Do you track your blog's analytics? I have met so many bloggers who don't, but there are some great reasons why you should!
Before we talk about why it's important to track your blog's analytics, we need to know exactly what “blog analytics”
Blog Analytics Terminology
Throughout this blog, you'll hear me talk about analytics, metrics, statistics, data, and numbers. Here are the definitions for those terms based on Merriam-Webster.
- Analytics – the method of logical analysis
- Metrics – a standard of measurement
- Statistics – a collection of quantitative data
- Data – factual information (such as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation
- Numbers – individual statistics (this is one of many definitions for “numbers”)
While these are all a little bit different, I'll use them interchangeably to mean the information about your blog.
What Are Blog Metrics?
When most people hear “blog analytics,” they automatically think of Google Analytics. And Google Analytics does give us a wealth of information about our blogs, but it isn't the only source of information.
Note: If I'm referring to Google Analytics, I'll always capitalize Analytics. If I'm using the word “analytics” in a broader sense, it'll be lower case.
Here are some other places where you can find data about your blog.
- Google Search Console
- Affiliate Programs
- Facebook Insights
- Pinterest Analytics
- Twitter Analytics
- Instagram Insights
- Email data
- Social scheduler analytics from services such as CoSchedule or Hootsuite
Why Should You Track Your Blog's Analytics?
- To track your progress toward your goals.
- To identify opportunities to take action.
- To motivate yourself.
Track Progress Toward Your Goals
Ever heard the saying, “what gets measured gets managed?” It's often attributed to Peter Drucker, but it's a paraphrase of something that William Thomson, Lord Kelvin said. “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.”
That's so true! Personally, I don't think you can meet your blogging goals unless you measure your progress.
I keep track of a lot of statistics about my blog. But just because I record them every month doesn't mean that I focus on all of them.
What Metrics Should You Focus On?
That depends on your goals for your blog. You'll need to figure out which statistic matches each of your goals.
Make sure you're picking the right metric for each goal. Some of them are self-explanatory, but some have subtle differences.
For example, if you want to increase pageviews, you track pageviews. Very straightforward.
But something like income may not be. There's a difference between a goal to increase your blog's income and a goal to make more money.
If you want to increase your blog's income, you would track income. If you want to make more money, you should track your blog's profit.
What Goals Should You Set For Your Blog?
It depends. Why are you blogging? Is it to make a full-time income so that you can support your family or a part-time income to pay for your kids' extracurricular activities? With a wrestler and a tennis player in my house, I know how expensive those activities can get!
Maybe you're blogging to educate folks about a cause you believe in. You may blog because you love to write.
Each of these reasons will likely have different goals. Let me share a couple of examples.
If you're blogging to share a cause, you may want to have a broad social media reach. Your goals might be to grow your social media following and your email subscriber list.
If you're blogging for income, your goals will depend on how you monetize your site. If ads are a primary source of income for you, your goals may be to increase pageviews and average session duration.
Sites that are monetized primarily by sponsored posts may want to grow their social media following so that they qualify for more campaigns.
The goal of an affiliate site may be to increase conversions.
Identify Opportunities To Take Action
After you've set your goals and figured out what measurement you need to use, then you can start focusing on that number.
Let me give you an example from my blog, Cub Scout Ideas.
Toward the end of 2017, I realized that I was getting close to having one million pageviews for the year. I didn't start the year with that as a goal, but it quickly became one for me.
Honest disclosure–this really was a “vanity” goal for me. The increase in pageviews was increasing my ad income, but I really wanted the bragging rights for having a million pageviews. All of your goals shouldn't be vanity-driven, but I think it's OK to have one or two that are.
At the beginning of December, I knew I was close, but I also knew that December really slows down for my blog. So, I decided to have a Cub Scout stocking stuffer giveaway. To enter, my readers had to go to the giveaway post and leave a comment sharing their favorite stocking stuffer. They could get a second entry by going to any other blog post and leaving a comment on it.
The giveaway had the potential for least two pageviews for every entry. This gave me quite a boost in pageviews, and it helped me surpass the one million mark.
Because I was tracking the pageview metric, I knew that I was close which gave me an opportunity to take action. And because I knew what metric was important, I could structure the action around that particular metric.
Here's how I celebrated my million pageviews.
Here's another example. I often add a tracking code to my affiliate links so that I know where the clicks and sales (also known as conversions) are coming from. A link I'm sharing on Facebook would include a code so that I know it's from Facebook. Same thing for affiliate links I include in my newsletter.
That's how I know that I usually get more clicks from Facebook, but I get more sales from emails. That doesn't mean that I'll quit sharing affiliate offers on social media, but it does mean I should include an affiliate offer in every email I send.
To Motivate Yourself
It's science! Seriously, a study published by the American Psychological Association found that “if you are trying to achieve a goal, the more often that you monitor your progress, the greater the likelihood that you will succeed.”
The mere act of tracking your progress will cause you to think. If you're ahead of your goal, you'll reflect on what you did that was successful. Maybe you'll discover like I did that affiliate offers in emails convert well, so you start including an affiliate offer in every email.
If you're behind on your goal, you'll start thinking about what you can do to reverse that trend. Maybe you'll realize it's been a while since you posted an affiliate offer on social media, so you add that to your weekly to-do list.
Are you tracking your blog's analytics? Why or why not? Leave me a comment to let me know!
Thanks for reading!
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