Every blog owner finds himself or herself wondering how they can improve their site to engage visitors, build relationships, and of course grow revenues. The good news is that you are your best source of information! With print advertising, such as flyer printing or postcards, you have a limited number of options for gathering information, such as with demographics records or surveys. If you own a blog and visitors are showing up, however, you have access to a far greater number of resources to help you find out what your audience wants so you can provide more of it.
The key here is research – you want information that is reliable and actionable. If you don’t already have some kind of website analytics software installed on your site, shame on you! These simple and free tools, like Google Analytics, can provide a vast amount of insight into which of your blog posts are connecting with your readers. So if you haven’t already, install free analytics software on your site and then use the tips below to help you research your audience to improve blog posts.
Check the Stats
Using even the most basic website analytics software can provide wonderful research for improving your posts. “Time on Page” is one of the most important indicators that a post is quality stuff. So compare your posts and see which ones keep readers engaged longer. You may find that adding a few images throughout the post creates a great deal more time spent on the page. Generally it’s a combination of factors, though.
Another important statistic is the “Exit Rate.” This shows you how often people leave your site from a specific page. If you have a blog with a low Exit Rate compared to other pages, take some time to study why. You may find a key to dramatically improving the rest of your posts.
Find Your Ideal Visitors
Again, you need to have some basic analytics running on your site for this. If your average visitor spends two minutes on your site and you find a group that spends ten minutes or more, you may have found an ideal visitor. Where are these visitors located? What other content do they view? Do they leave comments and share your posts with others?
Once you find your ideal visitors, you can begin tailoring your content to them and building relationships. Nothing is more fulfilling as a blog owner to see your Time on Page statistics start to go through the roof and regular commentary on posts from certain visitors.
The simplest way to find out what your readers want is to ask them. You can do this through surveys on your site or by sending them direct emails. If you have a set of regular visitors, you can often contact them directly and simply ask to see what kind of content they want to see more of and what piques their interest.
You can also ask through a blog post by giving readers options. Ask them what kind of series they’d like to see or if they had a choice (since you’re giving it to them) what new content they’d be interested in finding.
Another easy way to see what people like is by reading comments. Often comments can be very insightfu,l as certain posts will draw crowds and start discussions. Read through the comments and see if there are direct or indirect suggestions that you can draw from to improve future posts.
And don’t forget to engage directly. As comments start coming in, jump into the conversation and get more information, see what draws more feedback, and don’t be afraid to ask for input (see above).
Get Ideas from Third Parties
While you can hire firms to review and recommend changes to your blog, a far less expensive way to get third party input is to just visit your competition or others who have been very successful. See how they’ve set up their post from formatting to tone to content on each post. See how the comments flow and what other resources the site provides. You may find that a few small additions to your posts can have an explosive effect.
Before making big changes to your blog posts, start with some of these recommendations and gather research. Don’t just jump in and make big updates. Small changes in increments mean you can measure what works and what doesn’t.
In the end, your goal is to provide quality content that readers can trust. As you are better able to identify your ideal readership and what they want, you can tailor posts that engage visitors and build long-term relationships.
Crowd image courtesy of Shutterstock