t work hard at it.

    All that stuff about obsession and hours turning into days is rubbish. You were working less than an hour a day on the blog, and for some weeks you weren’t working on it at all.

    You’ve done seven posts this year – that’s one a month. There is no way you can rank number one for anything worthwhile with a work rate like that.

    Sorry to be so harsh with you in public, but I don’t want the JC readers to fall into the same trap. If you really want to make money at this game, you need to start with the realisation that you have to put time into it.

    1. Roman says:

      Hello Mike,

      A flashback: Grade 4, Mr. Marshall keeps me after school and tells me that if I want to pass the year I need to put more time into my assignments.

      Solid advice. In grade 4 this advice works because all it takes is for the teacher to see that you are spending your time on assignments and you pass. But I do not think spending more time is the solution for blogs.

      As you can see on my blog I have worked 566 hours. In that time I have made 605 dollars. That is just a little over 1 dollar an hour. Letโ€™s say that I followed your advice and simply put it more hours. Letโ€™s say that I worked twice as hard. Instead of putting in 1 hour a day, I put in 2. Instead of just working 1 hour after work, I also woke up an hour earlier and worked an hour every morning. Besides less sleep and crusties in my eyes, what would I get for all that extra effort? Most likely I would now have 1200 dollars (twice the hours twice the money). More money, but still just 1 dollar an hour.

      The problem is not how many hours you work. It is what you do with those hours. To simply work more hours is not the solution.

      For example, imagine you had move dirt from on location to another. Because you lack experience in dirt moving, you use your hands to move the dirt. It is very inefficient and slow so you ask for advice. Poor advice would be to suggest that you work more hours. Good advice would be that you use a shovel.

      Same thing applies for blogs. It how you use your hours, not how many hours you spend. Simply spending countless hours to spew an endless amount of mediocre posts is not better then spending 2 hours on a very clever marketing scheme. One guy with a shovel can do in 1 hour what it takes 5 guys to do with their hands in 5 hours.

      What I have seen, is that the blogs that succeed are not necessarily the ones in which the blogger put it the most hours. The successful blogger is able to do something clever, something different. The successful blogger is able to leverage their brains and the tools available in the most effective way.

      True, moving dirt with your hands will move dirt but I am looking for a shovel.

      1. Lakhyajyoti says:

        Look like a post.But what you have said is absolutely right.

  30. watches says:

    A great post for all the people out there starting up blogs! (and for the many, many, many who have had one for awhile, yet it’s not seeing the growth they wanted/expected)

  31. I love this quote.
    “I cursed the dream and its siren song.”
    But I definitely agree with all your points. You can only measure success through achievable goals. By putting numbers on those goals, you can create percentages, pie graphs, and charts to your heart’s content so you can see exactly how well you’re doing.

  32. Hey Guys
    We’re doing it again. This post was not written by John. Thanks Roman for the timely reminder. I am off to set some goals for my new blog…..

  33. Really nice article, Roman. I appreciated your honesty and enjoyed a look around your site as well. I wish you the best as you pursue your goals.

    1. Pumama says:

      Johnchow ,I love you,I love your article :).
      If some body have free time,pls visit my New Blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. Mario Pesce says:

    Useful subject. I think that I have been dreaming as well for a while.

    I will try now to decide some goals and measure my progress.

    Thank you and best regards

    Mario Pesce

  35. Thanks for sharing and for guest blogging here Roman. That was really a nice post. I agree with you on this one. Having measurable goals will lead you to success, just don’t quit and keep on moving forward.

    There’s really no such thing as failure, only quitter. You will not fail if you don’t give up.

    Kind regards,


  36. hey roman,
    thank you for sharing such motivating post here. well eventually i can somehow relate my previous intention with what seems like yours.
    yes, i had a vague ‘dream’ of just making money online.. it drove me hard on getting things laid and prepared but it didn’t persuaded me to ‘continue’ striving .. because i didn’t get to see ‘results’.
    however, i figured out eventually that it was my ‘mind’ thats playing tricks on me. so i shoved those negative unrealistic ‘dream’ of just purely making money online and turn it into a much more step-by-step approach of doing so.
    as what you have mentioned, i listed down a much more ‘down to earth’ goals..
    guess what, i am doing better and am proud to say that i am really making progress.
    having a right mind set and setting a realistic goal is essentially important. why ? because it enables you to really stay specific thus better concentration can be pronouncedly perform within its context.
    keep up the good work man.
    cheers =)

  37. Lucy says:

    I love this post..

  38. I am sooooooooo glad I came across this post!

    I am about to start my 2nd site ( and a 3rd with two other partners). My first site was a dismal failure!

    I posted a LOT of posts…got decent feedback…but didn’t make enough money for bus fare!

    Like you, I didn’t want to be bothered with it again. SO I was sooooooo able to relate to what you wrote and am able to incorporate what you said.

    Thanks for being so honest!

  39. You need both, a dream, better called an thought of as a vision and goals that can be measured.

    The vision will set the path, the goals make sure you reach the destination.

  40. For the term “make money website” there are many big players in your way.

    Do you think that this will be an easy path ?

    1. Roman says:

      I am in it for the long haul and I want to play with the big fishes. If I win, I want to win big.

  41. The most important thing is that you didn’t give up. Only the strongest, smartest and most persistent survive this intense competition on the internet.

  42. Goals are what make the dreams possible. Great blog.

  43. Bidet says:

    This is a great post, its very true, if you don’t have goals you can never see progress. Unlike a dream which is just 2 options you accomplished it or you didn’t, you can see progress and see improvements which will keep you motivated to achieving your goal, which will eventually turn to your dream.

  44. Setting goals in a wnderful way of keeping yourself focussed. Specially for a new blogger who has to slog it out right from day one.

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