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5 Ways to Find Out What People Really Want From Your Blog

This is a guest contribution from Sabina Stoiciu, blogger, photographer and traveller. 

While it can be quite redundant to pose this question, here it goes: Why blog? Let’s have a look at a few key stats that’ll convince you to set up a blog in the next two seconds, if you haven’t already got one:

  • 77% of Internet users read blogs
  • nearly one quarter (23%) of the time spent on the Internet is directed towards blogs and social networks
  • small businesses that run blogs increase their leads number by 126%
  • offering valuable content is one of three reasons why people follow your brand on social networks
  • 81% of US customers give credit to recommendations coming from blogs they’re fond of

(see the full stats on socialmediatoday)

One thing that happens to many fresh bloggers is not knowing what to write about or what would best benefit their audience, in order to convince them to subscribe to that blog and to make them desperately wait for another post to be published.

Supposing this little problem of not knowing exactly what to blog about might occur to anyone, not only to blogging rookies, it’s a good idea to think about what people want from your blog.

By not knowing this, you make yourself a disservice because:

a) you can fail at attracting new readers if you’re not aware of what they seek and

b) you might lose some of your current readers if you don’t meet or keep up with their expectations.

When talking about blogs, it’s important to know how readers see them. Some people read blogs to live other people’s experiences. Others look for tips they can apply to themselves. Several people look for business information, while there are many others who seek entertainment material. As Darren wrote, a good question is also what your content is centred upon – information, inspiration or interaction.

Generally people find a blog, like it and become a reader because they value the content and the way in which it’s written, but wouldn’t it be great to actually know what your visitors want and to use this knowledge to attract them towards your blog for converting them into full-time readers?

Below you will find 5 ways that can help you in the quest of finding out what people really want from your blog.

1. Listen to them

You can do so by offering them a way to express their content related desires and by actually reading what they tell you.

Two places where readers can share what they would like to find are the comments section of every blog post and the “contact me” form you can embed into your blog. A form like this provides people a short and easy way to get in touch with you and to keep discussions private, in comparison to the comments section. 123ContactForm is an online form and survey builder that could help you in several ways. For example, it offers a free plugin for WordPress based blogs that can help you create a customisable contact form with almost no effort – you can access one here.

2. Ask them

You can also run a survey in which you kindly encourage them to tell you what they would most love to see on your blog.

The benefit of a survey is that it can help you in two ways: with your current readers and with potential readers. Why is that? Because you can publish it on your blog, where you’re addressing it to your current readers, but you can also publish it on other websites, partner blogs or social media channels, where you can reach a whole bunch of other people that aren’t necessarily your readers yet.

A free survey tool like the one from the already mentioned 123ContactForm can help you publish your survey on any of the above channels and personalise it as you wish, if you want people to recognise your brand.

While point 1 and 2 refer to the “ask the readers what they want” part, points 3 to 5 handle the more technical aspect of the user vs. content research, that is letting the data speak about what topics you should cover.

3. Keyword research

Get to know what is trending by doing some keyword research on Google, as well as on your blog. Both types of search can help you.

Here’s how: if you find out what people are looking for right now, you can start covering those topics (supposing you haven’t already) and drive organic traffic to your blog. On the other hand, knowing what people have been looking for on your blog can point you towards popular topics which you can afterwards choose to cover more in-depth.

As of the free tools that can help you do the research, you may want to try out Google Trends, the already popular Google Analytics and your blog’s stats. Again, this tool works for current and future visitors.

screenshot_Google_Trends

4. Check post traffic

Another indicator of what drives your visitor’s interest is the post traffic. Articles that readers find relevant and valuable will show an increased traffic volume compared to ones that are not so appealing.Thus, keeping an eye on your blog’s traffic data from Google Analytics or the blog stats is always a good idea that might also define or at least improve your content strategy.

One thing to bare in mind when talking about post traffic is also how well you optimise your posts for search engines. By using relevant and targeted keywords, clearly expressing your ideas, using a friendly, yet catchy headline, setting helpful tags and image descriptions, you allow visitors to find more easily what they’re looking for. And Google will love you for that.

You can also check out Darren’s post on how to optimise a blog post that performed well in terms of traffic.

5. Analyse engagement

The last point on our list (but definitely not one that should be neglected) is to analyse the engagement around your blog posts and around their reverberance in social media.

To be more specific, take a look at the number of likes, shares and comments a post received directly on your blog, as well as on the social media channels where you shared it. Naturally, posts that sum up a lot of engagement have always proved themselves to be a hot topic for those engaging with them. Hence, why not consider exploring more of these topics that your readers were so keen on?

