Running a biz requires you to use your left AND right brain to both intimately know your customers and keep your sales figures on lock.
It's both exhausting and exhilarating.
In our first post of the series, we talked about getting to know your audience, and today we'll be getting a grip on your top blog metrics. Knowing your metrics will help you take a deeper look into your traffic, analyze it, and find new ways to improve your performance.
When you start tracking your numbers, you'll start to recognize if you're on track for a good month or week. And if you're not, you can pull whatever levers you need to in order to boost traffic and hit your goals.
This process is super important for growth. Because a business always want to be growing.
Here's the real deal: if you're not concerned with how your blog is performing overall, then you're not ready for it to become a legit business. Simple as that.
Here, we'll be going over the top metrics that you should be tracking today. These are not only healthy metrics to follow for your own sake, but when we start crafting pitches and working with brands, you'll want to know these metrics to tell the whole story of your blog.
Visits and Pageviews
What's the difference between visits and pageviews? A visit is counted when a person shows up on your site. Pageviews are the number of pages a visitor clicks around on while they're there. The distinction is an important one because the visitors metric actually gives you a better idea of the true size of your audience.
In Google Analytics, your visits are defined as "Sessions."
Get your visits number up by marketing your posts in new places (pitching them to other bloggers for post swaps for example), using bookmarking sites like Stumbleupon and Digg, and participating in related social trending topics and hashtags.
Time on Page
Time on page (listed as average session duration in Google Analytics) proves that people are't just showing up, but actually sticking around to read your blog. They're taking it all in.
If you want to raise your time on page metric, think about what keeps YOU on a blog post. What keeps you entertained and engaged? Are there interactive elements, smart copy, or just the overall tone, voice, or story the blogger is telling?
Now make like Paula Abdul and take step back in order to figure out how you can replicate those feelings or calls to action on your blog to keep readers hanging out for longer.
Your highest priority should be to create blog posts that are worth sharing. Because if it's worth sharing, it's worth reading.
Look at your top shared content by using free third-party apps like Sharaholic to see how many people are sharing your posts from your site and on social media.
The magic is to make your blog posts relevant to your reader, emotional, and relatable to increase shares. Try capitalizing on trending topics by doing quick posts that give your take on news or a personal essay about an emotional moment in your life (and what your readers can learn from it).
It's one thing to entertain your reader while they're on the page, but what do you want to do with it when they're done? Your answer could be as simple as "leave a comment." And comments are a sign of healthy engagement on a blog.
Comments usually go hand-in-hand with a high time on page metric, which further proves that they're reading your post thoroughly, consuming your messages, and also likely to share your post.
So now that you know what your basic stats are, it's time to figure out where all that traffic is coming FROM. Knowing what sites are sending you the most traffic will help you get an idea of where you should focus your promotional efforts, or where you can improve.
If Google isn't sending you a ton of traffic, for example, maybe you should work on your SEO strategy.
Or if there's a blogger that links to you frequently, maybe you should reach out and see if they're interested in a post swap or link exchange. Or at the very least send a thank you email for all their link love.
You can find your top referrers in Google Analytics under Acquisition > All Content > Referrals.
I like to record my top five traffic sources in order to reverse engineer more content that would be successful on those sites.
Feed the beasts, if you will.
But hang tight — we'll get into the reverse engineering process in Day 3 of the challenge.
Create a spreadsheet to track all of your metrics by week and/or by month. You can do this for your blog as a whole, or drill down to each individual blog post page to really see which posts are your best performers.
To see your top performing post pages in Google Analytics, go to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Page
If you've signed up for the Blog to Business Challenge email list, your Day 2 bonus is a spreadsheet template that will help you start tracking your metrics today; Look for it in your inbox!
New to the challenge and want to learn more? Hit the button below!