Blogging is big business. Companies with blogs earn 97% more links, can earn higher profits, and often enjoy higher rankings in search engines.
The idea that content is king is not a new concept.
Good bloggers know how to write great content, but they don’t necessarily know how to tell if that content is performing well. That is where blog metrics come in.
But what blog metrics are the most important? That is what we are here to discuss. In this post, we will cover what the most important blog metrics are, why they matter, and the limitations of each one.
1. Overall Blog Traffic
How many people read your blog? Your overall blog traffic is the most basic metric any blogger or company must track. Through programs like Google Analytics, you can track overall traffic by day, week, month, or other periods.
This is the stat most bloggers track, and it is important. However, it does not give a complete picture. For example, if you track your traffic month-by-month, you might be surprised to see traffic increase by 25% in November. By looking at longer-term data, however, you may notice that your traffic increases 25% every November due to the rise in holiday shopping.
Make sure to track traffic both month-to-month and year-to-year for a more complete picture of traffic trends over time. Pay attention to annual trends and fluctuations.
2. Bounce Rate
“Bounces” occur when a visitor heads to your site but takes no further action. Google Analytics considers a visitor to have bounced when they only interacted with one page on your site. The percentage of people who do this is called your “bounce rate.” So, why does it matter and why should you pay attention to it?
According to a study by SEMrush, the bounce rate may be one of the most powerful ranking factors when it comes to search engines like Google. Based on a study of more than 600,000 key terms, bounce rate is the fourth most important ranking factor.
The challenge of putting too much weight on the bounce rate is you don’t know why the visitors left. Maybe they got the information they needed, which is great! Maybe your site took too long to load, or maybe the content wasn’t what you expected. That’s bad! When facing a high bounce rate, you will need to dig deeper to understand what is causing issues.
3. Unique Visitors
Site traffic tells you how many people visited your website in a set amount of time. But there’s one glaring oversight of this stat — it counts every view, every time. If your mom visits your site every day, for example, it can skew your stats.
Unique visitors, on the other hand, count distinct users. So mom’s 25 visits count as one unique visit.
This can give you a more accurate understanding of your website’s popularity than using site traffic alone, and this is often the stat provided to advertisers or potential partners as an indication of your site’s value.
There is one limitation. Unique visitors are tracked through cookies, so if a visitor comes to your site via different devices (eg, desktop computer, phone), or if they clear their cookies, this can impact your unique visitor numbers.
4. Time on Page
Time on page tracks the amount of time a visitor stays on your site once they click through. Do they read two lines and head out? Spend hours devouring every word you write?
Understanding this metric and comparing rates between posts can help you understand what types of content visitors connect with. For example, you might discover that blog posts with charts or that longer blog posts increase time on page. It is helpful to do A/B testing to find out what works and what doesn’t.
There are limitations to the time spent on the page. For example, you will likely have more than one tab open right now. Google Analytics is still tracking the time on the page for all the other tabs you have open, even though you are only actively reading this one. If this is a major problem for your site, consider looking at Average Session Duration, which tracks the average duration for visits that include specific engagement parameters.
5. Site Speed
How long does it take for your blog to load when a visitor heads to your site? Does it load right away or do your visitors have to wait? The average user expects your website to load in three seconds or less and is likely to head to another site if you don’t deliver.
In addition, site speed is a major ranking factor for Google — in particular, the time to first byte (TTFB). This means slower sites don’t just annoy visitors; they also decrease your chances of ranking well in search engines.
Site speed can be impacted by several factors, including the choice of web host and the platform you use. If you’re using WordPress for example, it’s a good idea to find optimized WordPress web hosting. The use of features such as Lazy Loading or Content Delivery Networks can also be beneficial. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insight tool to see where your site stands.
6. Site Up Time
The metrics most bloggers track are related to website popularity and usefulness. Those stats matter, to be sure, but site up-time can have an incredible impact on both user experience and site rankings.
Site up-time refers to the amount of time your website is available to users. Several factors can cause downtime, but the main one is your website’s hosting company.
Look for a host that offers at least a 99.9% up-time guarantee. If you can afford it, you can find hosts with 99.99% and even 100% commitments.
7. Traffic Sources
Site views will tell you how many people are coming to your blog, but where is that traffic coming from? Are they finding you on social media? Searching for key terms related to your industry? An email list?
Understanding where your blog visits are coming from can give you insight into which channels are performing well and which are not. This information can help you understand where there are opportunities for growth and understand what strategies may be helpful to you.
For example, is your new email newsletter driving tons of traffic? Did adding links to your Instagram Stories grow blog views? Did you create an online course that requires engagement on your site? When you track your traffic sources, you can understand more about what draws views to your blog and how to market your blog in the future.
No one blog metric can provide a complete picture of the health of your blog. For this reason, it is essential to track multiple metrics and pay attention to how statistics change over time. Also, keep in mind that not all metrics will matter to you. Based on your site, industry, and the goals you have for your blog, you may want to pay closer attention to different metrics.
For example, a plumbing company that wants to offer quick resources to popular plumbing issues may have a high bounce rate, yet they may still meet their user’s needs and attract qualified leads.
Above all, consider what is important to reach your blogging goals.
Toni Allen is the general manager and editor of WhoIsHostingThis.com, She has two decades of experience running online businesses with a focus on web hosting technologies.