Monday, April 1, 2013

The Two 'Must Haves' for The Growth of Your Blog: More from the Digital Parents Conference

Online media is giving women (and men) a powerful voice.  Voices, which have not been heard  in such numbers before.  In terms of blogging, we are at the bottom of an upward curve and the opportunities for whatever you want out of it, are massive. I was tweeting and scribbling notes like a mad women at the Digital Parents Conference I attended recently.   I have lots more to share, but today we are talking the top two 'must haves' to help your blog grow.

Google Analytics and a Newsletter.

Nicole Avery from Planning Kids, said if you do nothing else, do these two things.



1. Install Google Analytics on Your Blog

Although not retrospective, once Google Analytics (GA) has been installed for a month or so, it allows you to construct all sorts or reports about your blog's performance. After my last DPCON13 post about Lorraine Murphy and how The Remarkables do it, I had several enquires about how to install GA on a blog.  This post may help you with that.

GA will give you your 'unique visits' stats (that is the number of people who visit your blog) not just the pages those people view, once they are there.  This information is very important, if you have even a whiff of desire to work with brands, at some point in the future. The sooner you install it, the sooner you will know how you are performing.

GA is also useful  in formulating strategy for your blog.

Nicole put up slides showing how to generate a list of your most popular posts using GA (Nicole suggested your top 100 posts). Use this GA report, to determine if any of these posts warrant you reorganising the information into an ebook.  For example, Nicole saw that her post on sight words was very popular with readers and subsequently developed an e product around that.  It now sells around 25 units per months and apart from a few clicks over at paypal, Nicole no longer needs to lift a finger to transact the sale.  That phenomenon is known as passive income.

I have plans to do the same with my Christmas Baking and Craft Ideas, once I work out how the !@#$% to construct an ebook.



2. Creating A Newsletter for your Blog

With the recent demise of Google Reader (their RSS feed), the rumoured  soon to become extinct Google Friends Connect and Feed Burner and the fact Facebook only allows 10% of your 'likers' to see your posts, you really need to get on board with developing a newsletter for your blog.  This can be as simple as listing your last five posts and sending it to readers reminding them of posts they have missed.

Nicole uses Mail Chimp and so do I now, after taking her sound advice.



My suggestion is to subscribe to a few newsletters sent from blogs you enjoy reading and have a look at what they are doing.  I spent 6 hours yesterday working out how to develop a subscriber form,  layout a newsletter with text and pictures, and link it to my blog using HTML code.  It almost did my head in, but now I have all the infrastructure in place, it is pretty easy to put a newsletter together, using my branded template.  I plan to send out one on a weekly basis. You can subscribe to the Desire Empire Newsletter here if you would like to see what I have done.  I plan to send out the first issue in the next few days.  I believe it will make it easy for my audience to read the posts that are of interest to them.  All the bloggers who use a newsletter to communicate with readers, say they get a spike in their stats every time they send it out to subscribers.

So I'm jumping on board.

For more blogging tips go here.


Have you entered this fab giveaway yet?  I am giving away a $100 gift voucher to spend in a fabulous online homewares store, Allissias Attic Design here. The store is full of beautifully inspired French, vintage and Hamptons style pieces, which I know you will love.


Next up in my DPCON13 review series: Defining your worth to brands and how to approach them.




46 comments :

  1. It sounds like such a great conference and I'm very sorry to have missed it. The newsletter is a great idea and something I should definitely think about doing. Oh dear - another thing to learn how to do! Thanks for the awesome advice xx

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    1. I think it's worth it Charlie. It will be 6 hours well spent.
      Carolyn

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  2. Great info Carolyn. I must admit, I don't subscribe to too many newsletters. Like I need something else to read. I've subscribed to yours though, but I don't miss when you post. Always love reading what you have to say.

    Anne xx

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    1. Thanks Anne what a nice thing to say.
      Carolyn

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  3. thanks for keeping us informed!
    x

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  4. Thanks so much for putting the time into this incredibly detailed post. I'm trying to learn how to grow my own blog (as a fun hobby) and this was very helpful. Much appreciated!
    Warmly,
    Laurelle

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  5. Oh jeez, I'm so impressed you worked out how to do a newsletter. I have tried and failed a couple of times last week. I do have a subscriber base and it's easy to send them posts using the RSS feed. I'm trialling doing that with each post rather than weekly for a bit.

    But a newsletter would probably be better. I think it'll take me about 10 hours, but will keep persisting! Will subscribe to yours.

