How healthy is your blog? If you manage your startup’s blog you are probably measuring month-to-month traffic, blog subscription opt-ins and CTA click through rate. It’s easy to fall into the trap of looking at only high level data points. While those data points are valid, they are not enough to determine the overall health of your blog. Once you’ve established that your blog is helping your startup grow (whether it be producing leads, qualifying MQLs, or educating users how to become successful with your product) you need to pay close attention to the health of your blog. Here’s what I mean by a “healthy” blog:
- Is the blog scalable? (can you feed it content and it will scale?)
- Are your posts attracting long-term traffic to your business?
- Does your blog convert traffic effectively?
Here are five things to analyze.
1.) Unique pageviews vs. all pageviews.
How many of your blog views are unique? You can track this in Google Analytics with Pageviews and Unique Pageviews. Sometimes marketers assume that a spike in views on their blog means new readers are visiting it. That's not necessarily true. Use Unique Pageviews to analyze if your blog is growing in readership. New readers means new leads.
2.) The ratio of monthly views between recent posts and older posts.
Another important data point is the ratio of blog views between recent posts and older posts. For example, if you are measuring the overall traffic to your blog in the month of November, how much of that traffic is posts that were published in the month of November versus posts published prior to November? Is it 50/50? 70/30? This is important to measure the long-tail effect of your blog posts. How much is SEO a factor? Or reposting on social media? Our re-engagement email campaigns to your contact database? If your old posts are generating less than 20% of monthly traffic, you have a problem. Your blog should work like compound interest. Over time the more posts you’ve published the more traffic you’re earning.
3.) Traffic by topic or author.
Most startup’s have blogs with multiple topics and multiple authors. If you do, you can create a pivot table of blog post views by author or topic. Grade how each is performing. Which authors are most popular? Which topics are most popular? The big question though, is which are not? Perhaps one of your writers or one of your topics isn’t returning the type of traffic to make it worthwhile for future posts.
4.) Post per month vs. Unique Pageviews per month correlation.
With most blogs you are going to find that the more you blog, the more traffic your blog generates. However, when your frequency of blogging is higher are you attracting more visitors or are your loyal readers digesting more content when more is available? It’s plausible that the latter is occurring. One way to figure this out is to find the correlation between the total blog posts per month and the Unique Pageviews per month. You can create a three-axis chart in Excel or Google Sheets to review correlation between these two data points. [three axes: Y (left) = Pageviews, X = Month, Y (right) = Number of Posts].
5.) What percentage of traffic is exiting your site through the blog?
Here’s another metric that’s quite simple to measure but often overlooked. Use Google Analytics to measure the percentage of traffic that exits your site from the blog. You’ll want to create a filter for your blog subdirectory. For instance if you’re blog URL is “https://www.mystartup.com/startup-blog” you should add a filter to only look at pages that contain “/startup-blog”. With those results look at the “% Exit Page.” Check various time frames. Start with recent, last 30 days. How about over the course of the last 3 months? Last 6 months? If your percentage of traffic that exits your site through the blog is higher than 75% you have a problem. The average I've seen with startup blogs is between 45-60%.
Keep in mind that if your call-to-action for your blog posts directs them off your website (perhaps to your SaaS product on a subdomain) measuring % that exit is useless. Most startup blog CTAs direct to a landing page for an eBook, a video recording or something else on your site. That’s where the % that exit rate is useful.
If you’re using a CMS platform like HubSpot to manage your blog you have other tools at your disposal to see how effective your blog is at converting traffic into leads. For instance, HubSpot Calls-to-Action are designed for doing just that. You can analyze how your CTAs are performing in the blog dashboard. While helpful, I still suggest reviewing the exit rate in Google Analytics, because exit rate will give you a holistic value for your blog, whereas HubSpot CTAs only look at each CTA or each blog post.
What you should do next: Measure Your Blog’s Growth With A Startup Marketer’s Blog Growth Template. It’s free.
Unfortunately CMS platforms like HubSpot, Squarespace and Wordpress don't have a dashboard that makes measuring month-to-month blog traffic and setting goals really easy (like this template does).