These are some ideas on how to find out what your blog visitors are looking for. Remember, you can always test to see what works out best and let the results point you towards the direction worth following.

Sabina Stoiciu enjoys blogging, photography, traveling and finding ways of gathering and sharing relevant business knowledge. You can follow her on Twitter. She also writes for 123ContactForm, the online form and survey builder – try it for free.

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Comments

  1. Sabina, thanks for the post! Out of the above, the way that has worked best for me is checking my post traffic. I have been amazed by how much a particular topic has performed over the years, so much so that I’m considering creating a course around the topic. It’s clearly meeting a need, considering how much it’s searched for and read.

    • Thanks Rebecca! Yes, post traffic really is a strong indicator in my opinion too. It clearly shows people are interested in that topic. Creating a course around it sound good, it’s an useful tip.

  2. Samuel says:

    They want actionable content that inspires them to get to the next level!

    Like you said in your words, ask your readers on what kind of content they want to be seeing; simple.

    Use social media, if you have enough followers in the bank, or use your email list to get an idea of what ides they’re looking for,

    What got me is the stats at the beginning of this post; I didn’t think so many people read blogs but then I come to realization that most content ranking high on Google are blogs!

    Again, analysis is of complete importance in order to grab the free ideas on what kinds of content is the most accepted and shared.

    Thanks for the post Problogger and Sabina!

    - Sam

    • Sam, thanks for sharing your thoughts! Indeed, the stats about blogs and blogging might surprise you at the first glance. But as you point out, blogs do rank high on Google, and their diversity allows everyone to find at least one blog of interest to them.

  3. Asif says:

    Interesting,
    all the things that has been mentioned above are enough to become successful with you blogging. I have a friend of mine who does not do any kind of SEO, he just provides what his readers want and that too with an .info domain, which is ignored by almost every blogger on the web.
    His blog is one of the most visited blogs in the world with millions of monthly visitors.

    • Asif, your friend offers one more proof of how important it is to provide the kind of content that readers want to read on your blog. I’m happy to hear his blog does well.

  4. As bloggers sometimes it is very easy to focus on areas we think will bring more traffic other than focusing on what your current followers are looking for. I especially like your idea of conducting a survey to discover areas to cover. A well designed survey can reveal hidden needs of your readers and can be of very great benefit for you and your followers.

    • Indeed, Samuel, writing about what we think might interest our readers can be dangerous sometimes, as we can be wrong. Glad you found the idea of running a survey useful.

  5. This is a great topic which will help many to write articles targeted to their blog readers.

    I think a great way to find out what people want from your blog is by running a blog poll. If you have subscribers then ask them as well what they would like you to write about next. Listen to the majority and construct a post that will blow them away.

    You can also look at the top posts on your blog and write along that line.

    Great post. Thanks very much!

    • Kharim, thanks! Running a poll on your blog sounds good. It’s a faster way to gather data as when you were looking for that data through a survey.

  6. Great article Sabina.

    I found out what really helped me out is before even applying these 5 items was to tightly focus my niche, so I wasn’t everywhere when writing.

    I have always had quite a broad website such as “how to” or “deals” that I just felt like I was trying to paint 4 walls at once, finally I focused on my “creating a website” website and feel that applying techniques like you are stating way easier.

    Thanks,

    Christopher Pontine

    • Thanks for sharing, Christopher! I’ve also seen in my experience that more niche focused blogs generally drive better results than the ones covering a large variety of topics. Maybe you won’t attract all kinds of readers, but you sure will attract the ones interested in the topic you’re writing about. Plus, you have high chances that they’ll become regular readers of your blog.

  7. You can also check out blogs in your niche and see what commenters there are asking about. You can write about that, too.

  8. I totally agree that knowing what your website visitors want will help you better promote your product/services. Keyword research is precisely an important element in your online real esate marketing campaign to help you connect with your target audience.

    I see that you mention Google Trends. I might as well take a look at that. In my case as real estate agent for Kiawah Island Homes, I maintain several blogs sharing not only showing properties, but also events/activities in the said area as well as answering my visitors queries about real estate related topics. I use Google Analytics in tracking my website visitors, finding out where customers are coming from and what they are looking for when they are on my website,

    I also encourage my followers to share their own experiences about a particular subject discussed in my blog. This will fuel fruitful conversation and foster engagement.

  9. In the world of internet today, engagement is most important. Everyone can have blogs, can have Facebook and Google Pages, but if no human interaction in between, it will just some trash in the internet world. People need to response, need to communicate.

    If no engagement, so it’s like you are talking and commenting something that is not real. And then, you no better that a robot in the search engine.

