OK so you’ve been working through 31 Days to Build a Better Blog for 30 days now. How do you know whether of these improvement steps have been successful? How do you know who is reading your blog? How do you know which blog posts are the most popular? How do you know which blog posts need to be re-written or freshened up?
Your blog statistics.
You want to know your overall stats (ie number of visitors and page views), your most popular posts, what questions people are typing in to find your blog (often great future blog posts), referrals (what sites are sending readers directly to your site), your bounce rate (the percentage of people who visit a page on your site and then leave again immediately), exit page stats, and much more.
Some bloggers can get almost addicted to stats and get sucked into every little jump and wiggle. Other bloggers literally hate statistics and analytics and will never check their stats. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. Personally I have become too lax about checking my stats because of the new baby, but as we’re settling into a routine with his eating and sleep habits I will be checking back in more frequently.
Before Adam was born I checked page views once a week minimum to see if there were posts getting an unusual amount of traffic suddenly, to see where that traffic was coming from, etc. I also check more in-depth at the end of each month, comparing this month’s numbers to last month’s numbers. This gives me a chance to notice where I have much higher bounce rate, or very low time-on-site and schedule a time the following month to brush up on those posts.
Beginning Bloggers – Remember that not all blogs have hundreds of thousands, or even hundreds of readers each month starting out. In the book, Darren mentions that two years ago he analized the top 100 blogs on Technocrati and found they had been up for an average of three years! Success with blogging takes lots of content, exposure, incoming links and all of that takes TIMES.
Set percentage based goals for yourself. For example you might adapt some of these ideas:
- I want to average three comments per post this month.
- I want to raise my page views by 10% this month over last month.
- I want to decrease my bounce rate by 5%.
- I want to gain five new subscribers to my blog this month.
Whatever your goals are you can use stats to find out if your outreach is successful or not. Don’t be afraid of delving into analytics a little bit, but be prepared to act on what you find.