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Blog Strategy

7 Ways to Use Google Analytics to Grow Your Blog Traffic

I’ve waxed poetic about Google Analytics before, about how to install it and what you should be tracking every month for your blog. But you need to do more than track and observe.

You need to ACT on that info and use it to guide your blogging strategy for the month ahead. 🦄

Aww yiss. Google Analytics isn’t only for tracking how many people come to your site and that’s it. There is a lot of powerful info in there that you can use to grow your blog faster!

In this post, I’m going to break down 7 ways to grow your blog using a plain ol’ free Google Analytics account!

Google Analytics Blog Strategy

First up, when you log in to Analytics, you see what I like to call your SUBS. It’s actually USBS when read left to right but I think SUBS sounds better. It stands for your Sessions, Users, Bounce Rate and Session Duration.

Those are the 4 key things you should be looking at every time you log in, FO REAL. In a general sense, they tell if you if you’re trending upward or downward. I like to set my view at the previous 30 days to get a good overall picture.

In this screenshot, you can see my traffic went downhill this month, compared to last (by 15.7%). I know that’s because I hardly spent any time writing new posts or promoting existing ones, whoops.

Google Analytics Blog Strategy

Beyond that, I review the following things at the end of every month as part of my monthly business review (that also includes things like tax payments and profit/loss statements – oh yay).

Reviewing these 7 things influences the actions I’ll take for the upcoming month to grow my blog. Sometimes it might be posting more on social media, or other times it’s about seeing who’s linking to me and striking up a conversation.

Here’s what to look for, boo.

1. User Location

Under the Audience -> Geo -> Location area, you can find out the geographical breakdown of everyone who has visited your site. Again, I like to set this to the past 30 days.

Google Analytics Blog Strategy

There’s a list underneath of how many people came from which countries. This is helpful to know if you’re targeting certain areas or if you plan on running ads.

If you run a local business, meaning one that you help customers face-to-face in your city, this is really important. I mean, it’s not very helpful if you want to attract people in Vancouver, Canada but 98% of your traffic is coming from Vancouver, Washington, right?

Knowing where your audience lives can influence the keywords you’re using on your site and even your ad strategy.

Even if you’re an online business that can serve anyone anywhere in the world, you still want to know where your top countries are. Maybe you target French-speaking clients. Then, you’d want to make sure French-speaking people are coming to your site (there’s a separate Language tab for this, too).

Running a Google AdWords or Facebook campaign can be a lot more cost-effective when you can target the locations your ideal audience is in. Analytics tells you that with no guesswork involved. Easy, right?

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How to Decide What to Write a Blog About When You Love #AllTheThings

I get it. You are passionate about a few, or a lot of, topics and you don’t know which one to focus on for your blog.

It can be hard to narrow down to just a few topics if you’re used to writing about #AllTheThings.

How to Decide What to Write a Blog About

Or, if you haven’t started your blog yet, how on earth are you supposed to pick just a few topics?

My free blog strategy course can turn you into a quality content posting machine, buuuuuut you do need to know what you wanna write about first, right?

Have no fear. Today I’m gonna walk you through how to pick a profitable blog topic that you love writing about.

I wish I did that like five years ago. 🙄

Start a Blog: What to Write About?

 

How to Pick a Profitable Blog Topic

Unless you’re a one dimensional cartoon character, you probably have at least a few hobbies and interests. And if you’re like 99% of beginner bloggers out there, you want to write about them ALL.

You’ve read how important it is to choose a niche to monetize your blog, or gain real traction from blogging.

But HOW do you pick one?! GAHHHH.

It can feel impossible but I’m here to tell you it’s not. I used to be just like you!

Long story short, a great way to find your ideal topic is to just start a blog, and start writing. Just DO IT ALREADY. When I started my blog, I wrote about marketing from an agency perspective (since that’s my background) but quickly discovered I liked writing with an entrepreneurial mindset instead.

Meaning, instead of helping the big companies succeed, I want to help YOU succeed.

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How to Do SEO Keyword Research for Your Blog

I’m passionate about SEO for blogging. You could say obsessed. And for good reason: mastering SEO is the ultimate free way to market your business.

Yes, there’s paid search (AdWords), Facebook advertising, networking, lead generation and all that stuff too… but those strategies are made even better with a solid SEO foundation for your blog.

It can be a tough thing to learn if you’re just starting out. I used to think it was just for the pros, or something techy marketing wizard types did to “growth hack” or disrupt or whatever other marketing buzzword is hot right now.

Until I became a techy marketing wizard type. 🌟

Okay, before we get to my awesome lesson (including awkward video walkthrough) showing you how to do SEO keyword research for your blog, I’m gonna tell you my SEO story. Buckle up.

how to do blog seo keyword research

About five years ago, I got a job in an ad agency. It was all very exciting for 25 year old me. They had leather couches, rum hidden in cabinets and worked with huge national brands that I was a fan of. What’s not to love, right?

