Committed bloggers need data. In this post, I’ll show you how to grab all your blog post data and put it into a Google Sheet or Airtable database to improve our knowledge about audience engagement. This will also help to reorganize for better structure.
Getting Ready for a Start Here Page
I’ve been searching for the Perfect Theme, and I’ve decided that the best way to build what I want — is to build it myself. Well, tweak an existing theme, at any rate. To get started in re-organizing a blog for a theme “facelift,” it’s a good idea to look at the facts about the blog.
What’s getting lots of engagement? What needs some promotion–posts that people have missed seeing? I need to take an uncompromising look at the facts of my blog to figure out how to improve engagement with my audience.
This post was created in response to the Daily Prompt Word of the Day: uncompromising.
Goal: reduce my “bounce rate” and get ready for a Start Here Page
Much of my early content is pretty good and deserves more engagement, in my humble opinion. I think people have missed these posts because they came so early, and my organization and navigation needs work. Part of my goal in creating a start page is to get people to explore my blog (reducing the “bounce” rate–encouraging people to stick around to read more than one post).
I have a rough set of topics that must seem random to readers, I think. But here is my list of “the stuff I blog about”:
- How-tos, Walk-throughs, Tips and Tricks;
- Social media advice and information;
- SEO and marketing;
- Opinions, advice and “feature” posts on “this blogging life” and female founders over forty
Still, the structure is confusing because I cross over those boundaries all the time. SEO walk-throughs, marketing history and opinions about marketing–I find single topics a bit dull. Even when I’m writing one post, I have two or more in my head that I haven’t put into electronic form. What is this blog really about? Even I get confused. Passion project are like that. They evolve. We, the creators, evolve, too.
Preparing for Change
I’ve been refreshing my knowledge about CSS and HTML to prepare for this reorganization and improvement. But I also need to collect the facts from my own blog–ABOUT my blog. I might use either a spreadsheet or a database to collect the information I need. Google Sheets would be one good idea. I also use Airtable, an online database.
In either case, I am in the process of collecting the relevant data from my 72 posts including date and time of post, title of the article, its current categories and tags, for the “great reorganization.” I’ve been free blogging for nearly three months now. Once again, in order to control, I’ll need to reorganize tags and categories.
Using Google Sheets to Get Started in Data Organization.
Since I have to list all the blog post titles, it makes sense to also collect the data about the posts — the likes, views, the rare comments. Here’s an easy trick to getting this data into a Google Sheet.
(1) Go to your list of published blog posts
(2) COPY the entire list.
(3) Open a Google Doc “Sheet”
(4) Select a LONG GROUP OF CELLS.
If you only select one cell, you’ll get all of the data pasted into that single cell. Select a long GROUP of cells and Google will bin each selection its own cell.
In some cases, the link to the article is actually preserved. In others, it isn’t. You can cut and past them one at a time instead, and that will help preserve the link to your article in the spreadsheet.
Now all you have to do is edit the information, moving the data UNDER the post title to the side. The process is identical if you post the material into Airtable — highlight the posts, copy the material into a blank table in a new Airtable database.
Copying and pasting the information UNDER each blog post and putting them to cell NEXT to the title will help you get a good look at your data. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t allow you to automatically paste in the current tags and categories. That has to be done by looking at each post. Sigh.
The Value of a Database About Your Blog
There are tons of blogs out there offering downloads for templates on marketing and organizing the data in your blog, most of them free. Before I begin to start using systems like these, I will need to have a better sense of the analytics. WordPress analytics are great for this in some ways, but figuring out what tags and categories are most effective is important. People search in WordPress Reader on tags. Having the right ones matter.
The earlier you begin developing a system like this, the better. 🙂 Then, keeping track of things like did you tweet about it? How many times? When? Have you created a rich pin? When? Studying this information will help me learn what I’m doing right and what’s not working in marketing my content. It will also help me to develop better SEO skills and marketing campaigns. Knowledge is power. For more on this, check out my next post–a walk-through on using the Airtable database.
Best wishes and warm regards, ~Lola