Search Widget is Too Lijit to Quit
You can install a lot of widgets on your blog, but if you could only install one, I recommend installing a search tool that works.
Sure, you could choose to monetize, instead. To that end, you have
- Amazon affiliate widget
- Google AdWords widget, and
- A tip jar
But those are more focused on your needs than the likely needs of your audience.
The need for search in content-rich environments is universal, but so few engines really perform it well.
If you haven't yet, you have to try this blog's search feature, which uses the Lijit engine. It's function is straightforward, and it has a few nifty add-ons that you have to experience to appreciate.
However, one of the most useful features is its ability to deliver useful statistics on how your site is being searched, not only within the tool, but also what brings people to your blog.
Take this example, which is available within my login on the site (I also get a summary once per week of some of the most useful stats).
Here's something I found particularly interesting. My post about John Edwards' economics "expertise" (John Edwards 2.0: Truth and Consequences) showed as high as #5 on a Google search for "The Truth About John Edwards" (See #21 in the above list).
I would have never even known to search for that without this kind of detailed analysis of my search data.
Why this is important to your marketing
You have to be prepared for the possibility that people are coming to your website through pages other than the home page. The search data gives you context that can help you determine if your content is meeting the needs of these visitors.
If it is, then you may pick up a few more subscribers. If it isn't, well... it might be for a variety of reasons, but one of them may be that your site is optimized for the wrong words.
If, for instance, I were getting 100 visits per week from people looking for information about "John Edwards," but only 1 per week on searches about "marketing" I could infer that
- Lots of people were searching for information about John Edwards, and
- My site is performing relatively poorly, in other areas most relevant to the purpose of the site.
How to improve your SEO
- Visit the Search Engine Guide and subscribe. (You can thank me later)
- Read Copyblogger for good writing techniques.
- Install Lijit.
- Learn from what you see.
In the end, you have to satisfy yourself, but if you're like me, you'll agree that the key to this is to help other people. To do that, you have to put your audience first. Good luck! - Cam Beck