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5 Ways to Find Out What Your Readers Want

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polldaddy-logoAlmost any blogger will tell you that one of the most important things to do is write what your readers want to read about. This is especially important if you are blogging in a niche area where you can spend a blogging lifetime focusing on one aspect of a topic when another is what interests people.

But how do you find out what your readers want you to write on? When readers find what they want on a site, they tend to stick around. When they don’t they tend to leave within a few seconds. This can create a self-feeding loop of not really serving the majority of people who visit your site while still getting positive feedback.

So how do you fix this? Well, it’s hard to reach out to people who only spend a few seconds on your site, but you can certainly try and you can also glean clues from your regular readers.

On that front, here’s five easy ways to learn what to write about and, perhaps, get a little help overcoming writer’s block along the way.

1. Ask Them

It seems so simple, asking your readers what they want to see on your site, but so few people do it. Many just put up a comment form and a contact page and hope for the best.

You need to actually ask. Consider, at the footer of your post a request for feedback or suggestions for future topics. Alternatively, considering adding a poll or a survey to your site, for either PollDaddy is a great choice.

While you shouldn’t appear desperate for feedback, asking directly and politely is a good way to hear what people think and how you can improve, including what topics you’re missing.

2. Get Social

Many people won’t feel comfortable telling you an honest opinion if you’re a faceless person. This means, first and foremost, that you should always try to make yourself personable on your site, with both an image and a good bio.

However, you might find it easier to get honesty from your readers off your site. Make your Twitter, Facebook and/or other social networking info available on your site and let people talk to you there. You’ll likely find that people are more open and honest away from your site than on it.

3. Check Your Keywords

Your site’s statistics can be a wealth of information about what people want. One of the most important, however, is the terms that people use to find your site.

If people are searching for the term “widgets” and finding your site, they want to read more about widgets. If they’re leaving quickly, they aren’t finding what they want. Maybe you should look at writing a longer, better post about “widgets” and seeing what happens.

Also, consider related keywords to the ones that are popular. If “widgets” are big, perhaps you should consider writing about”sprockets” and other related terms.

4. Current Popular Posts

Going back to your site statistics, what are your most popular pages? What posts, despite being older, still receive traffic and comments? This can be a good clue into your “hits” and can guide you to future topics.

If you have a post that’s particularly popular, why not write a follow up post to it or talk about something related? If people are still interested in something thats months or even years old, they’re likely ready for a followup.

5. Other Sites

Through pingbacks, trackbacks and referral stats you probably have a decent idea of who is linking to you and these sites can be a great source of honest feedback. Someone who might be timid about speaking their mind to your face or on your own site might be willing to do so on their own.

Read what they say about your site and make a note of what they link to. Articles that get a lot of links are generating interest and that should serve as a giant arrow pointing you to write more of that content.

Bottom Line

Listening to one’s readers is tough. Not only do most readers not want to talk but most bloggers don’t want to hear what they really have to say. Though we all love praise, its criticism, that is much more useful.

If you want to improve and hone your site, you need to not only focus on what you do well, but also what you need to improve on. That requires listening to your readers and getting them to talk to you.

It might seem like trying to pry open a bear trap at times, but it is a crucial part of improving and growing your blog.

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Blogging

How About Helping Versus Pitching Top Bloggers?

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I often get pitched guest post ideas from bloggers I do not know. Although I appreciate the offer I never take up these folks on their offer because I do not know them, their brand or anything they do. No way do I have the time to actually research the individual; I am a busy bee. Another email bites the dust. I either ignore the email or note guest posting closed long ago on my blog, then include a link to one of my eBooks, like this branding eBook.

Who guest posts on my blog?  People who generously helped me, asked for nothing, expected nothing and relaxed. Relaxing is key. Bloggers who help me from a chill vibe often befriend me if they practice writing to hone their blogging skills. From there, opportunities multiply fast.  Sweet backlinks on top blogs often flow your way. Traffic and profits increases slowly, steadily expand over time. Blogging buddies supply you with blog post ideas through their questions and problems.  Everything grows because you helped top bloggers versus pitching them aka asking them for help. Even if you pitch a valuable guest post idea, the guest post idea serves no value unless you publish the guest post on a trusted, authority blog boasting a huge, loyal readership. Pitches seem worthless until content and links actually appear on top blogs, going live and public, for the world to see.

