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One of the most common questions being asked in the blogging community is, “How do I drive traffic to my site?” Traffic is often viewed as the definitive way to measure website success, but pageviews alone aren’t enough to make you stand out. While getting new visitors to your site is important, reader engagement is the real determinant of those readers’ value. Comments and shares are great indicators that your site hosts an active and engaged community, which raises the value of your traffic from an advertising perspective. Higher value means bigger revenue potential and since we here at Sovrn love helping you make money, it only makes sense we share some tips on how to maximize reader engagement.

Know your audience.

The first step to promoting reader engagement is knowing your audience. When you partner with Sovrn you can access to meridian, a publisher-centric analytics platform that provides publishers with unique data visualizations that allow them to make better, more informed content, marketing and revenue decisions. For the purpose of this anecdote, we’ll focus on meridian’s Audience tab. The Audience by Geography section lets you know where your users are all around the world. How is this helpful? We thought you’d never ask.

Example:  If you realize you are bringing in a lot of international traffic, it would be smart to make your content relatable on a global scale. A local news site is not very likely to attract international readers but if you had a section dedicated to discussing international politics your content would become more relevant to a wider range of people.

meridian analytics sovrn.com

Next up in the meridian tour is the Audience Insights module. This section segments your audience into content categories based on their cookie profiles. What’s even cooler is how we show you how much each segment is contributing to unique pageviews and revenue, and what their average CPM is.

Another example: The Audience Insights graph below is for a sports website so it makes sense that users primarily interested in sports are the biggest contributors to pageviews. Those interested in Arts & Entertainment make up a much smaller percent of readers but they have actually have the highest average CPM. Adding content about what athletes do in their free time would likely appeal to this segment without losing sports enthusiasts.

meridian analytics sovrn.com

Find out what other publishers are talking about.

Now that you know who your audience is you need to make sure you’re doing everything you can to retain your current readers and acquire more. Simply looking at sites with similar content to yours can expose you to new content ideas and can provide additional insight into what your audience wants. A great way to explore similar sites is with the very appropriately named similarsites.com.

Similar Sites sovrn.com

SimilarSites provides some analytical data but its primary function is to build a list of relative websites based on the content and keywords of your site along with what other sites your readers are visiting. Now that you essentially have a list of your competitors, learn what they are doing right and get creative with how you can take it to the next level and apply it to your audience. See how users are interacting with their site and think about how you could integrate and improve on what they have done. The Internet is a constantly changing environment and learning from your publishing peers is the best way to stay on top of the trends to promote reader engagement.

You owe it to your audience.

Your readers are the most important part of your site and it is your duty to make it a good experience. Having an active, kind, and helpful presence will help build relationships with readers and will keep them coming back. Replying to comments and answering questions shows that you are reading what they have to say and will make them more eager to contribute. By connecting with them you are greatly increasing the odds of them recommending your website and all it cost you was a little bit of time.

PoY Comment sovrn.com

Engagement essentially boils down to appealing to your audience and giving them a voice. This means producing content that is not only relevant to them but also entertaining and informative. Ask for their opinions and show that you care about them. If your site does this then you are on the right track to running a high value site.

If you want to read more about our love of engagement, check out Engagement First, Traffic Later

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