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Another Wednesday, another blogging tips post. So get out your notebook and get your pencil sharpened.
If you’re here reading my blog, I consider you a friend. As such I want to help you succeed and I know lots of you are fellow bloggers. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below or reach out to me directly via e-mail. I’ll be happy to help you out in any way I can.
Before we get started, take some time to refresh yourself with some previous weeks’ blogging tips posts. Some of those older posts have some particularly juicy tips…
This week we’ll be talking about how important it is to cater to your readership rather than just assuming they are happy with what you put on your blog.
When you set out writing on your blog you might’ve had a grand scheme of what you wanted to write about and what angle you would take. If you were lucky that format took off and readers loved what you were posting.
More likely, you ended up straying from that original plan. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. A blog is often an ever-evolving medium that goes through various changes over time. Rarely is a blogging journey just a linear progression where your initial plan is followed to a T.
Usually a blogger grows as a person during the lifetime of their blog and that growth is reflected in their writing. They eventually find their true blogging voice. What they write about often shifts as they experience life changes and develop different interests.
While the evolution of a blog is largely dependent on how the blogger evolves personally, they should also be considering how their readership evolves. As their blog is growing, the demographics of who is following along can drastically change.
When your blog was launched, you probably had a misconception that a wide variety of strangers would stumble upon our blog right away. With that in mind you likely based your writing on hopefully pleasing the masses.
In reality, your early readership often just consists of your mom and who else in your personal life is in the know about your blog. Things just aren’t as glorious as you had originally imagined.
Then if you’re taking your blog seriously, you started commenting on other blogs and networking with fellow bloggers. Suddenly your readership demographics expanded from your inner circle to include other bloggers and possibly some of their readers.
Too many bloggers don’t accept how blogger dominated their traffic will be for the coming months. They like to hold onto the dream of their blog taking off. By holding onto that dream, they may be missing out on the chance to get the most out of this stage of their blog.
You’ve probably noticed that I cater to my blogger traffic in various ways. First of all, I do this weekly blogging tips series knowing full well that the average finance blog reader won’t care about blogging tips. I know fellow bloggers may benefit a lot from these tips though. As a result, these posts get plenty of social shares, link love and exposure outside of the finance blogging community.
The other way I cater to bloggers is with my weekly link round ups, mentions and social acknowledgements. While I can I’ll be keeping up those sections as a way to accelerate growth of my blog and give back to my blogger friends.
Transitioning Back To Focusing On Your Niche
The tricky part about catering to bloggers early on is at some point, you will probably want to transition back to focusing on the original theme of your blog. As you develop more traffic, especially from search engines, less and less of that traffic will be interested in blogging related topics.
When I decide it’s the right time to transition my blog focus, I will be unfortunately ending this blogging tips series. As much as I like writing this series, I know it might turn off people who are just looking to read a finance blog.
The part I haven’t decided is how to keep up the recognitions and favorite posts while keeping everyone else happy. The obvious solution would be reduce the size of my favorite posts features, but that will be a tough decision. The other solution is to link out to bloggers more within regular posts, such as in a related posts list at the end of posts.
I think with such a transition you should remain transparent with your readers. They should know why the format is changing so that they are not left wondering whether things will keep jumping around.
Learning About Your Readers
So how do we know just who our readers are and what they want from us?
While your traffic consists of a lot of bloggers, this is very easy. Those bloggers are likely taking part in comment conversations and making their presence known. Just via those comments, you will learn a lot about those bloggers. Send them an email or comment back on their blog and you learn even more.
You should be keeping an eye on your traffic analytics and other stats. If you’re doing a good job with link building, search engine traffic should be gradually building up. To get a general break down of your traffic, compare the amount of direct traffic versus other sources. Blogger traffic will usually show up as direct traffic since they are probably opening your blog in an RSS reader. The lower percentage of your traffic that is direct traffic, the more you should be catering to a general audience.
If you’re lucky, the non-blogger traffic will start commenting on your blog to help you learn more about them. On some blogs the existing community may intimidate new commenters a bit. So instead you might want to consider making use of polls and engaging readers on social media channels.
By also paying attention to post comment counts and social share totals, we can also get a decent idea of which posts are doing well. Combine that with analytics data and we should be able to tell which approach is working best.
The key is that we use available data and keep communicating with readers. The more we learn about our readership, the better focused we can present our content to be informative and entertaining.