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  6. We have both been studying hard on the topic of our blogs lately! I have had Google Analytics for a few months now and it has been really great, much more detailed than the blogger stats provide. Ebooks and newsletters, you are one step ahead of me thats for sure and Im very impressed! Good luck with it :)

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  7. Thanks for sharing this information Caro, very generous of you. It's alarming how quickly things change in the blogging world, when you just get the hang of one thing it disappears and you have to rework everything. I can't keep up! A newsletter sounds like a great idea, but then why do you need a blog when you have a newsletter instead, and doesn't that mean double the work? I'm confused!

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  8. Thanks for sharing this great information! I love to learn:)

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  9. Things are changing aren't they. I am finding the following thing tricky at the moment. Like you said google friend. google reader and feedburner are going which leaves email subscription, facebook and it's competitor google plus. I'm still working out how to follow blogs, let alone how people can follow me. Fun and games right?

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  10. A Reader of Many Blogs (and Former Blogger)April 3, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Although I am no longer blogging, I was intrigued by this post which was linked to the WOW party at Savvy Southern Style.

    One of my favorite bloggers recently started sending out a newsletter (through Mail Chimp). After receiving the newsletters for 3 or 4 weeks, I realized it basically consisted of links to archived posts and a regurgitation (albeit more brief) of what she had posted that week--stuff I had already read on her blog. I felt somewhat misled and disappointed because I was looking forward to new content--new news, not old news, so I unsubscribed. Now admittedly, this was my first experience with a blogger's newsletter but it left a bad taste in my mouth.

    You mentioned a newsletter could consist of something as simple as listing the last five posts and sending it to readers reminding them of posts they have missed. Personally, if I like a blog, I don't need reminding to read their posts--I'll be there reading on a regular basis. And conversely, a newsletter will not entice me to a blog I don't care for.

    The main point of my comment is: unless the blogger is planning to include mostly new info in the newsletter, I feel a newsletter containing the same content from the blog is redundant and disrespectfully wasting the reader's time. Just my opinion...

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    1. I'm going to jump in here (hope you don't mind Carolyn?!). I totally get what this commenter is saying but a newsletter based on blog post is not aimed at other bloggers or daily readers of your blog - it's designed as a way for non-social-media consumers to access your blog.
      I don't write my weekly e-news with my daily blog visitors in mind. They are accessing already via readers, Twitter or Facebook - or simply Googling my blog. My stats show that.
      I write it and compile it based on the week's posts for those who DON'T do this. How do I know that there are so many out there still wanting an email newsletter? My stats!
      On the days that that newsletter goes out, my page views spike. I can see from the stats on the newsletter and click-throughs that they are not just reading that day's post but going back over the whole week.
      If you want to grow your blog readership, it has to grow beyond other bloggers. And, as bloggers, we need to remember that "normal" people are not necessarily as social media savvy as we are.
      I hope that helps to clarify why I - and this blogger does the above (and for all I know, it was probably me!) - creates a newsletter this way.
      Nikki

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    2. I totally get where this commenter is coming from but I'd like to explain why I do the above on a weekly basis and have actually grown my readership because of it.

      1. I do not aim my e-news at daily readers of my blog. They are social media savvy people who are already accessing via Facebook, Twitter and just googling "styling you". My stats tell me this.

      2. I aim my e-news at "normal" people who are not so immersed in this social media world. How do I know they're out there? By the spike in visitors to my blog on e-news day. That spike is not just to the latest post - it represents click-throughs to the posts from the previous week. The stats in the email system (I use MailChimp too) show me that.

      I hope that helps explain why the blogger above does what she does (for all I know it was me!). And I would totally understand why the person above would unsubscribe.

      I personally don't subscribe to blogs via email as I love reading them daily via my Google Reader app on my iPad.

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    3. Yes Nikki I agree with respect to catering to all different types of blog readers. I think it's important to offer as many options for readers to follow as possible and with feedburner potentially on the way out, it will be a good way for those who read via email to stay in touch.
      Carolyn

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  11. Thanks for the great tips Carolyn. Need all the help I can get with getting my blog off the ground.

    Cheers
    Karen
    athomevintage.com

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  12. Thanks - great information! You are sweet to share!!

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  13. Great advice and information! I installed GA just last week. Time to give some thought to a newsletter. Thank you!

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  14. Sounds like great tips and advice you got! I'm glad to know I am on the right track..since I am doing both of those things. {Insert pat on the back now...:-D}
    Thanks so much for linking up at the Real Family Fun link party! Hope to see you next week.
    KC

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  15. Thanks for sharing your great insights! As a new blogger, this kind of information is invaluable.

