New to the Series? Start with Part One
Blogosphere: A series
Part Thirty-Three: Reader Behavior Charts Your Course
While we learn from other Blogs and Bloggers, does it surprise you to learn that one of the most powerful resources for growing our Blogs is the actions—and reactions—of our readers?
An obvious part of our “readers resource” is the type and number of comments left to our Blog posts.
While we love to hear that we’re doing well, that our posts are brilliant, entertaining, and helpful, perhaps some of the most useful things we can hear are negative.
What? Yep. Think about it. When someone tells you that your recent post sucks–perhaps that’s not too helpful–but when they tell you it sucks and WHY, you’ve got solid gold. We can’t fix something that we don’t know is broken. The problem is, of course, that most people won’t take the time to tell you you’re not hitting the mark. They’ll just pack up and take their valuable blog reading time somewhere else.
What if you’re not getting enough comments to really judge your effectiveness?
If you are using one of the in-depth statistic packages—Sitemeter—comes to mind, we can get some very detailed and useful information. For one thing, we can see what percentage of visitors show up only to bounce back out immediately. If you’re new at Blogging, you might find that number upsetting, especially when you realize that a visit someone who bounces in and out is averaged into your “Average Visit Length” metric. One of the most popular (read BUSY) Blogs I know has an average visit length of 36 seconds. I smirked at that when I first saw it. At the time my was over 4 minutes. What I hadn’t realized is that when you have over a thousand hits per day, the percentage of bounce outs takes its toll. It is fairly easy to have a high AVL when you’ve had very few posts and visits.
Pay attention to which page caught your reader’s eye. Typically your readers–your new ones at least–won’t come first to your landing page. They will, instead, wind up on the page for a specific post, one which a combination of Tabs, Title, and Search Engine results placement caught their attention. Make a note of the most popular entry posts. They will have something you can use again.
While the page a visitor EXITS from is also telling, you should not decide that such a page is bad. After all, they did navigate to it. Perhaps when they left they had satisfied their reason for the visit.
Brief review: What are the reader behaviors to watch? Comments, choice of first page, and exit page. There is much we can learn from our readers if we only pay attention.
I strongly recommend using an application like Sitemeter (a free and unobtrusive service). Keep in mind that you do not have to let the world look closer at you or your operation than you want. BUT, with such a tool in place you have the ability to streamline your site.