Analyzing blogging content and its effectiveness

In order to build a lasting strategy alongside a methodology that provides you with results, you will have to get down and dirty and start analysing where you went right and where you went wrong. Through analysing both key factors it is possible to arm yourself to better seek information that enhances or provides solution to your successes and failures.

Analyzing blogging content and its effectiveness

Analyzing blogging content and its effectiveness

 Image source: Flickr by Anna

Isolating content that does work

The obvious thing to do here is segregate the articles that do the best. You have to be aware of how they have performed before you can do this so you have to employ some form of analytical measuring, whether that be from Google Analytics, Clicky or another metric analysis tool.

 

What criteria are important to you?

This will depend on what your goal is.

  • If your goal is to simply illicit views; page views and visitors will be important to you.
  • If the goal is centred on social signs; comments and shares are the important measure.
  • If the goal is conversions (content leading to sales), the conversion goal is important (this target has to be setup specifically).

Often these goals overlap and become inseparable but on occasions you may only need one or two of these aspects to succeed.

Some form of spreadsheet is a good way to keep track with your experimentation to see what works out best.

 

Isolating content that doesn’t work

Working out what didn’t work is more complex than working out what did. Often it is difficult to ascertain the precise element of your post that didn’t work.

Normally, starting with the simple things is the best way to begin.

 

Theme and trend

Often the theme you might have thought was a good idea to talk about was actually a bit of a stinker. People are turned off this content like running from a skunk. Sometimes to counter this problem, you may need to broach the issue from a lateral perspective (an alternative direction).

Trend also plays a part in how popular your post might be. Trends have a half life, some short, some long. Some trends stay burning for ever. Research is important to coincide with trends. The hash tags you might be using are crucial to your exposure in some social media outlets so be mindful of what’s going on or what’s not.

 

Title

Title is important. Write a bland, uninformative title and you’ll be lost in the wash with all the other sea creatures. Title plays deeply into what the summary of the post is going to be about. People shape a view of what they expect from this first port. If you have not done well, it is most likely because you failed at the first hurdle.

 

Main Image

I mention it quite often but images are processed quicker than textual information in the visual cortex of the brain. Your big image might convince people where your average title may not. It’s important to have something that matches the tone of your article.

 

Content presentation

This is important, weighting and breaking up your content in a readable way makes people happy. You should think about shorter sentences, less lay terms, more bullet points, lists and blank space. Being presented with big blocks of text often presents a challenge to any reader. Help them out.

 

Search optimisation criteria used (Tags and Categorisation also)

Often if you’ve set your SEO keyword/keyphrase with an ambiguous, unpopular or rarely searched set of words you are going to have problems. If you try with an over popular keyword/phrase you may have further problems too.

 

Time of day shared

This is important in that your core audience may linger for posts at a certain time of the day. If you are geo-targeting your work, you should aim to publish it in the following time windows: 9am, 12am, 3pm, 6pm

If you are publishing something for an American audience but live outside the timezone you should post it at a suitable time near their peak.

 

Scope/Reach of the place you shared the post

If you publicised something in a small pool it will naturally have less reach than if you put it in a big pool. Say if you have an audience of 30,000 in one area and an audience of 3,000, you may only get 1-5% of the audience.

 

The sting in the tail

There is one….

Not to discount all of what I’ve just written but there is an issue in analysing data when you are not in full knowledge of the influencing factors. You could be making very arbitrary judgements on the critique of your own work without being in full possession of all the facts.

This is partly why analytic tools are popular. They give you more information on the “who is visiting” and “where they came from” and “what they are looking at”.

You have to ask yourself a “So What?” question. What is all this data telling you?

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How to not put things off when blogging

 

In blogging terms there is quite a lot you can put off, trust me, I’ve done it.

This leads to the question of:

 

How to not put things off when blogging

How to not put things off when blogging

Image Source: Wikipedia by Seaman Barry Riley

Pages

Perhaps the easiest thing to put off is page update (not post).

Pages are your static hello, they greet people and remain fairly ‘static’ as mentioned. Your page may also have a custom sidebar or footer and you may decide to lock them out for comment or give them a purpose (like collecting messages or other things).

One page as long as you created it well can be left to manage itself. The Archive page doesn’t need much attention if it was constructed correctly.

You can see mine here by clicking (so click already, it will open a new window dagnabbit). As you can see, the archives for Blog Prefect are fairly awesome, it’s not quite super awesome but it is definitely a step up from average Joe. It does what I want so it is groovy. Hell yeah!

The About page is a page you don’t have to update as often as other pages but sometimes it does help if you’ve been doing a lot. I think that Videos are great to show on an about page but obviously, these can get out of date after a while. An about page is perishable (losing value over time) so it is worth sprucing up your about page every so often. Every two months might be a good amount. It depends what you are blogging for and whether people need to see more.

The contact page is quite static just like the archive. Once you’ve setup it up and know it’s working there isn’t really much else you have to do. You might want to test it every so often, just to make sure it is still working, yet it requires little else.

 

Pages that change more frequently

I have a Projects page and a Traffic page.

