If you’ve been writing or blogging online for any amount of time, there will come a point where you feel like no one is listening and you’ve run out of clever things to say.
There’s an emptiness that appears right at the point you think about quitting and doing something else with your time.
There is a saying in blogging that at three months of blogging you will run out of things to write about. It’s at this point that you either become a real writer and find a way to continue on, or quit. The reason for this is that many bloggers start out writing what they want to write about — without contemplating what their readers want to read. At three months they’ve cleared out the chatter in their minds leaving them staring at a blank writing space with nothing to say.
They’ve spent too much time “dumping” and not enough time offering inspiration, information and value.
They haven’t spent time understanding what visitors are doing on their website. I know . . . mention the word “statistics” around women writers and watch them start mentally doing their shopping lists while tuning you out.
But statistics are where you can find your blog inspiration from what your visitors are doing when they land on your site.
Honest! And it’s not that scary.
Recently, Google Analytics made understanding your visitors more difficult by hiding search keywords (which is an affront to all website owners, but that’s a blog post for another day) from analytics. But the good news in that you can still find inspiration within the data that is still provided. (I recommend that you also try other statistic platforms like Statcounter and Facebook Insights too for a well-rounded view of what people find interesting and how they are finding their way to you).
Let me shut-up and give you examples of finding inspiration in your statistics.
How I find blog inspiration in site statistics–
In the above featured visitor stat the visitor spent three hours on 8WD starting with a story about quitting your dream and ending on a story about a leap of faith. I looked up the stories and they are by Shellie Croft, a past dreamer on 8WD. These stories involve her bunnies, which ended up angering a few thousand people online, thus causing several of her posts to go viral along with a crap-storm of negative emails raining down on me.
The rants about Shellie’s bunny stories and 8 Women Dream must still be running large in cyberspace to bring in such a visitor. Why does this matter?
If you are controversial, people will spend their hard-earned time either defending you or defiling you and sharing your work. To be a success you must take big risks and be willing to tell your truths — regardless whether the world will like them, or not.
Inspiration: Be brave. Write what you are afraid to write. Ignore the haters. (They will soooo help your statistics and your success).
One of the most popular posts on 8 Women Dream is what the visitor above keeps returning to read. Quotes are very popular online. People like to use them on Facebook, in tweets, and to create inspirational picture quotes. When I created the post on the 50 Most Inspiring Dream Big Quotes of All Time I was thinking of “attraction bait.”
“Attraction bait” is kind of content that attracts visitors interested in your subject. It’s a way of drawing in possible new readers.
Inspiration: Create something alluring around your subject with your ideal demographic in mind. It can be recipes if you write about food, hiking routes if you write about hiking, packing lists if you write about travel, and so forth. The point is to bring new people to your site with an interest in your subject so that once they find you through the “attraction bait’ you’ve created, they will come back again because they like what they’ve found.
My favorite type of visitor are the ones where they find us through a post and continue around the site. In the above example the visitor landed on planning blog success for a year, then went on to read about the women of 8 Women Dream, then liked us enough to look over our products to see if there was something to buy, and ended up on our free gifts page to download a dream goal setting worksheet.
I love this! It’s the icing on the cake of my day, along with the fact that this visitor is from the Netherlands. How wonderful that somewhere in the Netherlands we’ve helped someone start their big dream process. It’s enough to make me cry. This is my dream in action. This tells me what I am doing is meaningful.
Inspiration: Give something valuable away. Offer something as a gift to the reader. Give before you think of receiving.
And what about those Google Analytics?
Besides all the obvious reasons for looking at Google Analytics, I love looking at real-time maps to see where visitors are coming from. Besides being popular in the U.S. (and the state of Alaska) shown above, we are big in South Africa. I feel we owe this to 8WD blogger, Sue Levy, who is from South Africa. How wonderful for Sue to see the impact she is having in her country.
I look at all of the blue on the visitor map and realize the reach our words have throughout the world. Prior to the Internet, writers typically weren’t offered chances to find an audience outside their small town. Now, with the click of a publish button you could be changing the lives of someone in Peru.
Too many bloggers take this amazing opportunity for granted.
Inspiration: Know that you aren’t alone. See that people are searching for inspiration. Write with them in mind. Leave your petty problems at the door to your writing room and write for them. Make them glad they found you today. Change a life with your art.
Facebook is a great testing ground for new ideas, but what I love most about their Insights interface is their demographic information. This is why you need a Facebook Page to engage with potential readers instead of sharing your creations on a Facebook personal profile.
Facebook Insights can teach you about your audience reach, who they are and what they like.
Inspiration: Create a description of your ideal visitor based on your Facebook Insights and offer something on your blog with them in mind.
My final words of blog inspiration is to look for your real fans.
You will find them hidden in your statistics. The visitor above has been to 8 Women Dream 495 times … and is from Mexico. This is my dream reader.
Every time I am tired and want to quit, I think of this person.
Inspiration: Know that if you deeply care about the people you are offering your talents to, they will show up. Don’t take this opportunity for granted. Appreciate the chance to be discovered and change the life of a stranger.
What more inspiration do you need than the idea that your work has the potential to change someone’s day?
Get on with it. The world needs you.
Catherine Hughes is the editor and founder of 8WomenDream. She’s also a magazine columnist, content creator, blogger, published author, and former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine collaborates with companies to craft engaging web content and social media narratives. Her work, highlighting stories of the resilience and success of Northern California residents, appears in several print magazines. Outside of work, she treasures motherhood, her close friendships, rugby, and animals.
Note: Articles by Catherine may contain affiliate links and may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link.