Do you know if your business blog is working at its full potential? Are you tracking its growth and monitoring what you’re doing right or wrong? Chances are, you aren’t – many people find this sort of thing too daunting to even attempt, though it really is easier than it seems.
Check out these essential blog metrics and KPIs that will help you assess your situation and investment in blogging, suitable both for absolute beginners and seasoned bloggers!
1 . Overall Blog Traffic
One of the most important blog metrics you should be tracking is the overall traffic your website sees. In other words, this is exactly how many individual visits your blog gets during a certain period of time. Most people monitor the monthly traffic data, though some smaller blogs may benefit more from tracking the weekly or even daily traffic fluctuations.
Tracking this can help you notice trends in performance and to potentially see what factors affect your overall traffic. For example, if you notice that July is a particularly slow month, you can look into exactly what you were posting on your blog, compare it to other, better performing months, and see if there’s a correlation. If you find that you were posting worse or less content in that month, compared to others, you’ll know that your readers like consistency. If you were posting more often, it may mean your readers were getting annoyed and overwhelmed at the sheer amount of posts they were seeing.
Having this sort of knowledge will then help you to adapt your blogging strategy to maximize blog traffic, even during slow months.
2. Traffic Sources
Knowing exactly where all of your traffic is coming from is incredibly useful, as it will let you see which channels are the most popular, which could use some better marketing tactics, and which are just not worth investing your time and money into.
For example, if you’re spending a lot of money on online advertising on other sites, but your blog’s traffic sources breakdown shows you that only a very small percentage of your traffic comes from those ads, it may be time to reconsider where you’re spending your money. Similarly, if you see that organic searches on search engines bring in the most traffic for your blog, you could consider paying more attention to SEO in order to try and improv your search engine rankings.
This data will also help to build a clearer picture of your target audience – while you should know pretty accurately who you’re targeting with your blog and what subjects interest them, it may be difficult to predict how they use the internet sometimes. Seeing that, for instance, a lot of your traffic comes from social media despite having a target audience aged 30+ may be quite unusual, but it will help you focus more on an under-utilized marketing channel.
3. Top Viewed Posts
Taking a look at your most popular posts can give you a clear idea of what your readers are interested in, helping you to adapt your blogging strategy to fit their interests. Knowing what does well on your blog will help to prevent any problems caused by lower traffic – you’ll be consistently posting content that people actually want to read, so they’ll keep coming back!
Now, it’s important to remember that this data can be a little skewed. Time sensitive posts that refer to specific current events, for example, can’t exactly be re-used when there’s a lull in your blog traffic. For posts like that, you need to remember that the type of post is sometimes more important than the actual written content.
Similarly, you need to make sure to be careful about viral posts. Something that goes viral is usually a “one hit wonder”, meaning that re-using a topic or format from a viral post that hugely exceeded your other posts in performance, will usually not result in the same kind of success.
4. Reader Engagement Levels
While this metric may seem like a vanity metric to some, it can actually really help you to gauge your readers’ interest in certain topics. Usually, the more people comment on and share a post, the more interesting and important the topic is to them. Posting more of that sort of content will maintain high traffic and engagement levels.
High reader engagement can also impact your blog’s online visibility. While search engine algorithms are very complex and don’t just focus on simple factors, they do sometimes pick up on how many comments and shares a blog receives. The higher the reader engagement, the more likely your blog is to have a higher search engines result ranking.
If you find that you’re not getting much reader engagement on your posts, try encouraging it by asking some open-ended questions at the end of your posts. People are more likely to leave a comment if they’re openly invited to share their opinions. You should also try and respond to some of your comments to show that you actually care, and that people aren’t commenting in vain.
5. Time Spent On The Site
Alongside knowing how many people visit your blog each month, it’s very important to know how long those people actually stay to read your posts. Most metrics will count any visit to your blog as traffic, even if the person clicked off your site almost immediately, so combining traffic data with information about the time spent on your blog can help you get a more exact indication of your total traffic. The majority of metrics and analytics pages will refer to this sort of data as “bounce rate”.
The more time people spend on your blog, the more engaged they are with your business and are more likely to come back again and again. This means that you should use bounce rate data to try and see what makes people stay on your blog for longer periods of time, in order to improve overall traffic and performance. As a rule of thumb, a bounce rate in the 26% to 40% range is very good, while anything above 65% means that people don’t care enough to stay on your blog for long.
If people start spending more time on your blog, driving bounce rates down, when you introduce a specific format, for example, this could mean that they’re enjoying this sort of content and you should keep implementing it. However, if your bounce rate is suddenly higher than usual, it may mean people are losing interest in your content and you need to look into changing your blogging strategy.
Of course, there are always other factors that contribute to this data, including page loading speeds, the number of ads that pop up, and whether there’s any visual content like photos or videos. Also, some blogs simply post shorter content that doesn’t need a lot of time to read, so people end up leaving the site pretty quickly after they’re done reading. This can still show up as an unnaturally high bounce rate, though it doesn’t mean that people dislike your content, so don’t use bounce rate data as a stand-alone indication of your blog’s success.
