Blogging 201, Day Five: Give ‘Em What They Want

Blogging 201, Day Five: Give ‘Em What They Want

Today, you’ll conduct a short and simple stats analysis that will help you create an editorial calendar for the next 30 days.

After two days of theme changes, custom headers, and color updates, it’s good to take a step back. Live with the design you have for the day while we switch gears and start focusing on your content. We’re diving into stats to learn more about what your readers love.

Today’s assignment: conduct a short and simple stats analysis that will help you create an editorial calendar for the next 30 days.

Why do this?

  • Because knowing which topics and posts are most popular helps you to brainstorm new content that you know your audience will love.
  • Because knowing which days of the week your visitors are most likely to show up lets you to plan to publish that content on your best days.

Let’s talk about cake for a moment: if you know your best friend loves cheesecake and she drops by every Sunday, you’d probably have a bit of dessert yumminess on hand when she shows up, right? It’s the kind of thing friends think nothing of doing for one another.

Your site’s stats can reveal what your friends like and when they’re likely to stop by. If you know what your readers love and when they show up, you can plan to give them what they’re looking for, making them more likely to come back. Pass the cheesecake!

We’ll start with the stats on Top Posts and Pages to see which posts and topics resonate with our readers. Go to the stats tab in your Reader. Just under the main graph tracking your daily views and visitors, you’ll see your Top Posts and Pages for the day. Click on the Summaries link:

toppostsandpages-2

On the Summaries page, you can view Top Posts and Pages over the last seven days, 30 days, 90 days, one year, and all time. Here’s a snapshot of the most popular content at The Daily Post for the past 90 days:

90days

Not surprisingly, the home page got the most traffic, follow by Blogging 101: Zero to Hero. Our three ebooks did well, and photo challenge posts (“Selfie,” “Juxtaposition,” “Object,” etc.) are routinely popular.

Stats don’t tell the whole story — although we’ve written more posts on choosing the perfect blog name, none have enjoyed the popularity of the first one, shown on this chart. Use your stats as a starting place, and then experiment.

What did we learn here?

  • Knowing how much readers enjoyed participating in Blogging 101: Zero to Hero made it a no-brainer for us to repeat that course and create this Blogging 201 course.
  • Strong participation in photo challenges tells us that people love the photography topic, so we’re increasing the number of photography-focused posts we publish.

Now that we know which topics resonate with readers, let’s look at the Recent Weeks chart to see which days of the week bring the most traffic.

Head back to your stats tab. On the far right of the main graph tracking your daily views and visitors, click on “Summaries.” You’ll see three tables: Months and Years, Averages Per Day, and Recent Weeks — pick Recent Weeks.

Here’s a The Daily Post‘s:

recentweeksdp

We can see that while traffic is fairly consistent, Mondays and Fridays generally bring more readers. Wednesday is the second runner up, and Tuesdays and Thursdays are the slowest.

What did we learn from this chart?

  • Thursdays aren’t ideal days to run our best content.
  • We’re better off publishing more posts on Mondays and Fridays, because that’s when most readers visit.
  • Tuesdays are big opportunities for us to improve traffic.

Now, we can take what we learned and start sketching out a calendar. For The Daily Post, that means:

  • Photo challenges (our most popular regular feature) on Fridays (our most popular day).
  • Photography-oriented posts on Tuesdays, to give Tuesdays a boost and reinforce that there’s great content all week long.
  • Shorter, experimental, or niche posts on Wednesday and Thursdays.

TIP: use The Commons to ask your new readers what topics they’re enjoying, and what more they’d like to read about.

Take a look at your blog’s popular posts and popular days, and sketch out an editorial calendar for the next 30 days. Ask yourself:

  • What are your top five features? Which topics do they represent?
  • Which days of the week bring the most traffic?
  • When should you plan to publish new posts on your most popular topic?

An editorial calendar is entirely up to you and needs to fit into your life — what and how often you choose to publish is your choice alone. Return to your blogging goals from Day One – did you create a posting frequency goal? Now’s the time to plan to meet that goal.

Are you really stuck? Here are five ideas for new posts you can use right now, no matter the subject of your blog.

If you didn’t create a posting frequency goal, that’s fine, too. Armed with your insights from your stats analysis, brainstorm some new post ideas and plan when you’ll publish them.

We’ll be delving deeper into stats in a few days. For now, let’s get comfortable with stats and start figuring out how to use them.

Questions? We’re here! Head to The Commons for more space to chat.

Elyssa D. Durant. Ed.M.DailyDDoSe © 2007-2014

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