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This is the first post of the How To Grow Your Blog series, and I’m just gonna throw this out there: your blog is no longer about YOU. Sorry, friend. LUUUUVVVV YOOOOUUUU! Don’t hate me. Keep reading. 😉
If you’re reading this post right now, you’re probably past the “idk, maybe i’ll start a blog just for fun!” phase. You know what I’m talking about. When you have that anything can happen and who knows what it’ll become mindset (which you should still keep foreverrrrrrr), your posts are just for fun and possibly a little directionless, and it’s just a “side” thing. But if you’re wanting to grow your blog, you’re probably leaning towards really making this a “THING”, am I right? I could be way off, but I know that’s what happened to me.
If you’re serious about growing your blog (in whatever way that may be – growth isn’t always in numbers), the first thing you need to do is know your readers.
By now, you’ve probably posted a few times and have maybe been blogging for a little bit. I definitely recommend waiting until you’ve done this to really start looking at your audience. But if you’re at this point, here are a few steps to take in order to really know your readers:
1.) Install Google Analytics.
You’ve probably already done this, but if you haven’t, definitely do this. Analytics is a priceless well of information, and it’s FREE!
2.) Find out WHO your audience is.
There are lots of ways to look at this, but today I’m sharing the way that I’ve always approached it. When you get to analytics, head over to the “Reporting” tab. Under audience, you’ll see demographics, interested, geo, behavior, and mobile. Those are all great areas to really dig in to in order to find out the age, gender, and locations of your readers! This is also a great place to see how your readers are viewing your website, whether it’s on mobile, desktop, or another device.
3.) Find out WHERE your audience is coming from.
You can find this under the “Acquisition” tab. From there I go to the “All Traffic” tab and click “Source/Medium”. This tab will show you where all of your traffic is coming from!
4.) Find out WHAT your audience is coming for.
In other words, what are your most popular posts? And why are they popular?
This is probably one of the best ways to really know your readers. I look at this under the “Behavior” tab. Under this, I open the “Site Content” tab and click “Landing Pages”. A list of my most popular posts comes up for the set period of time (I like to look at a few months at a time, maybe even from the first day of my blog).
Secondly, I look at why these posts are the most popular. If something went viral one time, got a TON of traffic, but then died, I don’t consider it a popular post (even though Analytics will show it as a top post because it’s only looking at overall traffic). To figure out which posts have “lasting” traffic (as in traffic that comes to it on a daily basis), I click the little square box next to the post and then hit “plot rows”. This will show you a graph of that specific post’s daily traffic!
Once you figure out which posts are your everyday popular posts (the ones people keep coming back for), it’s time to use that information to figure out your audience. Is there a common theme in these posts? Does it make sense with your ideal reader? I noticed that my post popular posts are the incredibly easy and simple healthy recipes, like overnight oats and tacos. It makes sense because I defined my ideal reader as someone who loves easy, quick, and simple readers. That lets me know that I need to create more posts like these and really push these types of posts!
5.) ASK your audience what they’re looking for!
Seems like this should be straight forward, but I’ve met very few people that actually do this: Just ask them what they want! I’ve started doing this and am finding it SUPER helpful for determining the direction of my blog, every day posts, and products that I develop. I use Hotjar to create polls, and it’s basically the best thing ever! I place the polls on my most popular recipes and ask them questions like “What are your goals?” or “What do you love about Jar Of Lemons”, and they answer! It’s really great. I definitely recommend using Hotjar every once in awhile to help you know your readers! 😉
Next up, we’re learning how to take things to the next level in How To Grow Your Blog: The Practical Stuff!