My 15th Blogging Anniversary: 15 Blogging Truths – Part 5
I wrap up a five-part series celebrating this blog’s 15th anniversary with this final installment about blogging truths I’ve learned over the years.
- f you missed Part 1 of my 15 Blogging Truths, you can read it here.
- If you missed Part 2, please check it out here.
- To can read Part 3, click here.
- And be sure to check out Part 4 here.
I originally conceived this anniversary celebration as a single long post of blogging truths. But only one-fifth of the way into my list, I found that the post was going to be far too long. I hope that breaking up the 15 into five posts of three each made them much easier to digest and process.
So here are the final three!
13. Analytics Matter
I hope you check out your Google Analytics (or whatever other service is available for your site) regularly. There are some very interesting pieces of information waiting for you there.
A few years back, I was trying to focus some of my categories based on which ones were getting the most views. It helped quite a bit more than I expected.
It’s important for a blogger to know which pieces of content — and thereby, which types of content — resonate with your audience. It’s also important to know which topics bring people to your site through search results.
It’s worth noting that there are people who rely on social media for their primary source of traffic. If you’re one of them, more power to you. But your search results are still important because social media algorithms can render a social strategy a success one day and an abysmal failure the next. But if you’re working on SEO, search engine optimization, to make sure your content comes up in Google searches, that’s another source of traffic that you shouldn’t ignore.
Looking at your analytics to see what people who come to your blog have searched for can easily give you ideas for new posts that you may not have thought of. And if you see that a handful of your posts are doing really, really well, you might want to consider expanding upon that content or updating what’s doing well.
Your analytics can also help you see who’s actually reading. Well, not which people specifically, but in terms of demographics. No matter who your intended audience may be, you might be surprised by what Google Analytics shows as the biggest segments of your actual audience.
My blog skews heavier to my age range and younger, while I would have expected my age range and older to be my key demographics. When you can drill down into specific demographics, that can help you find topics to write about that might further connect with the audience you know you have.
For that matter, if you’re not attracting the audience you meant to, you might be able to figure out why.
14. Your Archives Matter
A while back, I heard an episode of the Problogger podcast that focused on your archives. In that episode, Darren Rowse mentions that 92% of people land on a page other than the blog’s front page:
“Which means 92% of my income from my Google AdSense Ads, from my Amazon affiliate accounts, from my other affiliate income, 92% of that income is really dependent upon my archives.”
So often, we focus on our front page, hoping to attract as many people as we can there so that they can then find the content they want.
But if we’re doing SEO correctly, people are more likely to enter our sites through individual pages. We can hope, of course, that while they’re there, they’ll click to the home page and browse around.
But look at it this way: if someone performs a Google search to answer a specific question and your blog has that answer, wouldn’t you want that reader to find the answer on your site? It’s possible that if you answer the question clearly, they may make note of your site and come back. Even if they don’t, it’s one more click that the archives brought you that your front page never would have.
In fact, I’ve worked really hard to make my home page a place where people interested in specific content can find it faster. I know this is happening because my bounce rate for that specific page is now just slightly more than 60%. Bounce rate is a measure of the percentage of people who enter and leave your blog on the same page. Ideally, you want people to click through a few pages during a visit. But more people are going deeper into my blog and into my archives.
At the same time, my front page, over the past 30 days, is the 8th most frequent entry page. That means that there are seven old posts that more people are entering my blog from than the front page.
That, in turn, means those archived posts are very valuable.
If you pay attention to your analytics, it’s a good idea to look at the top pages and revisit them from time to time. Some of the top pages might be a few years old now. Is it possible they’re due for some kind of update?
15. Enjoying It Matters
This one may seem painfully obvious to some of you, yet I assure you there are those out there who dutifully blog even though they’ve lost the passion for it some time ago.
On one hand, we might feel an obligation to tip our hat in admiration of their dedication.
But on the other, I feel sorry for those people who plug along in an endeavor that no longer brings them joy. That’s a sad place to find yourself in.
No matter how long you do something, sooner or later, you’ll go through phases where you’ll struggle for a bit. I’ve lost count of how many posts I’ve seen from other blogs on how to get back in gear. I’ve even written at least one like that myself. It’s important to know whether it’s a temporary feeling where you’re struggling for the next post or two or whether it’s something worse.
When you reach a point at which you no longer like blogging, when you actually begin to hate it, maybe that’s the time to consider stopping it.
If you don’t and you continue doing something for which you’ve lost all your passion, it will invariably show.
Your product will suffer. Your audience will notice.
One of the best things I’ve found to keep the passion flowing is to try to get as far ahead of schedule as you can. That way, I don’t wake up early in the morning knowing I have to have to write a post that morning. Having that pressure off my shoulders every morning allows me to focus on future posts for which I have more time to write.
That makes a huge difference.
If you’re feeling like you’re losing your blogging passion, my advice for you is not to panic. Try to brainstorm a few future posts. Maybe your next one is why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling. It’s a way for you to stay authentic with your audience. You might be surprised by the feedback you receive.
Thanks again for reading these blogging truths I’ve learned over the past 15 years and I hope you’ll keep coming back for more posts over the next 15!