    • Hasrul, I agree – engagement is a must if you want to be successful as a brand. We can see enough examples around us, showing that people and brands engaging most definitely have better results.

  10. Daryl says:

    Hey Sabina,

    Love the short, yet informative, actionable points. Currently I’m using at least 3 of these methods – but I find that the post traffic is the most useful one since you can see not only what content gets the most traffic but also how long people stay on the page and other important engagement factors.

    Cheers,

    Daryl

    • Thanks for your appreciation, Daryl! Post traffic is indeed a very good source for seeing how content ranks, but also for analysing other aspects, as you mention.

  11. Okto says:

    I think the best way to do this is by checking traffic tools. We can analyze how visitors find our blog through search engine. Normally this particular keywords contain problem to solve. Then all we need is to explore more on the existing keywords. We will save time doing this.

    • Okto, indeed, traffic tools can show you what keywords drive traffic to your blog, and one can write their content based on those keywords, if they desire to.

  12. Interesting,
    all the things that has been mentioned above are enough to become successful with you blogging. I have a friend of mine who does not do any kind of SEO, he just provides what his readers want and that too with an .info domain, which is ignored by almost every blogger on the web.
    His blog is one of the most visited blogs in the world with millions of monthly visitors.

  13. andy says:

    They want actionable content that inspires them to get to the next level!

    Like you said in your words.... ask your readers on what kind of content they want to be seeing; simple.

    Use social media, if you have enough followers in the bank, or use your email list to get an idea of what ides they’re looking for,

    What got me is the stats at the beginning of this post; I didn’t think so many people read blogs but then I come to realization that most content ranking high on Google are blogs!

    Again, analysis is of complete importance in order to grab the free ideas on what kinds of content is the most accepted and shared.

    Thanks for the post Problogger and Sabina!

  14. David says:

    You can also find where your ideal person hangs out and reach out to them there. I use tools that help me manage social profiles, blogs, forums and questions and answer websites. From here I can get a better idea of what peoples specific problems are and then create content tailored to what they’re talking about.

    • David, thanks for sharing! It sounds like a good strategy to look for topics in the places you suggested, and then write about what you found out there.

  15. As bloggers once in a while it is quite simple to concentrate on regions we think will carry more activity other than concentrating on what your present adherents are searching for. I particularly like your thought of leading a review to identify zones to blanket. A generally planned review can uncover shrouded requirements of your followers and might be of extremely incredible profit for you and your supporters.

    • Yes, agree, George, it’s risky to concentrate on what we think will bring us traffic. Glad you liked the idea about conducting a survey for finding ideas from your readers.

  16. Dhruv Bhagat says:

    I always write in a series.. Also, if I receive lots of comments on a single post, I will surely write another one related to that post..

    I think one should ask their fans from Facebook page and Twitter!

    These days, interview sessions are working like a charm..

    Thanks for telling us :)

  17. Christina says:

    Good article. You can often accomplish more by analysing your existing traffic and making things more efficient rather than trying to generate new traffic.

    Although it’s often neglected by a lot of people, I think number 2 works best. A lot can be solved by asking simple questions.

    • Thanks for your appreciation, Christina! I’m on the same page with you – analysing existing traffic and simply asking people what they want to know more about can be key ingredients for a blog’s success.

  18. Sunday says:

    This is a very informative article. The message is important even though it is delivered in simple form. There are different expectations of people that may read a blog, but these expectations may center around information, interaction or entertainment( as Darren Rowse puts it).

    Listening to what the readers like through comment and surveys are simple ways of understanding what to blog about.

    More so, this is not to undermine the importance of doing online research on keywords, post traffic, and engagement. These are vital takeaways every blogger must follow.

    I left this comment in kingged.com, where this post was shared and aggregaged for Internet marketers.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://kingged.com/5-ways-to-find-out-what-people-really-want-from-your-blog/

  19. Thank you for sharing this really informative post.
    We should write for our readers not for search engines. Readers love it when we write from our heart.

    Also reading comments are the best way to know what they actually want.

    • Swaraj, thanks, agree with you – always writing with the reader and with their interest in mind has the power to make your content much more engaging.

  20. marty says:

    Thanks for the survey link! I am in the middle of expanding my blog and making it more focused.But I had the problem of finding out what that focus would be…So I asked! The response I got was totally not what I expected but when I thought about the answers I was getting it totally made since.Now I am trying to find a way to ask bigger audience or then the few readers I have so that my reach expands.Not sure how to do that but I work on it!!

    • You are very welcome, Marty, hope it helps you in your activity.

