You might have the most brilliant advice, but nobody reads it.
The solution starts with…the start.
A recent survey found that only 30% of readers make it to the end of a post. Just like a YouTube video – if you don’t grab your readers’ attention in 3 seconds it’ssayonara.
In this post you will learn a 5 step approach to quickly retro fit old posts gathering digital dust, or tweak new posts to start working miracles.
Let’s jump in with some mind work.
1. Enter the conversation
To capture your readers’ attention you have to first enter the conversation going on in their mind (Robert Collier). In other words, grab their attention with something they’re already thinking about.
– If you’re a financial planner, tell me how to avoid costly mistakes. – If you’re a realtor, tell me how to make more money when I sell my home. – If you’re an IT consultant, tell me how to choose the best IT consultant.
Not sure where to start? Start with a list of the most common questions your prospects ask you.
2. Get my attention
This is key—make me stop and want to read more. Your reader found your latest post via your email or social media. But, they’re not committed yet—with the click of their mouse they’re gone – never to return to that post.
So, hook them with bait that makes them hungry for more.
Start with your first sentence. Its job is to get me to read your second sentence. And so on.
This post was originally published in July, 2016 and has been updated and re-loved for you. Enjoy.
The biggest mistake bloggers make is, well, they don’t blog.
Those gaping holes between posts make everything on your site look a little suspect – like going into a grocery store and seeing food past its due date. How long before you question everything in the store?
The bottom line is you can’t attract new prospects and build loyalty if you don’t consistently work to attract them. That’s why content marketing (sharing valuable, problem-solving resources) is still the best way to grow your business. And this is true whether you’re a food blogger or a baker, a keynote speaker or you teach online – it’s all about sharing your best content AND proving you are the best choice.
To avoid running out of ideas for your blog you have to have lots of ideas for your blog.
In this post, I’ll walk you through 5 ways to keep great blog ideas rolling in. Let’s jump in with reading…
1. Read blogs
Nothing beats reading other people’s blogs to stimulate ideas for your own future posts. I use feedly to pull my favourite blogs into one location where I can read them while I’m eating lunch. I also make it a habit to write comments on blogs I’ve read (hint, hint) to show my appreciation.
But, reading blogs is only the start—you need to think about your market. What problems need solving? What questions are they asking you? What has worked in the past?
For example, I got the idea to write posts about Google Analytics because I was searching for answers for my clients. I found a lot of articles answering my questions, but they were either too long or too technical. So I wrote this one and this one.
Now that you’re reading great content, you need to organize the best blog ideas…
2. Build an Inventory
In the old days (like 10 years ago) you might have saved magazines or used sticky notes to mark ideas in a book you’re reading. Those systems can’t keep up with our online world where a great idea might be in a blog post you read, an online magazine, a Tweet – even an Instagram post.
You need one place to collect, organize and retrieve your best blog ideas.
Evernote is a brilliant (free) online tool that allows you to easily grab articles off the web, store images, record audio or even accept pictures of hand-scribbled notes from your phone. It syncs in seconds on all your devices and, with the paid account, you can even search off-line as you head to the grocery store to collect ingredients for your favourite Thai salad with peanut sauce recipe.
To fully unleash the power of Evernote, install the Webclipper (I remember it as the Elephant head) extension on your favourite browser. That will allow you to quickly grab the article you found, strip it of advertising, tag it and store it for future reference.
And here’s my favourite trick with Evernote (h/t to Michael Hyatt):
Instead of creating lots of Notebooks in Evernote, which can get messy and confusing, I have all my notes in one Notebook and use tags to search for what I want. And I tag all future blog ideas (including articles I saved using the Evernote extension) with the tag “unused blog post”. The tag allows me to easily pull up all my unused ideas and choose the one I want to work on. As soon as I use that note I delete it.
