Looking backwards to go forwards (EduBlogging)

updated 31Jan2011

Staring into one's navel to remove lint...

Moving Forward Sometimes Means Looking Backward
If you've not set up Google Analytics and Webmaster tools for your blog, do do this as soon as possible.

This is immeasurably important: it helps you get real insight into your work, offers the opportunity to understand  better what your readers are interested in, shows where your readers are mostly coming in from, how they   find your blog and in general, what other bloggers mostly link to.

It also helps you to keep track of your progresss in attracting new readers.   

For those of you who have it already /those with another analytical plug-in, this post is a reminder to look backwards, every now and then:  to analyze your content.


Here are some examples based on my own experience

Webmaster Tools
1. I found out that one of my blog posts which had very, very few comments, is, in fact, one of my most popular posts with over 3000 links leading to it from external sources.  This lesson had nothing to do with what I generally write about and now knowing this, I recognize that I must dedicate time to doing a follow-up.  (And do more of this ilk).

If you're an educational blogger, what blog posts have been linked to most often?  What does this teach you about the usefulness of your work?

2. Two of the keywords which I use in the back-end of my blog are very effective for leading readers to my blog, however some words which one would expect to have more relevance to my work, don't (e.g. TEFL!) - this teaches me that while I refer to English language teachers and teaching in my writing, clearly I don't use some of the core phrases enough within my posts - the words people type into Google to look for content.

If you're an educational blogger, what keywords should you using in your posts to attract Google to list your blog?

Google Analytics
1. Printing out a list of my blog posts in order of popularity has showed me that
a) there is no relationship, it seems, between number of comments and people reading posts.   Some posts don't inspire conversation.  I'm not sure what to do with this information, but it's something for me to take note of and learn from.

b) it looks like many of my readers are mostly interested in practical tips and lessons that they can take into class, rather than my side-bar musings on teaching practices (seen based on time spent on pages)... although the rants on coursebooks and the posts on dogme, blogging and twitter best practices were also popular (but not in top 10).

c) dips in visits tend to occur in all holiday times - a good suggestion for me to take time off then too :-)
If you're an educational blogger, what blog posts have been visited and remarked on most often?  What does this teach you about the type of posts you should be writing and when? 

2. I also found out that there are overwhelming differences in popularity of certain posts, e.g few have been visited 25,000+ times, a lot of others 1-3000 times, some 500-1000 with others at less than a hundred times.  
So like the webmaster tools, this teaches me a lot  in what my readers are really interested in.  However, in my opinion, analyzing the unpopular posts was ALSO very effective practice.
  • In some cases, they were simply very badly written.   This offers me an opportunity to cover this ground again, better.
  • In some cases, they were posts when I had first started out blogging and didn't have a wide readership.  This offers me the opportunity to either rewrite or to start marketing these (either by tweeting them out again now; creating a post or a new sidebar widget of "hidden gems" or importantly back-linking to them in newer posts based on similar topics.
  • In some cases, they were actually well-written posts.  Some of these were released in holiday periods when not many teachers were reading or looking for this sort of post.  And, guessing, only, but in some cases, it's also possible that they were released when killer topics of higher interest were around the same time in another corner of the edu-elt-blogosphere and everyone was over there at that party.   As above, these posts are worth me looking at again, reviewing, updating and then sending out again.
If you're an educational blogger, what blog posts haven't been visited or remarked on?  What can you do now to bring more attention to these older posts?

Do you have any other tips for EduBloggers on looking backwards to go forwards?  Let us know your thoughts and experiences.

Are you a regular reader of my blog?  Do you have any other tips or sugggestions regarding the direction or content you would like to see more often on my pages?  Don't hesitate to share your thoughts and give me your advice, it will be much appreciated.


Useful links
Nik Peachey: how to track your sitewebmaster tools

1 Response to “Looking backwards to go forwards (EduBlogging)”

  • Mike Church says:
    February 27, 2011


    I *love* your blog! I wouldn't call myself a "regular" reader, but every time I remember to visit these pages, I always find something stimulating or new. I wouldn't ask you to change anything.

    So pleased to see you have been nominated for various rewards over the last year or so. You certainly deserve recognition for the service you provide.

    Take care


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