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  16. Thanks for the info, we have a new blog and are looking for ways to make it grow.
    Blessings,
    Gloria @resourcefulgals.blogspot.com

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  17. Thank you for taking the time to share what you have learned at the conference. We can always learn from others.

    We may have met by chance...but we become friends by choice.
    http://simpleesue.com/french-toast-grilled-cheese-sandwich-with-an-italian-twist/

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  18. This is really useful - thanks. Off to install the google analytics now~

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  19. Thanks for the great tips. For those of who *sob* missed the conference, this is so valuable! :-)

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  20. This was a great break out session - thank you for your notes.
    I admit to putting it off as I can expect that 'doing your head in' will be my war cry when I delve into it. I do know once the template is in place it will be relatively simple.
    Good on you for getting stuck into it. I need a little of your motivation.
    Becc @ Take Charge Now

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  21. Thanks for your info and good luck with the Ebook :)

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  22. Thanks for the tips- I've tried to install Google Analytics before, but failed- I have a stats plugin that allows me to view unique views independent of page views, but it wouldn't generate reports. As for a newsletter, I'm flat out posting- maybe one day....

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  23. Thank you for the helpful info. I need to look into doing this sort of thing especially GA, it really does all seem very complicated though for my little brain.

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  24. I have GA installed on my blog and love it, being in marketing in my day time job, I have used google analytics to track the success of campaigns, so I too highly recommend it. But I have never thought of doing a newsletter! I did not think there was any point, but I think I have changed my mind! :)

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  25. I have GA set up for my blog, but rarely have I bothered to look at it. I think I need to go and have a look around!

    #FYBF neighbour

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  26. Are you suggesting that because Google Reader is getting the can that all RSS is dead? I think RSS is still a really valid way for people to be subscribed to blogs and get information!

    That being said, I think your advice about about newsletters is great! Do you think it's relevant for "personal" style blogs, or just "niche" blogs?

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    1. No you are right RSS is just the technology used by google reader, which will disappear on 1 July 2013. I believe there are other companies which will allow one to read websites via RSS it just that google is junking their version. Thanks for pointing that out.

      As for newsletters they are great for any type of blogger to stay in touch with readers. I say go for it
      Carolyn

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  27. Good luck with your endeavours!

    While I have no interest right now in going big or commercial, I would've loved the opportunity to sit through and learn from some of these sessions. I missed out on all of them as I prioritised the Writing ones. Phooey.

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  28. I loved Nicole's session at DPCON - she's inspiring isn't she!! I've got the google analytics but need to make some use of it (thanks for the reminder) and the newsletter is a work in progress ... getting there. I've gone with AWeber and it's just confusing me at the moment so it's on the 'do soon' list!!! Great post! xx

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  29. Thanks for the great info ~ I'm a newbie blogger & need all the help I can get! I found you at the TaterTot & Jello Party =)

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  30. This is a great post. Google Analytics is definitely a wonderful resource and one I should more fully utilize! Thank you so much for some great tips to help my blog grow! I just pinned this post! Krista @ http://ahandfulofeverything.blogspot.com

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  31. What a fantastioc post. Really glad I found your blog through With Some Grace and will be following you blog, such great information and easy to follow, Thank you X

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  32. These are great ideas! I can't wait to try them. I would love for you to link up at SHOW-licious Craft Showcase.

    Just follow the link.....http://sew-licious.blogspot.com/2013/04/show-licious-craft-showcase-26.html.

    Marti

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  33. Many thanks for sharing this post at my Say G'day Saturday linky party Carolyn. I have shared this everywhere (Google+, Pinterest etc) and am featuring your post today at my blog!

    Best wishes always,
    Natasha in Oz

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    1. Thanks so much Natasha
      Appreciate it.
      Carolyn

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    2. I just wanted to let you know I have set up a newsletter all thanks to you and I emailed the people who join my weekly Say G'day Party to tell them all about it. I naturally mentioned you as my inspiration and provided a link to this post in my email.

      Thanks again for sharing your blogging wisdom!

      Natasha
      xo

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    3. That's great Natasha. I shall look out for it.
      Carolyn

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  34. 2 fantastic must haves! I have GA on my blog but I don't think I've installed it correctly. As for the newsletter...I know it's something I've been wanting to do for ages now. Thanks for wrap up!

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  35. I have built a huge newsletter for my blog iwollongong, businesses want to advertise in it because it hits my subscriber list every week. I am suprised at how popular it is. Great ideas.

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