January 4, 2010

9 critical stats to measure on your blog

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John HaydonThe best place to start in any journey is to know where you are. If you want directions to Chicago, the first thing anyone will ask is “where are you coming from?”

We’d all like to think that our efforts to make friendly connections on Twitter and Facebook are bringing us more visitors, subscribers and customers. It feels so good to tweet back and forth that we assume it’s also good for business. But that simply may not be the case. 

9 crucial stats to measure on your blog

Your task today is to put emotion aside and measure. But don’t focus too much on the metrics –- just do so enough to set a baseline of your current state. Use a tool like Jing to capture screen grabs of various reports and save these in a folder called “Social Media Optimization –- Current Baseline – 1/4/2010.″

Key metrics for your blog

You want to get a sense of how many visitors are coming to your site, where those visitors are coming from and what they’re doing when they arrive. If you haven’t installed Google Analytics on your blog, please watch this screencast on How To Install Google Analytics On Your Blog.

1. Traffic source

In Google Analytics, the Traffic Sources Overview will tell you how people are getting to your blog. Are they finding you mainly through search? Through referring traffic? Or do they visit directly? In my case, most of my traffic comes from search, followed by referring sites (social media, inbound links).

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2. Referring traffic sources

The Referring Sites Report will show you, in acceding order, which sites are sending you the most traffic. You can then drill down into these sites for more details. For me, I get the most traffic from Twitter, Facebook, Headway and Stumbleupon. We’ll talk about how to increase traffic from these sites, but for now, we’re just setting baselines.

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3. Correlate spikes and events

Look At The Spikes on the graph for each report and ask yourself, “What did we do on this day that caused this spike?”

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4. Know your popular posts

Within the Content report, there is a sub-report called “content by title.“ This will help you understand what topics people are interested in and what you should be writing more about. This report is also a list of pages that should be optimized to increase new customers, more donations or whatever other business goal you have for your blog.

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5. Page views per visit

In all the reports, there is a column called “Pages/Visit.” This shows you if folks coming to your blog from Twitter or Facebook or wherever are going deeper into your blog’s content or quickly leaving.

Don’t be discouraged if your page views are lower than you thought. The very nature of social media encourages folks to have extremely limited attention span. Later in this series, we’ll talk about how to get people to stick around more on your blog.

6. Percent of new visitors

This report gives you a sense of whether you’re succeeding in converting people to loyal visitors. For example:

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7. RSS stats

If you’re using Feedburner for your RSS feeds, you’ll be able to see stats on how many people are subscribing to your feed over time and how many people are viewing your content received via RSS. You can also see what posts people are reading most.

8. Email stats

Most email marketing services have comprehensive reporting on subscriber growth. I use Aweber because it lets me create various email lists where I can measure subscriber growth, opens and unsubscribes (25 percent discount for nonprofits).
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9. Heat maps of your pages (extra credit)

Crazy Egg will create visual maps of what people are clicking on when they visit your pages. This is a great way to research before updating the layout of your site.

Homework: Get these stats into an Excel program (note the date)

If you don’t want to miss out on the 31 Day Challenge To Optimize Your Blog With Social Media, please sign up.

Cross-posted from JohnHaydon.com.John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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