We’ve had two #Blogchats so far in 2011, and the focus of both has been to help us get our blogging house in order for 2011. Figuring out what we want to accomplish on our blogs over the next 12 months.
We also spent a lot of time talking about goals for our blogs in 2011. Probably the most common goal that #Blogchat participants had for their blog in 2011 was getting more traffic.
How many of you nodded because you have the same goal for your blog this year? Did you know that’s one of the worst goals you can have for your blog?
Let’s say your goal for today is to get an extra 100 visitors on your blog. Let’s say you reach that goal, and 100 new visitors that have never read your blog before today, visit it.
And let’s say every single one of them stay for 10 seconds, leave, and never come back.
You met your goal of getting an additional 100 visitors to your blog, and yet you got zero CONVERSIONS from those 100 visitors. This is why I don’t want you to think about getting more visitors to your blog, I want you to think about getting more conversions. What do I mean by conversions? That means that you want your visitors to perform a certain action(s) on your blog.
Some examples of conversions you could want from visitors:
- A comment
- Signing up for your blog feed via email
- Signing up for your email newsletter
- Buying a product directly from your blog
- Leaving the blog to visit a product page on your website
I have been harping on this topic a LOT in the past couple of weeks on Twitter. Because I want you to have a real PLAN for your blog in 2011. I want you to know WHO you are targeting and what actions you want them to take on your blog.
Let me give you examples from my own plan for this blog in 2011.
I have two goals for this blog, primary and secondary. The primary goal, is to generate more training and consulting business directly from the blog. The secondary goal is to use the blog to build awareness and visibility for myself and my services. Here’s how measure the effectiveness of the blog in helping me reach these goals.
Primary goal – Generate more training and consulting business directly from the blog.
What I look for – Clients contacting me directly asking about my speaking/training/consulting services. After that, I look at how many times my speaking/training/consulting pages are being viewed. For example, notice the ‘Need Social Media Training? Click Here’ banner I have on the top of the 1st sidebar? That was created specifically to see if I could drive interest in my social media training services. It’s been up for about a month now, and is generating views every day, but so far not any business directly. So I am getting views on that training page, but no conversions. See why just having traffic isn’t enough?
Secondary goal – Build awareness and visibility for myself and my services.
What I look for – This is where I look for how y’all are reacting to the content I am creating. I track comments, but also number of RTs and where traffic is coming from. Because if I am creating valuable content that’s generating interaction and being shared, then it boosts my visibility. Which means I have more exposure to potential clients. Email subscribers to my blog’s feed is another thing I look at.
And this isn’t perfect, and I constantly look at what I am tracking and what my goals are. But the point is, I have a plan. I have an idea of what I am trying to accomplish, and how it fits into the larger strategy I have for the blog and what I am trying to accomplish.
What’s your plan for your blog in 2011?
Scott Ellis says
Mack, you make a great point about conversions and getting people to tack action on your site. What I hope people will hear is that there needs to be an end goal in mind before you start worrying about metrics like visitors or even conversions.
What is your goal with your blog/site? As simple as that seems, I talk to people all the time who can’t clearly answer that simple question. Once you know what you want to do, it’s easier to figure out how to get site visitors to act on that, and for you to choose the metrics that will best measure success.
Raw visitors is almost never it.
Better yet, get your conversion process nailed down and get the conversion rate up, then worry about driving traffic and you’ll have a formula to achieve your goals.
Mack Collier says
Scott you are exactly right. What scared the hell out of me during the last #Blogchat was when I mentioned having your traffic convert or looking for conversions, people were asking me what that means.
As you said, when bloggers start giving some thought to WHY they are blogging and WHO they are trying to reach, then it becomes a LOT easier to get a plan in place. And unfortunately, I think there are a good number of bloggers out there that do NOT have a plan for their blog. Hopefully posts like this will give them the incentive to what to change that.
Radu Tyrsina says
So when do you schedule the next blog chat this year? I’d love to attend that!
Vickie Tolbert says
Great article, Mack. Sometimes the goal you think you want won’t achieve the effects you desire. Your article points that out so well. You also emphasize continually evaluating and refining the goals. Those are all good points, and much appreciated.
