Recently I was the featured guest expert on the Social Media Examiner Facebook page, where I answered a bunch of questions about blogging and a few about social marketing. If you missed it, here's one question that I think is worth sharing because it does come up often in conversations I have with clients:
What can bloggers do when looking at their analytics to make sense of the stats and data and improve their blog?
This is a great question and every blogger should have some way to get stats for their blog. Many people use Google Analytics which can be added to both Wordpress and TypePad blogs (you need to set up an account on Google Analytics, then you can use a wordpress plugin to add or follow TypePad directions to install). Long ago, before Google Analytics, I set up SiteMeter for my blogs and continue to use it, in addition to Google Analytics.
Now here's my response to the question:
When looking at blog stats, pay attention to what sites are referring traffic, what keywords people are using to find the blog and what your most popular content is. You'll be able to see then what your readers want to know and what problems you can solve to attract more readers from search.
Use the popular keyword searches as a starting point for new posts and use those keywords in your titles and body of content at least a couple of times. To increase page views and length of time people spend on the blog, direct readers to previous posts that answer related questions. Also look at what other sites (besides search engines) are referring traffic. Check out those blogs and sites and see how you can partner with them to provide more value to your readers.
And don't forget commenting on those referring blogs as that can generate even more traffic to your site.
Here's an screen shot from my sitemeter account for this blog. It shows the referring URLs. Notice how many are coming from Google search results. If you click through on the Google search links, you'll see the search page and key words typed in the search box that directed the search back to you.
When I click on the link for #16, I find that the keywords used in the search were "creating content for blogs" and this blog comes up as #7 on page one of the results. Now, if I focus on writing more posts using those keywords, I could potentially drive my blog up higher in search results for that keyword phrase.
I'd also love to hear from you...how do you use analytics to improve your blog? Post your suggestions, tips, resources and ideas in the comments below. And blog on!