I think fall’s coming. Pumpkins are on porches, the mornings and evenings are colder, Hocus Pocus (featuring a VERY young Sean Murray from NCIS) is on constant rerun, and the Christmas stuff is in stores. Yep, fall’s definitely here.
I’m still in awe of how fast autumn arrived. This summer was packed with activities like networking, blogging and teaching social media. (“Summer? We had a summer? Really?”)
Another sign of fall — I’ve noticed a surge of interest in the 2012 blog post that I wrote about Edgar Allan Poe and his student days at UVA. I have to wonder: Who’s looking that up on Google? What was their motivation? Did some student get an assignment to write about Poe for an English class? Is it a Poe fan wanting to know more about one of their literary heroes? I wish Google could tell me.
Do you ever check your own metrics? Every once in a while, I click on the “Summaries” link on the WordPress dashboard just to get a better sense of my audience and what they prefer to see. WordPress tells me that half of my audience is outside the U.S., so I try and throw in some bits of American culture to entertain them and my other readers.
WordPress also tells me what are the most popular posts and search phrases, which is equally interesting and gives me more data on what my readers like. I never knew so many people were interested in a photo of “girl sticking out her tongue” (I used it to illustrate a blog post once) and “top 10 books to read in your lifetime”.
I love metric tools. As a marketer, learning how to use software tools such as Google Analytics is vital; it’s easier to tell what’s working with your audience, what isn’t and why. It’s quite a difference from the old days of print marketing, where you created materials, put them out there and hoped for the best.
I have a good sense of my audience through visiting their blogs. Some are teachers, writers, editors, journalists, book lovers and students, while others I’ve met have an interest in common with me, such as art, comedy, travel, history or entertainment (plays, TV or movies). Some are younger bloggers eager to connect with others across the world; others are older and share their life stories and wisdom to benefit the rest of us.
It’s fun getting to know these people and what makes them tick. Were it not for my blog, I would never have known that they even existed. Isn’t it a miracle that WordPress brought us all together and helped us form online friendships?
Some fellow bloggers have even inspired my posts. I’ve written a Native American post and a Tuskegee Airmen Red Tails post with one specific couple in mind (*cough, cough* blogger Marilyn Armstrong and her husband Garry *cough, cough*) and RAFrenzy motivated me to write another post about author Elizabeth Gaskell and actor Richard Armitage because the story was too good not to share.
Bloggers: What have you discovered from looking at your own metrics?