Blog Traffic Monthly Report: January 2013

Welcome to the second monthly traffic report, where I share the blog’s metrics (you can see last month’s report here). My purpose is to give insights and ideas that may help in your own blogging journey.  In the comments, let me know what other data are helpful to you.

Before we begin, here are some things I did differently in January 2013:

  • Added Pinterest as a sharing option (before, it was only available behind the “More” button).  Content started to get “pinned” almost immediately.
  • Started posting every few days, as opposed to once daily.  You’ll see the results of this experiment below (you might be surprised).
  • Completed my Google Authorship, which I had started in December 2012, but for some reason didn’t finish.
  • Revised the “About” page to be less formal.  Instead of referring to myself in the third person, I modified the text to the first person, and intentionally made it more personal.  My intent was for you to feel we were sitting down over coffee and chatting about our lives.  This page was the 5th most requested in January.

Let’s see what these changes did to traffic.

January Analytics

First, the numbers for January:

  • Pageviews: 3,015 +37% (December: 2,189)
  • Visitors: 931 +14% (December: 814)

Here it is graphically:

Monthly Traffic

Monthly Traffic: Visitors in dark blue, pageviews in light blue

Visitors and pageviews went up over December, which is great, but also interesting given that I decreased my blogging frequency (read “Why I Will Be Posting Less“).  Whereas in December I blogged daily, January was a time of experimentation, in which I posted 22 times (29% less than the previous month).

Even so, traffic was up.  In addition, 1/26/13 was a record-breaking day in terms of pageviews, reaching 307 (previous record was 296).

I’m very goal-driven, so if you’re wondering what I’m shooting for, I’ve challenged myself to 10,000 monthly pageviews. If I can get this blog to that point, I figure it provides a springboard for a variety of things.

By the way, at some point, I will switch from a WordPress hosted blog to a self-hosted platform, where I can use Google Analytics and give you even more insight.

Top Traffic Sources

Traffic came from the following sources:

  • Facebook: 984 (61%)
  • LinkedIn: 195 (12%)
  • Search Engines: 194 (12%)
  • Twitter: 59 (3.7%)

Facebook remains #1, with LinkedIn and Search Engines virtually tied for second place.  I remain quite sucky at using Twitter as a traffic generator, so if you have suggestions, let me know in the comments.

Search engine keyword themes & phrases included:

After December’s report, I shared the results with a few friends.  While I was pleasantly surprised at December’s pageviews and visitors (considering I started from zero towards the end of November), the most common response was: “Well, don’t you have a large network from which to draw readers?”

I’m not sure how my network stacks relative to yours, so I’ve decided to share these stats too:

  • Facebook: 949 friends
  • LinkedIn: 1,903 connections
  • Twitter: 543 followers
  • Email: 32 subscribers

I’m not sure if these numbers seem good or bad to you, so I’m simply reporting them without providing commentary until I get a sense for what everyone thinks.  Here’s what Klout thinks of my activity:

Klout

Klout ranking and historical information

Top 7 Posts

Here are January’s top 7 posts by pageviews (not included the home page), starting with #1:

  • Elizabeth: Homeless, But Not Voiceless – a comment I received on Facebook blew me away with its honesty and insight, and in the process, met one of this blog’s goals: to have comments worthy of being a post themselves.  The comment is from Elizabeth, who happens to be homeless.  Her comment is included in its entirety.
  • About Me – the revised “About” page, which includes a more personal tone and spirit
  • Why I Will Be Posting Less – covering why I decided to experiment with posting less often (ironically, was a top post for the month)

Revenue & Donations

My goal is not to generate income from blogging (at least at this point). However, I’ve started experimenting with affiliate links in a few posts, since I tend to talk about books I read from time-to-time. So far, those links have received 22 clicks, but no sales.  I plan to continue this experiment as time goes on.

