Knowing Your Website Content Audience
Knowing your audience simply means to have an eye for seeing what people that your website traffic consists of are interested in. If you know a certain subject really well, or have experience with it, it should be easy for you to understand what visitors of your website may want to see. If you are starting a new website, don't build it around subjects you don't know anything about. You are likely to run out of ideas or creativity. Rather, choose something you are passionate about. If you are a computer programmer, there isn't a reason for why you shouldn't write a website with tips and tutorials on how you use a particular computer language to accomplish a specific goal. Sometimes people underestimate what they already know and that often leads to seeking that "secret" knowledge. The logic is as follows: If someone is not making any money online, it must be that they don't know what it takes to make money.
Again, this person is thinking about themselves. Over and over, we will return to the concept of serving yourself versus serving your audience and how it defines the difference between the person who is making money and the one who is frustrated why it's not working out no matter how much hard work goes into it. There are so many examples. Instead of focusing on sharing what they already know, people often think the fault is in them, yet they haven't made a slightest attempt at trying to offer other people value. It is the value that they may already have to offer. The knowledge they already have. They just never bothered to physically put it out there, or write about it creatively, in an interesting, engaging manner.
When I start to write an article, the first question I ask is: Who am I writing for? I know the answer to this question before I even have to touch the keyboard to write my first sentence. This is because I do my research and try to understood the demands of my audience. Sometimes it is more obvious than other times, but this is the first thing I have to do.
For example, you are still reading this article because the title and the first three paragraphs had enough impression on you to keep you interested. You probably enjoyed seeing a title that appealed to you in the subject line of this newsletter when you were checking your inbox today. Because the information was related to you in some way. To be specific, the title of this newsletter promised you something. It promised you an answer and an understanding of why it is important to understand your audience, or as some people would say, your niche.
Now, let's take the title of the entire newsletter series as an example. The Pentagon of Progress or why working hard doesn't produce monumental AdSense earnings. The entire series of this newsletter promises an answer to that. And my job, as a writer, is to deliver that answer to my audience.
That title implies several things. It makes visitors think that they had seen little in the way of increasing their AdSense revenue, and they are interested in learning about how to increase their earnings. I knew who you were before I wrote a single word. This creative writing tactic has a tremendous effect on increasing the reader's level of engagement and loyalty to your content.
Knowing your audience helps you accomplish so much, with just one article or newsletter. It makes people want to return to your website at a later time. This is probably a good time to mention that you should value the reader's level of engagement over your AdSense CTR. If for any reason at all, it is because you want them to remember your website. And in order to do that, you must satisfy their demand for information. And perhaps you even want to surprise them with a little creative writing and make them think: "Now I have to find out who the author is". If your content does not have the quality of being engaging, it's going to be difficult to make people remember your website. Creative writing is a skill like any other, anyone can learn it. So can you. I will talk more about it again in detail in two of the following newsletter issues titled Writing original content, and How to make people listen to you.
Understanding my audience gives me the ability to think about how I am going to come up with the answer to their questions. This is important, because you must really understand the answer to the question your audience asks. You will do this by doing research.
Okay, let's say that I know my audience and I understand exactly what it wants and for what reason. Does that mean I am ready to start writing? Highly unlikely. I can't just write my content. I must spend an appropriate amount of time to plan my content. Remember that your audience is a group of very needy people. And they want their need to be satisfied very much. I must therefore plan how I am going to deliver that satisfaction to them.
You must promise first, with the title, then engage with a creative introduction and finally deliver the promise in the body of the article. Conclusions work well in summarizing the point of your article, and perhaps for asking readers specific questions for providing valuable feedback. Your reader's feedback can be an important tool if you are looking to improve content that already exists.
When you improve one page of content you've created in the past, hundreds of new readers will experience it in a new light. And perhaps that will motivate more people to link back to your content or share it with friends. When you improve the rate at which people share your content even by a tiny percent, your overall performance increases dramatically in the long run.
The title for your webpage featuring the content plays a big role in generating targeted traffic.
The title of your website or a single web page must have the quality of a promise. If your title doesn't promise anything, then the reader is likely to ignore the entire text. The question that is specified in the title of the article is nothing more than a "bait". It is the first contact with the reader. Now that you have a promise. Guess what? As a content producer, it is your responsibility to fulfill that promise. If you want to succeed at making people talk about your content, you must not allow any shortcuts or skip instructions. You must provide an answer, a resolution, an end. You must completely satisfy the purpose of the title of your article within the body of your page.
