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Dig Into Your Blog’s Statistics

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Today your task in the 31 Day Project is to dig into your blog’s metrics or statistics package.

Take some time out today to do a little analysis of your blog’s statistics. There is a wealth of information in them that can be incredibly useful.

Here’s a few metrics to dig into to start off with:

  • Most Popular Posts – what posts are being read more than other posts? Knowing this is important for a couple of reasons. For starters it gives you a hint of what topics you could write more upon – but secondly it gives you some key pages on your site to optimize (ie think about how you can drive people from these posts deeper into your blog – I’ve got a video post on this for next week).
  • Referral Stats – what sites are sending you the most traffic? If it’s another blog or site, perhaps you could develop a relationship with them to see this increase. If it’s Search Engines, how can you adapt the posts to see it rise even more using on page SEO techniques).
  • What Questions are being asked? – what questions are readers typing into search engines to find your blog? These could make great future posts (learn more about how to do this here).
  • What Keywords are sending traffic? – knowing the keywords that people search for to find your site is very useful. It helps you to know how to optimize your blog for SEO even better and can give hints on what content to write more of.
  • What seasonal traffic is there? – are there any seasonal trends that you should be aware of and could use to capture more traffic? What caused the bumps in traffic and how can you prepare yourself better for next time those conditions might happen again (read more on seasonal traffic and how to capture it).
  • What’s Your Bounce Rate? – metrics packages like Google Analytics provide you with a ‘bounce rate’ stat which measures how many people arrive at your site and then leave again without viewing any extra pages. I find this a key metric to watch and attempt to change. Set yourself some goals to get this rate down and the page views viewed per visitor up by making your blog sticky.

There are many other types of metrics that most statistics packages will provide you with. Feel free to share the metrics that you check most often and how you use them to improve your blog in comments below.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Blog statistics analysis is one of my favorite ways to waste my non-blogging time. i even write a thirty page paper on my site stats. It caused me to change a lot about how I was running the site. The changes didn’t work out though, and I ended up going back to my gut instincts, which seem to work better.

  2. Blog statistics can be addictive to say the least.
    BTW…I’m liking the re-design. Thanks as always for the great job!

  3. I did this awhile back. I found a few hits for people looking about were to smoke cigars in my local area. So I created a separate page that lists local cigar bars and cigar stores in my local area.

  4. Displaying a link to your most popular post will help to keep and attract your visitors. Readers want to read what others liked.

  5. nice post…! i’m also diggin the new design / layout! much better improvement..

  6. great! almost every other day I check my analytics and see several factors of my traffic, where it comes from, how long on the page, bounce rate etc what popular post was read

    this give me an idea of what to write next

  7. After 3 weeks, I haven’t really seen any trends popping up as far as where traffic is coming from, etc. It seems random at this point! But this will be great a few months from now!

  8. Darren,

    Let me share my favorite little stat hunting activity.

    Look at your content drill down and find the pages that have been accessed the LEAST. These are likely to be internal searches for content. problogger.net/?s=blahblah or however it actually goes.

    Anyway, this offers valuable insight into what people expect from your blog and sometimes, it’s something that you realize needs to be more prominent in the navigation.

    Otherwise, like the keyword tip, it’ll help you come up with new topics. Not all sites have search, but there it is. : )

  9. Darren- not about this post really, but I really like the way the post view looks with the new design. The comments and indents look great. (I am still have a problem with the sidebar layout in IE6 at work, but I know you guys are working on that). Great job!

  10. My site’s popular keyword is “better bisness bureu” … man… we American’s are smart. hahaha

  11. Nice post, but you assumed that the user knows how to access these statistics. Maybe you can add some information about that.

  12. In Google Analytics, I like the content overlay featue, which allows you to visualize the number of times a particular link had been clicked.

    Interestingly, I get few clicks on links to topics relevant to my blog’s subject. But on wildly different links, I get lots of hits. For example, I write about how-to-write or the children’s book publishing world. One day, I wrote a more personal post about a new bike I’d just bought and linked to a website about the trail on which I ride. That link has more hits than anything else.

    The odd things get links. What does that tell me?

  13. Having just started a new blog, how long would others say I should wait before I have enough data collected to really see trends and make worthy observations from?

  14. Great post, but I’d add “don’t obsess and check your stats every few minutes” — we all go into and sometimes through that stage :)

  15. Great ideas and things I have never thought of. Mostly I just look at my stats as what they are, not as a tool I can use to improve it. Thanks for giving me this new insight.

    And, BTW, I really like the new format – very “clean” and professional!

