Ever heard someone say, “I don’t know what my readers want”, or “it takes too much time to gather data/feedback from readers”? We’ve heard those two statements, or one of their variations, quite often – and that’s unfortunate. Both statements are incorrect, just as saying that 2+2 is 5. If your blog is not synchronized with Google Analytics or another platform that tracks and measures different metrics of data regarding the actions your visitors take on your site, then you are lagging. Hook the blog up to analytics, and then use analytics to improve content.
The main metrics bloggers should focus on:
- Unique Visitors
- Pages/ Visit
- Average time on site
Each one of the aforementioned metrics can give you insights as to what you should be doing with your content in order to drive more traffic back to your site, and keep as many as possible as continued visitors.
What type of posts bring the newest amounts of unique visitors? Are guest bloggers able to bring newbies to your site? Which category or post type is most successful at bringing unique visitors to your site. All of those questions can be answered by simply opening your analytics and clicking a few tabs. If you are not bringing in a consistant or growing number of unique visitors, then it’s time to get back to the basics and then move forward again.
– If you are seeing a decline:
- What posts brought the most?
- What was the last post that brought a reasonable amount?
This is our favorite metric, and the one we pay the most attention to. One thing to consider (and it is true for most of the metrics) is that the “law of large numbers” holds true, meaning that if you are getting 100 visitors the pages/visit is not 100% telling of the content and the niche. However, it should still be taken very seriously.
You’ve got to start somewhere with blogging, and sometimes that means 10 people. What posts are attracting readers and causing them to click on more than one post? Is there a common denominator in the title to the posts that succeed more than others, or is it the post category? If you can maximize the the pages/visit metric you’ll be golden.
– Seeing a 1:1 ratio?
- Try adding a link to another post inside the article in the form of: “you might want to check this out too…”
Average Time on Site
This one has a bit of a correlation with pages/visit, as the more pages a visitor hits the longer they are likely to stay on a page. However, this is also a great metric to use to see if the videos you are adding are actually being watched, and the same goes for podcasts and in-depth infographics.
Do you write long articles and short ones? This is how you check if readers prefer one to the other – put aside Google’s interests for a moment. Is there a different in the amount of time people stay on your site when an article is 1000 words (or more) in comparison to the shorter stuff that is 650 words (plus/minus). Why write more if your readers are not into it?
– Stuck under 30 seconds? Less than a minute?
- Play around with the way you present the content – it matters more than you think (and please add some relevant images, preferably unique).
In the end, a lot of the questions under the different metrics above can be applied to the others as well. The key aspect of analyzing content with the help of your analytics dashboard is having enough content in order to do a thorough job, and taking the time to analyze different aspects against each other.
Aside from the above mentioned statistics, there is no doubt that also bounce rate and social media traffic referrals can be used in order to get a better feeling of what is going on with your content.