The 7 Types of Blog Stats You Should Care About

by Gigi Ross on October 10, 2010

Stats. We all look at our stats. “Hm, interesting! Someone found me by Googling “Tibetan Monks Are Lushes.”

And we go on about our day. How many of us actually do something with stats? For most, statistics are a novelty. {Or to some, an unrewarding obsession}.

But what if we used our stats to actually make smart, informed decisions about what we DO on our blogs? Oh, the places we’d go!

If you blog for personal joy and fulfillment – awesome! Stats probably aren’t a required area of focus for you. They are just informative and interesting. Don’t worry about them.

But if you blog because you:

*  seek a growing readership

*  are using it as a platform for a writing career

* want to work with brands

* want to make money advertising

* are  just a freaky numbers person who loves spreadsheets

then data is crucial.

Actionable data gives you power. You read the data > it causes you to do something  to get you closer to your blogging goals.

The number of stats you can track will make your head spin. I have a Magnificent 7 – the 7 groups of data I care most about. What, how and why I organize it might not work for you. Think of this as a starting point to get you thinking about defining your strategy with stats and making them actionable.

blog stats

My Magnificent 7 Stat Groups 

1. Network Reach. Your extended network encompasses all of the channels through which you reach people with blogging. It’s important because it  reflects your potential audience. I care about these, because it’s what brands care about.

  • RSS/Feedburner subscribers
  • Twitter followers
  • Facebook fans
  • Email subscriptions
  • Pinterest followers
  • Instagram followers
  • Google + followers

2. Pageviews.  A pageview is an instance of a page being loaded by a browser. Pageviews reflect the overall traffic that is coming to your site. Different tools will track this differently.

If your bloggy BFF reads your post 100 separate times, it counts as 100 total pageviews. Pageviews are important because they help you see how busy your blog is. But pageviews don’t tell you anything about the people coming. That’s where visitors come into play.

3. Visitors. Visitor data gives you a sense of the actual number of warm bodies that you’re getting. Even if your bloggy BFF reads your post 100 times, she’s still only counted as ONE unique visitor during the reporting period.

I look at my total visitors, unique visitors, new and return visitors. PR firms and advertisers care a lot about unique visitors because that’s an absolute number of people they can hang their dollars on. You can see how new visitors could be important to you, because that can reflect how your blog is growing. Return visitors are indicative of loyalty.

4. Traffic Sources. Sources data tells you what sites are bringing traffic to your blog. Often, social networks be among top traffic sources, so this data can also tell you which are most successful for you and what needs more work. Traffic sources are  important because it helps tell you where your audience is and from where they’re accessing your blog.

5. Content Data. Content data will tell you what is resonating with your readers and/or what content is being marketed the best. I probably use content data in making decisions about my blog more than any other data point. This data is important becaues it will tell you what topics people like.

6. Google Page Rank/Alexa Page Rank. These page rank stats will give you a gauge on where your blog ranks in the universe of websites. Google and Alexa measure different things. There are other tools that measure your place in the Internet world. You can go to this site to get an idea of where your blog is right now. (some page rank stats require an account or a toolbar to be downloaded in order for your “rank” to be assessed.) I don’t worry about these as much as I used to, but I still check them periodically because sometimes, brands do.

7. Stickiness. Stickiness is a term of art, but it reflects, in short, if and for how long people “stick” around your site, what they do there, and if they come back (return visitors). Stats like pages per visit, bounce rate, time per visit and return visitors all help to shape the picture of how “sticky” your site is. Stickiness is important because it shows whether you’re a one-trick pony or a useful destination site.

That’s my Magnificent 7.

Also check out this post with tips on how to make YOUR data actionable.

 

{ 18 comments }

liz October 10, 2010 at 7:28 am

I would say that of these 7, I really lack in giving proper attention to #5. I very rarely click through to GA from my dash to see popular pages, etc.

