November’s Blogging Recap
November is the 3rd month of my ‘blogging relaunch’ that I started in September. Over the Summer, I decided that with changing work patterns due to covid, that it was a good time to double-down on blogging as a content creation tool. Plus, I fear that heavy regulation is soon coming to social media sites regardless of who is in the White House come January 20th. So all of this together prompted me to get serious again about writing and creating content here.
So here’s how traffic did in November vs October:
Sadly, traffic was down 11.45%. First, there was one more day in October, so that accounts for a bit of the drop. And last week was Thanksgiving, that also accounted for a little bit of the decline. But the biggest reason for the decline was I went from 20 posts in October, down to 10 posts in November. Real life and work got in the way and I didn’t write as much as I should have.
When I first relaunched the blog in September, the goal was to write 6 posts a week. I kept that up for about 5 weeks, but I’ve now decided that I would like to settle in on a schedule of 4 new posts a week, Monday through Thursday. Occasionally I might have a 5th post on Friday or Saturday. Monday’s Marketing Minute is the post series I can stand by, and that results in one post every Monday. I announced yesterday that I would be launching #ContentCircus on Tuesday. The goal is to have a recap post on every Wednesday that covers what we discussed the night before in #ContentCircus. That will give me 2 posts a week. The post on Tuesday will usually be an ‘opinion’ post, and the post on Thursday will be a ‘thought leadership’ or instructional post.
More than anything else, it’s so important to strive for consistency in blogging. These first 2-3 months of the relaunch here were mostly about me developing a schedule that I can set, and stick to. Nothing is worse than a blog that goes weeks or months with no posts. I started out shooting for 6 posts a week. I’ve now figured out I really can’t maintain that volume, so I’m going to try dialing it back to 4 posts a week. But again, the main point is consistency.
Thanks for reading, I hope this is helping you plan your own blogging strategy. I’ll be back here in a month to share December’s results. And there WILL be more than 10 posts in December!
October’s Blogging Recap
October was the second month of this blog’s ‘relaunch’ as I like to call it. I started blogging here in 2009, and during that time I had a very inconsistent posting schedule. I would go periods of months where I would post 2-3 times a week, then go months when I would post 2-3 times a month. It was mostly a function of my work schedule and I always felt if a choice for my time had to be made, that work would always come first.
But earlier this year, I saw the massive disruption that covid was playing on all our everyday lives, and I made an assumption that since more of us would be spending more time at home, that blog readership would increase. So I decided to double-down on my blogging efforts. Over the Summer I worked to figure out what my content calendar would look like, and decided on an ideal schedule that would let me post up to 6 new posts a week.
Now, I have to be honest, when I started this, I figured I would hit a wall after about 2 weeks, and by now I would be down to 2-3 posts a week. For October, I actually averaged 5 posts a week, so I’m very proud of myself. I did have a couple of weeks recently where I only had 4 posts, but I haven’t gone below that, and really don’t want to. I’m trying to balance the perfectionists curse of wanting to write an amazing post every single day (which is impossible) and wanting to write SOMETHING every single day. I’ve given myself permission to write more as opposed to only writing when I have something ‘awesome’ to say.
So the main takeaway from October is:
Traffic up 7.8%! For the first 2-3 months, I mainly wanted to see traffic increase and get that moving in the right direction. As time goes on, I’ll get more dialed in on boosting keyword and page traffic. Speaking of which, search traffic had a big jump, up over 30% in October! Pretty surprised it took that big of a jump, will be curious to see if that continues.
My goals moving forward are to commit to at least 4 posts a week. The posts on Weds (Marketing and Movies) and my posts on Friday (Any topic I choose) and Saturday (Toolbox Saturday) are proving to be the hardest to write every week.
Thank you all for reading, I greatly appreciate the emails, messages and comments on social media. I’ll see everyone tomorrow!
September’s Blogging Recap: The Relaunch
So let’s talk about what happened here in September. I committed to relaunching this blog and boosting my writing schedule for two main reasons:
1 – More of us are going to be spending more time at home, and more time with our desktops and laptops. Covid is changing work schedules, leading to many of working remotely, and for some workers, those changes will be permanent. More time spent with laptops and desktops means, in theory, that we will be reading blogs more.