I often advise helping bloggers freely for months before considering any ask or pitch. Most times, blogging buddies invite you to guest post on their blogs. Blogging success flows to generous people because you get what you give. This is one of the advantages of blogging. Give freely, relax, trust in the process and receive easily.  Place your needs to the side. Take care of your fellow blogger. Help them out via a retweet, Facebook Share or perhaps by promoting the blogger on your blog. Nobody needs to struggle blogging. Nobody needs to spend 4 hours daily sending blind pitches to blogging strangers. How about this? Spend those 4 hours patiently, persistently and generously helping people in your blogging niche. Help fellow bloggers to earn their trust. Assist fellow bloggers to befriend fellow bloggers. The split second you earn the trust of any blogger, you plant seeds for a beautiful, thriving, warm friendship. Gaining the trust of fellow bloggers inspires traffic and profits to flow to you. Forget the concept of pitching. I pitched 2 people during my 6 years of running Blogging From Paradise. One blogger pitch served as an experiment with an established, pro blogger and the other pitch served as the direct way to guest post for a 2 million member blogging community.

My 13,500 plus backlinks on Blogging From Paradise flowed to me after I pitched only 2 souls. Imagine that for a second. Observe the raw power of making friends, helping people, expecting nothing and being generous. Capitalize on the passive element of befriending bloggers through generous service. Tonight I will spend 90 minutes walking around my neighborhood. During that hour and a half, my blogging buddies will promote my blog and spread my word. Ditto for my 8 hours of sleep tonight; my blogging buddies grow my traffic and profits around the clock, adding an immensely powerful, passive element to my blogging campaign.

Being generous has some serious perks.

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Blogging

Should You Blog About Everything?

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blog about everything

Blog about everything? I know this idea may be on your mind. Newbie bloggers especially ponder the idea.

I know blogging about anything on your mind seems like a good idea to new or even struggling bloggers. Maybe you gain mojo because you post daily, blogging about anything popping up in your dome. But this is a bad idea. Nobody should blog about any and every topic for the clear reason that nobody follows a specific blogger based on the blogger’s random thoughts, save world famous celebrities who built up a big following through some other niche.

Imagine a movie star begins blogging. Movie stars boast tens of millions of fans around the globe. Anything the star does, people hang on their every word, right? Imagine the icon publishing posts on a wide range of topics interesting to them. People read because of the star, not because of the wide range of broad topics. But imagine being a new blogger with zero followers. No movie stars read this post. Readers head for the hills the moment you change topics because no jack of all trades bloggers build credibility. Who has the time, energy and focus to be an expert in 5, 10 or 20 niches? No one does.

Blog About Everything?

Humans specialize. Doctors and lawyers do one thing and do it well because where attention and energy goes, grows. Imagine if your doctor delivered mail and picked up garbage professionally, too, working 2 jobs in addition to their medical practice. Would you trust her doctor skills? No. Of course not. People trust specialists because specialists devote all professional time and energy to one venture. Generalists? Nobody trusts someone who tries to master 2 or 5 or 10 skills simultaneously because thousands of other people master 1 skill, in these areas. We follow specialists and trust specialists. Generalists fade away.

If you want to blog about everything just ponder the specialist versus generalist point. Blogging about everything is trying to be a generalist. Nobody trusts you. Even though blogging about everything seems easy, seamless and almost effortless, people stop following your blog on each topic change. Imagine blogging about puppies one day. People who love puppies find your post, read it, enjoy it and follow your blog. Tomorrow, you publish about Chinese food. Puppy readers – who followed you for puppy content – skip the post…..most stop following your blog because puppy fans want only puppy-themed content. You just lost readers, for good.

Change Topics Lose Readers

Visualize the following day; you publish about relationships. Everybody stops following your blog. Perhaps a few relationships-focused folks read the post. But you lose trust the moment you shift topics again. Ultimately, who builds a large, targeted, loyal following, blogging about relationships? Relationships bloggers who blog about relationships 100% of the time. Specialists devote all blogging energy to mastering one topic, spending thousands of hours covering the topic, become skilled and trusted in the niche, build credibility and become successful. All multi topic bloggers blogging about everything fade away and vanish.

