In a video conference not too long ago I found myself fighting to keep my eyes from glazing over. As Ryan and Rhonda broke down results from a client’s recent analytics report, I realized I didn’t understand half the terms they were using, and I didn’t think I needed to.
To be fair, analytics isn’t something I’ve been required to deal with outside of reporting page view numbers for advertisers. I rationalized my disinterest in the statistics revolving around my blog by reasoning that I have what would be classified as a niche blog. I’m not using my content to sell something or even to promote a specific service or product. Those that read it are looking for something specific.
When it came to analytics, I told myself it was something to deal with in the future.
Table of Contents
My View Was Short-Sighted
In the post The Importance of Analytics, Ryan starts with three questions:
- How many users come to your site each month?
- What is your best online referral channel?
- Is your traffic trending up or down?
You might think that these answers are for other people, but they are for your own purposes first. Even with a well-defined audience, your blog will be at its best when you are seeking to develop consistent, quality content your readers actually want to read.
Quality content takes time and energy. Whether you are researching or thinking of the next blog subject to cover you might be asking some or all of these questions:
- What content should I put effort into?
- Where and when are the best times to promote my content, so my readers actually find it?
- How do I know I’m reaching my target audience?
- Is this content original?
- If several people are covering the same topic I am, where do I rank in a keyword search?
If you aren’t asking these questions yet, you will because at some point we all begin to wonder if the time and effort it takes to create a quality blog post are worth it. When we are passionate about our subject matter spending time maintaining our blogs might feel fun, but at some point, it is likely you will begin to reconsider your time and effort.
Looking to the Future
Did you start your blog with the dream of someday publishing a book? Is your goal to bring in a little cash on the side with sponsored posts? Do you love getting free products?
In the coming months, you may want or need a larger audience. Blogs featuring recipes become cookbooks. Weight loss challenges become how-to books or even businesses. An experiential blog, such as an adoption journey becomes a memoir for the book club. This happens every day hundreds of times over. It doesn’t happen by chance.
Factors such as when to post on a specific social media channel, and how to increase a click-through rate and increase audience reach all factor into having a specific blog or blog post seen by the masses.
Lisa Tener has broken down key aspects of what publishers are looking for. Reach and Following are key pieces of this process. Publishers know that an author with a built-in audience is going to have a leg up in marketing their book to the right audience. This is going to make selling books easier, which makes the risk of publishing a new author’s work a little less nerve-wracking.
Many bloggers start writing hoping to bring in a little cash. Even if you aren’t selling a product, there are many ways your blog can be monetized. As your influence grows, you may have more opportunities to partner with sponsors and advertisers. A legitimate application for a blog and business partners will include reporting analytics. Those questions will be the same ones Ryan listed. In the majority of situations, those with the furthest reach will be offered the contract.
Whether you are looking to write a sponsored post in exchange for a free product or include advertisements with an earn-per-click agreement or even seek an affiliation like Amazon Affiliates, analytics will play a role in your application process as well as your chances of obtaining the partnership you seek.
Analytics explain the trends of the present but they are also speaking to the goals of the future. A key part of blogging in almost every scenario includes spending time making sure content is reaching the audience it is intended for. With millions of blogs available at someone’s fingertips, analytics becomes a specific, factual way that you can present what sets you apart from those also writing on similar subjects.
There is a lot more discussion when it comes to analytics. Join me next time for a breakdown of ways to obtain analytics for free and when it might be time to get the help of an expert.