Acquiring donations for the causes mentioned in the blog was also never my intent, but I recently felt compelled to involve others in the stories of the homeless men I’ve spent time with.  This experiment was launched on 1/31, and as of writing this, $176 has been donated.  Wow!

Closing Thoughts

Here are a few things I learned this month:

  • Going from posting daily to every few days did not hurt traffic.  In fact, traffic increased in January.  I’m not sure this is entirely attributed to posting less often, but I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments.
  • You can increase traffic and engagement by re-broadcasting older posts.  For example, I updated this post about my uncle, given that search engines continue to bring in regular traffic to this page.  I added a slideshow and updated the content.  After sharing it on Facebook, I saw traffic to this page rise, and engagement increased with more comments.
  • Speaking of Facebook: it continues to dominate as the best inbound source.  By far, Facebook drives the most engagement and activity.  I’m going to continue experimenting with other social networks while continuing to refine how I use Facebook.  In addition, I’m going to speak to our marketing team at MindFire, and see if we should invest more in Facebook for lead generation.

Lastly: if you’re wondering what kinds of benefits this blog has brought me personally, one thing I’ve noticed is that it has laid a foundation for a platform to communicate with other like-minded people.

For example, you’ve seen my posts on the homeless in our city; the response via the blog, Facebook, and offline channels has been substantial.  The blog has enabled me to share stories in a way that was previously difficult, and it has brought new friends, contacts, and opportunities to the table.  I’m going to think more about this and continue to share ideas on how blogging can become a platform.

Until next time!

-dr-

Questions: If you blog, what was your top post for January? Why do you think that was the case? How do your January data compare to what I’ve shared?

If you don’t blog, what can I share that would help you take the next step?  Leave a comment below and let’s discuss.

About David Rosendahl
Husband, father, co-founder of MindFireInc, two-time Inc500 software company. I love building things.

4 Responses to Blog Traffic Monthly Report: January 2013

  1. Dave, I love reading this and the last post where you shared your metrics. I too, am goal oriented, however I haven’t been able to really identify a goal that makes sense. You mentioned what was my best blog post for January, and I have to say it has been a complete surprise. I wanted to test using topical subject matter as the focus of my post. http://gobangdigital.com/aint-nobody-got-time-for-that-social-media-time-spent-online/ As you can see by the URL, I chose to focus my story telling around a very popular viral video. I’m struggling to generate comments for my post, (although on the sites I’ve shared it on, I received several there), but what is undeniable, is the traffic this one has generated. This post has generated almost 1000 clicks in 32 days. The thing I’ve really been amazed by, is the fact it’s actually increasing in daily volume.

    I SEO every post with a WordPress plugin from Yoast. It’s one of the best I’ve found and gives me incredible advice before I publish. That has helped all my post since using it over the generic WP tools. But, I think the thing that might be doing me the most benefit is the embedded link to the original video that has generated over 17 million views.

    I tried another post that included a Lance Armstrong theme and did the same SEO juice, but did not link to a video, and it has basically flopped. So, I’m left to wonder if it’s just the writing, or some other SEO anomaly.

    The other thing I might mention about the Sweet Brown post, is although there is great traffic, the bounce rate is super high. I know Google is the one directing the traffic there in most cases, based on the source, but it sure isn’t quality traffic in my eyes.

    Bottom line, I’ve figured out if I stick to telling stories I’m happy about, I’m please with any traffic I generate and really feel I’m doing this as much for me to have another creative outlet as for anyone that might read and enjoy what I do.

    I love your blog and more importantly love the honesty in it. But, knowing you the individual, your blog is just an extension of the person… Keep it up!

    • Hi Rob,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment. I have a few questions for you:

      1) Regarding your blog’s goal, what satisfaction does it bring you? Are you feeling some benefit from the time you invest?

      For example, for me, the stories around the social issues (like homelessness) have really ignited a great deal of passion within me, and also given rise to a small tribe of like-minded people who are coming together to help. This excites me.

      2) Where do you host your blog? Curious whether you pay for hosting, and if so, where (and if you are happy with it).