2 – Distrust in social media sites like Facebook and Twitter continues to grow. I honestly think that both sites will reach a point over the next few years where users will leave in droves. Additionally, both sites could be facing government regulation in the near future as they seem to be shifting from platforms to publishers. I think the migration from these sites will lead to an increase in blog readership.
So around August or so I decided to double-down on blogging. Looking back, I honestly should have made this move in May or so, but live and learn. I discussed this on August 31st when the blog relaunched, but I came back with a commitment to have 6 new posts a week. My only goal for September was to get 6 new posts a week up. A pretty ambitious goal when you consider that I had only published 12 new posts in the first 8 months of the year.
I met that goal, so for October the goal is to keep writing at the same pace, but also focus more on adding visual elements to the posts and work on implementing good SEO practices. Really for September I just wanted to prove to myself that I could meet the new posting schedule. I did, so let’s improve more for October.
Here’s what happened in September:
Traffic up 21.49% from August! I’m very happy with those results. As I continue to post more, search traffic in particular will grow very quickly and continue to push overall traffic levels up.
I started this blog in June of 2009. The traffic for the blog grew consistently every year. So much so that by early 2015, I was getting almost 1,700 visitors a day. The blog was starting to really take off. I decided in February of 2015 that I needed to get serious about the blog and take it to the next level. I made two changes; The first is I switched from ‘shared’ hosting to a dedicated WordPress host. This was a great move as it immediately cut the loading time for the site in half.
But the second change I made ended up having disastrous affects. Around this time, I read an article on an SEO site that said if you wanted to increase search rankings for your site, you should drop the www from your blog. For instance, instead of wwwDOTmackcollierDOTcom, have the site’s URL be mackcollierDOTcom. So I made this change, I switched it to mackcollierDOTcom. But what this article failed to mention was that this change should only be made if your site is NEW. Because making the switch screws with the SEO rankings you have already established otherwise.
Which, unfortunately, is what happened with this blog. My traffic for January of 2015 was 48,385. I made the changes in the middle of February of 2015, and my traffic started dropping immediately. Almost all of the drop was attributed to a decline in search traffic. By April of 2015, traffic was already down to 36.481, and it continued dropping every month. for 5 years. By August of this year, I was averaging around 50 visitors a day, where I was getting around 1,700 a day in early 2015 before I made the changes. Needless to say, it was incredibly disheartening to see my traffic going down for 5 years, despite everything I was doing, and not know why.
So I really see this as my blogging ‘rebirth’, a chance to rebuild the blog to where it once was, and even surpass it. Yes, starting over sucks, but I’ve learned so much about writing and blogging that I didn’t know in 2009. So the process will be much faster.
I appreciate everyone who has read, subscribed and left me nice emails and comments on social media.
So the goals for October are:
1 – More emphasis on visual elements. I’ll have to dig back into Thrive Architect and see what I can come up with.
2 – More emphasis on good SEO practices. This will mostly be on the backend and really won’t impact the actual content here.
3 – Traffic goal of 3,000 visitors. That would give me an average of roughly 100 visitors a day after averaging almost 80 a day in September.
Onward! Thanks again for reading and letting me know what you think, it is greatly appreciated!
Toolbox Saturday: The Google Analytics Mobile App
Google Analytics has always been one of my go-to tools for maintaining and growing my blog. What I’ve always liked about it is that I can quickly easily get key information about what’s happening with my blog’s traffic at any moment.
And that level of convenience has been taken to the next level with the Google Analytics Mobile App. Thanks to this app, I’ve now got that information right with me on my phone. And these days, I have my phone with me almost every every waking moment, whereas I’m often away from my laptop for hours at a time. I also have the WordPress mobile app on my phone and with Jetpack enabled it also gives me some basic traffic information and between the two apps I can pretty much tell what’s happening with my blog traffic in a few seconds. Which is just what I need.
Here’s a couple of screenshots of the basic traffic information that’s available to me when I open the app:
This is the information I look at the most. I want to see how many people are online right now, and what traffic is looking like so far today. Whenever I track traffic, I always track it hourly, versus the same day a week ago. This gives me a useful way to see how traffic is doing today versus the same day a week ago. Basically, I’m looking for spikes up or down. If traffic is way off, I want to know why. If it’s way down, was there a connection issue or was the site down? If it’s way up, was there a post that was getting shared a lot, or was I getting some spam traffic?
