During the dot-com bubble, businesses were scrambling to gain a place on the Internet under the banner of “everyone-needs-a-website”. Businesses often did not stop to think if – or why – they needed a website, they just knew that everyone kept telling them they had to have one if they wanted to be successful. And so, millions of businesses that had no concept of how to use a website to reach their customers, suddenly had websites. They didn’t know if digital would actually help their market, but hopped on the bandwagon regardless.
We are now starting to see the same pattern of behavior with businesses rushing to embrace a shiny new Internet concept, whether they need it or not, with business blogs. And unfortunately, too many businesses do not really understand how to tell if their blog is successful or not. As was the case with websites, many business do not know how to effectively measure if their blog is succeeding or attracting the right audiences.
Understanding what metrics you need to analyze to judge your blog’s success, or lack of success, is crucial. Here are a few key metrics to monitor when judging the effectiveness of your blog:
This is more than just a headcount of unique visits to your blog. You need to also look closely at which blog entries are receiving the most traffic. This will allow you to determine what kind of topics are the most popular among your blog readers and what kind of articles they would like to see more of. Matching your blog posts to your visitors’ interests is a guaranteed way to increase visitor traffic.
Individual visitor counts are important, but visitors who opt in to receive content from your blog, or who regularly visit your blog, are the gold standard to which you need to aspire. By subscribing to your blog, visitors are saying they are interested in your content – and by association your brand – and are interested in what you have to say. This metric works in two ways. Obviously, if your subscriber count is growing, you are doing something right. However, if you notice people unsubscribing from your content, that’s an indication to take a step back and re-strategize your content approach.
How often do visits translate into sales leads? It’s awesome to have people on your site reading your content, but to really be successful, you have to get those people to convert to leads in order to see a positive impact on your business. Look closely at your blog analytics to see which blogs generate the most leads. You may be surprised to find that blog entries with low visitor rates may have relatively high lead generation rates. The ratio between the two, or the percentage of total visitor views a blog entry receives in comparison to the number of sales leads it generates, is very important. Once you compare the numbers and see the difference, then you can tailor your future blog content to the topics that are generating the most leads.
Measure inbound links
How often do external websites or search engines link to articles on your blog and direct traffic to your blog? Since most blog entries are educational and not product or company-specific, highly relevant articles can drive visitors to your site who may otherwise never visit. You may want to think of these people as accidental or ‘bonus’ visitors who can give you valuable insight on attracting users that fall outside of your target demographic. Different blog post topics will generate a variety of sources and inbound links. Use this data to create a balance of articles to draw new visitors to your site through inbound links.
Measure Social Media Shares
Social media can be a difficult beast to tame. However, if you can track the number of times articles on your blog are shared on social media, you can gain valuable insight on what it takes to get visitors to share your articles. A blog article that presses the right buttons to get a user to share on social media could potentially put your company in front of thousands, or millions, of potential new customers. Keeping track of which articles, and which type of articles appeal to social media sharing can pay very big dividends.
The one common thread that runs through all these metrics cuts to the very heart of why you should care about blog metrics – determining what your blog readers want, and giving them more of it.
The purpose of your blog should not be to just push product information, but to retain visitors, and to engage them on such a level that they not only keep coming back for more of your content, but also feel compelled to share your content with their social media contacts.
If you keep these tips and tricks in mind, your can transform your business blog from blah to BOOM. Contact us if you need more information on how to create the blog you need to take your business to the next level.