Okay, you’ve collected lots of blog ideas, now it’s time to organize them on a calendar…
3. Build your Editorial Calendar
A simple way to organized future blog ideas is using a spreadsheet, like Excel or Google Sheets. Or you could use planning tools like Asana or Trello. That’s great, but I’m a visual person and prefer seeing future projects in a calendar format.
If you have a WordPress site, you can organize all your blog ideas with a clever (and free) plugin called Editorial Calendar (watch our quick video to learn how this works).
When you start putting dates to topics, think about seasons and buyer behaviour. What seasons do your customers respond to (like winter, summer, Christmas, etc.)? When are your customers more likely to buy? When does your customer have certain problems (like Spring cleaning, budgeting, staff hiring, etc.)?
Your Editorial Calendar doesn’t have to be perfect. The idea is to promote the writing and publishing by planning ahead and avoiding writer’s block.
Now you have lots of blog ideas collected in Evernote and you’ve started to plan future posts in your Editorial Calendar. Great! This next strategy is a way to boost traffic without writing a new post…
4. Repurpose old content
This strategy will save you time and could get you a big traffic boost. Here’s how it works…
Start by making a list of posts that are pulling in strong traffic but are over a year old. These are gems that could be working harder if they were “re-loved” and republished.
To get to your analytics, first, log in, then navigate to Behaviour > Overview.
This part is a little technical, but hang in there – you only need to do this research a few times a year to get the full benefit.
There are at least 3 metrics you can use to choose the blog article to republish:
old posts – if your post is older than one year there’s a good chance you need to update the images, and facts in the article and maybe add more detail to the content.
low Bounce rate – “Bounce rate” is the per cent of people who left your site after one page (they didn’t explore the rest of your site). A lower bounce rate (like 60-70%) can be a good sign. Think of it this way: out of all your published blog posts, there are some that keep readers on your site longer. Those posts could be worth updating and republishing.
high time on page – “Time on site” is the minutes a reader spent on that page. The higher the time, the more likely the reader is to share the article and spend more time on your site.
You can combine the metrics. In other words, look for blog posts older than a year, with low bounce rate and high time on site. Find 3-5 of those posts and start with them.
The blog post you’re reading is another good example. It was originally published in July 2016 and I added more content and images and republished it in February 2019. It only took about an hour’s worth of chopping, adding, and changes to turn it into the post you’re reading – much easier than starting from scratch!
Whew! You’ve collected amazing ideas into Evernote, organized them with Editorial Calendar, planned a post you will refresh and republish. Now it’s time for a bit of psychology…
5. Give ‘em more of what they love
It might be tempting to pour a cup of coffee and just start writing your next blog post. But what about what your market wants?
Every day your readers are leaving bread crumbs – clues – about what they want. It could be a comment on a post, social shares or an email that asks a question about a recent post. You need to watch for these clues.
A simple first step is to check what posts are most popular (see #4 above). You can also think about the psychology of your reader. What keeps a person on your blog for more than a quick glance?
It’s about solving a problem.
Readers, don’t announce this – but they are looking for a solution to something. It could be a great travel destination or how to save for their retirement.
If you provide that solution that gets them from where they are now to where they want to be, faster or cheaper, they will come back for more. But, there’s more…
The trick is to always give’em more of what they love. Blogs that wander off down rabbit holes about unrelated topics might work if you are already a celebrity off-line, but don’t work if you are trying to build a business online.
Stick to what your readers want and you will build valuable traffic that will come back for more.
The trick is to first get people to read your blog. And for that I have some help. In fact, I’ve used these same strategies to increase my blog traffic by 142% in one year. Not bad when you consider most blogs we watch trickle along with a modest 5-10% annual growth.
Before I get to my solutions on how to get more blog traffic, let me ask you a question:
Are you writing your content to be helpful?
Don’t get me wrong – it’s great that you want more business. But, if your blog is all about click-through rates and opting into lists – it will be obvious. Like the old saying: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.
If you write your blog to be truly helpful – without expecting something in return – you will build a tribe and eventually get what you want. It might not be gangbusters overnight, but you will attract people who like your approach. That will happen.