Here’s another graph found as soon as I open the app, a sort of ‘heat map’ of how traffic did throughout the day:
I like the way the traffic levels are represented as colors, that helps me easily understand what times of the day had the most traffic, and which ones had the least. This can help me adjust when I promote content and when I publish new content.
Overall, I really like having this information available to me at a glance and right as soon as I open the app. Now the one thing I wish was available as soon as I open the app would be a list of the most viewed posts for that day. I get that with the WordPress app, but it would be nice to have that with the Google Analytics app all in the same place. There’s probably a very easy way to add that report that I simply can’t figure out.
You’re probably already using Google Analytics to track your blog’s traffic, so why not grab the mobile app as well?
What’s Next For Blogging? Delivering Personalized Content Based on Visitor Intent
Recently I’ve been discussing how blogging will have a bit of a Renaissance soon as users move away from a centralized experience (social media sites like Twitter and Facebook) and back to a decentralized experience (like blogging). I believe blogging will become popular again as we look for ways to better gain control of the data we share and the content we create. Additionally, the functionality of blogs has continued to increase and improve. Ten years ago, blogs were little more than a writing area and one sidebar. Now, you can completely customize a blog’s layout and functionality so that the line between blog and high-end website is completely blurred.
But one area where blogs have lagged a bit is in providing personalized content to each visitor. Every visitor is different and is looking for different content for different reasons. What blogging platforms and technology need to improve upon is taking visitor signals and translating that into intent and creating the content that the visitor expects. This can be done at a source level such as social media vs search, or based on search terms. Or it could change based on the landing page/post.
This is already happening a bit, I’ve been tinkering with a couple of plugins that attempt to address the content customization issue. The first is Thrive Leads (affiliate link). It lets me control where my newsletter signup popup appears. For example, I wrote a few posts in 2012 on how to write and publish a book. These posts are very popular among aspiring authors, and I get a ton of search traffic to both of them. But most of the people that would read these posts are not the potential clients that I would want subscribing to my newsletter, so Leads lets me turn off the newsletter popup on those pages, so I won’t get subscribers from those posts.
Another plugin I’ve been experimenting with is Clever Widgets (affiliate link). Clever Widgets allows you to customize the widgets that are displayed for every post or page. So if someone visits a particular sales page, you can customize the widget areas on that page to either complete the sale, or give more information about the product, or even include a live chat widget to attempt to close the sale. Or if someone visits your blog’s homepage where your latest posts are, you could serve up widgets that are designed to encourage them to become a subscriber, or view your most popular posts.
As you can see, even these content personalization options are fairly limited, but it’s a start. Definitely check out the two plugins I’m using, but also give more thought to who your visitors are, and what content they are looking for when they visit your blog. For most bloggers, at least 50% of their traffic will be from search engines. People coming from search engines are looking for specific information, and if they don’t immediately find it on the post they land on, they will leave. Check your WordPress dashboard, if you use a plugin like Jetpack (affiliate link) you can see which search terms visitors are using to find your blog. This also gives you a better sense of what information they are looking for when they arrive on your blog.
Besides focusing on visitors arriving via search, also consider that many visitors to your blog will arrive via a mobile device. This adds another layer of complexity as mobile users are far less ‘sticky’ and will quickly leave a site if they don’t get the information or experience they were expecting. It is imperative that your blog displays correctly on mobile devices including tablets and smartphones. For many publishers, mobile traffic has now reached a tipping point where it has passed desktop traffic, so you can no longer ignore mobile users. Make sure that your theme is responsive, and make a point to regularly load and navigate your blog on your smartphone. If you can’t figure out how to properly view and navigate your own blog on your smartphone, the odds are your visitors can’t either.
Soon, CMSs will seamlessly integrate machine learning to create personalized content experiences for visitors on the fly, which we can all use. Until that day arrives, think about what you can start doing now to give every visitor the content experience they are expecting.
How I Increased One Post’s Traffic by 255% in One Year
As content creators, there’s always a push on to create more content. Bloggers know that on average, the more often they create content, the quicker their traffic and readership grows.
But one of the best ways to grow your traffic is to actually improve your existing content. For the past year, I’ve been ‘remastering’ my posts by following the process outlined here. I wanted to walk you through the results I’ve seen for one of my posts.