Mack Collier says
Thank you Vickie. I have been blogging for almost 6 years now, and I am still tweaking and trying to figure out exactly how to reach my blogging goals. It is an almost constant state of experimentation. But that’s better than doing nothing and throwing darts at a wall.
Roz Zelenka says
Your points are well taken and appreciated. I started our blog as a way to get our brand name out there and to be able to tell our story. We are located overseas (Panama), our product, hand carved cameos inspired by the flora and fauna of the tropical rainforest, represents innovation in an art form that has existed for over 600 years in Italy. In addition, our carvers are Wounaan Indians that come from one of the most impoverished areas of the country. If we can get this work, to get more sales, then we can bring something amazingly beautiful to the world and create an industry here that helps save the rainforest from distruction by creating work for the Wounaan. If you hear passion in my words, it is because I feel I have to find the right forum/market for these Rainforest Design cameos. Anyone who appreciates art will appreciate these and immediately see their value and historical significance.
Our blog goals? Build a distribution network around the world to sell our cameos. Build our brand name, Rainforest Design, to become a household word. Get the story out there.
Blogchat has been really helpful to us in defining what we need to do. For me, blogchat = Mack Collier. So I thank you so much!
Mack Collier says
Thank you Roz. Can you share a link to your blog? Sounds like the blog is the perfect vehicle to explain more about the products, where they come from, and the people making them.
Roz Zelenka says
Would love to share the link to my blog!
I believe that people will find the stories interesting on how we got started. Read the blogs in reverse order. The first one is entitled “From Toilet Paper Wrapping” 🙂
You can also find us on Twitter, of course, @rainforestdesig and we also have a page on Facebook: Rainforest Design
Tammi Kibler says
I think a lot of bloggers start out talking about a subject and planning to figure it out as they go along – it being everything else that makes a blog worth doing for the long haul. Imagine if declaring a conversion were part of a blog setup and newbies were forced to begin with the end in mind. 🙂
Mack Collier says
Tammi I think one of the problems is that when people hear that they need to ‘convert’ visitors, many of them hear that they need to ‘sell’ them something. That’s not the case, as I said in the post, it can be something as simple as a comment on a post.
Take this post, for example. Right now it has 14 RTs, and 4 comments from readers, and 52 page views. Those are all forms of conversion. It’s up to me to decide if those are the types of conversions I want, and what priority and importance I place on each.
Fiona RIvard says
Getting more discussion on a blog is similar to holding conversations. I can stand up and talk and the recipients may or may not listen, but to really get benefit from the discussion, I need to interact and this often means taken the first step. I have to reach out to individuals and build the relationships if I want to build a community. Blog or no blog, I have to reach out and not sit back in anticipation.
Jonathan Saar says
I am all about conversions Mack. As a matter of fact we discussed our web analytics at our kickoff meeting a couple of weeks ago. We were all in agreement that these are just a bunch of numbers and that we needed to continue to search for ways to achieve conversions in one way or another. There is nothing to celebrate if your business does not grow. For our blog it has been challenging to get subscribers because I find that many in our industry really do not know what the purpose of a blog is in the first place. Once I overcome this hurdle I project that traffic numbers and subscribers will start to shift.
mack collier says
Congrats Jonathan, sounds like your team is on the right track. I think many blogging companies get attracted to big numbers because they dont really know what else to measure. They assume that more traffic is better. But as you said, you’ve got to convert that traffic, have it perform some action.
Else it’s just a buncha numbers.
Janet Boyer says
Excellent post, Mack! During the last blogchat, I was thinking the same thing about Tweeters “wanting more traffic”. Eyeballs mean NOTHING if it doesn’t expand your platform over the long term, build relationships or result in some type of brand loyalty (trust, booksales, reputation, etc.)
mack collier says
Thank you Janet, and thanks for joining #Blogchat! As I said, after hearing ‘I want more traffic/comments’ a few times, I knew I had to write this post. And I hope it’s helpful!
Rob Berman says
A couple of goals this year.
1) post more frequently than once a week. I am working on ideas of how to have a guest post each week.
2) Generating comments from a wider group of people. Have more of a conversation.
3) Work on my brand to show my expertise.
