It’s hard to know if your blog is successful if you don’t track and measure its results and failures. It’s like trying to win a race while wearing a blindfold. You won’t be able to take any real steps forward because you won’t be able to see what’s in front of you.
In your blogging strategy, everything needs to be clear. You need to know what’s working and what isn’t. You need to be aware of what can come in the future. You need to be knowledgeable about what happened in the past. You need to know where you’re wasting money. You need to know the areas where you need to spend more money.
A caveat: Blogging isn’t necessarily easy. Success is rarely born from a random accident. The authoritative blogs you see—the ones that are pulling in hundreds of thousands of visitors consistently—have a system in place that tells them what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. They aren’t making choices erratically; most of the decisions they make have reasons behind them. These “reasons” are really goals that they are trying to meet. These goals could really be anything, but let’s condense them into three main objectives:
- Increased Traffic and Visitors
- Increased Sales and Revenue
- Increased Brand Awareness
That is where most business blogs should aim. But you won’t reach these goals without installing a real system to track what you’re doing right. This is why you need to use metrics.
Blog visitors, pageviews, and search engine rankings
After you add a new post to your blog, you want to know a few important things:
- How many visitors your new post receives
- How many repeat visitors you get on that post
- The length of time that they stay on that particular post or page
Over time, you’ll see that certain types of posts yield different results—some will work better than others. You’ll be able to see what’s popular with your community, and that will enable you to b provide more optimized content that is custom-tailored for their wants and needs.
But that’s not all. You need to track how many new visitors come to your blog. In particular…
- The exact percentage of unique visitors that come to your blog
- Find out where these new visitors came from. Did someone link to your site? Or is this from the search engines?
- The amount of pages they view when they visit your blog. This will tell you how interested they are
- Take note of any posts that will cause you to climb in the search engines. And find out why you climbed
- What inbound links did you receive? And from where?
You also want to take note if there is any sudden spike of traffic to your blog. If a sudden spike occurs, it could be from a number of things—you received a backlink from a high-traffic site, your content is being shared via social media, or your SEO efforts are finally paying off.
Prospects, call-to-actions, and conversions
Your business blog needs to have a sales focus. At the end of the day, a blog is another avenue for revenue, and if you don’t realize that, you’ve misconstrued the purpose for having a business blog. But it’s a slippery slope. You can’t force-feed your product or service to your blog visitors or they will promptly reject what you have to offer. You need subtlety. A deft, graceful hand is effective. And you need to measure that effectiveness. A simple way to do this is through having a track-able link in every call-to-action (CTA).
- Know how many visitors clicked on your CTA link
- Know how many visitors bounced from your sales pages/web copy/ order checkout page
- Know how many visitors were ultimately integrated into your sales cycle
- Know what posts have yielded the most purchases, signups, etc.
When you have split-tested different CTAs and post headlines, and when you know the types of posts that deliver the most sales, it becomes much easier to make your blog into a revenue-generating machine. Once you know what works, you can replicate and multiply it.
Community engagement, social media, and brand authority
The best blogs are pillar authorities in their niche. You need to have an active community that will comment on your posts, share your content, and make other more aware of your brand.
- Take note of what posts yield the most blog comments
- What content is getting shared the most? Who is sharing your content?
- What posts receive the most social media interest (likes, retweets, votes etc.)
Where to go from here
You need to measure as much as possible. The more data you accumulate, the easier it is to know what direction to take. The metrics that you track will relate to your marketing goals. When you meet these goals, your blog will reach the next level.