The post is this one: Want to Create a Brand Ambassador Program? Here’s 10 Things to Remember When You Do. By improving this post over the last year, it’s traffic has increased by 255% this year versus the same period last year.
On the above graph, the orange line is the post’s weekly traffic from last year for Jan 1st – June 19th. The blue line is this year’s weekly traffic. You can see that traffic for this year is much higher than last year, and growing. You can also see that the orange line for last year was already starting to increase in April, which is when I first started working to improve this post.
So what did I do? First, let me address the elephant in the room: Probably the biggest improvement you can make in the traffic to an old post is to change the date. Simply giving an old post a new date typically results in a lift in traffic. However, I would advise that you never change the date of a post without also changing the content of that post. If you get in the habit of simply giving your old posts a new date to get more traffic, you run the risk of alienating your readers and possibly risk the wrath of Google if they start to penalize publishers for using this practice.
If I can’t improve the post, I don’t get to change the date. This is the rule I go by when applying this process. This post was first published in 2011. Over the years I’d made minor changes to the post, maybe correcting a typo or the like. But last year for the first time I went through and significantly changed and improved the post. That was when I first changed the date to 2017. Then earlier this year, I changed it again, and updated the date again.
Here’s the process I followed:
1 – Proofread the existing post. I go through and see if there’s anything I need to change or improve about the post as is. Any typos that need to be corrected, or grammar that needs to be addressed.
2 – Can I do a better job of explaining the topic or flesh out my ideas more completely? This makes the post more in-depth and comprehensive, which also increases social sharing.
3 – Is there any new research or case studies on the topic that I can reference and add to the post? This also makes the post more valuable to readers, and a better resource on the topic.
4 – Can any new visual elements be added that are relevant to the topic? It’s great to improve and expand an existing post, but you don’t want to risk turning the post into the dreaded ‘wall of text’. A good way to avoid this is by adding additionally images to break up the flow and make the post more engaging. There are several sites that offer free images, such as Pixabay, Unsplash and Pexels.
5 – What questions does this post answer? Think about how someone would find your post if they did a google search. What search query would your post answer? For my post, questions like ‘What is a Brand Ambassador?’ or ‘What is a Brand Ambassador Program?” might be questions someone would ask before finding my post in search results. In fact, I recently edited the post to add definitions for both terms at the start of the post. If you want to apply this same methodology to your own post, the site Answer the Public is a good place to start generating ideas.
For this particular post, I also used the Headline Optimizer plugin from Thrive Themes (affiliate link) to give the post a new headline. The old headline for the post was 10 Things to Remember When Creating a Brand Ambassador Program. The new headline, Want to Create a Brand Ambassador Program? Here’s 10 Things to Remember When You Do drew a 19% increase in engagement. Plus, I liked the fact that the post’s main keyword phrase, ‘brand ambassador program’ was closer to the start of the headline. It’s been shown to improve search rankings if the post’s keyword phrase is at the start of the headline.
In fact, this post typically ranks first or second in Google search results for the term ‘brand ambassador program’. A big reason why is because I continually improve and expand the post. When I first published this post in 2011, it had 1230 words. Today’s version has 1600, along with additional images and links.
Seven years ago when I first published this post, up till 2016, this post averaged around 100 pageviews a week. Today, it’s the 2nd most popular post on this blog, and last week it had its best week ever with 461 pageviews. I expect it to have close to 500 pageviews this week.
All of this shows that by consistently improving a post, you can see big gains, over time.
10 Things You Can Do TODAY to Make Your Blog Better
Ready to take your blog to the next level? Here’s 10 things I have learned about making my blog better over the last 13 years.
1 – Sign up for Google Analytics. This will give you valuable information about the health of your blog. I use it every single day to see how traffic is doing here, specifically Real-Time and referral sources. It’s great to track what content is resonating with your readers. Plus, if you ever want to bring on ads or sponsors for your blog, they will want to know your blog’s stats tracked via Google Analytics. Plus it’s free, so get it today.
2 – Get the right plugins that add functionality for you and you readers. Here’s three of my favorites and make sure you add Akismet to block spam. And most importantly, make sure all your plugins and WordPress are updated as soon as available. Outdated plugins are the first thing hackers look for on your blog, so simply keeping everything updated will make your blog far more secure and if you are vigilant about it, that alone could be enough to keep your blog from ever getting hacked.
