What is a website visit worth to your company?
Blogging is one of the best ways to efficiently and inexpensively drive traffic to your website—the kind of traffic that results in sales. While not everyone who reads your blog will be ready to buy, publishing regularly establishes your company as a thought leader and builds trust so that when someone does have a need, you're at the top of their mind.
To turn your blog into a lead-generating machine, you need to pay attention to the data so you can continually improve your content and give readers the information they need. But do you know what blog metrics to evaluate and where to find them? Here are six blogging analytics insights you can use to create relevant content for your potential customers.
You want your post to bring traffic to your website, so target keywords people are actually searching for. Start by looking for opportunities to better optimize your post to align with your SEO keyword strategy. Using those keywords throughout your blog will help get your content found, but make sure they make sense and are not overused.
Use tools like SEMrush to identify keywords where your organization has the best opportunities to move up in rankings. Think high volume, relatively low competition and a current ranking between 8 to 20, meaning you have an opportunity to move into the top three spots or move from Page 2 to Page 1 of Google's search engine results. Look for ways to incorporate those keywords naturally throughout your blog.
If your blog has been around a while, review the posts that continue to generate a lot of traffic even though they’ve been published for some time. These "evergreen" posts will give you a good idea of what topics people search for most often. You also can update them to include more current information and new data that’s changed since the piece first posted.
If you use HubSpot's marketing automation software, check out the Page Performance tab (under Reports) to see which blogs attract the most views. You can adjust the time period to find older posts that are still relevant. Read the blog posts getting the most traffic and try to determine why they are so popular. (Do they address a topic that really hits a nerve? Are they particularly timely or useful?)
Next, look for opportunities to update, repurpose or optimize these posts for search. Readers are more likely to click on search results that have been published within the past six months to a year, so consider updating and republishing the blog if it's more than a year old. You also might want to consider getting more mileage out of that post by repurposing it into another format, like a SlideShare or infographic.
Conversions on long-form content that come from your blog post are a great way to evaluate the blog's performance, since your ultimate goal is for readers to become customers. A conversion becomes a contact, which makes it easier to see if they would make a good prospect and how likely they are to buy, based on their interactions with your company.
Conversions are where the magic happens. You may have a blog post that drives tons of traffic because it’s a broad topic with a lot of interest, but if those viewers aren’t taking any action after reading or ultimately don't become customers, it's not helping you achieve your goals.
To learn more, check out The ROI of Content Marketing
A call-to-action, or CTA, gets the reader to take the next step by filling out a form. You can monitor the performance of your CTAs in HubSpot under Content --> Calls-to-Action. This will show you:
These metrics can help you spot potential problems and areas for improvement. For instance, if views are low compared with content you've published in the past, it could be because the CTA is on a page that doesn't get as much traffic as other pages. If people are viewing the CTA and clicking on it but the number of submissions is low in comparison, it's time to check your landing page. It's likely your landing page doesn't clearly communicate the value of the offer, the form is too long or your audience isn't intrigued by your offer.
You want to publish blog posts consistently, but finding a regular schedule will depend on your readers and their preferences. If you’ve done your buyer research and you know they don’t spend much time reading industry information online, you’ll know not to expect an explosion in blog views overnight, and you might consider publishing less frequently. But if your buyers are avid content consumers, consider publishing more frequently.
In general, start by publishing at least once per week and make adjustments based on engagement. Don't be discouraged if the response is lukewarm at first. Keep up your blogging efforts, but find other ways to reach your audience, as well.
If blog subscriptions are steadily increasing month over month, your efforts probably are making an impact. However, if you suddenly notice a lot of people unsubscribing as you begin to ramp up your publishing frequency, it could mean readers are feeling bombarded by too many blogs. Look at monthly blog emails and pay attention to trends in the number of people who opt out. If it's just one "off" month, it may be nothing to worry about, but if you start to see a pattern, it's worth revisiting both your topics and your publishing frequency.
You can also build a smart list to help you track unsubscribes, which can make it easier to identify these trends.
While a customer won’t be ready to buy after reading one post, they are more likely to become a customer if they’ve subscribed to your blog and are consuming your information over time. This establishes your position as a thought leader and can influence their decision to choose your products and services.
Looking at attribution reports allows you to see what else readers did besides reading your blog. Did they look at your About page, or fill out any forms? This will give you more insight into what’s really important to your potential buyers and how you can support them through the decision-making process. For instance, if you notice a certain blog post drives a lot of requests for consultations, you may want to include it in a lead-nurturing workflow to hot prospects.
If you're using HubSpot, it's easy to see this pathway and where your blogs fit into it. Just go to Reports-->Reports Home and create a new report or look at one of HubSpot's default reports (such as Website Content & Blog Posts That Generate Leads).
You can set it up to see which blogs first brought new visitors to your website, which blogs were the last thing someone read before requesting a consultation or making a purchase, and which ones contributed to the sales process in some other way.
This is an important number to determine how much traffic your blog post is driving and how cost-effective it is to your strategy and budget. Ad equivalency simply is how much the keyword in your blog post would cost per click if you were to promote it through PPC ads. With a blog post, the keyword is promoted organically, making it worth thousands if your keywords are high-ranking.
In SEMrush, look at the keyword you are targeting for your blog post and take the number in the cost-per-click (CPC) column. Multiply that number by the total number of views the blog has received, which you can see in your blogging platform. The number you get is how much you would have spent on ranking, but instead got it for the cost of your blog post!
Know When to Check Your Data
Now that you know which metrics to monitor to uncover valuable insights, how often should you check them? It all depends on your blog and how much traffic it gets. Your analytics tool may show your highest-performing post has received only single-digit views in a month, which doesn’t make it a good indicator at that time. The amount of traffic a blog generates depends on your buyer personas and how much time they spend reading blog posts.
While there’s nothing wrong with checking the data monthly, you should wait until you have enough data to before significantly changing your content strategy. If your blog is new or your audience isn't highly engaged yet, it may take a few months to gather enough data to be statistically valid. Aim to review your content strategy at least once a quarter. After the first six months of blogging, you should have a good baseline for future comparison. By the one-year mark, you'll be able to compare the second half of the year to the first half to make sure you're still experiencing growth in the metrics that matter most to you.
You can also make smaller adjustments each month or even week by week based on what you learn. If you see that a certain blog post receives three times as much traffic as your average post, you should adjust your blogging and promotion strategy as soon as possible to take advantage of that.
Your blog is one of the most important ways to make your company's voice rise above a sea of noise. If you aren't blogging, you're missing an opportunity to be part of the conversation and consistently drive fresh traffic to your website.
The insights bloggers can gain from analytics will help you refine your blogging strategy so you can become more relevant to your prospects and consistently appear among the top results as they search for a solution.
Interested in learning more about how blogging can help your company translate that traffic into revenue? Download our eBook, The ROI of Content Marketing.