The world makes room for specialists. Generalists? Nope.

Specialize

Pick one blogging topic. Blog about one thing. Focus on one discipline. Be a specialist, not a generalist, to be a leading blogger in your nice. Face your fear of releasing multiple passions to make room for a single passion. I know you fear letting go. I did too before creating Blogging From Paradise.

blog about everything

Google

Google loves specialists too. Google turns its cyber nose down at generalists. I scanned a popular blogging key phrase a few moments ago. Guess what? I rarely note SEO but tidying up one blog post with some details for optimizing helped me reach page one on the search engine. Why? I specialize in the blogging tips niche. Apparently. Google interpreted through its complex algorithms that I published thousands of valuable blog posts on a single topic 100% of the time, virtually. Google traffic rocks. Impress the search engine gods by gaining search trust. Specialize. Stick to one blogging topic. Never blog about everything.

Conclusion

Let go the urge to blog about anything that comes to mind. New bloggers need release this notion to build the foundation for a successful blogging career. Specialize by picking one niche you love blogging about. Be a specialist, not a generalist, to succeed with your blogging campaign.

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Do you want to be a pro blogger who circles the globe? Buy my eBook:

How to Retire to a Life of Island Hopping through Smart Blogging

 

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Blogging

Avoid this Blogging Wake Up Call to Enjoy the Journey

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Blogging need not be a lesson in harsh wake up calls. You can and will largely enjoy the journey by knowing this: success finds generous bloggers. Let that idea firmly impress onto your mind. Be with it. Allow the idea to worm its way into your consciousness until being generous becomes part of your being. Helping people for free boosts your skills and increases your exposure. Skilled bloggers with massive exposure become successful.

But one wake up call seems to find most bloggers who refuse to learn this lesson. Bloggers need to struggle, fail and suffer because they try to get money and traffic by focusing solely on receiving methods, versus giving generously of their time and talents. Imagine this scenario; a blogger writes and publishes one blog post weekly. Cool. But the blogger sits around and does nothing else blogging-wise for the remainder of the week. Hmmmm…this is not being generous, guys. This is being stingy. Bad move. At week’s end, the blogger did not make a penny of profits. Panicking, the blogger immediately analyzes their various income streams. How can they maximize profits through the streams? What is wrong with their income streams? Did they pick the right streams? Or did they pick the wrong streams? What gives?

Struggling bloggers then spend 2, 3 or 5 hours analyzing their income streams, focusing all of their attention and energy on the GETTING aspect of their blogging campaign. Terrible idea. Why? The reason why you struggle to get is because you refuse to give generously of your time, energy and talents. The income streams? Nope; not a problem. Your lack of generosity is the problem. The wake up call is most bloggers focus heavily on getting when struggling to drive traffic and profits when they should be focused heavily on giving generously. Giving generously leads to greater blogging profits. Instead of writing and publishing one blog post weekly, how about writing and publishing 2-3 posts weekly, weaving some stories into your blog posts?  How about you spend 4-8 hours daily generously reading blog posts, commenting genuinely on blog posts, promoting other bloggers and yes, promoting yourself, too?

Put in the giving time to make getting easier and easier. No need to slam into the cold, hard wake up call of focusing selfishly inward, trying to pin your struggles on inanimate, lifeless income streams. You have a giving problem, buddy. Time to be generous. Time to step it up. Write a guest post daily or perhaps, every 2-3 days. Go ahead. Do it. Begin video marketing. Build bonds with bloggers. Help them out. Practice writing. Gain invites to guest post on blogs from your niche. Blogging becomes more fun, more enjoyable and flat out easier if you put in the time, generously helping folks.

Focus heavily on giving. Your star will shine if you generously serve people. On the contrary, blogging and life become so much harder if you obsess over your income streams, analyzing, over analyzing, focusing, wasting precious time and energy on getting, when you should be giving more freely. Blogging feels more fun, too, when you focus heavily on giving, because we were designed to give, to be generous and to serve folks. Doesn’t it feel amazing to help people? Of course, it does. Enjoy the blogging journey and avoid this painful wake up call….plus….you get to sleep in, hehehe 😉

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