With that caveat out of the way …
Here’s a quick summary of all 25 points on how to get more blog traffic – Slideshare style:
Here’s my favourite (all white-hat) 25 tips on how to get more blog traffic without breaking the bank or staying up all night.
Know this is important work and publish on a regular basis. Once a month is much, much better than – as Tim Urban puts it: We publish every sometime.
Write shorter posts. If you insist on writing Ulyssey’s-length essays you might be losing a lot of readers.
Assume every day is a new beginning because you always have new readers.
I know you’re reading this because you care. You care about results but you also care about helping people with your blog. That’s cool.
Blogging is hard work.
Some months I struggle with every blog I write. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time, or the topic, or the damn thing just stalls out in the middle and I don’t know how to wrap it up in a meaningful way.
What keeps me going is knowing that __________ (fill in your monthly website traffic) people are coming into my “hotel room” to read what I wrote. And most of them are new (point #25). That’s a big and exciting responsibility, opportunity and role that I play.
If you’re up for that, I know these 25 tips and actions on how to get more blog traffic will help to fill your hotel room.
Thanks to Seth Godin for inspiring this short post. And Jeff Goins for adding to Seth’s post with his own list.
Want more help getting results with your blog? Check out these posts:
I don’t know how many times I’ve thought about quitting blogging. How about you?
On a scale from “not important” to “this puts money in my bank”, blogging seems to often falls left of centre. But, I keep writing and posting blogs. And in this post, I’m going to explain why you should as well.
The reality is it’s hard to be motivated about something that doesn’t have a direct impact on the bottom line. I mean, when was the last time someone read one of your blog posts and then gave you money?
Actually, that’s exactly what happens, but not in the way you think.
Now, before I get to the “motivational” part of this post, let’s talk about Alka-Seltzer.
In the 1950’s modern advertising was invented. During the post-war era of abundance, baby boomers, rebuilding, and consumerism, clever marketers were perfecting the ad campaign. In record time, products like Alka-Seltzer, Marlboro, Clairol, Anacin and Crest toothpaste gained massive market shares and became household names.
Push advertising has become more sophisticated since then, but the premise is the same: “Sell the benefits, deliver the features.”
But this only works if the consumer is already shopping. For example, if I’m in the market for a car or vacuum or girlfriend (at least one of these would be hard to explain to my wife) I might respond to your advertising. Then it’s just a matter of who has the most persuasive advertising campaign.
But, what if the consumer isn’t thinking about buying yet? Or, what if you’re more interested in building a long-term relationship with your client? What about then?
That’s where your blog comes in.
Your blog is an example of “pull marketing”—the consumer is pulled to your blog because it solves a problem. Maybe it even entertains them.
With pull marketing we aren’t so concerned about selling right away—we’re building a long-term relationship; the kind of relationship where price is not as important and shopping around is unnecessary.
That’s why we need to go back to basics.
Back to basics
If you want a long-term relationship with your clients, blogs work.
Your blog doesn’t necessarily replace advertising, promotions, events or any other form of direct selling but blogs work wonders for developing long-term relationships with your client. Even tradition companies have jumped on the blog bandwagon, like Walmart, Allstate, Whole Foods, Caterpillar, and Disney. In fact, 67% of marketers report they are using blogs to promote their business. And it’s good business sense: building a relationship with your blog readers leads to them joining your mailing list and then being attracted to your offers.
After all, who would you rather market to: people who already know you and enjoy your advice or strangers?
Now for the motivational bit…
The road to Rome
Success with your blog comes down to a long-term commitment. Just as the road to Rome wasn’t built in a day (there’s the inspiring quote), it takes time to move a reader of your blog to a sale.
The good news is that customers who regularly consume your blog are much more likely to be long-term, faithful customers. And you can take that to the bank.
The secret is to treat your blog as a marketing expense and to measure results.
So, you need to do this today.
