5 Ways to Tell If Your Content Is Working for You

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Every blogger has those moments where they wonder if all the hours they spend writing new posts is really worth it. You pour a ton of time, money, and effort into producing your blog. You need to be sure all those resources aren't going to waste! So how can you know if your content is actually working for you? It's not always as simple as seeing an increase in blog traffic. Bigger numbers don't necessarily mean that your blog is working in the way you want it to.

That's why you always need to come back to your blogging goals before you can determine whether or not your content is working for you.

Do you want your blog to be its own income stream? Are you using your content to drive sales to your products or services? Or maybe you're just trying to create helpful content while building a bigger platform for yourself.

Whatever your goals are, keep them in mind as you run through this list of ways to tell if your content is working for you.

1. High engagement

Engagement is any way your readers get in touch with you to give feedback (good or bad) about your content. Everything from blog comments and email responses to posts on Twitter and Facebook count as engagement.

This is my favorite way to measure whether or not my content is actually working. I'd much rather have five readers who learned a lot from my post than 10,000 readers who felt so-so about it.

People don't take the time to comment on posts that were just meh. High engagement means your readers really care about what you're saying. Plus, having that open line of communication means you'll probably hear feedback that allows you to continuously improve.

Ways to encourage engagement: Ask a question at the end of each blog post, invite readers to reply to your email newsletters, ask questions on social media, and comment on your readers' blogs or social platforms.

2. Social media shares

People don't want to share mediocre content (unless they're making fun of it). A blogger or business owner's personal brand is affected by the content they share, even when that content isn't theirs. When people share your work, it means they're putting their invisible stamp of approval on your content---which is a big deal!

If a reader shares your post on social media (or in a link round-up on their own blog), it means you've struck a chord with them. They can't wait to pass along your wisdom or info to their friends! Seeing regular social media shares is an easy way to tell how much readers value your content.

(Psst! Don't forget to say thanks when you notice a reader has shared something of yours!)

Ways to encourage social media shares: Add Click to Tweet to your posts, include Pin-worthy images in each post, and use a plugin like Share This or Social Warfare.

3. Growing email list

Numbers don't always tell the whole story, but in this case, they can be pretty telling. I don't care how great an opt-in offer is, if I don't connect with you on your blog, I'm not handing over my email address.

I'm not the only one who feels that way. Everyone is striving toward inbox zero, and that means being choosy about who gets access to their email. If your list is consistently growing, it could mean that your opt-in rocks . . . but I think it points toward great content all around.

Readers who sign up for your newsletter are so in love with your blog content, they want to make sure they see all the exclusive goodies you put out just for your subscribers. And people on your RSS feed don't want to miss a single post! You don't get dedicated readers like that by putting out content that isn't working.

Tips for growing your email list: Add prominent sign-up boxes to your website, set your social media URLs to your newsletter landing page, and of course, make sure you're clear about what type of bonus content your subscribers will receive.

4. Collaboration opportunities

People are going to take notice if you consistently create content that hits the mark. Other bloggers and business owners want to work with people who provide great value through their content---and that could mean you'll start seeing amazing collaboration opportunities come your way!

This could be anything from an invitation to guest post to being a guest on a podcast or speaking at a conference. Saying "yes!" to the right collaboration can help you grow your brand, spread your message, and increase your expert status.

Don't expect these opportunities to happen right out of the gate; it takes time to build strong working relationships with other creatives. But if you take the time to put out solid content and grow your network of blogging connections, you'll see big results in the form of collaboration. That's an undeniable sign you're headed in the right direction!

How to increase your chances of collaboration projects: Include an easy-to-find portfolio page on your site, strike up relationships with other bloggers through social media, attend in-person events and conferences, and don't be afraid to be the first one to reach out if you have a great idea.

5. Lower bounce rate

I know I said Google Analytics isn't the key to knowing if your content is working, but your bounce rate is the one stat no blogger should ignore. Your bounce rate is given as a percentage in Google Analytics. That's the percentage of people who only visited one page on your site before clicking away.

You always want your bounce rate to be as low as possible. You want the people who end up on your site to love it so much, they stick around for a few extra minutes. Those are the people who will turn into loyal followers (and maybe even customers or clients!).

If your content is really connecting with people, they'll stay on your site longer to read more of what you've written---and that means a lower bounce rate. If your bounce rate is over 70%, it's time to reevaluate which content isn't working.

How to lower your bounce rate: Develop a solid content strategy, install a plugin like Related Posts, include relevant links to past posts, and include a "popular posts" section in your sidebar or About page.

Is your content working for you?

Are your blog posts helping you reach your goals, or does your content need some tuning up? What are your favorite ways to tell if your content is working? Tell me about it in the comments!

P.S. If your content is still falling flat, it's time to learn how to write irresistibly good blog posts.