It’s so exciting to blog! It’s fun to create posts and then have people read and comment and pin and to see your traffic grow and to gain more followers. But it can also be very discouraging when things go the other way. When you write a post and you feel like no one cares. Or you are posting things to social media and you aren’t gaining much traction there (I’m looking at you Facebook!) Or your stats take a nose dive. We’ve all had those ups and we’ve all had those downs. Am I right?
So how do you harness the ups and just keep climbing? Let’s talk about taking a deep look at your analytics and figuring out where you are seeing success on your blog, and then let’s talk about how to do more of what’s working so that your blog can grow and grow!
How to Grow Your Blog:
Have a Look at those Stats:
How often do you take time to sit down and have a close look at what is successful on your blog? Do you check your analytics each day? Just once in a while? Are you paying attention to what your readers like? Do you consistently know which posts are performing well and where your traffic is coming from?
Try this today. Open up Google Analytics (or another analytics program that works well for you) and have a look at what your most popular posts are. Not your most popular just today, but always. You probably have a general feel for this. You probably know that that one certain post drives a lot of traffic every day or at certain times of the year and you might even be fairly familiar with your top ten, but let’s go deeper.
(In Google Analytics to see your posts go to Behavior on the left side bar, then Site Content, All Pages. You can set the dates to filter it by or just leave it as it is.)
Here’s a glance at some information I gathered in May 2015 of my top posts from my blog Crazy Little Projects (I didn’t include any roundup type posts in this info-just my tutorials. I will talk more about that later):
- Messenger Bag Tutorial
- Understanding Sewing Machine Stitches
- Learn to Sew Series
- Teacher Appreciation Gift Card Holders
- How to Sew Piping
- Teacher Appreciation Gift Cups
- How to Buy Fabric
- Tips to Organize Your Life
- Alphabet Bingo
- Mini Messenger Bag
- Maxi Skirt Tutorial
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Party
- Sewing Dictionary
- Diapers and Wipes Case Tutorial
- Owl Baby Shower Invitations
- Mary Jane Shoe Tutorial
- Birthday Candy Wreath and Bucket Gift Idea
- Free Printable Birthday Invitations
- On the Go Organizer
- Summer Tote Bag Tutorial
And so on. I wrote down the top 25 posts.
I was surprised by what I saw here! (In fact, I am surprised again as I type these up now, close to a year later. I had forgotten that some of these ranked as well as they did!)
Several of these posts were not posts that I realized were so popular on my blog, others I knew were popular because I see them in my stats daily. Clearly several are seasonal-the teacher appreciation ones and certainly the top posts on my blog will fluctuate and change throughout the year, but there was some interesting info to be gathered here.
So I broke it down for myself.
Of my top 25 Posts:
- 11 are sewing tutorials
- 5 are tips and tricks
- 5 are gifts and birthdays
So what do I learn? Clearly my readers like my sewing posts-especially simple sewing and techniques. They also like easy gift ideas and party printables.
I then took some time to look deeper-beyond the top 25 and on to the top 50 or so and the same things seemed to hold true. My readers like simple sewing, parties, simple gift ideas and fun printables. With a little bit of chocolate mixed in. (Good thing because goodness knows that I like chocolate in my life.)
So what? What do I do with this info?
I am getting a clear message here. I can see pretty clearly what it is that my readers like when I break this down.
Interestingly, my readers didn’t seem to be responding super well to my baking posts. At the time I was still fairly early on in even posting those types of posts, so perhaps it was a little bit that, but it was worth noting that I am more effective when I spend my time on sewing and gifts. So clearly, my time is better spent posting things that my readers love rather than something like the desk refinish I did a few year back that probably hasn’t seen 10 page views since I put it up.
And so I plan around this. I try to create more posts that are similar to things that have been very successful before.
Assignment: Open up an analytics program for you blog and write down the top 50 posts. Take a look at those posts and recognize patterns. Write down the top 3-4 types of posts that your readers enjoy and then make a plan to do more of those types of posts this month.
