Do you blog for your audience or just for yourself?
If you’re like most bloggers you’ll no doubt respond, “My audience, of course!” There’s nothing wrong with blogging for yourself as well, but your readership should be of paramount concern. Learning how to read the pulse of your audience can help you write a better blog.
Here are five ways to find out what your audience wants so you can adjust your content accordingly, and “win friends and influence people.”
2. Ask your readers what they want.
The direct approach is one of the best ways to find out what people really want. Use a blog post or even a tabbed permanent page on your blog to invite reader feedback. You can also create a survey, either via social media such as Facebook, or a dedicated site such as
SurveyMonkey.com. Promote your survey by providing a link to the survey page on your blog, your social media sites, and your web site (if it is connected to your blog). You can also post an email inbox on your blog, and/or use your email registration responder, particularly if you regularly send out an e-newsletter.
3. Mine the comments (but moderate!).
Comments are like the after-party, and can be as engaging as the post itself (in some cases even more so). Comments can really add value to your blog, both for your readers and for you. Readers may offer constructive criticism in their comments, and as time goes by you can also see which types of posts create more responses, which will help you plan your posts accordingly. One caveat: moderate comments. It’s not censorship; it’s just a way to prevent spammers and nasty trolls from taking over your conversation – something that neither you nor your readers want.
4. Mind your metrics.
Both Blogger and Wordpress provide great analytics, and if you’re serious about improving your blog you will make it a point to track relevant results. Readers’ comments and survey responses are helpful, but the proof is in the metrics. For instance, research keywords and terms that attract readers. Also realize that many factors can make a post more or less successful, including the title or even the timing. Look at your usage charts and you’ll discover a pattern.
5. Go social.
Remember that the world is bigger than your blog. Make sure that when you publish a new post, you also post a link on your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites that are connected to your blog. On all of your social posts, let your friends and followers know that you really want their feedback on the new post. Encourage them to write comments directly to your blog. And, of course, pay attention to the responses!
Whether you’re writing a blog, magazine article, or book, your first consideration should always be your target market. Even if your blog is a personal blog and is based mostly on your own experiences, you should always write with the goal of informing and/or entertaining your audience and adding value to their lives.
Thoughts? How is your blog's direction dictated by your readers' feedback? Do you factor that in to planning your posts?
This is a guest post by Sarah Brooks from Freepeoplesearch.org, a people finder site. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to brooks.sarah23 @ gmail.com.