  16. I definitely look at this on my Google Analytic stats and apply these tips. I noticed that your new design now is very clear and professional (ie6 bugs still not fixed on the right sidebar). Correct me if I am wrong – I haven’t seen any ads now on your site. Is this permanent or still planning to put those things back soon? Just curious because the old site had it before if I am not mistaken. Well, Just want to let you know that starting today I am avid reader of your blog. Thanks for all the wonderful (gold) tips, I learned a lot and continue learning.

  17. Hi—Darren:

    I notice on my first vegetarian blog (Veggie-Blogs) (off of blogger) that a post i wrote on a vegan canvas bag is quite popular, it pretty much gets clicks daily. I recently decided to create a new blog on the wordpress blog platform (Groovy Vegetarian) and am off to write a post (or two or three) on cool canvas bags.

    Through my stats package, i notice the majority of my traffic is coming from the following three sources: 1.) blog catalog 2.) yahoo search, 3.) google seach.

    How does one optimize traffic from a blog social network (such as Blog Catalog) by establishing a relationship…..as you mention above? I’m not sure i follow.


  18. I am permanently glued to my analytics page. I love watching the changes that happen.

  19. Sometimes a high bounce rate can be a good thing, such as a landing page to see a product or service ;)

  20. Does anyone else wish Analytics updated more frequently? For me at least, it seems to be only every 24 hours that I get an update.

  21. I use Feedburner, and I like it. I’m thinking Google Analytics might give more detailed information, though. It is free?

    Also, there seems to be a large descrepancy between Feedburner stats and my simple stat-counter from amazingcounter.com. Which is more accurate? and does it matter?

    Another idea for a post is the interesting/funny key words that people search to find your site. One of mine was “pics of men on fire”. Ha!

  22. Man, addicted isn’t the word. It is worse than e-mail addiction… “Has anyone visited that article i thought was amazing???” is the thought that runs through your head all day and you gotta keep checking the stats page. It is almost as addictive as reading comments and problogger posts!

    I just wrote a piece i wanted to alert you to, Darren. A bit of a shout out on MarketingProfs. http://www.marketingprofs.com/7/dont-blog-comment-to-join-conversation-mccue.asp
    And like stats, now that this article has hit their Top 5 Most Popular Articles, i gotta keep checking back to see if i’m still on the list…. ;-)

    Loving the new design, too, by the way.

  23. Ian, GoStats is a near-realtime alternative.

    By the way: Bounce rate tells you nothing about your site: only about your traffic acquisition (how targeted it is). The metric(s) to watch is average time on site and average # of views per visitor.

  24. Hi Darren – I like the new layout – I’m new to blogging and to be honest Google Analytics looks like it will take a lot of time to get a handle on – in terms of utilizing the info to make improvements or spot trends. Actually, I’m still in the overwhelmed stage when it comes to blogging – I know I like to write about my passion, but I am starting to get a bit of a high when I see some traffic spikes – it’s pretty neat!

    Anyways, I’ve spent hours reading your posts – thanks so much for making it easier for us newbies!!!! :)

  25. I use Typepad, which gives basic stats, but it does give the referrer page. From that I learned I was getting more search engine traffic than I ever thought possible for my little blog. Using that information, I’ve been working on getting more search engine traffic by making the titles of my posts more search engine friendly!

    Thanks for the great tips! I like your new layout, by the way!

  26. I have been using FeedBurner for these statistics, and found them to be very helpful. I always appreciate the tips that you and all of your readers post.

    Thank you,

    Jason MoneySpace

  27. Hi Darren, analysing my stats is one of my favourite activities. I use Counterize II to check how people search on google to come to my website and so far. Sitemeter allows me to see how many pages each person visits.

    My most popular pages are something which I did not expect, so I guess I will write more on those topics.

    Most popular referrals are mybloglog and a forum which I frequent.

    I guess I have to learn how to make my blog more sticky. Google Analytics is useful in checking the bounce rate.

    So with three ways to check on my blog stats, I am really spending too much time.

  28. Don’t know if someone already mentioned this, but it may make for an interesting topic.
    I am being bombarded with google image searches. Literally hundreds a day. They are not hotlinking, I have .htacess so that’s not happening, but what I want to know is, is it good or bad, to be having all those image searches?
    It kind of creeped me out at first, but knowing they aren’t hotlinking (I checked my stats for hours to make sure) I’m not really sure what to make of the whole thing.

    Any thoughts on it?

  29. I do blog statistics analysis once a month :)

    It’s a good idea to attrack attention.

  30. I view the stats I get from MyBlogLog every morning, I have a free account so I don’t have the option to view all the visitors, and what they read info bit it is working for me right now.

    I haven’t published my stats in a post, that would simply be embarrassing right now.