      3) How do our blogs compare in terms of the metrics I shared in this post? I’m interested in getting a sense for what others do that works well.

      Thanks for the encouragement (and kudos to you for the 1k clicks — no small feat!).

      Talk soon!

      -dr-

      • Dave, It’s great to see your writing has inspired not only your new found passion for working with the homelessness, but (what I feel is the ultimate compliment) has inspired others to help you take up your cause. That’s pretty cool in my book.

        As far as satisfaction for myself, I’m still trying to figure it out. I love speaking and sharing, so I think this is just another stage for that. Especially since my speaking gigs are few and far between lately. :/

        A couple of other side-notes to what I’ve gained by doing this. This isn’t my first attempt at this. I’ve started other blogs, only to see them sit with one or two posts and left to rot. I wanted to see if I could actually get past that hump of one or two, so as it pertains to that, I’ve exceeded my initial goal. Secondly, I manage a team of writers for several initiatives including a blog with lots of eyes on it. (LOTS)… As I write for myself, it helps me understand a bit more what our writers face every day and I believe in turn, makes me a better manager.

        Authorship is probably my last reason for mandating some form of content generation. As I understand organic search as it is and will be, Google has said, if you want us to give you any chance of making it to page 1, your content must be relevant. It is one of the reasons, I’ve focused more on Google+ over all other social networks. They’ve already started to put their money where their mouth is. SEO is a huge deal to me, because it’s always been the way to the top without paying. Now, I’m not so sure. I am in the process of writing a post on how you should be measuring SEO today.

        Sadly, I haven’t found something like your efforts with the homeless yet. I’ve been thinking about maybe starting another blog where I can talk more about personal matters and less about industry. I have several passions and would like to write about one or multiples of them.

        On to your other question about platform. I am on WordPress, but pay for it through GoDaddy. I found this pretty easy to do after writing on the free platform for a few posts. I struggled with a few areas of customization on the other version, as well as I wanted a custom URL. I believe there have been positives and negatives for doing so. There are more plugins, bells and whistles, but I believe I miss out on some organic traffic I would normally get from WordPress promoting my blog internally.

        I made a comment above about comments. On just a few posts when I hosted on the free WP platform, I had several comments. Since moving over to the paid model, I’ve struggled to get one or two. I want engagement. I want people to tell me they loved it, or even more, they hated it. I don’t want these to be a one-direction dialog. I’m monitoring it and hope to understand how to drive better engagement soon.

        So I guess it’s safe to say, the jury is still out on paid vs. free. And, maybe to a lesser degree, is WordPress the right platform to initiate the original content. Is something better, such as Tumblr or another platform. One may never know… :)

        Lastly, your comments on metrics. I’d like to say I don’t pay attention to them. I’d like to say I’m doing this for myself more than for others. That simply isn’t true though. I also am a goal-oriented person and find it increasingly less important to set longer-term goals and focus on day-over-day and month-over-month growth.

        I am a little obsessed (if you ask a few others) about the numbers. When I decide to “play” on a platform, I want to figure it out. And… I want that to happen rather rapidly. I try all sorts of different angles to see what works best and what doesn’t. I read what I can find from others who share their successes and failures. I even try a bit of gamification to see what impact that has in this world of results driven participants.

        You seem to have a better stream of quality traffic. Today, SEO is all about traffic. It’s less about the keyword and more about what are your efforts generating. I’d be happy to share some of the metrics we encounter where I work, which is a whole different set of whys and whats.

        I’m just starting to see results I like and determining what I should be paying attention to. It’s fun for me and I intend to keep doing it until is stops being fun…

        Let me know if there are specific metrics you would like to know and I’d be happy to share them.

        Keep doing what you are doing… People are loving it… Rob

  2. Pingback: Blog Traffic Report: February 2013 | Akathisia: Life In Motion -- David Rosendahl

What do you think? Don't hold back.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,523 other followers

%d bloggers like this: