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Is Google Analytics a Creative Writing Tool?

creativity

A guest post by Bill Rice

Do a quick search on Google for writing inspiration, writing ideas, or writer’s block. You find literally millions of articles.

That indicates a problem. And the millions of abandoned blogs littering the Web certainly confirm this fact. No group is likely to be more afflicted by writer’s block or idea anxiety than bloggers. Faced with a reverse chronological, flowing river of content, any pause or break in quality can mean lost readership.

However, we might also have the best tool any writer could hope for to battle the blank page–web analytics.

I Need Fresh, New, Original Ideas

Nothing is more daunting to a blogger than a blank page. Chances are you are like many bloggers, started with a bang.

You were passionate about a niche or believed your blog was going to light your business on fire. The first several posts flowed out with ease. You were proud of them. You promoted them. You built a nice little audience.

Then…oh my goodness! I am out of ideas.

You probably turned to all the popular writing blogs for writer’s block busting ideas. That worked for a while. But you can only take so many walks, only travel so much, only read so many books, and only browse so many blogs. Then you still have to put a topic on the page.

Stuck again.

I Want to Give My Readers What They Want

The other problem that bloggers are often faced with is focus. They want to keep their readers happy and they want to attract in more of the right audience.

This was easy at first. You knew your niche and you knew your topic. As a result, you were right on point with your first few posts because you knew the pain points.

However, as you drifted off looking for new ideas and inspiration you have lost focus. If you are like many bloggers you meander off into topics less interesting to your original audience. Even more problematic you are potentially attracting less targeted (or less period) new readers.

Now your blog is becoming not only a writing frustration, but also missing your objective for starting it to begin with.

This is an emergency! We need to fix this or we’ll have another Web ghost on our hands.

What, an Endless List of Writing Ideas?

Now that I have you wondering if you should just shut down your blog I am going to point you to the treasure. The really good news is it’s free and sitting right in your backyard.

On a daily basis, your Web traffic is giving you a running list of new, fresh, and original topics. That’st people searching for answers, searching for new solutions, searching for your services are leaving you bread crumbs

Every one of these search queries is landing in your Web analytics. These are topics that you have brushed on and Google already thinks you are an authority on.

That means two big things for you:

1.) Your readers are telling you exactly what they want from you, and

2.) Google is telling you if you write more on these topics I will send you even more traffic.

Bingo! Writing motivation, happy readers, and more traffic. That sounds like a slam-dunk for blog success. Maybe even business success.

Quick How-To on Google Analytics

If you are not sure where to get this magic list let me give you a quick how-to on Google Analytics. It’s free and probably the quickest and easiest way to harvest this list of new writing ideas.

  1. Sign-up for Google Analytics
  2. Click on Add Website Profile
  3. Type in website URL
  4. Cut’n paste code snippet
  5. Edit the ‘footer’ portion of your blog template
  6. Add the code snippet to the footer, just before the </body> tag

With these few simple steps you will be building a whole new targeted list of writing ideas for your blog in no time.

Bill Rice is the founder of RICEinteractive.com, an Internet marketing and lead generation firm. He writes about sales at www.bettercloser.com and contributes to several financial services and online marketing publications.

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23 thoughts on “Is Google Analytics a Creative Writing Tool?”

  • Karlil says:

    Sometimes the search made by others that landed on my web analytics are so weird you have no idea what they were thinking…. alas, great tip. I’ll pay close attention when i have better search keywords

  • Marc says:

    This is an extremely valuable and oft overlooked tip. Thank you Bill.

    It’s preached all the time in SEO circles; build on what works. Now you’ve provided a different angle for those who just aren’t into SEO. Truly 2 birds with 1 stone.

    Well done.

  • Jeffrey Tang says:

    @Karlil – Some of those strange long-tail searches might actually be very helpful, since they tend to be very specific. Might be worth it to spend some time deciphering them :)

    The problem with just using Google Analytics is that you’re only seeing what people are searching to find your particular blog. If your blog isn’t doing too well in search rankings, there might not be a lot of information available.

    To supplement the Analytics info, you could also consider using the Google Adwords Keyword tool. Just drop in a few keywords relevant to your blog, make sure the “Use Synonyms” box is checked, and go! You’ll get a nice long list of related searches and topics to spark your imagination.

  • Jonny T says:

    Fantastic post! You touched upon one of the most under-utilized “secret” weapons in blogging. Analytics can be daunting to some, but the data is worth investing time into. It no doubt tells you the facts about your site and then allows you to create the story.

  • Buy articles says:

    Wow! I like the post. Writers’ block can be devastating, but now I got the remedy.Never thought of it that way…a never ending flow.

    Thank you!

  • Bill Rice says:

    @Karlil I agree with @Jeffrey Tang – don’t underestimate those clues or relevant variations you can create from them.

    @Marc, so much of good SEO is tuning into your audience and listening for their clues (search queries), isn’t it. I often notice, using this technique, that I over write the audience and need to go back and write a “newbie” article or version.

    @Jonny T, oh yes the stories our visitors can help us weave. It is like that game where you start the story and then pass it around for each to continue–makes for an interesting read.