And nearly all of my top searches have some form of my title in them. I guess having a long blog title will do that to a person. :)

One thing I’m curious about is SEOMoz ranking. I know it’s supposed to be based on things similar to Google Page Rank, and I know Google only updates their page rank maybe twice a year. Do companies care about SEOMoz?

kludgymom October 10, 2010 at 8:53 am

I’ve never heard of SEOMoz! Sounds like something to look into.

liz October 10, 2010 at 8:59 am

The SEOMoz thing continually updates and shows decimals. The last time I looked, my SEOMoz rank was a 4, while my GPR is still a 1. Not sure why Google only updates a couple times a year, but I guess since they are the Gods of the Internet, they can do whatever they want. :)

I first found out about SEOMoz from one of those BlogGrader websites.

Still BLonde after all these YEARS October 10, 2010 at 8:48 am

Thanks for the great re-focus!

Molly On Money October 10, 2010 at 9:12 am

This is great. I’m glad you took the time to spell this out so clearly.
Currently whats important to me is stickiness. I have an old post that gets hits everyday (it’s about my bees and how I dealt with a couple of bee stings). Although it gets people to my site I’ve got to figure out a way to get that reader to stay around. That particular reader did not come there to read a blog on how a girl is reducing her debt while raising a family, chickens and bees. They came to see what to do if they get a bee sting!

kludgymom October 10, 2010 at 11:33 am

So what are you brainstorming? Do you have the widget that displays posts that would be related to bee stings? That’d be one way to encourage stickiness. Or, you could possibly revise that post to include info on bees and link up to a few other of your posts that readers might be interested in.

I have that same issue with my post on rainbow cake. It’s my top searched item…but I only blog about food on Sundays.

Aging Mommy October 10, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I think having read this – which is so very interesting – I am in need of blogging 101 as I do not have any idea how to access and review content data and read often about how people check what searches most lead people to their blog etc and I have absolutely no idea how to investigate any of these things.

Jill October 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Awesome post, once again, Gigi!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a numbers person; I am, afterall, a Sales Analyst by day. I look at numbers, I get paid to find the “AH-HA”!

Finding the AH-HA in blogging is just as important.

For Molly, your blog is about reducing debt BUT you have readers interested in bees, bee stings… Can you find a way to incorporate that? Write a couple of posts on bees and stings in particular then link all of the bee related posts together. Since your blog is mostly finance based, bury them in your blog. Bury them enough so that the readers that are interested can find them (i.e. linking) but the financial readers aren’t buried in bees. Perhaps the best of both worlds?

Cori October 10, 2010 at 10:47 pm

I’d never heard of AlexaRating…can’t wait to read more about this! I’m a numbers junky, and stuff like this excites me!!

Cristie October 11, 2010 at 6:31 am

Thanks for this! I am most excited to read what to do with all this info. I’ve looked at stats forever but I’m the one who “goes on about my day” afterward. Thanks for making me do something with it!

kludgymom October 11, 2010 at 7:51 am

glad you’re finding it helpful!

Jackie October 11, 2010 at 9:24 am

I’m in the process of moving from blogger to wordpress and am going to start to focus a lot more on my stats. Especially #5!

I use Google Analytics now, but I don’t do much with it.

kludgymom October 11, 2010 at 10:22 am

We’ll be having a tutorial later this week on what to do with Google Analytics and other data.

KLZ October 11, 2010 at 9:43 am

I have been lazy about this as of late. I’m not really sure what my goals are right now but this makes me take a renewed look at them.

kludgymom October 11, 2010 at 10:22 am

That was the purpose of the posts this week – to have you ask more questions of yourself and your blog rather than to provide specific answers. I, too, struggle with my goals and what to do where!

ZippyChix October 11, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Thanks for this great info GiGi. I have been taking a look at the stats recently and formulating a plan as to how to improve them. This info should be very helpful!

Absence of Alternatives October 11, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I am so impressed with all these tutorials you are doing! They are so easy to read and follow. Well done! And thank you. :-)

Natalie October 14, 2010 at 6:06 pm

I’m going to love digging into this info…I can already tell!

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