Once you’ve been blogging for at least a month, there are a lot of ways to determine how successful your blogging is – the end goal is to have new client leads and bookings. Between blogging and booking a client, however, there are a lot of different metrics you can use to measure what effects your blog is having on your site visitors. In our book about strategies for photography blogging success, Zach Prez and I dig deep into the different data that you can check to measure the success of your blog.
We recommend looking at your reports at least monthly. Check in monthly if you’re just monitoring to see large changes, and check in weekly if you want to see what posts had the most traction, and to make changes regularly to your blog to improve it.
1. Pages per visit and time on site (under Visitors in Google Analytics) are two ways to determine how much time people are spending on your blog. Pages per visit counts the number of different pages an individual clicks through before they leave your site and go elsewhere. Time on site counts, in seconds, the length of an individual’s visit. Great blogs will get visitors clicking through three or more pages, and spending more than three minutes on the site!
2. Landing pages (Content > Top Landing Pages) are the pages that people arrive on first on your site. They could be coming to those pages from search engines, links from other sites, or bookmarking them. It’s good to watch these landing pages, as they can show you what is most being linked to or searched for (and what people find the most interesting that drives traffic to your site).
3. Top content (Content > Top Content) lists the top-visited pages on your site. It counts all of the pages that people visit during their time, and ranks them in order of most- to least-seen. Top content is a good way to figure out what posts on your site people gravitate to the most, no matter if they landed their first or clicked to them from another area of the blog.
4. Referring sites (Traffic Sources > Referring Sites) shows what other sites (other domain names) have sent you the most traffic. This is helpful in figuring out where most of your incoming links come from – maybe social media drives a lot of referrals, or maybe other blogs and forums drive traffic. You may also be pleasantly surprised when you find who is linking to you!
5. Search engine key terms (Traffic Sources > Keywords) are the key to helping you figure out how well your blog is performing in search engines. You should be ranking well for your business name, and this (and variations of your business name, such as misspellings) will likely be the first few entries you see in the search engine keywords list. After that, see what terms people often click on to view your blog. Are they the key words and phrases that you have been targeting in your posts? Are they totally random and surprising? Analyze what you see and see what you can improve in your post titles, post content, etc.
6. Visits by hour (Visitors > Visits > Graph by Hour) and by day will help you determine the best times to post each week. Do you see a spike in visits on each Monday and Tuesday? Do you see a dip in visits on weekends? Is most of your traffic between certain hours of the day? Analyze the data to determine when you should schedule your posts to be published on your blog.
For more metrics to measure, or tips on how to create a great blog, get new blog visitors and turn them into clients, check out our book, Photography Blog Success!
This week’s blog post was brought to you by Lara Swanson. Lara is a professional web developer based in New Hampshire and also co-founded So You’re EnGAYged, where she vets dozens of photographers’ sites each month for their LGBT-friendly vendor list.