Do this today
The most popular question we get asked about BlogWorks (formerly SOS) is “How will I know it works?”. Before I answer that question, you need to step back and look at your sales cycle.
A blog is not direct selling – where a knock on a door either makes a sale or it doesn’t and a 10% close rate is a good day. Remember, blogs are a long-term game designed to build loyal customers.
That’s why you need to be measuring performance.
Just like a grocery store can measure sales in their store and make educated decisions about product positioning and displays, you can measure consumers experience of your blog by looking at basic traffic numbers.
Your Google Analytics dashboard offers up some basic measures that are a great place to start, like: “users”, “time on site” and “source of traffic.” In this post we show you how to have the dashboard automatically sent to you every week.
Next, just like you might compare your P&L year, by year, you should track these numbers with a simple spreadsheet We look at these every week, but even monthly will be helpful.
Just like checking your weight, or bank balance, tracking these numbers on a regular basis will help keep your blog (and traffic, opt-in’s and conversions) a part of your marketing conversations.
Blogging works for the businesses who are thinking lifetime value of a customer and are willing to earn those relationships. If that’s you, start thinking of your blog as an important part of your marketing strategy. And track its performance.
On the other hand, if all you want is quick sales, maybe you should pick up the phone.
Having an online presence is a must in today’s digital culture. Most successful businesses invest a great deal of time, money and effort in their website and their overall web presence.
Buying and selling websites and domain names can, unfortunately, be a shady industry. Most dishonesty comes from people trying to scam new buyers. Additionally, there are sellers trying to sell a website without providing the right information and statistics to buyers. Often, they don’t have this data as they didn’t realize (until they come to sell) that they were going to need it.
It goes without saying that buying and selling websites can be a risky endeavour.
Fortunately, there are various tools that you can use to help verify the true value of a website.
What Websites Can Help?
Take a look at these two different scenarios:
Scenario 1: An entrepreneur wants to sell an online business built around selling computer accessories to customers. As part of the deal, he was forced to sign a 2-year non-compete agreement with his investors. A year later, he was ready to sell an almost completely identical business that had a few years of history — which meant he had zero intentions of honouring his non-compete agreement. Needless to say, it was nearly impossible to sell his business.
Scenario 2: You are thinking about purchasing a website that generates a substantial portion of its earnings through affiliate marketing. How can you guarantee that all of the revenue is being generated by the website that you want to buy? How do you know that the entrepreneur doesn’t also have other websites with the same affiliate tracking codes on them?
There are tools that you can use to help figure out if the person you’re buying the business from owns other, similar websites, or if there are any other sites where they are displaying the same affiliate codes and pumping up the revenue numbers on the site they’re trying to sell you.
DomainTools.com allows you to check both the ownership history of the website you’re buying, as well as other domains owned by the same person.
Similar to DomainTools.com, WhoRush.com helps you discover other domains that could possibly be owned by the person you’re thinking about buying a business from, and lets you look up their affiliate tracking codes, AdSense IDs, Analytics IDs, and more information.
ReverseInternet.com is a mishmash of different tools and combines both Who Rush and SEMRush into one useful service.
How To Verify The Traffic
Very few sellers are going to tell you that they’ve built their website on a sand foundation.
Some sellers know exactly what they need to do and say to get you to buy the website. They know exactly what it takes to build traffic and rankings but without proper investment, that tends to only last for a short period of time.
Other sellers may not necessarily know what they are doing and could have done things while building the business that spells potential doom for their website in the future.
Thankfully, there are a few different tools you can use to verify how a person has built their website and whether, or not the traffic is going to last after you buy it.
One of the first things you need to do when thinking about buying a website is to verify how well distributed the traffic is across different channels. Are they getting a large amount of traffic from a few keywords? Are they tapping into a wide range of traffic sources like direct, referral, social, and organic search? Strong referral traffic can be a great indicator of stronger keyword rankings.
