Visitors and Readers: Which Are Which and How Do You Please Them?

content skimmers vs deep readersIf you have a blog you may assume that anyone who comes is a reader of your site. But that is a common misconception, and only some of those who come to your blog will be readers, and the rest will be visitors. You may wonder if there is really a difference, but there is and the distinction is an important one. It will give you the data you need to start planning posts based on your most important demographic.

So, what is the difference? A visitor is someone who comes to your site looking for some specific information or item. They have been on a search engine and directed from there, or from some kind of third party affiliate that has listed your link. They are wanting something directly, and if you don’t have what they are looking for they will move on without a second thought. Chances are they will never fully search your site, and will never come back. They help to push up your daily statistics, but they are not who you need to focus on.

On the other hand, a reader is someone who has become a fan of the blog. They regularly visit it to read new posts and find information, and often they will comment. You interact with them, and that is what makes the relationship between you and them so crucial to the social experience of blogging. You can really take advantage of this interaction, finding out more about them and what they are looking for. They may also share links to your site with others, bringing in new potential readers to expand on this process.

Please Your Readers, Not Your Visitors

A common myth that has been perpetrated by those who misunderstand SEO is that you should be drawing as much traffic as is possible regardless of who it is from. But what your blog should focus on is targeting those readers that will most benefit from it, not dragging in an occasional straggler who will take one look at a post and never come back. What good is that to anyone? You want to put your focus on making sure those who stick with you are happy, so they keep coming back for more.

For example, let’s say you are running a blog that is dedicated to the latest technology news. You know from experience that your posts that are most commented on and shared are those having to do with gadget releases like smartphones, consoles and multimedia devices. But trending heavily right now is news about a new type of aircraft that has been developed by MIT.

The trending news will draw in more people than usual from search engines. But while they might come to read that story, chances are they won’t stay on your blog. There is no reason you can’t include this, but you should focus more on the gadget stories than the trending ones, to ensure you respect the wishes of those who are dedicated to reading and revisiting. Striking that balance between new readers and old ones is important.

Finding Your Average Visitor Versus Average Reader

To figure out what it is you should be looking towards as far as focus in concerned, you should take a look at your visitor statistics. Glancing through this data you should be able to put together a fair estimate of the most popular topics, as well as some information on the visitors of themselves. There are a number of things you should be looking at:

  • Where are your average visitors located? Are they local, out of state or overseas?
  • What keywords are they using in their searches that lead them to you? What does this tell you about what they are looking for, and what it is they like?
  • What demographic do these interests point to? What is their likely age/gender/nationality/religion/political status/ect.?  What does this tell you about their connection to your blog, and can you make them into regular readers?
  • What are they looking for when they reach your site? Are there links they click on more, or searches they conduct through a blog-specific search engine?

Various types of online testing tools can also be of huge help here: try running an engaging quiz ir survey to learn about your readers and visitors.

Using these details you will be able to create a list of reader needs and visitor needs. Look through your posts and establish which you are meeting first and foremost, and how you can redirect more energy to giving your readers what they need. Once you have covered this you can start working towards drawing in more visitors.

This is a guest post by Annie Wallace, momtrepreneur and social media junkie. Read her post on the history of Facebook if you want to get an idea of her style.

Damian Davila

Ideas and concepts from Damian Davila, Ecuatoriano thriving in Hawaii. Pro marketer and blogger. Find him at @idaconcpts on Twitter.