Jamie L. Watts

A fine WordPress.com site

Blog Statistics

The focus of my blog is baking and cookie decorating.

The three statistics most important in growing my blog audience are:

1.  Inbound Links

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Photo Credit:  Bliss SCO

In the cookie world, being linked to by a “famous” cookie decorator can mean hundreds or thousands of new hits.  It’s really important that other bakers and cookie decorators link to and recommend my blog on theirs as it can help grow an audience quickly.  Also, the more my blog is linked to or mentioned on another blog will increase my search optimization results, leading to a better ranking on search engines.  In turn, I will increase outbound links as well, creating a symbiotic relationship with other cookie blogs.

2.  Time on Page

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Photo Credit:  BRCCU

I want my blog to be as interactive as possible.  I want readers to comment on my posts with questions, recommendations, recipes, etc.   I would also like them to post photos or videos of their creations, whether they are from my recipes, or their own creations.  Therefore, the time they spend on the page is very important.  The longer they are on my page, the more likely they are interacting with me and other readers, which should lead to a growth in my blog audience.

3.  Returning Visitor

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Photo Credit:  SMCSSA

Finally, one of the most important aspects in building an audience is that you need visitors to not just come to your blog once, but to return and come to your blog over and over again.  I want to keep track of my readers and how many of them return to my site after the first visit.  I’d like to know how many of them come back and what areas of the blog they are specifically coming back to look at.  If I know that, I can use that information to target specific posts towards those interests, and hopefully have those visitors returning again and again.

Some tools I will use to track my blog’s statistics are:

1.  Google Analytics

Google-Analytics

Photo Credit:  Click Conversation

Google Analytics will provide me with a great deal of information regarding my blog and it’s visitors.  It can tell me how many people came to my blog, where they came from, and with it’s real-time reporting, it can even tell me what readers are viewing right now, letting me know if a new post is successful or not.  It can even show me exactly how readers navigate my blog, allowing me to, if necessary, rearrange some things to make the viewing experience easier and better for my readers.  This will be a great tool for me, especially as I am beginning to build an audience.  It will let me know exactly who is visiting my blog and what they are actually using my blog for (which pages are visited the most, etc.).  I can then somewhat tailor my blog to their needs and requests, which will in turn, hopefully encourage them to return often, allowing my audience to grow.

2.  Klout

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Photo Credit: Klout

I plan to post each blog post on my blog’s Facebook page and Twitter account as soon as it is available for viewing.  Social media is huge in the world of cookie decorating, and many cookie fans find new cookie blogs via sites like Facebook.  Klout will allow me to track how well my social media posts are helping my blog gain an audience.  Facebook and Twitter also allow another venue for readers to interact and engage with me and my blog, and Klout can also help me track how often readers interact and how engaged people are with my posts.  This can help me learn what interested my readers the most, and I can use that information when creating future blog posts.

The one statistic that could be an issue or a problem, especially in the beginning is:

Reader Engagement

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Photo Credit:  Small Business Trends

I think it will be difficult as a new blog to get a great deal of reader engagement. I think once comments start coming, they will continue to come and come in greater amounts, but it’s difficult to get that going as a new blog.  One possible solution is to encourage comments by asking for participation.  Asking what my readers think of a topic, or encouraging them to list their favorite recipes or tricks and tips in the comments could lead to readers commenting.  One idea to keep this consistent is to have a day of the week where I ask readers for recipes.  For example, every Wednesday may be Recipe Wednesday.  I would provide a theme or ingredient in my blog post, give my favorite recipe using that theme or ingredient, and then ask my readers to share.  I could even take this one step further and ask for readers to also vote for their favorite shared recipe in the comments, and reveal a winner the following day.  This encourages engagement on two levels, with the reader commenting and sharing their favorite recipe, as well as voting on the recipes of their fellow readers.

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RFP for Apple Response

In response to a RFP for Apple, I’ve come up with the following ideas in which to advertise for Apple on my site.  As my blog’s target audience will be mostly bakers and cookie decorators, there are plenty of Apply tie-ins that can be utilized.  Here are just a few:

1.  Apps

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Photo Credit:  iTunes

Apps that could be useful for bakers will be featured monthly on my blog.  I’ll recommend the ones that I find the most useful, such as The Baking Sheet or Baker’s Percentage, and link back to the app on iTunes.  I’ll discuss what I like best about these apps, as well as ideas to make the apps even more helpful.  I will also urge readers to suggest their favorite baking apps and/or recommendations to current available apps.

2. iBooks

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Photo Credit:  Barnes and Noble

Every baker needs cookbooks!  And these days, more and more people are purchasing those books in ebook fashion.  Twice a month, I will feature a new book, linking back to the the book via iTunes.  These books may be ones that provide the basic baking information everyone needs, or they may be more specifically linked to projects I am working on at the time, such as decorating cookies, or baking gluten-free baked goods.  Additionally, should my blog ever translate to a book, I would utilize iBooks to sell the book to my readers.

3. Music

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Photo Credit:  Ask Dave Taylor

I always listen to music while baking, especially when making a lot of dough at once, as it can become quite tedious.  For each project I post, I will also post my playlist of songs that got my through that specific project, linking back to the iTunes page for each song so readers can purchase the music should they choose to do so.  Another idea would be to connect music for a project with the theme of that project.  For example, as shown in the photo above, while working on summer or beach theme cookies, my playlist could be all Beach Boys songs.  This way, Apple, iTunes and specific songs will always be linked back and connected to my projects, and extremely visible for all my readers.

4.  BlogHer

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Photo Credit:  Solar Sister

As a member of the BlogHer Publishing Network, one of the largest and highest quality publishing networks of blogs authored by women, my blog will be connected with over 3,000 other blogs. Because of that connection, my traffic can increase, which will in turn, provide Apple with more views of my posts featuring their products or tie-ins.  Additionally, being part of this network will increase my SEO, and provide opportunities for cross-promotion and linkage with other blogs.  In turn, this will continue to increase my traffic, and the more views of my blog, the better for Apple, as their products and services will be featured frequently.

5.  Sponsored Posts – “Apple” Tie-In

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Photo Credit:  FanPop

A fun and different way to promote Apple products via my blog is through sponsored posts by Apple.  These posts would be clearly sponsored by Apple, and would feature recipes and projects featuring apples.  These recipes could include apple pies in the fall, apple shaped cookies for a favorite teacher, or caramel covered apples, amongst others.  This would be a creative way to tie in the Apple sponsorship, yet keep the focus of the blog on baking.

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