Open Site Explorer:
Open Site Explorer is an excellent free tool. You can use it to figure out how a website is being linked to from other websites and whether it is going to be negatively impacted by algorithm updates. The tool can help you identify a website’s authority and compare it to the competition. It can also help you figure out if the owner has used any shady link building tactics.
SEMRush, and tools like it, are incredibly valuable for figuring out how competitive a niche is and where easy pockets of growth are for the website. SEMRush is also great for tracking down shady link building tactics. It’s important for you to validate the SEO strategies that were used by the previous owner.
How To Build On What You’ve Discovered
The tools above are going to help you significantly when it comes to identifying how the website you’re thinking about buying was built and whether or not the seller believes their website has been properly built. Unfortunately, the seller may be hiding the fact that they’ve used shady strategies.
Despite having those tools in your arsenal, you still need to make sure that the website you’re thinking about buying is both profitable and sustainable.
Here are a few tools to help you with that:
BuiltWith.com is a free tool that will help you figure out everything you need to know about the technology that a website is built around. It’s incredibly useful!
If you’re thinking about buying AdSense websites, verify that the site or the site owner is not banned from AdSense. This is great for checking content-only sites, too, that you believe may have been monetized with AdSense in the past. If you’re planning on taking over a content site and plan on monetizing with AdSense, used BannedCheck.com to verify it’s safe.
Google Trends is a great tool for identifying whether you are potentially buying into a dying industry. A large number of websites are sold every day because the owner knows their niche is nearing the end of its life. Google Trends can help you identify whether or not the business’ niche is on a downward trend.
The More You Know
Even though there is a lot of risk when it comes expanding your web presence, a smart buyer will be able to navigate through the risk to find those hidden gems.
Knowledge is power. Knowing is half the battle when it comes to protecting yourself from the unsavoury characters trying to pass sand foundations onto unsuspecting buyers.
Using the tools laid out here, you don’t necessarily have to rely on what the seller is telling you. You can verify for yourself exactly what they are doing and how they have built the website. You can then take it on and use it to enhance your business and your brand.
In our last post, we covered how to use Facebook and Twitter’s analytics dashboards – as well as what to do with that data.
This time, we’ll be covering the lesser (but still important) beasts…
LinkedIn and Google+.
But first – why should you even care?
Why Social Media Analytics Are Important
Social media analytics is a topic many marketers and brands are obsessed with.
And with good reason.
Simply put, it’s impossible to tell if your social media strategy is working without monitoring it. And, without analyzing your posts, it’s impossible to know what’s working and what’s not.
Social media isn’t just about creating what you think is great content. It’s about continuously monitoring that content to ensure it’s actually connecting with your audience.
Ultimately, you just want to cut out the content that doesn’t work, increase the content that drives engagement, and send as much traffic to your website as possible.
If you want more engagement and traffic, you need to better understand your social channel’s analytics tools.
This is key for two main reasons:
It helps you understand more about your audience – who are they and where are they coming from?
It shows you how your followers are engaging with your posts – are you putting out content that people actually want to engage with?
By digging out the answer to these questions, you’re able to share updates that resonate with your target audience. Who doesn’t want that?!
Below, I have the lowdown on how to use analytics to check how your LinkedIn and Google+ pages are performing.
Let’s start with LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Analytics: What You Need to Know
So, how do you gauge the effectiveness of your LinkedIn activity?
Similar to the social media channels in my previous post, LinkedIn analytics are represented in impressions and engagement.
Note: Currently, you can only get insights on company pages.
Now, if you’re the administrator of your company page, you’ll have access to a significant amount of data on your page’s performance. To find that data, follow the steps below:
When you get to your company page, click the Analytics tab. Here you’ll see an overview of your analytics, and you can delve in further by selecting the Visitors, Updates or Followers tab from the drop-down.
There are lots of metrics here and it can get confusing. What should you pay attention to?
Well, try these on for size:
1. Within the Followers and Visitors section, you can learn a lot about your audience. Here you’ll see demographic details, including industry, function, and your audience’s professional background.