3 – Nail down your audience. No more of this ‘I’m just writing to share my voice’. That’s lazy, figure out WHO you want to share your voice with. The exact person. Do that and you can give them the message that’s relevant to them, and you’ll be more likely to earn their attention.
4 – Figure out your reader’s journey. Mapping the ‘customer’s journey’ is a buzz-term in business right now, similarly, you need to think about the path your reader takes on and off your blog. Think about the actions they are taking, and the actions you want them to take.
5 – Factor in content placement and blog design. With the former point, think about the actions you want the reader to take, and organize your blog so it is easier for your readers to take those actions. For example, my primary audience here is people working in marketing and social media for brands. The primary actions I want them to take is to sign up for my newsletter, and read my content on brand advocacy. So notice that my newsletter signup and recent posts on Brand Advocacy are both featured at the top of the blog, where they will be the most visible.
6 – Nail your headlines. Of all the tips in this list, this is the one that can instantly boost your readership the most. I’ve written before about the importance of writing a great headline and how to do so. Don’t think about how your headline will read here on this blog, think about how it will read on Twitter or Facebook. That’s the test, consider if you glanced at your headline on Twitter for 2 seconds, would the headline alone prompt you to click the link? If not, then it’s a bad headline. However if you do click and then the post doesn’t back up the headline, that’s even worse. So you want to have a headline that instantly grabs attention and makes me want to click the link, but also the content has to back up the claim or statement made by the headline. Don’t summarize the post, make a specific claim or statement with the headline that grabs my attention.
7 – Create reader-centric content. Don’t focus on blogging about your business (or the business you want to build) instead blog about ideas and themes that are relevant to your desired audience. For example, Patagonia has a fabulous blog for their customers. But at The Cleanest Line, Patagonia doesn’t blog about its clothing, it blogs about ideas and themes that are relevant to its customers. Such as sustainability, protecting the environment, and being active outdoors. Patagonia does this because the brand understands that creating reader-centric content means creating more interesting and relevant content for its customers.
8 – Get on a regular posting schedule. All things being equal, the blog that publishes more content will have a higher readership. So if you want to create and publish more content, a great way to do this and cultivate your readership is to get on a regular posting pattern. If possible, start out shooting for at least one new post a week, and pick the same day to publish that post. Wednesday, Saturday, it doesn’t matter as long as you make it the same day. Then try to grow from that to 2 posts a week, then maybe 3. But if you can only write 4 posts a month, I would rather see you spread out those 4 posts as one each Wednesday versus publishing a post the 1st week of the month then none for the next 2 weeks then 3 posts in the final week of the month. Getting on a regular posting schedule trains your readers to know when to expect new content and helps grow your readership.
9 – Engage your readers. ‘How do I get more comments?’ is one of the biggest challenges most bloggers have. The quickest way to get more comments? Actually REPLY to the ones you get! Now granted you don’t need to reply to every single comment but if you did, you just doubled the number of comments on your blog. And your replies will lead to more comments. More importantly, if your readers know you will reply if they comment, that makes them more likely to comment.
10 – Pay more attention to your audience than the ‘experts’. Case in point, you’ll hear all day that people hate list posts like this. The more advanced bloggers will look down their noses at them and tell you to stop writing them that they want content that’s more advanced. That’s because they are more advanced. Every one of them LOVED the ‘listicles’ when they started blogging because they needed posts exactly like this. So if you are writing for more advanced bloggers, then you need to provide them more 201 and 301-level content. But if you are writing for beginning bloggers, guess what? You need to give them 101-level content, and don’t listen to the more advanced bloggers that want more advanced content. Because they aren’t your audience.
What did I miss? Add them in the comments, please!