Well, the truth about the downside of agency life would come crushing down on me years later, but at that moment, things were great. I was the fresh meat, the eager young intern-type ready to learn about the industry and take it by the horns.

I am marketer, hear me roar! Or something.

Why Bloggers Need SEO

I got the job because I wrote well (and hopefully still do in the present tense). But, I had no idea about SEO. I’d heard of it, but again, filed it away in my brain into a folder called Wizard Land: Do Not Attempt.

I had to learn SEO for my new job, and I was nervous. My boss at the time took me under his wing and promised me it was really easy, I’d learn it in no time. The first week of my new job, I eagerly read everything I could find on the internet about how to do SEO keyword research, write for SEO, get higher rankings, get Google to like me, etc.

The articles I found were good, but I was left with a feeling of, “So now what? What do I do with all this information?”

Well, my boss showed me in like an hour how powerful SEO can be. How it can help businesses, how to write for it without sounding like a total tool, and why keywords are only one small part of SEO.

“Whoa, what? There’s more to SEO than keywords?!” you might be asking.

YEAH. There is. It’s a big topic with lots of shady shit in it and some really stellar strategies too.

I wanted to cover just keyword research today because it’s the easiest place to start if you’re new to SEO, and it’s especially important for bloggers.

I’ll show you exactly how to do SEO keyword research below…

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How to Double Your Email List in 2 Weeks (+Bonus Email Course Idea List!)

If you clicked on this link with the burning desire to know how I managed such an amazing feat like doubling my email list in only 14 days, well, you’ve come to the right place. I did it by…

…making you opt-in to secret shit like this.

Okay, hear me out.

We’ve all seen those posts around saying “Grow your list in 30 days”, “Get your first 1000 subscribers now!” and so much more. And you know what? They work, they really do. Creating a free email course WORKS. But where can you find an awesome email course idea, eh?

The method isn’t the problem, it’s the value.

Get ready for some super shocking news: if you combine the methods many of these posts spell out for you with the absolute BEST value you can provide to your audience, then you will be successful.

Free Email Course Ideas: Grow Your Email List in 2 Weeks

If you can’t provide any value, everything falls flat.

I know, real groundbreaking shit.

“Provide value. Gee, thanks, Michelle, but how do I do that?” you might ask.

That’s what I’m gonna walk you through today. Not only implementing a quick, easy way to grow your list, but how to provide real, tangible value to your audience, aka provide them what they want!

I doubled my email list in two weeks by creating a free 7-day email course about blog content strategy and planning. This course, to be exact.

DOUBLED ITTT!

Here’s how I created my free email course and marketed it, step by step!

 

Step 1: The Email Course Idea

Okay, this is the most important step because it’s, uh, kind of the whole thing?

It can be tough to come up with an idea for a free email course, video lesson or other big freebie (otherwise known as a “lead magnet”). I thought about mine for a long time.

The secret to coming up with a good idea? Stick with what you know, and what your readers need help with.

The idea is probably right under your nose.

For me, I love content strategy and writing… which is obviously why I started this blog, to help others with content marketing too. After awhile I realized, oh, I can teach others how to never run out of content ideas, and to effectively plan out a content system so they are never scrambling to get a post done, or wondering what to write about.

Not gonna lie, I have like 147 unfinished drafts laying out in various states of outline, 1st draft, 2nd draft and so on…

But I also have a no-fail system that makes it possible for me to write 2000 word posts in an hour.

So, once I realized that system would be helpful for other bloggers, I decided to create the free email course around that topic.

Still struggling to think of an idea? Download my cheatsheet of 60 amazeballs epic email course ideas for all kinds of blogs right hurr.

 

Step 2: Plan Out Your Idea

Once I decided on the topic, the first thing I did was create an outline of my free email course. I realized there were 7 things I wanted to teach.

So, it made sense to make it a 7-day email course, duh.

I wrote down the topic of each day (or “chapter”) and then a brief description of what I would cover. Like so:

  • Day 1: Why content strategy matters and what it can do for you + how to define your audience.
  • Day 2: What does your audience want?
  • Day 3: Overall blog content strategy – your categories, topics, pages, offerings.
  • Day 4: Set up an editorial calendar.
  • Day 5: Brainstorm and fill out the content planner for actual posts, related to Days 2 and 3.
  • Day 6: Content time! Homework to create 3 solid, rockstar blog posts.
  • Day 7: How to measure results and when to tweak your strategy.

Once you’ve got your basic outline down pat, it’s time to decide on a format. It doesn’t have to be an email course.

You could create a video that’s exclusive to your subscribers only, or an in-depth ebook, or so many other formats. Don’t think you need to do an email course just ’cause everyone else is.

Although, it is ridiculously easy to setup and a fun way to deliver value to your readers!

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Blog SEO: 10 Tricks for Optimizing Your Blog Posts

I’ve talked about how to format your blog posts to get the most readers before, but today I want to talk about one of the most mystical creatures in these lands: SEO.

A search result in the wild.

You probably know how important SEO is by now, but if not… well, it’s really important.