  31. blog statistic is good for you to monitor and analyst your audience, from here you will know which method need more attention and which method are wasting your time doing it.

    if you know which blog give you more traffic then u should build a strong relation with that blog in order to increase your traffic.

    maybe you also could give that blog a review in your blog as your appreciation.


  32. I do blog statistics using sitemeter and it helps a lot


  33. You still dont have the favicon on … why ? i still think you blog can improve on the colours , the portal is a nice idea though

  34. Nice new look! Much cleaner and easier to use.

    I have been checking my blog stats and guess where the highest number of visitors are coming from? Problogger! Yup, apparently, between the Group Writing Project a while back, my multiple comments and the Blog Improvement Tips, your blog is single-handedly doubling my traffic! Thanks.

  35. I have both Google Analytics and StatCounter running stats on my blog right now. I prefer StatCounter because I can exclude myself. Does anyone know how to exclude me from Google Analytics?

  36. I like the new look of your site. Less cluttered. Fengshui says when we get rid of our clutter, it opens up space for more to flow in. I wonder how the new look will affect your stats????

  37. I’ve been using Google Analytics for about 6 months now and check in on my stats a couple or three times a week… okay, sometimes a bit more.

    One question I had been pondering is how to address the number of hits my custom 404 page gets. It’s been averaging around 5-7% of my hits. Well, I started digging deeply into Google Analytics this evening and discovered that several of my .htaccess file settings were gone. Some kinda glitch on my hosts end. So, sure enough, ya gotta pay attention to those stats!

  38. Making sense of the blog statistics is a big bit topic to dig into. Really need some good tools or otherwise we can spend lots of hours in it and still got no clue to improve…

    Thanks for the great tips!

  39. Thanks for the tips! I really should make more use of all these wonderful tools out there. Will make it a monthly (or even weekly?) ritual.

  40. Google Analytics is wonder tool to measure success of your blog.
    I am also struggling to exclude myself in the stats. I am also not 100% sure of bounce rate. On my blog landing page, reader may just read the blog post and some of old posts on the same page, then leave. Does that increase the bounce rate though the user has spend sometime on the blog, not clicked on some other link?

  41. I don’t spend a lot of time analyzing my website stats, mostly try to look at the monthly visitor and page view figures, and the keywords that visitors use to find my site. From there I would do a little SEO using the long tail keyword phrase approach and quite often it works wonders!

  42. I like looking at my stats. I’m new to blogging but I think I’m pretty dedicated and got what it takes to become a blogger. I don’t plan on doing blogging as a pro or to make a living though. I have a analytics account with google and thats my recommendation for other website owners out there.

  43. Google Analytics considers Bounce Rate as viewing more than one page. I’ve seen pages average over a minute viewed, but the bounce rate was 80% or higher for a relatively short post. It basically means they came in on the link, read / viewed whatever was there and left, but they did read it. Most just didn’t see any other pages. Whether that is good or bad depends on what kind of page it is though.

    If it was a purchase page, they buy the item and usually just bounce, leaving the site after the purchase, which most would consider a good thing. If its the first of your 10 part series though, you might want to reconsider whats going on with it as people just leave your site after not even one part of your article.

    If you have a continuous page blog, ie, no jumps or folds (click here to read more), most people will just scroll down and read the first page and maybe leave. Or if its an update, hit the main page, read it and leave if they are a long time reader. Google Analytics will make your Bounce Rate go up based on how they calculate it.

    My blog used to use that format of continuous page blog. My bounce rate was near 80% since people hit the page, read first post and then leave. My pageviews were non-existant as well, barely reaching 1.5-2.0 range per visit. When I switched to extended posts (Click here to read more!) , my Bounce Rate plumetted to below 50%, page views quadrupled, and my pages per visit is around 3-4 range depending on the day.

    This doesnt mean my site got any better though. It just means my viewers were forced to click to read more and almost automatically forces 2 pages per visit if they hit the root and want to read something else. This leads ot lowered Bounce Rate, higher page views and more time on the site by default. So its all about how you interpret your results.

    Hope that helped a few people out with Google Analytics and stats interpretation.

    Kirk Warren
    The Weekly Crisis

    PS – I think someone asked how to view the current days stats (or they could only see yesterdays) in Google Analytics. Just click on the drop down menu of the graph and select todays stats. I think it updates every 3-6 hours for the current day.

  44. Good advice on how to make the most out of all those numbers on the screen.

  45. I need to read more into this to better my blog, but thanks for “the light.”

  46. Digging into these statistics on my blog at blogger ( http://makeitf.blogspot.com ) has given me lot of insights into SEO, referral sites and also adsense earnings.

    We need to have registered with Google Analytics or similar statistics providing website to know these stats later.

  47. In my opinion blog post titles should be easily readable and understandable by the readers then only they will read the post .

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