Website traffic statistics are, in our view, the most valuable measurement systems available to you to measure how effective your blog is. Your website analytics software will give you almost immediate feedback on how each blog post has been being received by your readers.
Almost all the website analytics packages (Webtrends, Google Analytics, Omniture etc.) will give you the information you need to both build your blog readership and help you to create your ongoing online strategy plan. Many of the hosting packages from popular website hosting companies include some sort of statistics that you can view and analyse and these will give you basic information about traffic but these statistics are rarely accurate and should not be confused with genuine website analytics software.
Your website analytics will tell you if your blog or website attracts any traffic. You can also see whether the links included in your blog content are referring any traffic to your site (i.e. backlinks). You can use your website analytics as a tool to find out what your visitors find most interesting in your blog / website.
Things to look for in your website analytics include:
- Overall Trend: Is there a steady increase in the traffic volume coming to your blog? We look at the total number of visits, the number of unique visitors and the volume of visits each day. If you take your monthly totals and divide the total visits by the unique visitors, you can calculate the number of times the average visitor came back to your blog.
- Most Popular: Which blog posts attract the most traffic? We tend to look at this from two angles – we look at the daily traffic volumes to see if any particular days had a spike in traffic. We then look at which blog posts appeared that day and try and work out what we might have said to generate such interest and if we can work that out we will try and do something similar the following week! We also look to see which postings are listed as landing pages as these are usually the ones being found in searches.
- Referral Traffic: Where is your traffic coming from? Which websites are sending you visitors? We will visit all the websites that have sent traffic to us and see if there is a link from the website, a blog posting or perhaps a link in a comment that may have been left by someone else in a reply to a blog post.
- Referring Search Engines: Which search engines are referring visitors to you? You may be ranking well for one or more search terms on that search engine. If it’s a keyword or keyword phrase you want others to find through the search engines, you should write a blog post with that keyword in the headline.
- Keywords: Which keyword phrases are you being found for? Find the posting that is generating the traffic and again see what you did and repeat it. Of course, it helps if you know how to optimise your blog for the search engines as you will be able to create content that is more likely to feature in the search engine results..
- Bounce Rate: Some website Analytics packages such as Google Analytics show the ‘Bounce Rate’. Simply put the bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your website having only looked at the one page i.e. they have not explored your website beyond the page they landed on.. Bounce rates under 50% are good, bounce rates over 75% indicate a problem and you really need to make some changes to those pages with a high bounce rate.
Other things to look out for include which postings are generating comments and what questions are being asked? These questions could make great topics for your future blog posts. Check Technorati for inbound links to your blog – So that you can connect with or respond to someone who has just linked to your blog.
Always try and write good quality, interesting content and blog about the subjects you are most passionate about. Post to your blog on a consistent schedule and invest time in the blogging community by participating in other blogs relevant to your industry. Make use of website analytics to measure the progress of your blog as well as your website – you will be pleased you did.