You can use this data to learn more about what your audience may be interested in. For example, if your audience is mainly 35 to 45 year old executives of marketing companies, you’d want to share more content related to marketing, such as the content found on Adobe’s CMO magazine.
Need help increasing social media engagement? Check out this guide.
2. In the updates section, you can see what posts your followers have engaged with.
You can use this data to learn what content your followers already like based on what you’ve already shared. Then all you have to do is share more of that kind of content!
3. By viewing individual post performance, you can decide whether you want to promote an update so that it reaches more of your followers. You can also view how many followers were gained through paid advertising.
For more details on how to use LinkedIn analytics, check out this guide.
Google+ Analytics: What You Need to Know
Curious about how well you’re doing with your efforts on Google+?
If you want a detailed report, you’re not getting it from Google+. The data they currently supply is basic, to say the least.
Earlier this year, Google+ launched a new feature called ‘Your Influence’. You can find this on your Google+ page if you click on the three dots right next to the About button.
Under ‘Your influence’, you can view a snapshot of analytics for your profile for the last 7 or 30 days, including:
Number of people who’ve followed your profile
Number of people who’ve followed your collections
Amount of times your posts have been viewed, commented on and how many times your posts have received a ‘+1’ (Google+ version of a ‘like’)
How many times your posts have been shared and subsequently viewed and commented upon.
The pros are that it’s easy to access, and you can get a quick snapshot of all the basic data in one place.
The major negative of it is the lack of detail in the data available. You can’t see trends as there are no charts, and you can’t see any insights about your audience. You also can’t see any post level analytics, which is something that proves really valuable when deciding what content is resonating with your audience.
Also, it’s not live – the data can take up to 48 hours to update. The feature isn’t currently available on the Android Google+ app as yet. You’ll have to visit the desktop site to gather your data.
Nevertheless, you have the basic data to monitor your content’s performance on a weekly basis – so it is still definitely worth using. Hopefully, this is a feature that Google+ will be improving upon in the future to bring up to par with LinkedIn and Facebook.
It’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of your analytics to measure the impact of your social media marketing efforts. You need to understand which tactics are working, and which aren’t.
How? Incorporate regular social media reporting into your schedule to analyze the data. Keep a close eye on trends, replicate what is successful, remove what isn’t and use any audience insights to inform your content plans.
How regularly do you check your analytics? And will you be doing so more frequently in the future? Comment below and let us know!
If you don’t yet have a grasp on analytics, don’t worry – that’s what this guide is for. We’ll go over Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as some key things to look for that you can check on any social media channel.
Let’s get started.
Social Media Analytics Terms & Meanings
Before I dive into the individual analytics platforms, I want to cover the common terms you’ll see and what they mean:
Reach: the number of people who see your content.
Impressions: the number of times your content is displayed.
Engagement: the number of interactions people have with your content (i.e.: likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc.)
You’ll see these three terms across every analytics dashboard for every social platform. Now, let’s start with Facebook.
Facebook Analytics: What You Need to Know
First things first – to get the most out of your Facebook analytics, you need to install the Facebook pixel on your site. While you can see some data without it, it’s very limited.
This is where you’ll navigate to the various reports to view your data. While I recommend playing around with all the reports to develop a deeper understanding of them, there is one that’s important to know about:
Funnels are the best way to understand the steps your audience takes in going from a Facebook fan to interacting with your content, and finally to visiting your site and even converting into a lead or a sale.
You can create those funnels by going to the “Funnels” tab under “Activities”, then clicking “Create Funnels” in the upper right corner.
Some types of funnels you can create:
Users who messaged your Facebook page then made a purchase on your website or became a subscriber
Users who installed an app then made a purchase on your website or became a subscriber
Users who reacted a certain way (such as “Love”, “Wow!” or “Haha”) then made a purchase or became a subscriber
Users who commented on a certain Facebook post then made a purchase or became a subscriber
Pretty cool, right?