Bobby Rettew says
Mack…great thoughts. As I think through the audience that is interacting on #blogchat, I am wondering why SEO and traffic is such a focal point. I wonder if majority of us/those interacting on #blogchat are in the corporate/organizational marketing field. We are so engrained with finding numbers that turn into sales and numbers. Yes, we all want to find a way to convert something we invest our time and resources like a blog into sales. But, as you said, we have to remember to step away and remember it is about people and relationships. It is so hard to place numbers into building relationships other than just watching the number of relationships grow.
What do I want to do for 2011 on my blog: tell my story and tell my clients stories. That is it and if it brings more relationships either personal or as a client…then success. Thanks for stretching our minds and good luck to you in 2011. ~BR
Bob Dunn says
Hey Mack, this was so great to hear. I teach tons of WordPress workshops and so many questions are fixated on SEO, number of hits, blah, blah, blah. Although they can play an important role, the conversions are what we all should be looking for. I’m surprised how many people boast about all of their traffic, and say that’s what makes conversions, a numbers game.
Our previous business site didn’t have high traffic, but our conversions were great. The sites content and our reputation sold them, not SEO! Thanks!
Gabriele Maidecchi says
The general belief is that the more visitors mean the more potential conversions to your real objective (whatever that is, among those you mention for example).
That’s not always true, as we both know, but generally speaking, wanting more visitors is a bit generic but not too far off.
Shailender @ Valentine Vacation says
Earlier my plan was also to generate more traffic but now after reading your post it’s to make conversions…. You have really read my mind. 😀
Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist says
I appreciate the distinction you make in traffic v. conversions. For my skin care e commerce site I also realize that people need to visit more than once to start putting their trust in me. I, like you, look at post retweets. I also look at my daily sales overall. As my traffic is slowly growing so are the numbers of my daily sales. Interestingly, so is the time spent on the site. It’s all sort of murky, but the trend indicates that traffic, sharing, time spent and sales have been directly related.
We all want more visits
besides seo knowledge must be very original and google will appreciate
There is a fact here. Without traffic they won’t be conversions so, I have to be a little disagree with you. Looking for traffic is not the worst thing to do. Promotion is absolutely necessary for any blog or website. Yes, it is not a matter of just getting 10000 but getting interested visitors on what you are offering right? You did a good distinction between traffic and conversions. This issue varies from niche to niche. In my opinion, it is matter of setting up a brand and recognition, in this way we will be able to get both: Traffic and conversions.
Thanks Mack, I appreciate the insight. As a new blogger, I’m learning as I go, and really enjoying the experience so far.
For some people, it is not about conversion, sales or anything beyond attention. That’s it. So if that is their goal, traffic of any type will be enough.
You can’t assume that every blog has a purpose for business, sales or anything like that. It’s just not true. I know many blogs that exist for the sake of personal attention and nothing else.
Now if a person thinks that personal attention will automatically mean quality traffic, conversations, sales, network building or anything else, that’s a problem. But truthfully there are people who seem to care about none of the aforementioned.
Mack Collier says
Good points, Trudy. But in my case, I’m not writing for personal bloggers, I am writing for blogging companies. Those people definitely care about more than just having traffic. They want to know that the traffic is converting and helping them reach their business objectives.
Jacob Varghese says
Nice Post Mack. A cpl of quick questions for you.
1) if you do not meet your primary goal, wouldn’t your secondary goal itself suffice for keeping at blogging?
2)In the example you provided, the traffic (SEO, social mentions etc) does work to leverage the secondary goal, does it not?
Mack Collier says
Jacob those are good questions, and I think it’s up to the individual company to look at the results they are getting to decide if it’s working for them. But in general, yes, if you are hitting your secondary goals for the blog, that would likely be reason enough to stick with it, assuming you can keep tweaking and trying to improve your conversions on your primary goals.
My main point with the post was that getting traffic for traffic’s sake usually isn’t a solid objective for a blogging company. They need that traffic to convert.
Jacob Varghese says
Mack, thanks for the additional thoughts. Please delete my post (if you think fit) below…I thought I needed to clarify but your reply shows that there was no need to.
Jacob Varghese says
to clarify: I meant in # 2: the traffic (and associated SEO benefits like back links that come with the traffic, social mentions etc)