OK, I am not going to get into the “Google is angel/devil” discussion here, because I am sure you have very strong feelings about it, as most blog owners do.
What I want to talk about it using Google’s free tools to learn about what your readers like and how to give them more of it, with a goal of bringing them back, signing up for your email list or what ever goal you have.
The tool you will need is – Google Analytics. If you haven’t installed it on your blog yet, do it now. (http://www.google.com/analytics/) To implement the tip I will be laying out below, you will need at least a few weeks of data to be able to dig into it deep enough.
Why use Google Analytics?
Regardless of whether Google is good or evil, Google Analytics is a great free tool and it is important that you take advantage of this valuable information.
Using Google Analytics to Give Readers What They Want
So if you have the Analytics installed for some time, you will have the data you need and we can dig in. Go to your account and open the data for the site you are checking (if you have more than one).
1. Go to Content – Site Content – All pages: See the screenshot below.
2. This will open a list with pages on your site that get the most visits along with some other info:Click to zoom
3. Now that you have the list in front of you, you can see which pages are attracting the most visitors to your blog. You can also check for the keywords that are attracting visitors but since Analytics stopped reporting most of them, you won’t really have a lot of useful data.
Sometimes, seeing what are your top pages may surprise you. Often, they aren’t the ones you put the most time and effort in, they are the ones solving a specific problem, while targeting a nice long tail keyword.
4. The next thing to do is see which page has longer time on page. That means people are staying on it longer. If it is a tutorial, they may have it open in front of them while doing what you wrote about. What ever the reason, people seem to like the page if they are staying on it longer. Pair that with low exit and bounce rate and you have a winner.
Does the Topic Fit?
Now that you found which pages are attracting and keeping the visitors, time to figure out if the topic is right for this tip and get to work.
What you want to do before implementing the tip is make sure the topic is actually fitting for your blog. Yes, I know it is a post on your blog but it doesn’t always fit perfectly.
For example, one of the most visited posts on my blog talks abut fixing a .htaccess file hack, since I had it happen and had to learn how to fix it. Since all my readers are bloggers themselves, I wanted to share the experience with them, in case they have the same thing happen, so they can use the quick fix I applied.
So you see, I have a popular post, it is attracting and keeping visitors, but you will see it does not fit into this blog growth strategy.
The pages you picked from the line up are going to serve as the starting point for your blog growth and more content. I hear often how people run out of ideas for blog posts so this should solve your problem.
The Procedure – How to Use Google Analytics Data
Pick one post to start with. Write down the keywords it is being found for, if you have them. Write down the reasons you believe the page gets people to stick around. Make a list of details you missed when you wrote the post (there is always something you could have added to a post that you realized later). Make a list of issues and different angles that are related to the post. Write down all the additional questions you had people ask in the comment section.
This is how to use Google Analytics to attract blog readers. Simply find what is the best content and produce that.
These are all going to be new post ideas that will let you expand on the topic and create more content.
Since it will all be related and connected, interlink all the posts so you can have a flow on your blog. That way, people who land on this starting post will have additional information in other posts and they will keep hopping from one post to the other.
You see now why I could not use this strategy on my .htaccess hack post? Expanding on that and writing more content on related topics is absolutely unrelated to the topic of my blog and is more suitable for a tech blog.
Digging through posts like this and expanding on the topic you already wrote about is a great way to never be out of blog post ideas and create more and more targeted content for your readers. Google Analytics is hiding a traffic goldmine in your stats and the information is there for you to use.