Once you run these funnels and see which actions cause users to convert – such as commenting, messaging your page, or putting a “Haha” on a post – you can prioritize getting more of those actions from your users!
For more details on how to use your Facebook analytics, check out this guide.
Now let’s take a quick look at Twitter.
Twitter Analytics: What You Need to Know
Unlike Facebook, Twitter doesn’t have a fancy pixel. Their analytics are also far less advanced. But, it’s still important to understand how to derive actionable insights from Twitter’s data.
Seeing other blogs take off while yours stays stagnant.
Trust me, I know how crushing this feeling can be. However, there’s a simple way to get more shares and better rankings. In fact, the pros know how to use these strategies well.
And you’re about to learn them.
The Pros Use Google Analytics
When you install Google Analytics, you can see which of your blog posts are doing well and which aren’t, based off their traffic. Then, you can base your next blog post off the information you get from these stats.
You don’t want to waste time writing articles that aren’t bringing traffic to your blog. Basing your post topics off what’s already done well will ensure that doesn’t happen.
By creating S.M.A.R.T goals, you’ll find it easier to write noteworthy content. These goals will keep you focused (even when all you want to do is procrastinate).
Try out different S.M.A.R.T goals to see what works best for you. For example, if you say you’re going to stick to writing three blog posts weekly, but can’t come up with the time to do so, shorten the goal to once per week.
Another great way to keep up with these goals is to create a content calendar (also known as an editorial calendar). This will ensure that you’re staying on top of your blog posts daily.
By creating a content calendar, you’re able to determine your publishing schedule and set up recurring events. The point is to come up with topic ideas ahead of time so you aren’t scrounging for ideas at the last minute.
The Pros Write Great Content
After a while, you may feel like you’ve written all you have to say. When you start to feel like you’ve hit writer’s block, use this time to gather topic ideas from blogs that you follow yourself.
If anything, you could always repurpose some of your old content that has done well in the past. Include new case studies that back up points you’ve made in the past and spruce up your old post.
One of the hardest parts about blogging is understanding whether it’s having a positive impact on your business. If you’ve ever thought, “How do I know whether my blog is actually working?”, this article on how to measure blog success is for you.
How to Measure Blog Success With Google Analytics
Google Analytics (GA) is an awesome, free tool that lets you understand where your traffic is coming from, what they’re doing on your site, and which of your pages (or blog posts) are getting the most views.
Google Analytics has a ton of different statistics, fancy words, and things that can be downright hard to understand. How do you know which ones you should look at to measure blog success?
It all boils down to the what makes a difference in your bottom line:
Sessions – This metric will tell you how much traffic your blog is getting. Raw traffic is a good measurement of effectiveness because it will tell you whether or not your blog is growing. You can increase this number through various promotion strategies.
Bounce Rate – Bounce rate measures how many users left after visiting just one page on your website. The lower this number, the better, because it means people are engaging with your website content and clicking through pages. This metric lets you know whether or not you’re using good calls-to-action and whether or not your blog posts are written for engagement. Using power words can help you increase engagement.
CTA Clicks/Signups – A Call-to-Action (CTA) is a link on your page that calls the visitor to take some sort of action, like subscribe to your email newsletter or opt-in offer. Clicks and signups tell you how effective your CTAs are. If this number is low, it could mean your CTA isn’t relevant or compelling enough or doesn’t stand out enough. While beyond the scope of this article, it’s good to know month over month signups and unsubscribes as well.
Of course, Google Analytics tells you about more than just metrics. Other ways measure your blog’s success include knowing your:
Top blog posts – Google tells you which of your blog posts is getting the most traffic and engagement. As you can see in the image below, just navigate to Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages. This will show you which of your pages has gotten the most views, as well as the average time spent on page and bounce rate.
Traffic sources – This gives you a rough idea of where your traffic is coming from. To find this information, navigate to Overview -> All Traffic -> Channels. From there, you can see referral, social, organic, and direct traffic. Having this information will help you determine which topics are the most effective and should be prioritized.
