Over the past few weeks I have, as you’ve probably noticed, seriously ramped up my blogging. I’ve gone from writing 1-2 posts here a week to 5-6. The reason why is because I want to see if I can turn my blog into a serious driver of work leads and referrals. I started blogging more on October 20th, and I wanted to walk you through some of the metrics I am tracking to tell if my efforts are working.
First, a caveat: We are talking very small numbers and very inconclusive data at this point. After another 2 months or so, I should have some decent numbers and trends I can look at and tell if my efforts are paying off. The goal here isn’t to pass judgement on my efforts after less than a month. What I want to do is walk you through my thought process in measuring and tracking my efforts so you can apply this same formula to your own business blog to help decide if your efforts are working.
Traffic. When it comes to blogging, traffic is likely the first metric that you’ll look at. But traffic is often a ‘feel good’ metric that doesn’t always translate into actual business value. For example, typical daily traffic here from Monday-Friday prior to October 20th was 700-800 visitors a day. Now it’s 1,100-1,200 visitors a day. That’s about a 50% increase in less than a month and sounds nice. But my main goal from blogging more isn’t to get more traffic, it’s to get more qualified leads.
Now there are some ancillary benefits to increasing traffic. For example, increasing traffic drives up readership and that makes sponsorships here or as part of a #Blogchat sponsorship more appealing to potential sponsors.
So What Metrics Should You Track to Tell If Your Business Blog is Working?
First, you need to consider what action you want visitors to your blog to take. For example, if you ultimately want to sell a particular product on your blog, then the metrics to track could be:
1 – Actual sales from blog visitors
2 – Visits to the product page on the blog
3 – Signups for a free trial of the product
Again, traffic to the blog doesn’t really matter unless that traffic is engaging in the actions that you want.
For me, I want visitors to engage in one of three different actions (ranked in terms of priority):
1 – Contact me about working with me.
3 – Share my content online
The idea is that if they aren’t contacting me directly about possibly working with me, I want them to either check out my info here, or at least share my content with other people so that they might be interested in working with me.
But it’s important to note that the type of engagement that’s likely to be the easiest to get (sharing my content) is the least valuable of the three. This is common with blogging. For example I can tell anyone how to get more traffic to their blog; Write more posts. But just because you can easily get more traffic doesn’t mean that traffic by itself has any real value for you. Sure, it can make your ego feel good to see that needle moving, but is that meaningful?
So when you are tracking your blog’s efforts, follow this process:
1 – Figure out what you want visitors to do on your blog. What’s the one most important thing that a visitor could do on your blog? Order a product? Sign up for your newsletter? Share your content?
2 – Track metrics that lead back to that most important goal. If possible, you want a straight line from the metric you are measuring to the goal. Prioritize your metrics so that you are tracking the one that most directly leads to your goal for your blog first.
3 – Only track metrics that feed back to your goal for the blog, either directly or indirectly. If a metric doesn’t impact your ability to reach your goal then don’t track it.