Someone asked on Quora: What analytics data gives you the most actionable advice to improve your blog? so here’s my answer:
I have been blogging about Analytics for past few years and this question is at the intersection of both so let me give it a shot:
It depends on two things: 1) Your goal for running the blog 2) Age of the blog
#1: Your goal
First let’s talk about your goal for running the blog. It’s important to define this as this would help set the metrics that you will monitor and take actions to improve it.
Let’s say that the goal of your blog is to earn is to monetize using ads. So your key performance indicator (KPI) will be monthly ad revenue. In that case you can improve by one of the three things: Number of People visiting the blog x % of visitors clicking on ads x average revenue per ad click. You can work on marketing your blog to increase number of people visiting the blog. Then you can work on ad placement on your blog to increase % of visitors clicking the ad and then you can work on trying different ad networks to see which one pays you the most per click.
let’s take one more example. Like me if your goal is to use your blog for “exposure” which helps me build credibility in the field that I work in. In this case, the KPI i look at is Monthly New Visitors. I drill down further to see which marketing channels are driving that change. That helps me identify channels that I can double down on and reduce investments in other areas. For example: I found that Social is not performing that great but Search has been working great — I started investing time in following SEO principles and spent less time on posting on social.
So first step: Define your goal and your KPI needs to align with that.
#2: Age of your blog:
- Early: Now at this stage, you will need to explore whether you can achieve what you set out to using blogging. So let’s say you wanted to earn money online. In first few weeks/months, you need to figure out if it’s possible. Can you get enough traffic to earn what you wanted? yes? Great! If not, blogging might not be the answer and eventually all your energy is being wasted. Figure this out sooner rather than later — and take first few weeks/months to make sure blogging helps you achieve your goal.
- Mid: By this stage, you should know how blogging is helping you achieve your goal. So it’s time to pick one metric that matters! So if your goal was to earn money using ads then go for Monthly ad revenue and set up systems to track this. Google Analytics will be a great starting point. Also, at this stage, you should be asking for qualitative feedback. Ask your friends, ask on social, get comments, do guest blogging on popular platforms and see if you get engagement — basically focus on qualitative feedback since you won’t have enough visitors that you can analyze quantitative data.
- Late: In this stage, you have the data and the blog is starting to get momentum. Don’t stop qualitative feedback loops but now start looking at quantitative data too. Figure out the underlying driving forces that move the needle on your KPI. Focus on improving those!
TL;DR: Define your “why” and then pick a metric— then use combination of qualitative and quantitative data to improve the underlying driving factors to improve the metric.