The Traffic page receives new content on a monthly basis and occasionally I manually update some links on this page and change how it is presented. Because the data is cumulative, the page requires update on a more frequent basis so that it isn’t too far behind current context. You don’t want someone to turn up to find out of date ideas.

The projects page is a review page and I must admit this one hasn’t been diligently looked after. With projects you are supposed to report on milestones, reporting is a very important part of projects in fact, especially if you are the project manager. Setting review points and milestones is an important step on this front.

A number of my projects have sagged this year. I have found it particularly difficult with my 2014 gamble and the post that grows but my project page is just plain out of date.

Often you are going to get slippage in your projects, times when other things take priority. Being a blogger you are likely to have a lot of conflicting priorities because there is a lot that you can optimise on the site but it is important to schedule progress reports if you had audience who showed some interest. I’m in a situation where I don’t command a lot of loyalty, mostly because I don’t have time to interact with likely interested audiences on the majority of popular social media sites.

 

Posts

Sometimes when you have discovered a new style or a more effective way of working you need to go back into all of your old content and mirror this. You may have changed your theme and everything in your database might not look so good with your older posts.

I have had to do this before, manually amending a number of my posts because with a sidebar the right aligned images didn’t work so well.

These retrospective updates can be a bit dull so my thoughts are that if you don’t have time but do have a bit of cash, why not hire an assistant to make the changes for you? This is especially true if you have a lot to do in terms of years of posts. Whilst most changes happen automatically, if you have tweaked the CSS or customised certain posts you might find their functionality compromised in your later theme.

You can also automate some checks and balances such as broken links by employing the use of the Broken Link Checker plugin (for WordPress). There are most likely similar plugins on Drupal and other platforms.

 

Social Media

Social media is the easiest area to neglect, mostly because it takes time that you may be spending to write your articles and so conflicts. The times you are likely to be using it are when you are promoting something but ideally you should be using it on a regular basis so that you keep the audience engaged.

Here is another place where you might consider employing some hired help. I am not particularly good with Twitter or Facebook. Twitter is new and strange to me, I never jumped on the bandwagon when it was first launched. Facebook and I have a bit of a uncomfortable relationship. I like it like a road. It is useful for driving but I’m not about to marry it.

Often it is important to keep your hand in because if you become too far separated from the conversations, you no longer retain the credibility that you once had. If you keep your sharing and networks up they will sustain but you can’t let them go dead. They are like neurons in your brain, requiring a certain amount of exercise to keep them fresh in your mind.

Pages on social media are also difficult, perhaps more so than just contributing, discussing and sharing. I tend to find pages quite unnatural.

 

The Solution

With all these things the best way to avoid the slackening is to develop a schedule. Not just purely for posting but for maintaining your presence in all things.

Another way to tackle the slackening of your grip is to just do a small amount per day. Just look for 10 minutes. Often that time can spiral and that’s what you want to happen. Motivation is important so make it an action to spend 10 minutes on each hot spot a day.

I must now practice what I preach. Wish me luck!

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Blog Prefect Guide to Topic Plunder for Bloggers

 

It is never ideal when you run dry on ideas but occasionally you can plumb the depths of what you can think of within a certain topic area for your blog and you are scratching for unique and original ideas of your own.

I don’t condone plagiarism in the slightest but I do condone clever re-spinning of oldies but goodies.

Most people at this stage begin some research.

Introducing the Blog Prefect Guide to Topic Plunder for Bloggers

Content to those who want it

Rehashed Classics

You are going to dig on a search engine (doesn’t have to be Google, perhaps if you’ve scraped the barrel there, another engine) for that special something. The important conscious thought here is not to get side tracked. Stick to what you are looking for, read a lot.

Recommendations: Try and head for something that sparked a lot of comment, asked a rip-roaring question, had a lot of meat on its bones. You can then just carve off a hunk of that meat without all the fluff and garnish that the original chef served it with.

Write the re-written piece in your own style, don’t copy and paste. You could paraphrase sections but make sure you pass back some attribution to the original source.

 

Guides

Guides are ripe for rewriting because often new things happen or someone left the guide intentionally vague at some point because they didn’t think you needed to know or they were sketchy on it them self. All you have to do is re-write the guide in your style and fill in those blanks.

I have some examples:

They are liquid gold. People will read guides. I have not produced a single guide that didn’t receive at least 1 view. They also fit the brief as being something helpful and share-able that will attract search engine traffic.

 

Numbered lists

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m not a big fan of numbered lists but you can reshape them to great effect.

Say if someone started with 5 tips, all you need to do is re-write them and add 5 more. If they have a list of 20, why not cut them down to 10 and make it easier for your reader to absorb.

My only thoughts might be to leave time between your numbered list and the one you’ve pilfered from being published. That way you don’t look like a copycat.

 

From the mouths of babes

Sometimes what you are looking for is not in the body of the article but in a discussion someone had in the comments. It may be enough to give you a spark.

Here are my examples of two posts I’ve fabricated from Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income content commentary:

 

Talking about other people’s video content

I put together a post based on a series of people’s videos to prove a point on the trouble people where having with YouTube Content claims.

This is one of my better performing articles because it contained video content and as I’ve mentioned before, people respond better to images than they do to text. This includes moving images.

