As year end creeps up on us, we are obliged to look back on our blog’s performance.
For some, this exercise is like pulling teeth without Novocaine. I can almost hear my client’s groan when I say, “send over your Google Analytics info”. No one, I mean no one, likes to review the numbers – unless they are stellar.
But you, yes you, need to get comfortable with your numbers.
After all, if you refuse to honestly evaluate your performance, you will repeat it next year. You will make the same mistakes. You will miss even better opportunities. You will still waste time and money.
The good news is that reviewing and evaluating your performance for 2012 shouldn’t be that difficult, especially if your blog is the centerpiece of your business’s marketing strategy.
Specifically, business blogs need only examine two numbers: 1) number of unique visitors and 2) number of conversions. Put another way, you want to know how many people you attracted to your blog and how many of them took a useful action (i.e. conversions)
With these two numbers you can learn a great deal about you performance.
Number of Unique Visitors:
- Plot this number by month. Which quarter was strongest? For example, financial services bloggers often see strong growth from January – April – tax season for most. If you’ve run your blog for a few years, check to see if there is a predictable seasonal variation.
- Trending Up or Down? Over time, are your numbers soaring or sinking? Soaring numbers could be evidence of strong search engine performance, increased posting frequency, or the support of a popular influencer. Declining numbers usually signals less frequent posting, lack of promotion, or both.
- Where did the visitors come from? In Google Analytics, you can check the source of your traffic. If you gained visitors over the year, see who delivered the increased traffic. Once you do, plan to do more to attract visitors from your source. In 2012 Pushing Social did extremely well on Google. Guess where I will be spending my time? How about you?
Number of Conversions:
- Zero conversions? This happens because… 1) You aren’t tracking conversions, 2) Your offers suck, or 3) You don’t have an offer. All are criminal blog publishing offenses. I’ll be straight with you. There’s absolutely no reason for not creating something to give in exchange for an email address. Whatever reason you have is worth less than a Romney campaign button.
- Conversions Up or Down? Just tracking this number is a win. Here’s the secret, if conversions are going up, find where your new customers or subscribers or coming from. If they are arriving from a blog, guest post. If they are coming from an offline ad, buy a bigger ad with color. If they are showing up from word of mouth, buy the influencer a Thank You card or a crate of steaks (I take steaks).
Declining conversions? This could signal that it’s time to refresh your offer or create a new one. Also play close attention to any changes you might have made to the offer. For example, I lose 10% of my conversions for every 100 pixels down the page I move my offers. Experience shows this is likely the case for you to.
- Wrong conversions: You might be getting tons of comments but zero leads. I love comments a lot. But I love leads more. Take a close look at how you are asking for action. It might be time to systematically test new ways of asking for an email subscription or purchase.
Going Hog Wild With Your Numbers….
You might be one of those twisted sort that loves to wrestle with data. God bless you. Squeeze as much data as you can from your blog. Understand however that numbers are just clues to what happened. Unless you are Nate Silver, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to predict what 2013 will look like from 2012’s results.
Instead, look for the people behind the numbers. Find out who visited your blog and have a conversation with them via Skype. These conversations will yield valuable evidence that can be analyzed for new ideas.
Do you love or hate your numbers? Have any questions? Let’s talk in the comments.