Setting up a blog is simple. Getting it to the point where there are visitors coming in all the time and it’s making you money is a whole different story. Without a plan, growing your blog to that point is like taking shots in the dark.
The best way to accelerate your blog’s growth is by relying on data to make decisions. For example, if you know who your audience is, you can research what kind of content they really want, and focus on it to maximize growth.
That’s just one example, though. For this article, we’ll go over three data-backed steps to grow your blog, so let’s get right to it!
An Introduction to Web Analytics
These days, it’s not hard to keep track of all the traffic that comes into your website. You can see which websites send you referrals, what keywords lead users to your site, how much time they spend there, and much more.
The compilation and study of all that information are what we call web analytics. There are a lot of powerful tools you can integrate with your website to track all that data. With that information, you should be able to make smarter decisions about which direction to take your blog in.
Before we talk about how to do that, you’ll need to set up an analytics tool for your website. Your best bet is Google Analytics, which provides you with more data than you can shake a stick at, all for free.
If you’re using WordPress, integrating the Content Management System (CMS) with GA is simple. The downside is, you’re going to need to let that traffic come in for a while before GA can collect any reliable data. After all, a handful of visitors won’t give you enough information to make decisions.
How to Use Data to Kickstart Your Blog’s Growth (3 Steps)
Once you’ve let GA collect data for a couple of weeks, at the very least, we can take a look at what it has to say. Let’s start with your audience.
Step 1: Analyze Your Website’s Demographics
If you’ve been working on your blog for a while, you probably have a good idea of who your audience is. Are they middle-aged men interested in car repairs? Twenty-year olds from America who are really into fashion? I don’t know, it’s your blog.
Before we make any more decisions, you need an accurate picture of your visitor’s demographics. You can find that out using Google Analytics, by jumping to the Audience > Demographics tab within your dashboard:
In that example, the bulk of our traffic comes from females within the 25-34 age range. If we go to the Audience > Location tab, we can narrow that down even further:
The data tells us the majority of our users are English-speaking females, mostly from the United States. Now let’s talk about how to use that information to your advantage.
Step 2: Check Out What Content Performs the Best With Your Audience
At this stage, you have an idea of what your most engaged reader-base looks like. Now, let’s take a look at what content is bringing in the bulk of those visitors.
To do that, return to your GA dashboard home and scroll down until you reach the section that reads What pages do your users visit?
For a full breakdown, you can click on the link that says PAGES REPORT at the bottom of that section. What you want to do is analyze your best-performing content to find out:
- What kind of content gets you the most hits? (e.g. tutorials, product breakdowns, reviews, etc.)
- Is there anything that stands out on any of your top pages when you visit them?
- Can you improve those posts even further, so they bring in more traffic?
Usually, it’s pretty easy to establish links between your visitor’s demographics and your top content. The idea is, knowing what your readers really care about should help you come up with similar ideas, so you can capitalize on that traffic.
Step 3: Determine Which Keywords Will Give You the Best Returns
A big part of growing a blog involves Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When it comes to SEO, the best thing you can do is target the right keywords from the get-go.
To analyze the potential impact of a keyword, you’ll need access to a tool such as Google Keyword Planner (also free). With Keyword Planner, you can enter a search term, segment your audience based on your demographic data, and get suggestions for more topics:
What you want to do is use the keyword research tool to find topic ideas that relate to your best-performing content. Keyword Planner is excellent when it comes to suggesting related search terms, so it can give you a lot of ideas for content you know your audience will eat up:
There are two key columns you want to pay attention to in Keyword Planner. The first one is Avg. monthly searches, which tells you how many people are looking that term up each month.
Right next to it, you can find the Competition data. Competition for any given keyword can be low, medium, or high. High-competition keywords tend to be almost impossible to rank for unless you have a very established blog with tons of authority.
What you really want are keywords with decent traffic (anything about 1K searches per month) and low competition. The idea is, targeting enough of those keywords should be able to kick start your blog’s growth.
If you follow these instructions, you’re going to end up with blog content that targets your audience and the topics you know they’re interested in. It’s a world of difference from coming up with topic ideas randomly since you have the data to back up your bets.
If you want your blog to be a success story, you need to find an audience. More importantly, you need to keep that audience growing until it gets to the point where monetization becomes viable. Otherwise, you’re blogging as a hobby rather than as a source of income.
I like to rely on data to tell me in which direction I should take my blogs, and here are three tips to point you in the right direction:
- Analyze your website’s demographics.
- Check out what content performs the best with your audience.
- Determine which keywords will give you the best bang for your buck.
Do you have any questions about how to use analytics to kickstart your blog’s growth?
Image credit: Pixabay.