You’ve probably heard countless times that having a blog for your business is a great way to increase web traffic, raise brand awareness, and bring in those leads. But, do you know how to measure the success of your blog? Too many marketing teams focus solely on vanity metrics like social media and page views. And, while these can help guide your content strategy, they’re not the be all and end all.
Much more important metrics to consider are the ones that directly link to your bottom line. Statistics like conversion rates, subscriber counts, and inbound links are much more likely to affect your blog’s success in the long run.
Let’s delve a little deeper into the top metrics you can use to quantify your blogs’ success.
1. Blog traffic
It may seem like an obvious metric to track, but the number of visitors to your blog, as well as where they come from, is the best place to start when measuring success. If nobody is reading your blog, then none of the other metrics we discuss will come your way either.
But, it’s so much more than simple page views. You need to consider where those views are coming from, and where they are going next. Are the majority of your views coming from organic searches? If so, what keywords are bringing people in? Or maybe your traffic is mainly from social media? But, which platforms? Knowing these metrics allows you to adjust your marketing strategy for each post based on what’s working and not working already.
One thing to bear in mind is that you don’t want to be focusing only on one source of traffic to your blog. Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good strategy. Work on diversifying where your readers are coming from, and you’ll be better positioned for success.
But, more than just simple page views, you should be focusing on metrics like pages per session, bounce rates, and average visit duration. Having a load of people visit your site just to have a quick peek and then leave, is not going to bring in the kind of revenue you’re looking for.
Increasing the number of pages per session on your site doesn’t have to be a difficult task. There’s a multitude of plugins and strategies that can work for your blog. Let’s take a look at some of the top methods:
- Making your blog mobile friendly. Yes, we know this is a fairly obvious point to make, but it’s an important one. You’d be surprised how many blogs are not optimized for mobile traffic, despite the fact that over half of internet users are accessing the web from their mobile devices.
- Make it easy. Don’t make navigating your blog too tricky, or people will never want to stick around. Install related posts widgets in your sidebar, add in banners linking to other content, and be sure to include an easy way to sign up to be an email subscriber.
And finally, how many of your viewers are sticking around for more, and how many are jumping ship? If your blog posts are generating high bounce rates, you might want to reassess your content strategy. Ideally, you want your readers to move on to other blog posts, product pages, and those all-important sales funnels.
2. Post engagement
So, people are viewing your content, and that’s great. But if nobody is engaging with it, you might as well be talking to yourself. Let’s look first at social media. The more that your content is shared on social media, the more people are going to be talking about it – and that’s exactly what you want. Likes, comments, and shares on social media all add up to more traffic, and increased brand awareness.
But, you should also be encouraging visitors to engage with your blog posts themselves. Giving readers the ability to comment and encouraging them to do so, will help to continue the conversation. It will also show your business’ expert knowledge on whatever subject it is that you’re blogging about. Ensuring your content is personalized for your target reader will make them feel valued, and encourage them to get the conversation started.
If you really want to get the conversation going, start by putting out some polarizing content. Something that people will either love or hate. These kinds of posts spark conversations and allow people to passionately discuss what really matters to them.
3. Inbound links
Search engine optimization is an integral cog in any content marketing machine. One of the best ways to impress Google is by accumulating a good collection of inbound links to your blog posts. If you’re posting high quality, informative posts, then this should start to happen naturally.
If you’re not receiving any inbound links – take a long hard look at the content you’re putting out there. Sure, blogging is important, but only if you’re doing it right. If your content is pure clickbait, people won’t be enticed to come back for more, and they definitely won’t feel encouraged to link back to you in their own content.
While you may be under the impression that internet users all have the attention span of a goldfish, blog posts that are longer are actually much more likely to be successful – especially when it comes to attracting inbound links. Blog posts that surpass the 2000-word mark are doing so much for the reader than just scratching the surface. These posts are providing real value and are much more likely to be visited time and again. So, start focusing on long-form, evergreen content, and see those inbound links roll in.
On a related note, including outbound links in your own content is a great way to show your own knowledge of the field, and will also help your chances with search engine rankings. And don’t be afraid to create a network of links within your own posts to the rest of your blog. Not only will Google love it, but you’ll also be encouraging readers to engage with even more of your content.
Subscribers are like gold for blogs – these are the people who love your content enough to want to hear every time you have something new to say. Your subscribers generally come in two forms – RSS and email.
With RSS subscribers, you’ll not only want to keep an eye on how many people are subscribed but also how many of those are actively checking your feed. This is a great indicator of how many readers you’re retaining. Comparing your subscriber number to your active subscriber number will reveal how many people are dropping off, and not engaging with your content anymore.
Email subscribers are a step up from RSS subscribers. These readers have given you access to their inbox to tout your wares. They enjoyed your content so much that they no longer want to go searching for it – they want it to pop up in their emails all by itself. Be very aware of which pages are landing you the highest number of subscribers. Then use these as templates for future posts to further your email lists.
But, how do you attract these fabled subscribers? With personalized content that shows off your brand voice. If you have a distinctive way of communicating with your readers, they’re much more likely to keep reading your content than if you sound just like every other blog out there. Inject some personality into your posts, and don’t talk down to your readers. You want them to feel like you’re talking to them in real life – they’ll be much more likely to trust you if you do this.
5. Leads and conversion rates
Last but by no means least are your lead generation and conversion rates. Blogs can be a great source of visit-to-lead, and lead-to-customer conversions – so keeping track of these is essential. You’ll most likely find that certain blog posts or topics will be your biggest source of leads. This kind of information should then be applied to future content plans.
Blogs can be great ways to drive sales to your ecommerce site. You can tease new products, offer user guides, and use other similar psychological tricks to encourage readers to convert for you. Once you’ve determined which posts are already bringing you the highest conversion rates, go back and assess what calls to action you’re using. Start adding in more and more CTA’s across your blog posts. This makes it as easy as possible for readers to continue on to your store.
And, always remember to keep the buying cycle in mind when crafting your content. Ideally, you should be targeting readers who are at the “initial research” stage. You should be giving them the relevant information they need to move on to a purchase. Fill your posts with persuasive writing and instill trust and confidence in your readers.
Take this a step further and see where these leads are starting out. Are they originating on social media? Email marketing? Direct searches? Knowing where they came from in the first place will help you to see where your most effective marketing is currently happening. You may even find you have blog posts that are not attracting a large number of views but are home to your strongest lead conversion rates. Look at how you’re marketing these posts and try some split testing to really make the most of them – leads are what you’re looking for, after all.
Plan, measure, be patient.
When it comes to measuring the success of your blog, there can be many aspects to consider. But, one thing you need to keep in mind is that content marketing like this is usually more of a “slow burner” kind of ROI. You’re unlikely to see instant results. In fact, the longer a blog post has been around, the more helpful it becomes. As with any marketing strategy, without clear goals and effective tracking – your blog posts won’t bring in the results you really want. So, be sure you have all these things in place before setting out on making your blog a lead conversion machine.
Author: Donna Moores
Donna Moores is a savvy content marketer and freelance blogger. She has gained an outstanding marketing experience within the biggest industries and businesses, which she pleasantly shares with the readers.