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 February:
Blog – At least 58,000 visitors
Podcast – At least 1,100 downloads
Let’s start out by looking at how the blog did in March.
My blog traffic in March was 48,901 visitors, averaging 1,577 a day. In February I had 50,225 visitors and averaged 1,735 a day. So traffic fell about 10% in March. Yikes!
So what happened? I need to figure out why the traffic fell, so I can then work on getting it back up. Let’s start by going into Google Analytics and compare March’s traffic to February’s:
The blue area on the bottom is daily traffic for March, and the orange lines above it are February’s daily traffic. I was curious to see if maybe there was one or two days in February that had a huge traffic spike that maybe could help account for why traffic was down in March. But as you can see from this picture, traffic in March was pretty much down every day compared to February.
So next, let’s look at the traffic sources for each month. I want to see if any particular traffic source moved up or down, as that would give me another clue as to what happened.
Search traffic – Down 13%
Direct traffic – Up 3.5%
Social traffic – Up 254%
Referral traffic – Up 4%
Now the picture becomes clearer. If you remember from last month’s traffic update, I made some backend changes to the blog which were designed to primarily increase load times. And it did, I culled a lot of plugins and made some tweaks to reduce average load time here from around 6 seconds in February to around 2 seconds now. But it appears that the changes I made also led to a decline in search traffic. At least I think that’s what the cause of the search traffic decline is, I’m not sure. I started noticing that search traffic was down early in the month of March, so I started promoting my posts more on social media (especially Twitter), which is why there was a big jump in social traffic. This boost was almost enough to cover the decline in search traffic. But either way, I missed my blog’s goal for traffic in March badly.
I wrote 13 posts in March, which was 3 more than I wrote in February. At this point I need to seriously consider trying to write 4 posts a week if I want to continue to push traffic upward. I’ll have to watch that closely in April, and see what I can do about getting more posts up.
Podcast Numbers and Overview for March
After that beating that the blog took in March, I am ready for some good news. Thankfully, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show crushed its goals for March!
Goal for March: At least 1,100 downloads
Actual downloads: 1,547
So the podcast exceeded its March goal for downloads by 41%! Awesome! Here’s the podcast’s daily downloads for Jan 1st-March 31st:
The inflection point seems to have been March 16th, from that point on for the rest of the month the daily downloads steadily went up. I didn’t really do anything different in March, other than a bit more promotion of the podcast. I think the increase is simply a function of the podcast finding its audience and resonating with listeners. I even got a couple of sponsorship inquiries in March! As a result I’ll be getting up a sponsorship page in a few days for The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show.
So those are my blog traffic and podcast audience results for March. Here’s my goals for each in April:
Blog – At least 62,000 visitors
Podcast – At least 1,500 downloads
As you can see from this post, it will be a hike to reach my blog’s goal, but it looks like with the growth the podcast has shown, 1,500 downloads should be within reach for April.
I’ll be back in one month to share my results!