I have an idea of who my audience is for this blog. However, I often check-in with myself trying to establish, am I reaching that audience?
The manner in which I expect to find an audience has changed over the lifespan of this blog. It is worth noting the people I think would read the blog content I am publishing has not changed, but the way in which I try to reach them has.
Who is the audience for your blog?
Who is Reading it Now?
Establish your blog and your method of tracking views.
PRO TIP: Anyone establishing their own blog looking for profit from Internet traffic must first establish their own blog, with a unique URL. Do not give Blogger or WordPress.com your web traffic – spend the extra to self-host. It is not an expensive option anymore, consider reviewing my posts on K12 blogs. Do this now instead of reading a post later how to migrate from a free site, I accept your thanks in advance.
From there is a matter of preference for which analytics you analyze. For the casual blogger I recommend using the WordPress plug-in Jetpack and studying the Site Stats over time. You can also try the Yoast WordPress Plug-in, or go straight to mainlining Google Analytics. I am a casual blogger – no one is quitting her day job here – yet.
Take Roll, but Periodically
Do not watch obsessively, but pay attention to the story your stats tell.
You are writing for the long haul, not to double views with each post. It is best to not watch your stats daily, but look for long-term trends.
For instance, when I started blogging I was exclusively sharing on Twitter. I broadened my social media scope for sharing my posts and now Pinterest has more momentum than Twitter for bringing viewers to my sight. Jetpack even allows me to expand and see which pin brought me the traffic from Pinterest; I am expanding my Personal Learning Network (PLN) as well, meeting like-minded people.
I expanded the Search Engines category so you could see the variety of search engines which have delivered viewers. I am not submitting individually to these sites; Yoast SEO WordPress plug-in guides me through how to optimize each post, as I write it, to best show-up in Internet searches. Search Engine Optimization is a thing, a thing that brought someone from ‘dogpile’ to my blog.
Focus in on Your Audience
Find out what works and what doesn't.
Pinterest keeps posts fresher than other social media. Check which blog posts of yours are already on Pinterest by typing “https://www.pinterest.com/source/hotlunchtray.com” and you will see all the pins from this blog on Pinterest. You can do that with any URL. Have a nice picture with every post – who are you to stop anyone from pinning that great post? Notice my post has a pin button at the top and the bottom very near pictures I try my best to make “pinnable?” That’s a new word you now own.
Twitter remains a staple for me. Every post I have automated through IFTTT.com to tweet with the hashtag #edchat to reach the largest of my PLNs. I think I could start using services such as Buffer to delay tweet to more specific hashtags, sub-sets of my PLN, such as: #ETCoaches, #Edtech, or more select audiences.
StumbleUpon is something new I try to share and “stumble” through since blog lists like Teach100 name it as a metric for blog ranking. I find interesting things, so it is a win-win, but I sure can get distracted there, so I always set a timer.
On a related note, elearningfeeds is another site where my blog is listed. I like the fact that they link back to my site. In bound links increase your credibility to search engines.
Every so often you might notice a site such as Flipboard or Scoop.it which starts sending you views – thank you sir, may I have another? What a great way to discover other social medias/sources where those interested in your content are participating.
Sometimes a link to your post might be permanently listed – I have a few of those and love them! I can always count on several views per week from them. It is worth doing guest posts, submitting your best posts to a person curating resources, and posting your blog URL to lists (such as TeachingBlogAddict) IF they attract the kind of audience you want reading your posts.
Facebook, sigh, I could use some better strategy there. I discovered two group to which I share each new post. However, it does not feel like an authentic audience and I know I need to do something fresh; I have considered starting a page for just this blog. I could utilize IFTTT.com to automate postings. I would welcome your suggestions on how to get quality shares from Facebook.
I share blog posts I am very satisfied with to LinkedIn. I try to share by most well-written pieces there. While it does not generate many views to my blog I feel like it is a portfolio for my best posts.
Who knows if your content is a better match to your audience than – your audience? Consider ways for them to easily share your content. Digg Digg is the WordPress plug-in which is the floating share bar you see on the left of this post. Why not *help* your readers share your content?
How are you identifying your audience?