If you’re looking to grow or monetize your blog in any way, shape or form, then using analytics to target your content is key.
Not only do analytics let you know more about your traffic sources, they offer excellent intelligence into truly understanding your audience and their potential to move from readers into customers.
Simply put, the more you know about the content your readers (existing and new) are reading and looking for, the more you stand a chance of putting together a monetization strategy for your blog that makes sense for all parties.
Of course, it can be easier said than done to use analytics to monetize your blog, since by their very nature analytics can be information overload.
With that in mind, here are some ways you can filter your analytics to help take your blog to the next level of content creation and monetization.
Do You Concentrate on Search or Social?
There’s been a lot written in recent months about social networks negating the need for optimizing your blog for search (SEO, or search engine optimization).
While there’s no doubt social media has made SEO more challenging, there’s no reason to give up on SEO for social search. By understanding who your larger audience is made up of, this helps you determine what your options are for monetization.
For example, this is a snapshot of our traffic mix since the start of April here at For Bloggers By Bloggers (click to expand):
If you look at the pie chart, the key source of traffic is organic search, which accounts for almost half of all visits, and twice as much as traffic from social networks.
So now that I know search is responsible for the majority of the traffic here, I could use that information to come up with some ideas to make money from that knowledge.
Breaking Down Knowledge Into Premium Ideas
The first thing I’d want to do is delve a little deeper into the kind of terms the search engines are sending this way. After all, it’s all well and good knowing search makes up for half the traffic, but what exactly does that 48%+ consist of?
Take a look at your top keywords in your analytics settings. This shows you what people are searching for when they click through to your blog.
The image below gives a clear indication of what’s bringing traffic here:
For a blog resource centre like For Bloggers By Bloggers, getting traffic for “how to get your blog noticed” is a pretty good result.
It’s also a potentially lucrative search, with over 177 million results on Google for the term – obviously people are looking for ways to help their blogs stand out from the millions of other bloggers on the web today.
So, now that I know this term is being searched for and bringing traffic here, I can do a few things with this information to monetize that search:
- Since I’ve already written a post about how to get your blog noticed on here, I can update that by coming up with a premium ebook with some of the best tips around for getting your blog noticed. I can then add a link to the ebook (or, better still, a sales box on that post) and then optimize the content even more for that search term, to drive even more traffic.
- If I did write that ebook, I could then pay for a Google advertising campaign, and really optimize the copy to be punchy and attention-grabbing, to complement the organic results I’m already getting. This gives me a win-win all round (as long as people bought the ebook, of course!).
- I could create a premium webinar offering a visual overview of some of the ways bloggers could not only create the kind of content that would get their blog noticed, but all the other options to help with this goal (off-site promotion, blogger buddy groups, email customization, business cards, etc).
As you can see, once you know the details about what’s bringing traffic your way, you can come up with more than one way to make money from your knowledge and previous hard work.
And the great thing with an ebook is that all the work is done upfront – everything after that is simply passive income with every sale.
Making Money from the Social Networks
While there’s clearly a few options for creating revenue from search terms, as the pie chart showed search still accounted for less than half the traffic. The next major source is social network referrals, and this traffic also offers a great way to make money if the information is used properly.
Take a look at the social traffic breakdown for this site for the last three weeks:
As well as the usual subjects like Stumbleupon, Twitter, Facebook and Google+, there are also networks that many bloggers might not usually consider as a traffic source.
Hootsuite, for example, is known more as a social media dashboard rather than a direct source of traffic. But they have their own URL shortening service that a lot of people use, because it gives you analytics about tweets, clicks, etc.
Or paper.li, which is more a content curation platform and could be missed as a traffic source. But the strength of paper.li is the reason it’s a great traffic referrer, by offering a snippet of your content and a direct link to the full piece.
So, by ignoring the obvious and going for the more “niche” platforms, you now have the opportunity to grab the audience that wants more information on these platforms and how they can benefit your blog.
Again, one of the easiest ways to do this is via a premium ebook:
- Break down the different components of Hootsuite
- Educate bloggers how they can use the platform to search keyword terms
- Advise how to schedule tweets based on this information
- How to share targeted content over multiple connected accounts
- How you can measure success from the Hootsuite analytics and then schedule campaigns around the results
Or, if you’re looking to educate about paper.li, why don’t you create a premium, password-protected video with an overview of how the service works, how you create a feed that people want to read and share, how to write content that gets picked up by multiple paper.li accounts and more.
Again, by knowing what social networks are driving traffic to you, you can tailor premium content and products and then optimize your copy – as well as promote on these networks – to attract the traffic that would buy your creation.
More to Analytics Than Search
These are just some options for the search and social side of your analytics – there’s a lot, LOT more to choose from.
Again, understanding these other analytics is key to helping you come up with ideas on how to monetize either existing content on your blog, or creating completely new products or premium content to meet your visitors’ needs.
For example – how does your blog stack up on mobile visits?
While the current visitors on mobile platforms may not be huge in the grand scheme of things, I know personally that these numbers are growing all the time, and expect mobile browsing to be a huge part of this site’s experience in the next 12 months and beyond.
So, taking that into account, why not create a mobile app for your blog for the key platforms (in our case, iPad, Android and iPhone)? Services like appsbuilder and JoeMobi allow you to create a very affordable app across all the major networks.
Once you’ve built your app, you can then charge a small price (either a monthly subscription or a one-off fee, or ad sharing with the app developers) and again this gives you a nice passive income for a small investment upfront.
Or, if you delve into the analytics around your demographics, you can tailor premium content around your audience. Certain demographics might prefer ebooks; some might prefer digital educational downloads or membership sites; others may be better suited to webinars or subscription-based podcasts.
The methods open to you monetizing your blog are really dictated by the information you receive from your analytics. They help you be smart about your blog – all you need to do then is make your blog smart about the content produced for the audience you’re looking to attract and turn into buyers.
The ideas presented here are just a small part of what you can create – the rest is up to you.
Ready to make some money?