      I’ve taken a look at your blog and saw the post where you are asking your readers in which direction should the blog go. As a piece of advice, you could create a survey for this research, since it would allow people to answer your questions more rapidly and with less effort (answering some predefined questions, maybe with multiple choice or text boxes for expressing their thoughts, requires less effort from them than writing an email from zero and sending it to you). If you decide to create a survey, you have several options on sharing it: you can post it on your blog, share it on your Facebook page and also on your Twitter account, inviting people to fill it out. And if you need a form building solution, 123ContactForm can help you with that (just follow the link from my name if you wish).

      I hope this helps you further on. If you need guidance on the survey part, feel free to ask me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  21. Akash Agarwal says:

    This is really a great information. I truly learned a lot from your article. It really helpful. I always keep this in my mind.

  22. Kalen Bruce says:

    This is a great list Sabina. I do most of these, but sometimes reading an article is more about keeping me on track and remembering to do these things! Just because I know some of this information doesn’t mean I always act on it, but now I am motivated to go do some research.

    • Glad to hear that, Kalen. I think most of us know these things deep down, but as you said – sometimes it takes someone to remind us we don’t only need to know them, but also to use them.

  23. Vidushi says:

    Hey
    Thanks for this post. I think Keyword research is one of the most important thing. The whole Google is revolving around Keywords and Keyword Planner is an excellent tool to do so.

  24. Karan says:

    Hi Sabina

    its an informative article, i haven’t started a blog but you have motivated and helped me to gain my information on the blogging, currently i am working as an SEO but planning to start a blog as a hobby.

  25. metz says:

    Listen to them and ask them. Good simple way to find out what people really want from your blog. FAQs is what I can suggest. By doing so, you can attract interested people and bring more traffic. Nice share! Informative!

    Your post has been shared on Kingged.com, IM social bookmarking site, enabling me to find this good piece.

  26. Max says:

    Survey/poll+post traffic analysis is a killer combination indeed. Data you get from the traffic/engagement analytics can’t be overestimated, but empowering your audience with ability to choose topics or suggest them is truly a gift. Who knows, maybe that shy, always avoiding commenting, guy will provide you with a brilliant, viral idea!

    • Max, I agree with you – some of the best ideas could come through crowdsourcing or through a “shy guy” whom you’ve never trusted an idea with potential of getting viral.

  27. Chester says:

    Thanks for the information. This is very interesting. When I blog, I try to put myself in the place of my readers, by asking myself, “What would I like to read on this blog if I were the visitor.” What I try to do every time I create a blog post. on all of my blogs, is to challenge the reader to apply what they have read on my blog to their particular situation.

    • Chester, your strategy sounds very good. It’s a common practice to put yourself in your reader’s shoes and try to empathize with them. I like the idea on challenging the readers to apply what you write to their own cases.

  28. Hello. First of all apologize if my words are not totally correct, I am using Google Translate.
    The first to congratulate you on that article I feel very good. It is essential to know what is expected of us, especially when we are creating the blog is not mere entertainment, but a source of income.
    When the blog is a source of income, should be treated as a business and all the major companies do market research study and of course the competition.
    What I find most difficult is in the tools to analyze. Although seemingly simple, really are not, certain skills to manage and extract its full potential are needed.
    Maybe someone can draw a good idea of ​​this recommendation.
    A greeting.

    • Hello Miguel, and thank you for expressing your thoughts. You’re right, if you have a blog that should generate income, you have to treat the analytical and the strategy part more carefully. Of course, using tools to analyse data is not always so easy, but you can learn best by trying them out and by reading how-to articles on this topic. I wish you good luck!

  29. Such a nice information …….In future i will always remember this ,when will i post any content on my blog, then i will remember it. Last point i like most , thanks for this beautiful post.

  30. Phuong Le says:

    I am Just starting out. I have found this post inspiring and will make good use of your tips in my future blogging, especially the survey for better content and get the ideas from comments.

    • Glad to hear you found some inspiration in the post, Phuong. Let me know if you need help with creating a survey :) Best of luck with running your blog!

  31. monsur says:

    I got this article very helpful fore me

  32. Ryan Davis says:

    Know your focused service and product better, write content from user point of view , they wants only proper information with nice presentation.

  33. This is really an informative article shared.Finding out what our readers want from our blog increases the readership of our blog. Get to know one important tip from here that use google analytics to check your post traffic and according to that write article.From now onwards i will follow this tip.

  34. Hector says:

    Sabina, thanks for your research and how the exhibit. I’m a marketer and I enjoy reading to learn and write in the future properly. I will continue your writing and I congratulate you.

