How I Got My First Paying Blog Customer

September 14, 2017

Know Your Audience

All about my first blog customer using Google Analytics

One of the first things I do every morning is to check my blog’s stats. How many users did I have yesterday? What did they view? And did I finally make any money? On this particular day, the answer is YES! I made my first sale, $0.40! It’s not much, but every blog has to start somewhere and I wanted to learn as much as possible from that sale. Let’s take a look at the blog post that drove the sale, what social media brought them to my site and what data can I find out about this customer?

 Woman reading an ebook on a tablet, what I imagine my first blog customer looks likeThe first sale

After deciding my blog niche would be focused on marrying travel adventures with book recommendations, I started writing book reviews and those reviews are some of the best-crafted content on my site. I say “crafted” because working on those posts felt more like journalism than trying to sell something. For those reviews, I reached out to the book’s authors and asked for photos. And so far, every time I have asked, they have been gracious enough to provide me with some. This is the post that resulted in the sale, it’s a book review for Devil’s Teeth by Susan Casey. The book is about sharks of the Farallon Islands.

Because my audience is made up of more women than men, I’m going to give my mystery customer a name. Let’s call her Fara, in honor of the book she bought. By looking at my Amazon Affiliate reports, I know that Fara purchased the book as a Kindle Paid E-Book for $9.99. I built the link that she clicked using Amazon Associates Link Builder which is a WordPress.org plugin. The specific link that she clicked, is the one at the very bottom of the post that looks like this:

Using Google Analytics

When viewing Google Analytics, I can see information about my audience. When I narrow down the search to only see data from the exact date of purchase, I find that I had 9 users on my site that day. Not much, I know. My blog is only 6 weeks old and that day I didn’t publish anything new.

Now I’m going to get into a lot of technical details about how I found the information that I did. I do not claim to be an expert, but I did find that going through this exercise to be very useful. I learned a lot about Google Analytics and how to read some of the data that it provides. Which in turn, let me get to know my readers.

Under the Audience category on the left, I can see data based on the user’s location, behavior, technology, etc. So starting with Users Flow, this tells me that only 1 person viewed that specific book review on that day and that person is in the United States. Now I know where Fara is from.

Image from my Google Analytics User Flow screen to learn about my blog customer
Getting to know my first blog customer in User Flow of Google Analytics

In the drop down menu of this screen, I can find out even more info. I discover that Fara is located in San Francisco, that she was viewing my blog in English on the in-app Safari browser on a mobile device with a screen resolution of 768×1024.

Getting to know Fara, my first blog customer

Next, I go into Behavior > Landing Pages. Here I see Fara’s session duration. She spent 8 minutes and 20 seconds on that page. Timing myself, it took me about 5 minutes and 30 seconds to read that book review so I have to assume that Fara was reading the entire book review! Nice one Fara! *high five*

Next, going into Acquisition knowing that Fara is the only user to have a long session duration on this day, I discover that she was referred to me from Facebook on a mobile device.

In Audience > Devices I see that only one user with a session duration of 8m 20s used an Apple iPad Pro, that must be my Fara.

Google Analytics on a screen, representation of blog customers
Google Analytics is a great way to get to know your blog customers

Follow the bread crumbs

Let’s recap. I know that my first blog customer whom I named Fara is in San Francisco, California. She came to my blog through Facebook and purchased an e-book on her iPad after spending 8 minutes and 20 seconds reading my entire book review. That is a lot of very useful information. I inadvertently made part of my Reader Persona.

Now I think to myself, where in Facebook could she have come from? Since I know that she didn’t come to my home page, she came directly to THAT book review, that is telling. Over the past week, I joined several Facebook groups with the purpose of advertising my book reviews. I joined three groups, two of them were for book lovers and one was for people living in San Francisco. My informed guess is that Fara was part of that San Francisco Facebook group and clicked on my book review from there.

 

Take Aways

1. Get your site set up with robust analytics and research your users. Even if you don’t yet have a paying customer, it will help you to get to know your audience.

2. Don’t be afraid of content that takes a long time to read. If it’s quality content and it captures the reader’s attention, you can make a sale from it.

3. Go to where your readers are. Join Facebook groups where the group members would be happy to read your content.

I’m not saying this is what you must do to get a sale. I’m just giving you the inside information about what worked for me and how I got my first paying blog customer. Having only one person view that page that day, probably made my investigation easier but like I said before, it was a very useful exercise to get to know my audience and to get more comfortable using Google Analytics. I hope that this will be an inspiration to new bloggers who are still working to get their first sale. Keep at it! I also have to give a special thank you to Fara, you will forever be my first!

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By Amber Alexander

Through my own adventures, I strive to provide insight into experiences that will enrich your life. Traveling is my passion and I want to share that with you. Along with recommendations for adventures, I will also review books and supplies that are related to those adventures. I want you to push your own boundaries of what you thought you could do. Let me be your guide and compass to rediscovering how fun life can be!

13 Comments

  1. Reply

    lilal06

    This is a great post! I’m new to blogging (just launched last week). I will also have some book reviews and am a member of Amazon Affiliate Program. I will definitely be reviewing this in the morning (when I’m less tired, haha) and when I have today’s analytics. I just invited a ton of my friends to like my page so I’m curious to see how my blog’s traffic was today. Thanks again!

  2. Reply

    ashjustgoes

    Great post! Do you have to have the WordPress business account to use google analytics? Or can I somehow use it without having to upgrade?

    1. Reply

      Amber Alexander

      Good question, I’m guessing you’re referring to WordPress.com, while I use WordPress.org. I’ll update my post to make that clearer. You’ll probably need to reach out to their customer service to ask. Not being able to do much with analytics and affiliates is a big reason why I switched from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

      1. Reply

        ashjustgoes

        Gotcha that makes sense thanks so much!

  3. Reply

    leah sylvia

    Such good info here! I have google analytics but honestly can’t wrap me head around it but wow you can literally learn so much about your readers from it! Now I gotta do some learning :]

  4. Reply

    Chasa Fulkerson

    I also use GA and I am so close to a pay out from Amazon! My money is just sitting there because I only need a dollar or two more! It’s nice to see when people have purchased from you though. Thanks for a more in depth about how to use GA and how it ties in with affiliate money. #gltlove

  5. Reply

    Pia

    Awesome post. I also use google analytics and it´s still a mystery for me. I´m everything but confident how to interpret all the figures in the right way. Thanks to you, now, I have a better understanding. There is still a lot more to learn about it but now I feel a bit better!

  6. Reply

    brad217

    I’m impressed. Cant wait to test this out. Great advice. Love the post!

  7. Reply

    carefreespiritfairy

    Great post! You got some good tips here. I like that you get to know your customers

  8. Reply

    Jo

    This is really methodical, thorough and helpful, Amber! Our blogs are the same age and I just learned from you—thank you!

  9. Reply

    Dagmara

    Thank you, I appreciate the detailed description and step by step guide. Thank you for sharing. I pinned this.

  10. Reply

    Rebecca M McLelland

    This is great info. Thank you.

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