A couple of weeks ago I shared a post about blog stats and whether you really needed to understand and follow them to be a successful blogger. While I love numbers and stats, generally I think bloggers worry about them too much, especially new bloggers. I suppose that’s easy for bloggers to say when they’re seen to be a big blogger (that’s not me), or have been blogging for a while (that IS me). But I believe you can pick and choose.
As long as you’re setting tracking up from the start so you can get your hands on figures if requested from brands, then you don’t need to know much more to be a success.
If you do want to keep a watch on your stats then here are some of the tools and stats that will help with a basic understanding.
Some people hate it, but if you’re on self hosted WordPress, it gives an easy snapshot of what’s happening, how people are finding your blog and what they’re reading. As well as everything else it does.
Even if you never look at it, set up Google Analytics on your blog. The easiest way n self hosted wordpress is via a plugin to authorise it. To get a true read, tick the box to remove your ISP and look at creating a filter to remove ghost spam. If a PR or SEO asks for your stats, these are the ones you should quote. My jetpack stats are pretty similar to my goggle analytics, if a little lower. But if you’re on Blogger, avoid using their stats because they are usually hugely over inflating page views due to counting spam and bots ‘visits’.
There’s a wealth of information and guidance you can get from Google Analytics, but the main bits are users, visitors, views and sessions. And demographics if you can’t already tell those from comments on your blog and your social media followers.
Social media follower numbers
Because you’ll probably be asked at some point. It’s worth having a media pack with up to date numbers on.
You can blog successfully just by knowing these basic figures. But if you want to have a strategy for your blog, then it’s helpful to know more.
1, Detailed Google Analytics
I’ve done quite a few tutorials, ebook and paid for courses on understanding and using Google Analytics., one of which provided me with some handy dashboards to use to save me creating my own.
The best course (which I’ve still not completed – the story of my course life since blogging!) I’ve done is Sky Rocket your Blog Views with Google Analytics (affiliate link).
2, Social media reach, impressions and shares
There are various tools to gather social media insights:
a) Instagram – if you have a business account you can see insights such as reach, impressions, time of day of followers being online etc. I’ve only just moved my Bubbablue and me account to a business one, but my @WhataboutDance account has been one since the start. I’m not sure there’s that much benefits of having a business account, and I can get more insights from Iconosquare, so I prefer to use that when I remember. Instagram insights can help you see which posts do well as what times of the day though, so good if you’re a planner and wanting to focus on growing your Instagram.
b) Twitter – their own insights are at a basic level but provide by month, tweets, impressions, followers etc. Any more details you want, you’re best off using a 3rd party tool like Sprout Social.
c) Pinterest – Pinterest’s own insights are reasonable and give information on the best boards, repins and more. I also use Tailwind which is a useful tool for further information although I do tend to use it more for scheduling pins than for insights.
d) Social shares – I used Sumo for my social share buttons on my blog as well as my pop-up subscriber box. I get emails from them each week showing the social shares by channel and subscribers. I’m sure there is more to use (including looking more at the hotspot analysis) but I’d rather spend my time writing content and doing other things in the time I have available.
3, Google Search Console
Anyone who searches Google while logged into a Google account (let’s face it, that’s most people even without intending to), will have their searches show up as ‘not known’ in your search engine stats. Google Search Console will show you the detail of all these searches. It can help guide you on the sort of things people are arriving on your blog for, and therefore may provide you blog post ideas.
[bctt tweet=”What blog stats do you need to be a success, if any? ” username=”etusty”]
One things that you should remember about stats is everything is subjective. You can’t compare your blog to other people’s. You have to consider what success is for you. Not everyone can be number 1, because however well you do, there will likely be others better. And every blog does something different. You might think your blog is superior to another that has thousands of views and not understand why yours isn’t growing as much. But you don’t see the years they’ve been working on it, or their readership, or the stats behind that blog.
You might hear that to join ad networks you need 50k views a month and wonder why you don’t have more than 5k a month. Just remember that not every successful blogger has these high stats. Some may be successful bloggers without these high views.
Those who are more likely to:
- bloggers who have gone viral / are featured in the press / shared all over Facebook
- US bloggers tend to have a lot higher views than in the UK (10k a month is good in the UK, int he US this is deemed to be starting out. This isn’t surprising if your readership is based in your home country when you think about the size of the population
- Craft and food bloggers tend to have higher stats than most parent bloggers but readers may interact less because they’re just arriving for one article.
I say yes, keep track of your stats – start at the end of the year or quarter, or before and after you try a different strategy or long term task. But otherwise concentrate on the things that will make people come to your blog:
- easy to read format and design
- decent photography
- clear seo
- interaction with your audience wherever they are
What blog stats do you take note of? What would you add?
Why not take a look at these similar posts.
I only look at GA when a PR wants information, otherwise I just glance at jetpack every now and again. I try not to worry about stats too much, as I know if I let it I will become obsessed by it. I like to track my followers and have a goal I would like for the end of the year. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
I keep track of my social media numbers and my DA, but more out of interest than anything else. I don’t tend to get too upset about any of it, it’s more that I’m curious about what works and what doesn’t, in terms of improving stats. x #TheListLinky
That’s a pretty healthy way to look at it I think. I do similar
I try not to stress too much about stats (probably because mine are very low!!) I do check in on my Google Analytics fairly regularly though and keep a rough track of follower numbers. I need to be a bit more analytical about my Instagram I think – I may take the plunge and finally move to a business account. What I’d really like to see is the performance of each hashtag though to see which ones are really working and which I should just ditch – do you know if it shows that? Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
I recently changed to a business account. I’m not sure it’s actually done anything apart from provide these numbers. Although engagement hasn’t been the best recently but IG is so up and down it’s insane.
I don’t know of anything which shows success of each hashtag. It’s more about experimenting with different ones. Although something like iconosquare will show your most frequently used # and which are in the top used. Not really helpful because there’s no point being in the huge # unless you’ve a big following to get you in the top 9. I think checking which # you make the top 9 for regularly, and which have a good community are the most valuable. I struggle with some of the flower ones and some of the kids ones because there’s a massive amount of foreign IGers. All lovely, but it takes a lot more work to interact because of translation and just being on the same wavelength with photos.
That’s a shame about the hashtag bit – I’m quite good at using smaller ones where I do tend to make the top 9, but was hoping for an easier way to track it than going in manually to check!
Agree on the engagement – I can’t seem to predict it at all lately, it’s up and down and doesn’t seem to be based on anything that I can identify!
I have to say that I leave the stats watching to hubby, as I think I’d get a little too obsessed with it all. Some great tips here. So much for learn! #thelinkylist
Brilliant tips thank you. It’s hard not to focus on stats. I really need to make more use of insights really. X
Really interesting post again Emma. I have a basic stats page on my WordPress account but I’m not sure how many of these things I can access as mine is a hosted rather than a self hosted site. Maybe self hosting is something I should look into. Thanks again for sharing some of your advice:)
I’m terrible, I hardly ever look at my stats. And Google Analytics just confuses me no end! #sharingthebloglove
Really informative post – I try not to get hung up on the stats but it’s hard not too sometimes! #sharingthebloglove
I’m trying not to be overly concerned with stats for now, give it another year and I may be.