Please make sure that the audience interested in the content of your website exists in places beyond your imagination. Only then you will be ready to even start thinking of any titles.
Another thing I hear often is this: "Create attractive titles! Top 10 lists work so remarkably well! You can never go wrong with them!". But how many times do we have to see articles with titles like "The Top Ten Of...". When you finally go to those pages, I guarantee that you will be either deceived or disappointed in most cases. They all pretty much can be considered the top ten most manipulative titles on the Internet. Imagine what would happen if Wikipedia would start adding "The Top Ten of" to the titles of their articles? How long would we have to wait to see the decline in the traffic to the site?
Why then, do these types of deceitful tactics exist? The authors of articles with these titles have no idea of the negative impact this tactic has on the overall performance of their website, not only in terms of traffic and conversion rates but also in terms of credibility. This happens for the same single reason I've discussed earlier. The author is, once again, focused on producing value for themselves. They want to bring more traffic and make money, even if it means manipulating or deceiving people. Most of all, they do that because it works. It does generate an extra income at the expense of decrease in credibility and return rate – two concepts that I think are incredibly important, if your plan is to produce long-term value. It works for them, because heck, it's easy, and you don't even have to think about what your niche or audience are because everyone is conditioned to want to see the top ten of anything. This tactic is not going to work in the long run and will hurt your credibility as an author and as a content producer. It might work well if you are in the business of entertainment, but it will not help you when you are writing content that you want your audience to take seriously.
Why do these things happen? It's probably because people look for an easy way. The subject of the first issue of this newsletter. It may also be because people fail to use their brain's inherent ability to use reason. There is no common sense in thinking that a Top 10 list is a good idea. Unless you really do provide a list of 10 very exceptional things. But I've personally never seen that before. I did see too many pages titled: Top ten website hosting companies. On those pages, the top 3 hosting companies are introduced to the reader with affiliate links. Links that generate up to $100+ affiliate commissions to the benefit of the person who created that page, every time someone signs up for hosting services using those links. Who knows if those companies deliver value? How would anyone know if so many people try to manipulate reviews in return for a profit? If the Internet experienced a back-link crisis, these websites would start to disappear first.
When I came up with the idea for Pentagon of Progress, I knew I had to pick top 5 of the absolutely most important subjects that I wanted to teach people, that I knew about and understood really well. But instead of naming them Top 5 things, I decided to take another path. I decided to be inventive. I decided to be unusual. I wanted to put a twist on it. There are indeed top 5 things mentioned in this newsletter, and maybe even more, that can make a difference on your general outlook of what to do if you want to make more money online. But I choose not to explicitly say it. I want to challenge my skills of creating great content by letting people decide, and perhaps tell their friends about the content I create. This is the logic that I follow to create my content. Therefore my results become authentic.
Let's back track to a point I've made before, in the introduction to this newsletter. When you don't know what type of results to expect from your work, it is difficult to be confident in doing that work. My idea is that if I see that people give me positive feedback, then I am doing something right. It is the very thing that motivates me to do more of it, because it also makes me confident that it will work. Yes, but how did I know what to do the very first time? Well, I didn't. I experimented. I studied. I paid attention to what popular bloggers who make money say in their video messages. I tried things that worked for me. When I notice that something starts to produce results, I try to do more of it.
If people think my content is helpful, then I've succeeded. I will know about it when I receive a single piece of positive feedback from my readers. And that's how you know you're doing something right, because you're fulfilling another person's demand. Not yours.
In the end, deceiving your audience is one of the worst things you can do. You will lose respect and any credibility once the visitor finds out that you have misled them. Never ever to return or consider your website again. That's the thing, some people are so obsessed with writing the content, and thinking "Oh, it's the Internet, it's so easy to make a web page and be a writer", that they forget one important thing: When it comes to increased profitability of your website, you must understand that there are forces at work on the Internet that are for the most part unrelated to web design, websites, money or technology as much as they are related to human behavior. But again, just like the Rubik's cube, every single type of common behavior is well understood. The problem is knowing how to learn more about it and use it to.... not, not your advantage. But the advantage of those people.