What do cardinals and sidebars have in common?
Here’s a cardinal who just found a great seed in a bird feeder – how does he know that there are black sunflower oil seeds among the safflower seeds? Perhaps he learned from his friends. Perhaps he studied his competition. He finds it and stores it. You can sometimes see his girlfriend, a browner version of a cardinal with only a bit of red, hanging on a branch nearby.
I’m going to assume you know how to write that great content. Or you can learn the art of writing a great blog post elsewhere. In this post, we will explore ways to determine what is your great content (find it!) and then ways to share great content. Maybe we can learn from how the cardinals find the seeds.
Locate Popular Content with Google Analytics
If a lot of people are visiting one particular post, does that mean it is great content? Perhaps. One way to determine who is visiting your post is to use Google Analytics. If you haven’t already set up Google Analytics on your site, go to http://www.google.com/analytics/. If you are using WordPress, there are plugins that can help you add the code to your site.
Let’s say you have Google Analytics on your site for a few months. You go to take a look – and there is so much information you don’t know where to begin. Let’s look for the content that is most examined. Click on the link within Google Analytics, and you get to a page that looks sort of like this :
Then in the left column click on Behavior, then Site Content, then All Pages.
Here is an example of one site (a client’s site, used with permission) that is using Google Analytics – you can see which pages and posts are most popular on this site (njplaygrounds.com).
Notice that the most popular page during this time period (February and March) is not the home page but a page of indoor playgrounds. This is not uncommon – finding out where to take your kids in our recent snowy winter in New Jersey makes a lot of sense! So this a good cue to the owner of njplaygrounds: what can she do now that she knows many people are going to that particular page?
Harness Great Content
So we have an inkling of where people are going on our site.
- Do you want people to continue to go to those places?
- Do you have other places you want people to visit?
- Do you want to create more popular pages or posts on your site?
One idea is if certain topics are popular, you can keep writing about those topics.
Another idea we will explore in the rest of this post is how to use the sidebar next to your recent or popular post. What can you do to harness the sidebar and redirect your readers to new pages or posts?
Make Use of Your Sidebar!
Most blogs have a sidebar – how can you use this side bar to your advantage?
To the left is an item on my sidebar I use to highlight recent websites I have created (you can also look up and to the right in the sidebar to see it). This is a way to tell potential clients – hey, look at what I create. Do you need a unique website for your business?
What else could you possibly put on your sidebar? Let’s explore.
Did you write a book? Put that in your sidebar.
Do you have an article elsewhere you want people to read? Along with a relevant image, put a link to the article in your sidebar.
We have talked about subscription boxes for mailing lists – Subscribe to My Mailing List would be a great box in a sidebar.
Perhaps you could rearrange your sidebar to change what is important.
Do you have an upcoming meeting? One client of mine highlights their spring meeting in their sidebar. They use an image of the city in which the conference will be located.
Do you want people to contact you directly? Create an attractive box that links to your contact page.
If your next step for readers is to share your content, put social media icons in your posts that are easy to use. A key question might be: what do I want a reader to do next?
Your Turn, Please – How to Find and Share Great Content
Cardinals don’t talk, but you do. Feel free to leave in the comments how you might find and share great content. There is an endless list to ideas.