When was the last time you looked at your analytics? Do you do it daily, weekly, or monthly? What are you looking for when you’re checking it out?
I look at my analytics about twice a month. Mid-way through the month I look to see the traffic stats – am I getting more, less, about the same? Unless anything really stands out, I don’t dig in much more than that.
However, near the end of the month, I try to deep dive into my analytics and see what trends I see. My biggest focus is to find my top traffic driving posts, and look at how I can optimize them. You can find your top posts in Google Analytics by going to Content -> Site Content -> All Pages.
For example, here at My Multiple Incomes, about 10% of my traffic comes from this post: 6 Easy Ways To Get Advertisers for Your Blog or Website.
Ways You Can Optimize Your Top Content
Now that you’ve found your top content, you can look for ways to make it work even harder for you. With these “Oldies, But Goodies”, the hard work is already done. They probably rank high in search, provide value to the reader, and are all around good posts.
But are they working hard for you? Or did you just work hard to create them?
Here are some of my strategies for making these posts work hard for me:
1. Have an Opt-In Form To Hook Readers
You can see at the bottom of all my posts that I have a sharing and opt-in form for readers. On my best posts, these forms work the best. Why? Because a reader who just found awesome content is more likely to subscribe for more awesome content. Plus, I like sharing to be easy on all my posts. If the content is good, readers will share it for you!
I personally use Optin Skin and love it. It is incredibly customizable, and many of the top bloggers use it. It is a premium plugin, and will run you $47, but I’ve found the small cost to be totally worth it.
2. Have a Call to Action to Sell Them Something
Jon Morrow wrote a fun post called Are You A Lunatic to Think You Can Make a Living From Your Blog? The premise of the article was that a blog is a great way to make money, but you have to design it to do such a thing.
Every internet marketer has their version of a sales pitch or squeeze page, but I’ve found the best way to sell something is to be honest and straight-forward, and give value.
The best example I have is on my site Entrepreneurship Life. My top post on the site is The Best Cloud Based Online Accounting Software. I wrote the post because I searched for online accounting software myself, and had a hard time comparing the options. As such, I wanted to put all the choices together for my business readers.
There is nothing sexy about the post, but it does compare all the options and is helpful! By being helpful, and putting it all out there, readers can make their own decisions. And my click tracking of the post highlight as such.
My recommended accounting program (which I discussed in my September 2012 Income Stream Report) is Wave Accounting. As such, you would think that readers would almost exclusively choose Wave Accounting over the other options (since it was my recommendation). However, about 7% of readers still signed up for Quickbooks Online, and another 7% of readers chose FreshBooks.
3. Highlight Other Great Content So Your Readers Don’t Leave
Finally, you could also just highlight other great content to readers don’t leave, or “bounce”. Bounce rate refers to how many visitors entered your site, and then left, without viewing any other content. The higher your search visitor percentage, the higher your bounce rate likely is.
The reason is that search visitors are looking for a specific term. They found your article and may have liked it, but your most recent article could have nothing to do with their search term (this is especially true in personal finance). Just think, if someone is searching for “best investments for October”, they probably don’t care about your post today on “frugal Halloween costumes”. However, you could have other great investing posts that may make sense for the visitor.
There are two key ways you can do this:
- Use a Plugin
- Do it Manually
For every post, I have a “You May Also Like” link at the bottom. This Plugin is called nRelate, and it is free. I love it because it shows thumbnails of your post, and it updates all posts in real time. You can also choose to include advertising in this section, but I don’t. I find that this does help readers find other related content.
But, what happens if you have a more specific need. For example, one of the most popular posts on The College Investor is FedLoan Servicing – The Worst Student Loan Servicer. This post still resonates today because too many students are having problems with their student loans at this particular company. I know it because this post is a chronicle of my experience with them.
However, this post was only the beginning. I wrote several other posts detailing my interaction with FedLoan. And yes, I could of allowed nRelate to just link to it at the bottom, but I wanted it to be clear to my readers. So I included a special call-out:
That call out section really helps readers find the rest of the posts, especially when they are looking for content related to FedLoan. It has helped lower my bounce rate about 10% since I put it on my site.
4. Dealing With The “Ahead of its Time” Post
Another trick is leveraging a post that was way before its time – you know, the awesome article that didn’t gain traction because it was a bit to early to the game. Sometimes we have ideas that are just a bit to early for mainstream.
For example, earlier this year on The College Investor we wrote an article about Apple’s Smaller iPad - completely hypothetical at the time. However, now that Apple has announced a date it may be releasing a smaller iPad, hypothetical just got real. I leveraged this announcement with a little social media, and was able to attract new traffic to this article that had been lost to the search engine gods.
Maximize The Value of Old Content
The bottom line is that running a website isn’t just about creating new, awesome content, but it is also about maximizing the value of the content inventory you already have.
You need to periodically go back and see what is trending now, and does something you’ve already done fit the bill? Or, if it is already popular, how can I make it work harder for me?
You never know when a post will “hit”, and so you may not have considered all of these tactics before writing it. With analytics, you can see which posts are popular, and fine tune them to meet your needs.
How have you maximized the value of an old post or article to make it work harder for you?