What Do Readers Want?: Successfully Measuring Reader Engagement to Improve Your Blog Writing Services

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Being successful in the game of blog writing services requires a game plan and post-game assessments. And, understanding what readers want falls at the top of the play list.

But, how do you measure an audience as wide and deep as the Internet crowd?

And, what insights help you turn these readers into fans?

Let’s begin with a question.

Why do you blog?

The answer may seem both simple and obvious. But, it is important to write out your purpose for doing what you do. If you fail to fully understand your intent, you will struggle to know if your efforts are successful.

In other words, knowing the victories you are aiming for directs your efforts. For instance, a general goal of blog writing services is to engage readers with useful content. Keeping this objective in mind as you write focuses your strategies and tells you the metrics needed to assess the wins.

But, how do you assess what readers want and if they indeed find your blogs useful? The answer goes beyond the number of comments at the end of the page. After all, words prove empty without action.

Why Measurement Matters

While blogging offers inner rewards and even therapy for a writer, without impact in the bigger online contest, your efforts fall flat. Getting in the game means measuring the outcomes of your postings to make play adjustments along the way.

Why is this so important?

Motivation

Gauging the interest of your readers and the action they are inspired to take based on your writing motivates you. For many of us, this encouragement spurs us onward and upward.

Also, the less glamorous metrics give you reason to creatively get to work. And, while at first poor numbers may lead to discouragement, on the flip side, they hold the power to strengthen your resolve. (Consider the fight of the underdog.)

Future Writing

The insight gathered through blog metrics also spurs and directs future writing. In other words, the focus brought about by knowing your goals and the best means for reaching them enhances creativity and productivity.

Improved Results

To increase the impact and reach of your words, you need to know how they are currently performing. Is your voice falling on deaf ears or an audience eager to take action?

Increased time and expense invested in blogs and the continued expected growth of this online communication format makes measurement a near necessity. In other words, unless you blog for purely therapeutic reasons, determining return on investment proves vital.

Pre-Game Plan

Knowing your goals for blogging enables you to better lay out your game plan. Furthermore, this knowledge focuses your measurement efforts.

In developing a pre-game plan for your blog, a few simple strategies help you make the most of postings. In other words, these tips help strengthen your numbers from the get-go.

Give the Crowd What They Want

Understanding the basics of what most readers are looking for in a blog post and using them gives you a head start. According to Techsling’s article, Top 10 Things Your Blog Readers Really Want from You, to get the largest audience share possible give readers:

  • Interesting topics.
  • An easy read.
  • Solutions.
  • Entertainment.
  • Links.
  • Homework.
  • Opportunities to engage.
  • Visuals.
  • Perks.
  • Connection.

Poll the Audience

If you want to know something, why not simply ask? After all, who knows your audience better than the readers themselves.

Asking your readers what they want to learn about, questions they have or problems which require solving gives you plenty of relevant topics to work into your blog.

How do you get this information?

A few ideas come to mind as sources of inspiration:

  • Review other well-received blogs within your niche.
  • Google a topic and identify the keywords or questions which pop up.
  • Turn to social media to hear the latest buzz.
  • Ask a question via Twitter or other social media platforms.
  • Conduct a survey.

Be a Crowd Watcher

As commonly stated, the importance of knowing your audience should not be underestimated. Analytics help you answer questions such as these:

  • Who is my reader?
  • What does he or she look like?
  • Where does my reader live?
  • What interests my audience?
  • Which habits affect my reader?
  • What questions trouble my audience?
  • Which problems impact him or her most?

Post-Game Debriefing

Educator and psychologist, John Dewey once said, “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” And, indeed this truth bears out in regard to the blogging experience and its level of success.

While the internal, personal rewards of blogging give meaning to the activity and process, reflecting on the blog and its impact adds value. Debriefing and measuring the outcomes of your blogging efforts proves worthwhile in better speaking to your readers and ensuring you are not writing for an audience of one (namely, you).

But, what can and should you measure as you analyze your blog outcomes?

Again, knowing your goals for blogging helps identify the measures on which you need to focus. Let’s take a look at several of the blog metrics which may offer you valuable insight.

Views, Likes and Comments

The sheer numbers of views, likes and shares give you an idea of the interest in your content. Likely one of the easiest figures to calculate and assess, starting here gives you an initial overview of what is happening with your blog.

On the other hand, in regard to comments, quality may score over quantity. Responses which demonstrate greater interest and offer value to your research and your bottom line include those which:

  • Offer a differing perspective.
  • Pose a question.
  • Keep the dialogue going.

Responding briefly to comments proves beneficial in extending conversations and developing relationships with your audience. These extended interactions hold weight in measurement statistics.

Consider these points when assessing the numbers of views, likes and comments:

  • Views or clicks to your site demonstrate an interesting headline at a minimum.
  • With less time required to click, likes may naturally outnumber views and comments.
  • Counting likes assesses interest in your post.
  • Quality of comments weighs in over quantity.
  • These figures alone fall short in measuring blog engagement.

Conversions, Subscriptions and Conversations

While views and likes give a blogger a sense of a content’s attraction factor, the best-designed uniforms fail to impress if the team does not get the job done. In marketing terminology, extensive views, likes and even comments may only indicate popularity.