5 Ways I Use Google Analytics to Improve My Blog’s Content
First, if you haven’t added Google Analytics to your blog, do so now. It doesn’t matter if your blog is your business or nothing more than your online diary, you need to know more about the people that visit your blog. GA is a great way to give you those insights, and it’s free. Here’s 5 ways I use Google Analytics every day to better understand the traffic that visits my blog and to make my content strategy more effective:
1 – I compare today’s hourly traffic vs last week’s hourly traffic for the same day. For example, on Sunday, I will bring up the traffic for the current day, set it to hourly, and compare it to the previous Sunday’s hourly traffic. This lets me know as the day progresses how the hourly traffic levels are comparing to the previous Sunday. Here’s what it looked like for this Sunday (blue) vs the previous Sunday (orange):
This gives me a quick and easy snapshot of how traffic did on this Sunday vs the previous Sunday. As you can see, a very good day, hourly traffic was up almost every hour versus the previous Sunday and traffic for the day was up almost 15% and Avg Session Duration was up over 40%, another huge number.
Here’s how you can get this same view for your blog: Click on Audience, then Overview, both on the left side of the screen. The default view is to just show you the previous 30 days before this one. You want to change that view so click on the Down button next to the date range on the top right of the screen. This will open up a calendar showing you this month plus the previous two months. Under Date Range, the previous 30 days will be highlighted. You want to first click on TODAY’s date. Next, click on the small box right under it that says ‘Compare to:’, and it will have a dropdown menu that you don’t want to touch for now. Two new date range boxes will open up under the first two, but they won’t be highlighted. You want to click on the first date box on the left, and then go back to the calendar and click the date for one week earlier. For example, if you are doing this on a Monday, for this you would click on the previous Monday’s date. Click on it again so that the date range you are comparing to is the previous Monday. Then click Apply.
At first, it will be set to the default view, which is Day. It will show you how the current day’s traffic is doing versus 7 days earlier. If you click on Hourly, you will then see today’s traffic broken down by hours and compared to the previous Monday’s traffic on an hourly basis. The blue dots will be for today, the orange dots will be for the previous Monday. So you can quickly see how hourly traffic is doing today vs the same day last week. Here’s what the settings look like for the report I created on Monday to compare traffic to the previous Monday:
It can be a bit complicated at first, but pretty easy once you get the hang of it. As you can see, you can easily adjust the settings to compare this week to the previous week or this month to the previous month, or this year to 3 years ago. Whatever you want.
2 – I closely examine Real Time traffic, especially right after I publish a new post. The Real Time traffic feature in GA is a great way to get an instant snapshot of the traffic that’s currently on your blog. For example, as soon as I publish this post, I will share it on Twitter and Facebook, probably LinkedIn as well. I will then check with Real Time traffic, to see which, if any, of those links are immediately sending traffic to the site. This is great way to see instantly if certain types of content resonate more or less on a particular site. For example, if the link to this post I share on LinkedIn immediately sends traffic and the link I share on Facebook doesn’t, that could suggest that the topic of using Google Analytics is more relevant to the more business-oriented audience on LinkedIn. Plus, examining Real Time traffic can be a great way to get early notification of a new backlink to your blog or maybe an influencer with a large network Twitter just RTed your post. Here’s an example of what this looks like:
You can see which content is being viewed, from what sources, their location, etc. Also, if you get in the habit of regularly checking this you will get a sense of what times of the day are better for your traffic, which also helps you decide when to publish new posts!
3 – I examine traffic by channel. For this I go back to the week to week comparison. Click on Acquisition, then All Traffic, then Channels. This shows me a breakdown of my traffic by different channel types, such as Organic Search, Direct, Referral and Social. This is very important because if you just look at your overall traffic numbers you won’t get a complete picture. For example, let’s say this Monday’s traffic to your blog was 500 visitors, and last Monday’s traffic was 450. So that’s a weekly gain of about 10%, which is really good. But without looking at the traffic by channel, you may assume that each type of traffic rose by 10%, but it could be that your Organic Search traffic was up by 40% and your Direct traffic was down by 25%. But overall traffic was up. Still, those are big jumps in both directions for your Organic Search and Direct traffic, so it’s worth knowing that so you can keep an eye on both moving forward.