As a freelance writer and marketing agency copywriter, I spend a lot of time optimizing content for search engines, and writing about SEO for clients. There are some obvious tricks that everyone knows, like picking a keyword and mentioning it throughout your post. There are also some lesser known blog post SEO tricks out there to increase your rankings.

I’m going to share those secret tips with you today.

Blog SEO: 10 Tricks to Grow Your Blog

A critical thing to keep in mind about SEO is WHERE it fits into your writing process.

Any guesses as to where it should fit in? At the end maybe, when you’re editing your post before publishing it and want to sprinkle in some keyword magic dust?

NO!

SEO should be thought of from the very beginning of a blog post’s life. When it’s still nothing but a wee little idea tadpole floating around your brain.

Thinking about SEO from the beginning means that ALL your future actions for that post will be optimized for the Google overlords, increasing your chances of beating the algorithm and ranking high. F yeah!

So, with that in mind, let’s get into my top 10 blog SEO tips!

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How to Grow Your Blog Audience (The Easy Way)

What if I told you that the single biggest factor impacting the number of blog readers you have has nothing to do with your content?

Yeah, really.

You could write the absolute BEST post ever, full of witty comments, helpful stats, quality content with a unique voice… all that jazz. But no one could read it.

What gives?!

It all comes down to formatting.

How to Grow Your Blog Audience The Easy Way

Formatting your blog post to be easily readable is SUPER important. I cannot stress this enough.

The key to getting more people to read your blog is to make your content easy to read (no Shakespearean language like ‘furthermore’ and ‘perchance’). And the best way to do that? Make it skimmable.

Skimmable is the new black when it comes to content.

In fact, visitors only read about 20% of the text on a webpage. 20%! So you better make your point obvious, and hook ‘em early, yo.

How to Grow Your Blog With Skimmable Content

Here are some surefire strategies to make your blog posts easy to read.

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Grow Your Blog: 7 Things to Do Weekly

I’ve been blogging for a whole year now… whoaaaa. Although, I only got serious about it two months ago.

Which is crazy, since I work in marketing as my full-time job. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the past year of blogging, it’s that traditional digital marketing and being a “femtrepreneur” type blogger are two very different things.

Not in a bad way!

In my day job, I typically work with businesses and corporations. I’ve found the blogosphere works in a totally different way.

Here, in female blogger entrepreneur online coach course creator content marketer land, results matter.

It’s not about how long you’ve been blogging (though I’m sure that helps), or your writing or graphics or all that (although, they do make you look professional!). It’s all about sharing your knowledge with others, and if you’re useful, you’re useful.

So don’t worry if you’re just starting out, or don’t feel like an expert in your field yet, or think you’ll never hit “the big time”. You can do it. Just show up, and be valuable.

Okay, enough about that.

Grow Your Blog: 7 Weekly Tasks to Get Next Level

So while my day job and blogging-by-night worlds are on two different planets, and nothing really crosses over, I still think it’s great.

Because I love to learn. Above all else, I love to learn new things, especially when it comes to marketing.

So, even though I am but a wee babe in the blogging universe, I’m going to share the top 7 things that have grown my blog over the past two months.

These are things I do on a weekly basis that I keep seeing better and better results from every single week. Success upon success upon success. YO.

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How to Create a Simple Blog Business Plan (Free Template!)

Struggling to monetize your blog, or turn it into a profitable business? Or, thinking of starting one but getting hung up about where/how to start?

You. Need. A. Blog Business Plan. STAT!

Simple Blog Business Plan

You’ve probably seen tons of posts out there from other bloggers about creating a Blog Business Plan. I’ve downloaded many of their templates myself and filled them out. Don’t get me wrong – those templates were awesome, and really helped me narrow down my goals, focus and how I could get there.

But after filling out so many questions, I felt a bit lost. How was I going to implement all of this RIGHT MEOW?!

It was pretty overwhelming, especially when I was new to blogging.

 

Why You Need a Blog Business Plan

Creating a biz plan is of utmost importance, even if you’re just starting out. Not having one is like setting sail on a journey across the ocean with no map. Crazy talk. A crazy ass pirate ain’t even gonna do that.

Here are a few of my favourite blog business plans from other bloggers (all 3 of them are amazeballs and I have secret entrepreneurial crushes on them, shhh):

Melyssa Griffin’s 20+ Page Bangin’ Blog Business Plan

Regina’s Epic 36 Page Blog Business Plan

Allison from Wonderlass’ 9 Step Business Plan for Creatives

But I’m not writing this post to just give you a bunch of links to check out, although you should most definitely check those out for super in-depth blog business plans.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by business planning, especially if you’re just starting out.

So while having a multi-faceted, detailed, ironclad biz plan is definitely a must at some point… we all gotta start somewhere.

For me, I filled out template after template of planning resources out there, but I never did the most important thing you need to in order to be successful.

What’s that you say?

Oh, it’s actually IMPLEMENTING something! Doh.

I was all plan, plan, plan and no action, action, action. Don’t be like me.

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