In fact, here’s a fun printable for you to use if you would like to write this down. Maybe do this monthly or quarterly to keep up to date on what is doing well.
Either when you look at those stats or just in your day to day blogging, you may notice that some of your posts are significantly higher in page views than others. I mean like they have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands more views than others. Do you see that happening?
On a day to day basis, my 25 Things to Sew in Under 10 Minutes is my top post of the day 9 times out of 10. That post is crazy popular.
Another really popular post on my blog is my Halloween Bingo game. That guy gets tens of thousands of views every day for weeks leading up to Halloween. (I don’t mind that!)
So, that’s great, but what do I do with these great posts? How do I capitalize on them?
Two big things.
First-in those posts I make sure to link to other posts that readers might like. Hey-you’re here for the Halloween Bingo, but did you know I also have some great kids Halloween party ideas right here. Not all of my readers are going to click that link, but some will and that means more page views and more engaged readers. Win win!
I always, always include a You Might Also Like at the bottom of a post with images of things that I feel like might be interesting to people who are reading that particular post. Do this! It’s free advertising for yourself.
But also, link to yourself within your text of the post. If something fits in the natural flow, be sure to link to it! I might say for example as I am writing my Things to Sew in Under 10 minutes that roundups of sewing projects like 25 Things to Sew for Beginners are so popular that I am adding a new one or something along those lines so that someone reading that post knows that there is more to be had if they want it!
Second, if something is working well and there is another angle you can take, do it! So of course when I see my Halloween Bingo doing well, I can add Thanksgiving Bingo, Christmas Bingo, Valentine’s Bingo, 4th of July Bingo and so on. And guess what? Those posts are gold for me every single time those holidays come around. I have also added in some more year round bingo games like Alphabet Bingo and Baby Shower bingo.
Assignment: Looking at your most popular posts of all time, brainstorm 2-3 more posts that you could do that would have a similar feel and hopefully get a similar response. Put them on your editorial calendar and WRITE THEM!
Stay on Top of Those Stats:
The third thing that I feel like will help you harness the most powerful parts of your blog and help you grow is to pay attention to your stats on a day to day basis. You don’t have to be obsessed with them, but be very aware of them.
I have two programs that I monitor and watch my stats on each day.
There’s an app you can download on your phone called Quicklytics. It’s a quick glimpse of your Google Analytics stats that you can glance at any time during the day.
At any moment this app will show me what my page views look like for the day. (The blue is today, the green is this day last week.) It shows me page views, visitors, bounce rate etc.
But it will also show me things like current number of visitors on my site at that moment:
What pages they are viewing on my site:
And where they came from:
The other stats tool that I use is Jetpack. You install this as a plugin on your WordPress blog. I use this one mostly to see what my top posts are on any given day:
Why do I recommend paying attention to your stats? I feel like when you are watching, paying attention and seeing what is happening, you are aware of what is performing well, where your best traffic is coming from and what is working.
If I spend 13 hours a week on trying to engage my Facebook audience and get traffic coming from Facebook and yet I am not seeing Facebook register significantly on my stats on a day to day basis, then I know that my time might be spent better elsewhere, like Pinterest or SEO. I am not saying that Facebook isn’t worth the time. This will be different for everyone. What I am saying is that when you pay attention you can start to notice these things.
This will also help me pay more attention for the other two steps in this post. I will be very aware of what my top posts are, what my readers like and what I should be doing more of. I will know that on the day that my RSS feed emails go out I see a HUGE spike in traffic, meaning my emails and my email readers are very valuable to me and that I should keep investing in that form of social media.
Assignment: Get yourself some easy to access stats programs (google analytics is fine if that is what you prefer, I just feel like these other two are a little more user friendly when I just want a quick glimpse of what is going on). Get in the habit of checking on your stats at least daily and paying attention to what is getting traffic, where it is coming from and what is working well for you. Then do it more!
I hope these tips will help you grow your blog! Are there other things you do that you feel like are very successful?