Other Ways to Measure Your Blog’s Success
Google Analytics is only one way to measure the effectiveness of your blog. There are other tools and metrics you should look at, including:
BuzzSumo – Buzzsumo is a sweet tool that lets you see which of your posts is getting the most shares. Of course, their free version is limited to only five results, but it’s still a good way to see your five most-shared posts.
Engagement – Measuring engagement means measuring comments and shares. This could mean comments on your blog or comments on your social media posts. Your blog posts or social posts with the most comments and/or shares are potentially great topics to discuss further.
That’s all for now, folks! Now it’s your turn – did we miss any important metrics? Do you have any other questions? Drop us a comment to let us know!
For a long time I resisted Google Analytics. Just the word “analytics” conjured up images of unwashed twenty-somethings ogling Excel spreadsheets while sipping Red Bull and mumbling about decimal points of Pi.
It was only when I realized that without Google Analytics (GA) I didn’t know a damn thing about my blog I was converted.
In my most recent post I showed you how to know if Google Analytics is installed and collecting data on your site. Now it’s time to look beneath the hood and see what we can learn from the data.
When you first log into your Google Analytics (GA) account it might look a bit overwhelming – lots of graphs, numbers and menus. Don’t worry – most of it you can ignore.
First, it’s helpful to remember that GA only records what people do on your site. Every time someone arrives, clicks, leaves, returns, clicks again is all recorded. It even tracks where they came from, what device they were using and what they had for breakfast (kidding).
With Google Analytics, your job is to decide the minimum data that is meaningful to your business. Here’s where I get started.
When you sign into Google Analytics (if you have multiple websites, like I do, use the same Gmail account to access them all) you get the main dashboard.
Let’s jump into the main dashboard results you should know about. Note, you can change the time frame in the top-right corner. Default will be the last 30 days.
Sessions – total visitors
Users – total unique visitors (each person is counted once). This is sometimes called “uniques”
Pageviews – total pages viewed
Pages/Session – average number of pages each person viewed
Avg. Session Duration – average time on site
Bounce Rate – percent of people who left after one page (lower is better)
% New Sessions – estimate of first time visitors out of total visitors
You can easily get GA to email you on a regular basis this dashboard, or a custom dashboard. Before I started using www.cyfe.com as my main dashboard, I received a monthly custom dashboard from GA and it was a quick way to see what was going on.
Alrighty. Now that you’re educated on the basics, let’s look at some deeper data you can dive into (not to mention a few more alliterations).
Your top blog posts
One of my favourite stops is Behaviour > Overview this chart shows me my top traffic blog posts. The idea is to monitor what posts are going viral (you might be surprised at how old your top posts are) and then to write more on those topics.
Head over to Acquisition > Overview to see where your visitors are coming from. Once there, click on “Organic Search” to see the keywords they are typing in their browser to find you.
Acquisition > Social > Overview will give you a snapshot of what social channels are are driving traffic (maybe all the time on Pinterest is paying off).
If you’re interested to know what percent of your audience visits your site (In my case it’s 36%) on a mobile device, head to Audience > Mobile > Overview. There are a number of free sites where you can see how you site displays on mobile devices.
If you want to measure the number of people who requested your free ebook, or choose to watch a video on your site, that’s called a goal. First copy the URL of the “success” page that appears when someone accepts your offer. Next, in GA, go to ADMIN > Goals > + New Goal > Custom.
Enter the name of your goal (like “opt-in pages”), choose “Destination” > Continue. Under “Destination” Choose “Equals to” in the drop down and then enter the URL of the “success” page and click Save.
To see your goals, return to the main dashboard and then go to Conversions (in the left-hand main menu – it has a flag beside it) > Goals > Overview.
Beyond these results you can get into much more sophisticated analysis, like what route people take through your site and…
That’s beyond the scope of this article and, besides, I don’t know how to do it 🙂