  35. louzcor says:

    Something is better than nothing. After reading this useful article, i got some points which i really needed to know about my blogs..Keep sharing here ! Here checkout my latest blog ==>> http://vitaketonefrance.com

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  37. jouesi says:

    This is very awesome post. Your post is really informative and highly impressive for all guy. its appreciate to me googly analysis. thank you by sharing us get a professional email.

  38. Jiu Jiu says:

    I feel incredibly fortunate that my readers engage. I have built a solid commenting community, which I moderate closely (no vitriol or Youtube style comments here!). I haven’t yet asked what people want me to write about, but I like that idea. I already have used google keywords as inspiration for some articles, but I have not yet asked what people would be interested in seeing, though I’ve had a few whose comments inspired full blog posts, and I’ve had several folks who have written guest articles for me!

    I am also fortunate that I’m in an extremely niche blogging group – I write about jiu jitsu, and there are very few women who do so. I keep writing jiu jitsu content, and they keep staying. It’s really nice!

    I wish I could better see information about Facebook – number of shares and likes – it’s frustrating to see that X views are from facebook, but not to be able to see which communities or individuals have shared it!

    • Jiu Jiu, it’s nice to hear that your blog is so successful! I think having found a niche topic to write about is of great usefulness, since your readers know what to expect when reading your posts.

      Google Analytics can show you what words attracted readers toward your blog, from where you can of course choose to treat some ideas more in depth.

      If your readers are already commenting on your posts, you can make a good idea of what is performing best in matters of topics. Asking them what they’d like to read more about could be a plus, since you could gain new ideas from there about what to cover.

      As of Facebook, what I could suggest is creating a Facebook page for your blog, which you could promote and on which you could share your posts. There, you could see exactly who likes and shares your information and you also have Facebook insights which can further help you analyze your audience.

  39. john steven says:

    Thanks for showing up such fabulous information. I have bookmarked you and will remain in line with your new posts. I like this post, keep writing and give informative post..

  40. Philos says:

    Been amazed by how much you can learn about what your blog readers want, by simply taking some time to analyze the keywords they type on search engines.

  41. I often check the search term that landed people to my blog and most times i find out i may not have covered the topic, so i quickly research and write a topic that best addresses that term. So just as you rightly mentioned, analyzing my analytics data gives me an insight into what people are looking for and i build on it and that way i will always attract people for such terms.

  42. A few years ago I was a paid blogger meaning pretty much what it sounds like, I would get paid to run a companies blog. At my peak I was running 8 company blogs per month.

    This isn’t a sales pitch lol, so don’t worry.

    I saw these stats near the top of the blog:

    77% of Internet users read blogs
    nearly one quarter (23%) of the time spent on the Internet is directed towards blogs and social networks
    small businesses that run blogs increase their leads number by 126%
    offering valuable content is one of three reasons why people follow your brand on social networks
    81% of US customers give credit to recommendations coming from blogs they’re fond of

    And now I’m definitely thinking about getting back into blogging for companies. I haven’t done it in a while so I wonder if I can keep up with the young guns :)

    I guess I can use the info you posted in order to make a few sales from companies looking for bloggers ;)

    Thanks for the post Sabina :)

    - An old timer blogger

    • Sabina says:

      It’s good to hear the post brought you some insights on the impact of blogging. I was a little surprised too, when seeing these numbers written in black and white. They really make you want to rush and start blogging. Good luck with your business blogging!

  43. Imran says:

    Very nice and useful post.

    Sabina, we are running a blog and wants to generate local leads.. But i did not get local leads. i also have a reasonable traffic and social sharing. what should i do for that?

    • Sabina says:

      Thank you for your appreciation, Imran. I think that if your traffic volume is high, then it is a good sign because it means that people should be interested in your content. So, besides offering constant, relevant and high quality content, I would suggest trying to use strong calls-to-action that convert your visitors into leads (for example – “view now”, “get trial”). You could even offer something for free like an ebook to download or others, asking readers to provide their contact details in exchange.

  44. Haritha sen says:

    Hi, Sabina, First of all thanks for sharing this useful information for everyone..Can you update the how to increase the traffic with social media??

  45. Jonathan says:

    Nice post. I would suggest adding a forum to a website as this allows for easy engagement with your audience. We have done it here let me know what you think: http://leighonseaforum.org

  46. john stepen says:

    Hi Sabina, Really i appreciate your post, thanks for sharing an awesome information about blog, Please update how to increase the blog traffic..

  47. mikel jose says:

    Hi, Sabina,

    Thanks for showing up such fabulous information. I have bookmarked you and will remain in line with your new posts. I like this post, keep writing and give informative post..

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