6. Blog Leads
Keeping track of how well your actual blog is doing is a smart move, but many business bloggers tend to forget that they should also be monitoring the impact their blogs have on their business and sales. You can easily do this by tracking how your blog contributes to the generation of new leads and customers over time, though you will need some sort of software that has closed-loop reporting capabilities.
Knowing whether your blog actually gets you more sales will allow you to create a better business model. This is because you won’t be stuck writing content for an unprofitable blog – if you notice a lack of new leads and customers, you can take steps towards changing that, or can simply invest in different types of marketing.
If you find that your blog really isn’t generating new leads and customers, you can try promoting your products a bit more than usual. Depending on your usual blogging style, some readers may have been completely unaware that you even sell products, or they may have never considered your business as an option. Letting them know that you are selling products or services can help improve your lead generation data.
7. Lead Sources
Similarly to traffic source data, lead source data lets you see where your blog leads come from, which will definitely help you to focus on the most profitable marketing options. It’s also very useful to combine both traffic source and lead source data to get a very clear picture of what you should invest more effort in.
For example, if your traffic data shows that you don’t really get a lot of visitors from social media, but your lead source data shows that social media is one of your strongest sources of new blog leads, you will be able to adapt your blogging strategy to fix that discrepancy. Things like promoting more on social media and establishing new connections with other bloggers can help improve your statistics.
8. Top Lead Generating Posts
Again, this is very similar to looking at your most popular posts, but it gives you a better insight into how your blog influences your business. Chances are that your most viewed posts will also be the ones that generated the most leads, as more visibility increases the chances of new customers.
However, it’s very important to pay attention to any average or low performing posts that still somehow generated a lot of leads. If you find posts like that on your blog, we definitely recommend posting about the topic or using the same format a bit more often, since there’s obviously something that convinced people to become customers. Make sure to achieve a good balance between generally popular posts and lead generating posts to ensure the success of both your blog and online store as stand-alone sites.
9. Conversion Rates
Conversion rates help you understand much better the relationship between overall blog traffic, lead generation, and returning customers. This data will basically allow you to pinpoint exactly what you’re doing right or wrong, and how you should proceed to maximize or improve success.
Conversion rates can be broken down into two main factors: visit to lead conversion, and lead to customer conversion. Visit to lead conversion focuses on exactly how many people that visited your blog went on to find out more about your business, whether that’s by clicking on the business site or inquiring for further information. Knowing how often people decide to get more involved with your business will let you make more informed decisions about the content you post – you’ll be more aware of how likely something is to generate leads, and whether it’s worth the effort or not.
Lead to costumer conversion focuses on exactly how many people went on to buy something from you after deciding to look into your business further. While this conversion can’t always be attributed to blog content, the data can help you to at least guess which types of content are the most profitable for you. For example, if you posted something promoting a new product, and you ended up with 20 more customers right after that post, you can safely assume that promotional posts are worth the effort.
Tracking conversion rate trends over a longer period of time will help you to understand how changes to your blogging and content strategies affect your business as a whole. It looks at different pieces of data in context of one another, rather than treating them as completely separate statistics.
10. Email Subscribers
While this metric isn’t always directly associated with your blog, it can help to know how many people care enough about it to want to receive emails from you. It can be used in combination with traffic source data to see exactly how successful newsletters and update emails are at generating more traffic to your blog.
Like with everything mentioned in this list, having access to this data will help you make more informed decisions about your marketing and blogging strategy. For example, if you notice that you have over 1,000 unique email subscribers, but only about 35% of them visit your blog from the emails they receive from you, you’ll probably need to invest in some better email copywriting or simply give it up for a more successful technique. Similarly, if you find that a surprisingly large amount of your blog traffic comes from emails, you can focus on really honing in and improving the emails you send out.
11. Number Of Posts Published
Now, this one may seem a little odd. Most people would expect bloggers to just naturally keep track of how much they post, right? Well, as time goes by and business blogs gain more recognition, it can get quite difficult to keep track of everything.
Using blog metrics to record just how many posts you’ve published has two main functions. One is more administrative, where you simply use the data to know how long you’ve been blogging for, roughly how many posts you publish each month or year, and whether you need to change that number based on your personal goals.
The second function is all about improving your content. People really seem to love celebrating milestones, and keeping track of how many posts you’ve published will let you use that to your advantage. Posting something special, like a competition, or a new product announcement will seem much more special to readers if they know it’s a celebration of your 100th, or 500th, or even 1,000th blog post!
12. Inbound Links
When running a business blog, you shouldn’t just focus on what you’re doing. Knowing who links back to your content and how often it happens can help you to understand the impact that your blog is having on your community.
Most people will link to other websites and blogs that they think provide reputable information. This is a very common and widely known practice, and it usually will generate more traffic for the linked websites, since readers will want to see the inspiration or source behind a different post they were already reading.
If you find that not many other blogs are making inbound links to your site, try doing a bit of reverse psychology – link some of their posts on your site and chances are that they will do the same for you, as a sort of sign of thanks and courtesy. Of course, you need to make sure that whoever you link to is actually reputable, because if they link your blog on a site with a bad reputation, people will think that your blog must be untrustworthy too.
However, don’t get too caught up on inbound links. There are other, much more profitable, sources of traffic and recognition out there. Don’t go bothering people, asking them to promote your blog on theirs, and let everything happen naturally.