December 30, 2020
This year I’m participating in Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by Jo Linsdell. The plan is to work on making our blogs even better and setting our goals for the coming months. Each month will have its own challenge to work through. This is the last month of the challenge.
I hope that if you are reading this that you continue to be well and that your area is opening up for business and recreation with social distancing precautions. Our area is back to increased lockdowns due to an increase in COVOD-19 cases. Hoping the vaccine will soon turn things around. Stay safe and mask up, blogging buddies!
What a year this has been!
I’m thankful for my blog which kept me engaged and productive during the most difficult lockdown periods (which we’re in again here).
This is my 479th post! THANK YOU to each one who has followed my blog! I’m grateful for EACH visit, view, comment, and share. It’s a joy to share books and the reading life with you!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this year-long Blog Audit Challenge series! I’m doing something in this post that I do every month and every year’s end…analyze stats!
Are you a stats nerd like me? As a teacher, I grew dependent on stats (assessments) to inform my teaching, and that habit has carried over into blogging.
Each blogger is on her or his own journey in blogging and some may look at these stats and think mine are paltry while others might be amazed or even jealous. I always hesitate to share stats because I DO NOT want to promote any bad feelings or look like a clueless amateur. I simply share my stats in hopes that it will give you an authentic look at someone’s newish blog (3 1/2 years) and give you a realistic picture of what a blogger can accomplish in that time with a substantial amount of consistent effort. I work hard at writing content and promotion, so that is reflective in my stats.
So far, I’ve only used the WordPress tools to check my blog stats. One of my blogging goals next year is to activate Google Analytics for a more in-depth look. How do you determine success? When I first started blogging, I relied heavily on page views to rate my success. Currently, I look at the number of comments (engagement) to evaluate success. So even though views are progressing nicely, I am especially interested in the number of comments which demonstrate that followers are reading and engaging with my content. After three plus years, I can finally compare year-to-year progress, so below you will see my stats for three years:
2018 (first full year of blogging)
* Views: 13,652
* First Time Visitors: 7,696
* Comments: 605
* Views: 60,910
* First Time Visitors: 35.5k
* Comments: 2,044
* Views: 118.3k
* First Time Visitors: 73.1k
* Comments: 3,422
I think the jump from 2018 to 2019 can be attributed to an increase in more posts per week, participating in more memes (such as Top Ten Tuesday), consistent social promotion, and more discussion posts. Over the 3 1/2 years, my total views = 196.2k; total visitors = 118.4k; and my best daily view record = 852.
Other interesting stats include:
* Search Terms: One of the most important stats to look at in my opinion! Why or how do people end up on your blog? Overwhelmingly, “book recommendations” in some form are among my highest search terms. Other popular search terms include “book club discussion questions,” other “book club” related searches, a specific “book title,”and “summary” or “synopsis.” I look at Search Terms every week! First, it’s interesting and Second, they can inspire a post (for example, one search term was “light histfic for women”….I can create a post about that!). Third, these Search Terms can be added to your future blog posts: for instance, I try to remember to include the word “book club” somewhere in my content as it’s one of my highest search terms!
* Average Word Count (important for SEO): my average word count for 2020 is 845 (my shorter meme posts bring down this average). I think my word count is in the acceptable range especially since many of my posts have higher word counts.
* Most Viewed Posts: It’s also informative to look at your most viewed posts. In 2017 (blogged for 6 months): 2017 Really Recommendable Reads (views); in 2018 Where the Crawdads Sing (495 views); in 2019 Where the Crawdads Sing (7,777 views)….I’m certainly happy I read and reviewed that book!); in 2020 The Book of Lost Friends (7, 447 views). My conclusion is that although a discussion post or memes are great for entertainment and variety, my book reviews and book recommendation posts still receive more views. Is this true for you, too? Which post of yours has received the most views?
* Referrers: In 2020 my top referrers are: Search Engines: 62.8k; WordPress Reader: 5,480k; Pinterest: 2,517; Instagram: 897; Twitter: 911; Facebook: 802 (Thus my opinion: it’s beneficial to promote across all platforms! Every view counts!)
* Domain Authority (DA): This is something I look at once a month for free at the MOZ Domain Analysis site. DA is a search engine ranking score that predicts a website’s ability to rank on search engine results pages. The score is from 0-100: 25 is an acceptable score for small bloggers, 40-50 is considered average, 50-60 is good, and over 60 is excellent. To give you an idea, Modern Mrs. Darcy has a domain score of 54 and she’s a HUGE blogging success. I’m not trying to compete with her. If you’re curious, you can type any website into the domain checker and find our their DA! Amazon’s is 96! Our host, Jo Linsdell’s, is 30! Congrats Jo! The free domain checker gives you a certain number of opportunities for free each month. Why do I care about DA? Well, once on Twitter, a blogger was asking for bloggers for a collaboration or a guest post or something….she indicated that she was looking for bloggers with a DA of 20 something (I can’t remember the exact number now. But it sent me down a rabbit hole to find out about DA and if I had it and what my score was. My first DA score was a dismal 13 …. then it went from 16 to 18 to 21 to 23 to 25 (yay!) down to 22 (what?!), up to 23, and currently 22 (again). I have no idea about the algorithms of DA but I do know that SEO is part of it in some way. In my investigation into DA I have discovered these contributing factors:
- Quality Content
- SEO best practices
- Internal Linking (you want to reduce your bounce rate and encourage readers to stay on your blog and look around)…for example, I linked to my May Blog Audit Challenge on SEO above.
- High Quality External Links (remove broken links…I update one old post per week and I’m surprised by the number of broken links I find!)
- (Increase) Publishing Frequency
- Friendly Website (speed, headings, structure, mobile friendly, etc)
- A Domain Name That Describes Your Niche
- Social Promotion
If you are a NEW blogger and feel overwhelmed by this information, choose one thing to focus on this month or next year! It’s taken me 3 1/2 years to work on these items and I still have a list of areas that I need to improve or implement!
Stats Inform Planning!
Stats will inform your planning!
Attention to Stats will increase your views and enhance the success of your blog!
Choose ONE Stat to focus on this next month or next year!
* Check your blog’s built in stats page on a regular basis.
* Check search terms.
* Look at which posts are the most popular/ least popular.
* Check list of referrers…where is most of your traffic coming from?
MY Plan/Goals For NEXT YEAR:
* Plan a month ahead: I have my posts roughly planned for January (NOT written or drafted but penciled in on my blog calendar…my calendar for last year helps remind me of certain special posts that I want to repeat).
* Establish Google Analytics
* Investigate which Broken Link Checker is the best (I’ve been checking links post by post manually this year).
Have I piqued your interest in Analyzing Stats?
Are you excited for a new blogging year?
I hope you enjoyed this Blog Challenge Series and found it helpful! Please join the conversation in the comments!
Do you check blog stats?
How has it helped you improve your blog?
Tips or Comments or Questions?
Bloggers might be interested in my recent experience with the WordPress Block Editor:
A Week in the Life of the Block Editor and Me.
Find all the Blog Audit Challenge posts:
Happy Reading Book Buddies!
“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke
“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text
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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.
Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.