4 – I dive deeper into channel traffic and sort by Source/Medium. This is very important because all sources of traffic are not created equally. For example, I am writing this post at about 6PM on a Monday night. In comparing today’s traffic vs the previous Monday’s traffic, here’s what I currently see in Channel view for Organic Search:
There’s about 6 hours in the day so Organic Search for today will end up being close to 1,100 visitors for the day, which will be about a 10% increase over the previous Monday, so I’m pleased with that. But, it’s worth remembering that Organic Search isn’t just Google, it’s all Organic Search from ALL search engines. To find out exactly how each search engine is doing vs the previous Monday, we need to click Source/Medium heading above these results. So while overall Organic Search is currently down 14.66%, here’s how each search engine is actually doing:
Google – Down 11.9%
Yahoo – Down 5.56%
Bing – Down 58.56%
So you can see that Google and Yahoo are actually doing way better than Bing is. Now about 90% of the Organic Search is coming from Google for me, but your numbers may vary. If the majority of your blog’s Organic Search was coming from Bing, it would be worrisome to see your traffic from Bing down by 58%!
5 – I look at the most viewed pages week to week. For this view I click on Behavior then Site Content then All Pages on the left side of the GA dashboard. I do this because I want to see what content is driving visitors, but I also am looking for irregularities. Did one page get a lot of views this week and none last week, or vice versa? For example, when I click on All Pages it shows me the most viewed pages for today vs last Monday. Notice something interesting I found:
See that post on the bottom, Ford Launches the Fiesta Movement? That’s an old post, but notice it had zero views last Monday, but has 18 this Monday! I would like to know if GA can help me understand why this old post suddenly got a lot of views this Monday, when it usually gets none. Does anyone know of a way to further way to drill down with Google Analytics and figure that out?
Those are the 5 main ways I use Google Analytics to get a better idea of the makeup of my blog traffic. What’s your favorite way to use GA?
My Blog Traffic and Podcast Audience Results For August
For every month in 2015, I’ve set specific goals for growing my blog readership, and podcast audience. The end goal is that by December this blog will have at least 100,000 visitors for that month, and the podcast will be downloaded at least 10,000 times for December. Every month I am going to write a post like this recapping how I did in the previous month, and share any lessons I have learned. The goal is to help you learn how to build a blog readership and podcast audience as I do.
First, here were my goals for August:
Blog – At least 80,000 visitors
Podcast – At least 4,000 downloads
Blog Traffic Results For August
My blog traffic in August was 36,154 visitors versus 38,125 visitors in July. That’s a decrease of 5.17%. I had 10 new posts in August, which is about where I wanted to be with 2-3 new posts each week.
Here’s how each source of traffic did in August vs July:
Search – Down 5.8%
Direct – Up 13.42%
Referral – Down 17.9%
Social – Down 32.83%
Other – Up 7.75%
Email – Down 72.87%
Before I got into the numbers any deeper, I was interested to see if some of the decline could simply be a matter of people spending more time on vacation in August vs July. So I decided to run the same numbers for August of 2014 vs July of 2014. I saw that overall traffic actually increased in August over July of 2014 by 8%. So it appears the decline is more likely a nagging side affect of the issue I’ve been facing for most of this year with search traffic going down.
I dove deeper into the search traffic for the entire year, and while the decline is steady with search traffic from Google, it’s less pronounced with Yahoo, and search traffic from Bing has more or less gone sideways, with June being the best month so far this year for traffic from Bing. So it appears this is more a Google search issue than a search issue as a whole. Then again since Google accounts for well over 90% of my search traffic, it kinda IS a search issue!
Earlier this month I went into Google Webmaster Tools and made a couple of tweaks to see if those would have any impact on search traffic. I have noticed that so far this week, search traffic seems to be up slightly, but it’s really too soon to tell if the bump is likely coming from the changes I made. I’ll keep an eye on it and if search traffic continues to increase, it will be a good sign that my tweaking worked, and I’ll talk more about what I did next month.
Podcast Numbers and Overview for August
The goal for August was at least 4,000 downloads of the podcast, and The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show actually had 5,330 downloads in August. This was up sharply from July and is the best month ever for the podcast. Here’s the number of daily downloads so far this year:
As you can see, for the year the average daily download is right at 100. A far cry from this time last year when there were only 128 downloads in the entire MONTH of August 2014! I’m thrilled with the growth of the podcast but at the same time know it will hard to hit the monthly download goals for the rest of the year.
Speaking of which, here’s the blog audience and podcast download goals for September:
Blog Traffic – At least 85,000 visitors
Podcast Downloads – At least 5,000
This are the goals I set at the start of the year. The blog’s goal will need a miracle to hit, but the 5,000 download number was hit in August so I just need to do that again in September to hit my goal for downloads. I’ll check back in next month and let you know how I did!
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