    @Buy Articles, this is a must for an SEO copywriter. I often have clients send me a list of the top 100 search queries in their logs. It helps your writing give them real results faster because you are building on a “credible, authoritative” foundation agreed to by Google.

  • Great idea! I’ve been doing this a lot with my blog, and it really helps.. especially when you notice a search term repeatedly bringing visitors to your site, but there’s really not a good post on that topic (just something vaguely related).

    Another thing that’s useful too is to keep an eye on what visitors search for with your “on site” search bar… you can do this by looking at the “top content” page in analytics. I’ve noticed that not many visitors use this on my site (even when I had it on the top), but it’s been a good source of inspiration for new posts.

  • Excellent post and a timely reminder to scrutinise my Google Analytics data much more closely.

    Thank you Bill.

    I remember the first month when I started blogging, I wrote 100 posts – talk of starting with a bang!

    This then soon became a trickle :-(

    What I am finding now is that I can write a new post every 2/3 days and that is much more achievable. Carrying a note book with me all the time and thinking of ideas whilst waiting in traffic is also working really well for me.

  • Bill Rice says:

    @Steve Berardi, that is a great idea to look at the top content for inter-site searches.

    Another trick that is related is to look at pages with high bounce rates or very short view times. This usually indicates people that search and found something they thought was right, but then didn’t meet their needs. I find I can improve bounce rates by breaking down the article into simpler or more basic element (giving me more post) and then (internally) linking out to them from that weaker post.

    @Arvida Devalia, your passion followed by the stall is not unusual. I am glad you have found a rhythm that is so important to long-term success!

  • Interesting post! You have effectively provided some great solutions and ideas on how google analytics can be used as a creative tool for new ideas on content generation for our website visitors. By following it regularly, we can avoid idea-blockage. Keep up the great work!

  • Great article – I use Google Analytics insights religiously to find out more about what folks are searching on and what they’re reading. There are so many ways to use it – but I’d encourage ever blogger to, even if you’re not a tech expert. Google makes it easy. Also, check out Google Trends or Insights for Search if you want to see a more macro-view of what people are searching on and where. Thanks for the post, Bill!

  • Bill Rice says:

    @Vijay, thanks for the compliment. I agree with your comment on avoiding idea-blockage–not only does it leave your audience wondering where you are, but it is enormously frustrating to any writer. This little trick, using Google Analytics, has made the flow easier and my blog stronger.

    @Laura, nice tip on Google Trends, like a good SEO keyword tracker this can really help you give audiences what they are looking for. I use Twitter Search, and trending memes in a similar way. Maybe I should do a post on how I use real-time social networks to spot and write “on-trend” topics.

    Thanks for all the comments and additional tips you have added to this post!

  • Goozik says:

    Very good idea and something I will definitely remember next time that blank page stares back at me for to long.

    Lately I’ve been using Google’s Wonder wheel to find related searches with some success.

    Combine the Wheel with your tip could really work wonders.

  • You should mention that this does not work on wordpress blogs. :( Just tried to use it…

  • Bill Rice says:

    @southern quebec, I use WordPress for all of my blogs. You simple cut and paste the code snippet from Google Analytics and place it in your footer template. You can also use Google Analytics with WordPress.com.

    Here is a link from Google that might help you: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/06/back-to-basics-setting-up-google.html

  • info ternak says:

    i got lots of information from your site, thank for your sharing… :)

  • Google Analytics is equally easy to add to a Blogspot blog. I recently did so. I like the slant you put on this. Concentrating too much on SEO words has a tendency to turn writing stiff and make it sound contrived. I try to work in my own tag list a lot, and have to be careful that way.

    Before I found Google Analytics I was using StatCounter — still would be but it keeps tanking. One time I was able to discover that someone in China had visited my post with the slide show of clothes drying on balconies in Chinese cities. What a hoot! I have not figured out how to get specific locations of visitors in G.A. Anyone know about that?

  • Ralph says:

    I use google analytics almost everyday, but I did not it can be used in this way. Thanks.

  • Brian Katz says:

    Hi Bill

    This post really turned things upside down for me!
    I write posts on individual Tips about Google Analytics but never thought I’d see GA as the tip itself.

    I think I’ll add this on to
    http://blog.vkistudios.com/index.cfm/2009/6/17/Web-Analytics-Quickies

    Brian Katz – Analytics – VKI

  • porno says:

    i like analytics its very usefull

  • brad says:

    Its an interesting approach. I use a different tool from google for my creative blog posts. When I come up against a wall but have the need to participate in the writing process, I look to google trends. I try and come up with something witty to say about what’s happening in the world based on the top hundred searches in google trends. Not only does this give you a focus for writing, if you know how to get quickly indexed by google it can create massive amounts of traffic.

  • Bill Rice says:

    @Sharon, @Ralph, @Brian, and @Brad

    I’m glad you enjoyed the Google Analytics inspirational tip. Brad, I hadn’t thought of Google Trends–thank you.

    This process doubles the impact these articles can have on your website:

    1. It gives you inspiration for relevant content that your readers obviously want, and
    2. It virtually guarantees you Google juice (traffic) to your website or blog

    Thanks again for commenting!

  • Sunehri says:

    This post really helped me out a lot. Thanks!

Comments are closed.