You could have potential to do this impromptu review for just about anything. Obviously you have to be careful that you are not crossing a line in terms of using the content in an unprofessional way and infringing on rights, otherwise if the video makers intent was to share, go for it!

 

Reviewing a review

You could always review a review by pointing out the shortfalls in the reviewers logic. You could go into depth about the topics the interviewer and interviewee are going into detail on.

Make sure that it was a good review about something that many people relate to within your target niche.

 

Reviewing an interview

Make sure it is a good interview with a known figure. The figure doesn’t have to be well known as long as they are talking about something related to what you are in search of.

You can run a blow by blow account, a summary or an in depth cross examination of the interview. Whatever floats your boat!

This interview could either be from text, from video or from audio. If you are writing a blog piece the obvious thing to do would be to include the original in way of attribution for the source.

With both cases above it doesn’t have to be limited to one review or interview. You could make it a collage, a patchwork quilt, a smorgasbord.

 

Quotes from Social Media

You can always go in search of quotes and hints from famous people you are following in your Twitter feed, and from notable others on various social media platforms. If you can find a person in the right niche for your topic you are bound to be able to capture something inspiring. The snowballs starts an avalanche from there.

 

Look at your varied options already!

Rather fab huh? There is more besides this list, I haven’t mentioned talking around infographics, charts and images in general. Just remember that you need to make reference to the owner/source and in some cases ask the owner’s permission before proceeding.

Good luck on your topic plunder me hearties!!

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Blogging and sticking with it

Sometimes it is hard staying true to your initial motivation and joy which embraced you when you first started blogging.

In life it is okay to have doubts about the decisions you made.

Blogging and sticking with it

There is one important thing to consider about sticking with it:

Blogging and sticking with it

Image source Flickr by Jared Wong

True Grit

Not the movie (the classic one with John Wayne) but the determination required for True Grit. Staying power and digging in deep is how you need to approach your idea. Give it your best shot and keep giving until you are bleeding.

So like John Wayne says, you’ve got to “get off your horse and drink your milk” if you are having serious doubts.

What is causing your doubt?

 

Guilt

Unfortunately, and I cast a general net to those big guns out there who dish out advice to bloggers, lots of the help you are given is negatively charged. In order for the “Big Guns” to install a sense of urgency and “convert” they put you into a guilt trip.

“You must be doing it wrong!”

“Low numbers, bah!”

“You must have been asleep in class when they gave out the foolproof methods for engagement.”

Sentiments along those lines will quickly aid to sew doubt in your mind. My best advice with this is to have faith in yourself, have some independence in your own thought and make changes you think are appropriate in line with your strategy. Not everything works the same for everyone. Not everyone can work effectively with every tool.

 

Being a number whore

I’m sorry to write that because it might seem quite out of place. Being a stat fiend can be dangerous to your enjoyment of your production. Yes, stats can be helpful but they are also a distraction.

Your ever increasing glaze on small numbers is not actually helping you to get the job done. Your job is to get amazing content under the nose of the right person. That will take you some time which is better spent doing than raking concern over how you have been doing.

 

Not enjoying the journey

The journey is the whole point, the goals are your reward. In order to feel less doubt about failing start trying to enjoy the journey more and think about the goal a little bit less.

 

Remember:

The middle part of a story is always the longest.

If you are in it for profit your goals will be conversions. Stop placing all your juice on thinking about that perfect customer and just start making the journey a more exciting event.

If you are not in it for profit think about the value it has to others. If you have a following, no matter how small, you’ve made at least a small difference. Try and learn from what your followers like about your work and then try to widen that appeal slowly but surely.

 

Living in the false hope that if you build it they will come

Blogging is a complex organism. It lives and breathes with an audience. You’ve got to tell people what it’s about, where it’s at, what they can expect. That has to be a cycle, not something you do once.

 

Feeling like you’ve been crushed by the opposition

There is always opportunity. Often those barriers to your entry evolve beyond your playing field leaving you free to sweep up those lost followers.

I can think of a number of examples where the big players have grown so big that they’ve left their original market. They are no longer the friendly and helpful people you used to remember but a sinful collection of corporate suits. Your opportunity is right there for the taking.

 

Being under the false impression that it will all happen tomorrow

Viral success has sprayed a false hope in some that they can rise to success without putting in the traditional hard yards. Blogging’s prerequisite is hard work. You need to apply yourself to it. It’s your time to put your nose to the grind stone.

You might get that viral success later when the right set of circumstances collides but in the meantime, stop dreaming and get to it!

 

Pegging your hopes and prayers to blogging and feeling let down by the silence

Blogging may not answer your desires, it may not be where you belong but you’ve got to give it a good go. You need a serious turn at the bat, you need to look past a series of lows. You may find that your capabilities develop towards something else but at least you know how it works and some ways to better adopt it. Don’t declare surrender too early. Some tasks in life depend on your determination and tenacity.

 

Taking long periods off and returning to the void

Don’t take long periods off. Simple yeah! Keep a trickle going all the time. Delegate if you have to. If life takes a turn on the heavy side, get some help!

 

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