Blog Metrics Made Simple
Ask many bloggers how their blog is performing and they suddenly get nervous. Why? Is there an arithmophobia epidemic raging across the blogosphere? The reality is that blog metrics are your friend. They help you understand how well your blog is performing relative to your goals. By paying attention to them, you can start to see tangible results.
While blog metrics are numbers, which can be terrifying for some people, they don’t require extensive mathematical training. A basic understanding of grade school math is sufficient to review and understand your results. As Mack Collier pointed out, it’s not about how many people visit your blog but rather whether the right people read your posts. Therefore, think in terms of what you want visitors to do after reading your posts. To this end, determine your goals and include a call-to-action to focus them.
40 Blog metrics to track
Goal: Expand target customers (Note this relates back to your business goals!)
- How many visitors do you have?
- How many unique visitors do you have? This shows whether people return to your blog.
- Where do your visitors come from?
- Which sections and pages do visitors go to?
Goal: Provide effective content marketing.
- How many pageviews does your blog get in a day and a month? How does the performance compare to the prior month and the same month last year?
- Which specific pages do people visit? Which types of articles do people read? Do specific categories resonate with readers or certain types of articles?
- Do you use other media formats like video, audio, e-book or other content in your blog posts? If so, do readers view or download these other content formats? If not, are there other reasons, such as a broken link?
- Do readers click on links in your posts? Do they click on links to related posts?
- Are you creating additional content around the topics you’re readers are interested in? Are you using an editorial calendar to guide your decisions?
- Do readers sign up for your RSS Feed?
- Do readers register for your emailings
- Do readers visit your most popular pages?
- Where do readers go when they leave your blog? Do you send them to product-related pages on your company site?
Goal: Increase engagement.
- How much time do visitors spend on your blog? Does this vary based on the day of the week and time of the year?
- Do readers spend more time on specific articles or topics? Are these the areas that you are looking to promote?
- Do readers leave comments on your blog? Most readers will lurk, reading posts but not taking any further action.
- Does your blog help build community by allowing readers to share commentary, photographs and videos of your product in context?
- Does the blog improve brand recall?
- Does the blog enhance brand favorability?
- Does the blog increase intent to purchase?
Goal: Improve search optimization.
- What keywords and phrases do readers use to find your blog? Has your ranking improved for your top keywords?
- How many sites link (in-bound links) into your blog? How influential are these sites?
- How many outbound links does your blog have? Has this helped get attention of experts in your field? Are you sharing the love with other blogs and providing value to your readers?
- Do you have links to other relevant areas (intra-blog or company links) of your site?
Goal: Increase customers and drive sales.
- Can you track sales to your blog? For example do you have special links to product pages on your website.
- Does your blog support product sales with how-to and specific product information? Among the elements to track are product page print outs, targeted promotion codes used and click-throughs to purchase or place in cart.
- Does the blog’s content reduce time to purchase decisions? Do you link to it from your emailings and other websites?
- Are you generating business leads based on the authority built by your blog?
- Do you use your blog to distribute tailored promotions? Use a targeted call-to-action and a unique promotional code to track results.
- Does you carry blog advertising including banners, Google Adsense and sponsorships?
- Does your blog have affiliate marketing?
- Does your blog provide post-purchase support? Does your blog help buyers with instructions and other information for using your products?
- Does the blog drive earned media impressions in terms of social media shares? The most popular options are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and StumbleUpon.
Goal: Minimize costs to run your blog. Include all relevant costs in this assessment!
- What is the cost of the content creation? This is the expense for blog content. If you’re doing this yourself, how many hours do you spend blogging and what is your hourly fee? The same holds for your staff members. Make sure that it’s fully loaded.
- What is the cost for additional editorial support? Does someone edit and proof the individual posts?
- What is the cost for technical support? This includes uploading posts, adding in links, image resizing and placement and on-going site maintenance.
- What is the cost for the URL and hosting? Are there times when you need additional support?
- What are the design costs for your blog? Are these one time or on-going?
- Does the blog reduce customer service expense by answering questions via blog posts and frequents asked questions (FAQs)?
- Does the blog help reduce product returns or at least the cost of returns with easy-to-access information to simplify the process?
While not every metric is relevant to every blog, determine which blog metrics are most important for you with respect to your goals. Further, understand that it takes time for a blog to yield results. You need to build and engage your blog community. Are there any other metrics that you would add to this list? If so, what are they and why would you add them?
Here are some related articles on building and measuring your blog:
- Blog design help
- How to make your blog popular
- How to give your blog sex appeal
- 29 Reasons you’re not getting blog traffic
- How to increase blog traffic
- 125 Free blog topics
- Do business blogs chase the wrong metrics?
Photo credit: PinkSherbetPhotography via Flickr