When I first started blogging seriously, I heard from a lot of people that I shouldn’t focus on the STATS. The philosophy behind that was that many bloggers get discouraged if they don’t grow fast enough, or they start to think there is some magic number that needs to be achieved. Or maybe they hear another blogger’s numbers and feel like their blog isn’t good enough. Sure, all those things can happen, but your stats shouldn’t be something that you completely ignore. In fact, I say that you should be looking at your stats everyday because there is a lot you can learn there.
I remember one day when I logged into my blog stats and realized I had over 700 hits just since that morning. I was shocked, and confused and bewildered. What was happening, I wondered. Turns out I had a Banana Bread Recipe post get re-pinned a bunch on pinterest, and it was driving lots of traffic to my blog. The magic lasted about a week. I didn’t share a lot of recipes at the time I posted that. And, sure, when the stats when back to their normal rates, I was a little disappointed, but by noticing that, I realized that recipes were a good addition to my blog. Now, I share a recipe post every week.
So, since I’ve had 7 blogs in 6 years (yes, you read that right), I’ve learned a lot about what not to care about on my stats, and what I should be paying attention to. Here are 5 reasons why you SHOULD pay attention to your stats.
1. You learn what works and what doesn’t. In my example above, I learned that sharing recipes is a good way to get people to my blog via pinterest. I can even go into my stats and see what my all-time most popular posts are. If they are the funny ones about parenting then I can work on doing more of those kinds of posts. By looking at your popular posts, you can remind yourself of what works and what doesn’t. In wordpress, you can actually see your most popular posts of all time ranked by page views by going to: Top Posts and Pages, Summaries, and then click on All Time. Here’s a screenshot of mine, and look what’s at the top: That banana bread recipe post!!
2. You learn where your traffic is coming from. This is super important. For one, you can find out which social media outlet is working for you, but you can also find out other blogs that are sending traffic your way (and go and thank them for it!). Maybe you will discover blogging networks that work, and blogging networks that don’t. In the beginning I joined every blog directory out there, but I know which ones actually send traffic to my blog and which ones don’t from looking at my stats. This will help you network, and know where to put your time and energy.
3. Search Engine Terms Can Tell You Something Too. I have a love/hate relationship with my search engine terms. Because, they can be weird and creepy. Sometimes, I get a little freaked out by the fact that someone finds my blog by searching for “I hate stay at home moms” (yep, it has popped up a few times), but I also learn what brings people that don’t even KNOW about my blog to it. This can help you tag posts better, and also help you continue to write about the things people are searching for. I’m proud to say that the #1 search engine term that brings people to my blog, is: “How to act crazy”. I’m sure that’s because I wrote a post called, How To Act Like a Crazy Person, Or in Other Words, A Kid. I have a feeling they are disappointed when they see what my blog is really about, but that’s OK.
But, you can see that they also like life hacks, quotes, and pinterest recipes. Those are all terms I can use to tag my future posts.
4. Weekly and Monthly Summaries These two tools can teach you something. For 2014, March was my best month according to my stats. I can look at that those numbers and analyze them by trying to figure out how often I was posting in that month, what I wrote about, and what I was doing right or different. You can do the same thing with your weekly summary. Ask yourself questions like, which day of the week is better to post, and what types of posts work on different days. Switching your blog up according to your stats can help your blog grow.
5. You need to know if you’re making progress. Your stats are going to fluctuate from day to day, but it’s important to know if you are growing overall. If you avoid your numbers, you’re never going to know that. But, by looking at them (and analyzing them) regularly, you will know if you are making progress. Don’t obsess by hitting re-fresh 25 times during the day when you add a new post (I’m not saying I’ve done that), but instead, be smart and pay attention to what is happening with your blog, and you will learn how to be successful, and how to help it grow.
Meredith is a mother of 3 that is all about trying to be “real” when it comes to motherhood after years of trying to fake perfection. But, it’s the hardest job she’s ever done. She loves blogging about all the perfect and not so perfect moments on her blog, Perfection Pending. She hosts a weekly parenting blog hop on Mondays that you should totally join, and is a board member of the IBA. She would forever be your friend if you like her on Facebook, read her silly tweets on Twitter, notice her on Google+, or pin some of her amazing recipes on Pinterest.