And, this factor alone may bring cheers and even jeers but not necessarily action. Therefore, going beyond these numbers proves vital as, obviously, action is what takes a team across the goal line.

Looking at conversions, subscriptions and conversations initiated by your blog proves a measure of action and rounds out the view of the game. These components delineate relevant interactions (those fans watching the game win or lose) from those merely tagging along or not showing any interest.

You can measure action by checking your web analytics for the following answers:

  • What number of readers are compelled to “follow” you on social media platforms?
  • How many site visitors acted on your call to action?
  • What percentage of leads become actual fans?
  • Which conversations initiated with your blog content?
  • Have there been significant changes in your email subscription numbers?

Bounce Rate, Visits and Traffic

Determining if web visitors stick around for awhile or over time helps you understand the engagement of your readers. As might be evident, content which engages holds attention longer.

Software which gives you the play-by-play helps you to calculate:

  • Number of visitors who stop by your site once, twice or over a period of time.Blog content which inspires return visits indicates you are producing material useful to readers.
  • Clicks to more than one site page. Content which encourages readers to click other site pages increase the potential for engagement.
  • Time spent spend on your site. Extended time on your page indicates the reading of your blog and engaging with the information.
  • Bounce rates which indicate how often visitors move quickly from your site to another. Anything outside the natural percentage of 20 to 50 percent points to a needed evaluation of your content.
  • Traffic sources (i.e. search engine, backlinks and social media) and location (globally and locally). Knowing how visitors find your blog and where they live offers valuable insight into content and reach.

Use Google Analytics to:

  • Assess reader visit frequency.
  • Determine the number of pages per visit.
  • Calculate the time readers spend on each blog.
  • Understand bounce rates and their impact on your content.
  • Identify effective traffic sources or channels and locations.

The Final Analysis

In reviewing the facts and figures using Google Analytics and other metrics measuring tools, a few points worth considering arise. These areas help tie your game plan and debriefing results together.

Be careful to maintain a broad focus in the analysis of your blog. While the details and numbers provide insight, too-focused attention on one or more figures gives an inaccurate picture of the outcomes.

In other words, to understand the true impact of your blog and potential changes needed:

  • Gather the metrics which best assess the reaching of your goals.
  • Look at each piece in the context of the others.
  • Draw conclusions from the information as a whole.

And, as you complete your analysis keep the following principles in mind.

Quality Over Quantity

While numbers impress (or depress), the heart of measurement considers the quality and characteristics of the readers choosing to interact with your blog. While mentioned above, this principle is important enough to reinforce.

Engaging a few relevant readers offers the promise of long-lasting relationships. Even a multitude of quick, trendy, easy to make clicks fail to do so.

For this reason, when analyzing blog statistics, look for genuine interactions from genuinely interested readers. An audience willing to take the time and effort to interact with your site and content offers viable leads.

Again, pay attention to quality comments, social media followings, response on calls to action and conversations around your content. By analyzing this data, you better refine your audience and learn how to speak to them.

Do not be starstruck (or deflated) by numbers or even rankings. While both of these figures hold value in their own right, they alone fail to measure success.

Multiple Platform Consideration

Using metrics tools across platforms reveals which blogging efforts are worth your investment. Your website, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sources each hold differing values for engaging your audience.

Looking at each of the formats on which you post determines the return on investment for your particular blog niche. For instance, you may find that your readers engage more through Facebook than your website.

In addition, mobility proves another area to consider. If your readers prefer on-the-go blog postings, spending dollars on accessibility, a seamless experience, mobile performance and testing is worth your investment.

Understanding your highest impact or engagement allows you to focus your efforts in the areas of greatest return. After all, the goal of blogging is reader engagement which means you need to go where your readers are hanging out.

Long-Term vs. Short-Term ROI

Beware of remaining short-sighted in your analysis of blog metrics. To help maintain a farther reaching sight pattern rather than reacting to short-term nuances and shifts, plan how often you will check your blogging metrics.

In reality, suggested times for checking various metrics range from daily to weekly to monthly or yearly. Simply put, some metrics such as those affecting conversion prove more important than others like traffic by location or mobile usage.

In some cases, calling the play to check metrics too early leaves you at risk of reacting to the noise of the crowd rather than the need. On the other hand, left too long, you may miss the play altogether.

Keys in determining how often to evaluate your numbers include:

  • Your ability to respond. For instance, if you are unable to act on insights weekly then conducting a weekly report proves a bad call.
  • The variability of a given figures. For example, volatile numbers which vary significantly in a week are best looked at no more than once a month.

Need Help With Your Blog Writing Services?

Analyzing the impact and outcomes of your blog writing services offers insights to spur your efforts and create long-term impact as well as ROI. However, the possibility and potential depth of this necessary component of blogging may leave you overwhelmed. After all, words are more your game, not numbers.

If this is the case, we would love to help. Call in an audible today for your free consultation.

  • Feel free to share your ideas and your existing website if you have one.

P.S. Leave a comment below as to what was helpful in this post. Or, share how blog metrics have helped expand the impact of your blog writing services.

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