Check out my new guide for starting a blog to learn how to go about properly creating your own blog.
As I mentioned in my last blog update post, I’ve decided that I need to get back to writing more content myself. Since the guest writers are doing an awesome job covering finance topics, I figure now is a good time to bring back some more blogging tips posts.
Hopefully this series will continue helping fellow bloggers and those considering starting a blog.
Check out some of the previous posts from this series:
- Google PageRank, Not Just About Links
- Blog Link Building – Not All Links Are Created Equal
- Optimizing Images For Your Blog
- With Blog Networking It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know
- Importance of Blog Networking
- Advanced Keyword Strategy For Your Blog
- Effectively Using Keywords On Your Blog
- Optimal Blog Keyword Research for SEO
This week I’ll be writing about something that has been on my mind a lot more recently. Well it’s constantly on my mind while focusing on my blog, but this past 2 weeks, it’s been brought to the forefront.
Blog Statistics and Why They Matter
If you’re a blogger, you’ve inevitably heard people mention various stats associated with their blogs. Usually they’re mentioning Google PageRank and Alexa Ranking, but you might’ve also heard things like MozRank, Domain Authority, Page Authority, Compete Ranking, Klout Score, etc. I won’t get into what each of those stats mean and how they’re calculated. That kind of info can be found with a simple Google search. Or you can ask any specific questions in the comments below.
The important thing to know is that you should be paying attention to these stats if you want your blog to grow. You don’t need to know your current blog stats off of the top of your head or check them religiously every single day. Some bloggers do stay on top of those stats to that degree, but you probably have more important work to do on your blog.
Now let’s get into the different types of stats you should be monitoring and how that can help you.
Blog Traffic Stats
For the majority of bloggers this is the most important statistical area to be monitoring. By checking your traffic stats with services such as Google Analytics, you can directly see how your blog is doing in one of the most critical areas. Obviously you want to see more people visiting your blog. If you keep track of your daily traffic, you can develop goals and milestones to shoot for. Or you can notice drops in traffic that should be investigated.
The more powerful part of stats programs like Google Analytics is seen when you get digging deeper into stats. You can pinpoint which specific sites are sending you the most traffic or the traffic that engages with your blog the most. You can see which search engine keywords are sending traffic. You can even see how visitors interact with your site. Taking that kind of information into consideration can allow you to tweak your blog and your marketing to be much more effective.
While Google Analytics is the most popular service to use, feel free to use whichever service you are most comfortable with. You don’t need to see exact numbers, just general trends. So don’t let your decision be based solely on one program reporting higher traffic than another. It is the reporting capabilities that is more important.
For a basic comparison between your blog and others, you can monitor your Alexa Ranking. Be aware that the ranking is skewed in favor of sites that attract advertisers, marketers and bloggers. So the more natural traffic you have, the less it will be reflected with your Alexa Ranking. There are sites like Compete and Quantcast that attempt to predict a site’s traffic, but I don’t recommend them due to their inaccuracy.
Blog Readership Stats
Your day to day traffic is important, but if you want to build up a popular blog, you want people to actually subscribe to your blog. That reflects that not only are people finding your blog, but they like it enough to want to keep up to date with what you’re posting. A high number of subscribers is a sign of a successful blog. Of course it depends on what you do with that subscriber base. A smart marketer will find ways to make money from their subscribers rather than over-relying on search engine traffic. That creates a much greater level of stability.
By default a wordpress blog should have a RSS feed at domain.com/feed/ or a similar address. You can get visitors to subscribe to that feed, but it is better to stream that feed to a service such as FeedBurner. Then you can see stats related to your feed subscribers and also display your subscriber stats on your blog. You could take things a step further and use FeedBurner to customize your feed setup. Since feed subscribers often read your content via the feed and not on your blog, you could be missing out on a chance to display ads or extra content for these readers.
If you’ve got the time, you would be even better off by creating an exclusive e-mail newsletter. This would allow you to deliver extra content that is not on your blog and subtly market to them. That is an art that is best covered in its own post. If you do setup an e-mail newsletter, that subscriber total will likely become your most important stat.
Blog Usage Stats
As mentioned above, you can use tools like Google Analytics to track how visitors interact with your site. A savvy blog owner will pay attention to things like bounce rate, time on site and pages viewed per visit. These kinds of metrics give you a very good idea of how much visitors like your content and how effective your blog navigation is setup. If you are able to consistently improve these stats, you will be able to get a lot more mileage from any traffic that you do receive. The more that visitors interact with your blog, the more likely it is that they will socially share your content, subscribe to your feed or come back again later.
Some bloggers also like to pay attention to how many comments their posts get. This is often a strong reflection of how interesting a post is and how your traffic is growing. The problem with that approach is that fellow bloggers are usually the ones doing most of the commenting early on. It is easy enough to get them to comment by commenting back on their blogs. So by building up comments like that, it might just reflect your networking effectiveness and not necessarily how good your posts are. Instead look a bit further at how many social shares each post gets. While that will be affected by how many bloggers you network with, you will see higher numbers for better posts.
Blog SEO Stats
This is where things get a bit more complicated. It’s easy enough to monitor things like traffic and blog usage, but how do you tell if you’re also doing a good job of building up the SEO strength of your blog? Fortunately there are all kinds of stats to measure how you’re doing SEO-wise. Mainly this about tracking how many links you’ve been building, as well as the overall strength of those links.
The most common such metric is Google PageRank, but since the publicly displayed PageRank is only updated every 3 months, it is more of a long term metric. It is nice to aim for a higher PR, especially if you want to appeal to advertisers, but be aware that Google doesn’t want you to be selling links that pass PageRank. A higher PR is a good sign that you are building links that will help your search engine rankings.
For short term tracking, I suggest you look into stats such as MozRank, Domain Authority and Page Authority. These will give you a score that again shows how well your building is going. Since these stats update more often it is easier to use them for goals.
The number of sites linking to your blog is also a valuable statistic. Google reports some of those links if you search for link:domain.com, but that is a small sample. If you look up your blog url on Alexa, they will tell you how many domains link to your site. This is likely more important than your overall number of links since lots of links from several domains is less advantageous than lots of links from lots of domains. A good site to monitor your link building activity is Ahrefs. They make it easy to see how many links you are getting each day and how they are dispersed. There are many other tools that do this kind of tracking too.
So You’re Monitoring Blog Statistics, Now What?
Obviously keeping tabs on these kinds of stats is just a small part of the battle. The crucial part is that you find ways to improve all of those statistics.
For people who work well with goals, you might want to set goals for specific stat improvements each month or quarter. Keep in mind that some stats take much longer to improve than others. You’ll want to try to set realistic goals while still pushing yourself to do your very best. If you reach your goal one month, try setting the bar a little higher next month. Those goals might be the bit of motivation you need to keep going long term.
In the end it becomes a bit of a game to improve all the various stats with your blog. Luckily most of those stats are intertwined. So by focusing on certain areas, you will likely notice improvements in other areas. Over time try to address other areas though. As it all builds up, your blog will develop into a serious player. That’s the plan anyway
Stay tuned for future blogging tips posts for more advice on how to improve your blog. Or click here to subscribe to my RSS feed.