Are you tirelessly writing blog posts only to discover you’re not actually going anywhere?
Are you exhausted from looking at other bloggers’ growth & income reports and can’t understand why your blog is not making the progress it should?
Do you feel like you’ve wasted your time all this time?
Well, blogging is indeed an extremely tough slog, which is why around 90% of people quit blogging within just the first few months of starting.
And this is mainly because most newbie bloggers fall into the trap of tracking the vanity blog metrics.
These blog metrics are usually clicks, traffic, page views, and social shares.
Sure, these are all important blog metrics that every blogger tracks since day one and I’m just as guilty as the next blogger.
I too love getting up every morning, launching the Google Analytics app on my phone, and checking how many people visited my blog since I went to sleep.
But the question is, are these the only blog metrics that should be tracked?
More importantly, are these the only blog metrics that should define the success of your blog?
To answer these questions, you need to first figure out what blogging success looks like to you.
Now, the way I see it, any blog metric is pointless to track unless you have a strong reason to track it like for a specific business outcome.
Seriously, take some time to really think about it.
Ask yourself – what exactly are you trying to achieve by blogging?
What is the blogging goal that you’re pursuing?
Write down a crystal clear destination. – A future state that you wish your blog to reach.
And remember! It should be something that you can work towards and is achievable.
Once you’ve defined what blogging success looks like to you, only then you can think about how to actually measure it.
This begs the question…
Well, I have got a better question for you.
If you don’t measure your blogging success, how will you know if you’re winning?
Making a blog successful isn’t about luck, it’s about defining a specific goal and working towards that.
To put it simply, if you don’t know where you’re going, you will neither figure out how to get there nor will you know if your blogging journey was successful or not.
So, it’s important to first define your blogging goals in order to identify the right blog metrics to track your blogging success.
Below, I have listed the 10 most important blog metrics that bloggers usually track to measure their individual blogging goals.
In addition, I have also explained which blog metrics should you be measuring based on certain blogging goals.
With that being said, let’s dive right in!
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I’d like to confess that I don’t measure each and every blog metric shared below.
However, I do track a handful of them to measure the success of my own blog.
And the same applies to your blog as well!
You don’t need to track all blog metrics shared below to measure your blogging success.
Instead, you should pick out only a couple of them based on your individual blogging goals.
For example, if your blogging goal is to generate more leads for your online business, then the primary blog metric you should be tracking is your conversion rates.
Now, this is just one example, below we will look at 10 such blog metrics you can track to measure your blogging success.
Let’s start with the obvious one!
Traffic is the number #1 blog metric that every blogger tracks to measure their blog performance.
And naturally, the more visitors come to your blog, the better, right?
Well, not entirely.
You see, traffic only matters if it’s the kind of traffic you actually want on your blog.
In other words, the traffic on your blog is of no value if it doesn’t fulfill some specific outcomes.
For example, let’s say you want to collect emails from your blog visitors.
But, even after reaching 10K traffic a month, if none of the visitors are subscribing to your blog, then your blog’s traffic has no value.
On the other hand, if your blogging goal is to just generate as much traffic as possible and monetize it with Google Adsense, then the traffic should definitely be your primary blog metric to track.
These are both extremely important blog metrics to track and can be found in Google Analytics.
They help us to identify whether our blogging efforts are generating a positive outcome or not.
For instance, Google’s Rankbrain cares about and takes into account how people are engaging with content on your blog or website.
In simple words, the amount of time people spend on your blog basically indicates Google how useful they’re finding a piece of content on your blog.
And Google also pushes up the rankings of a site if it has a high average time spent on site.
So, it’s obvious that you need to keep visitors on your blog as much as possible in order to attain higher rankings on Google.
Bounce Rate, on the other hand, helps us to identify the kind of experience visitors are getting from our blogs.
And just like the average time spent on a site, Google also takes Bounce Rate into account when ranking your content in its search results.
The average time spent on a site and bounce rate are like two sides of one coin.
Simply put, the higher the average time people spend on your blog, the lower the bounce rate will be.
And the lower the bounce rate, the higher Google will rank your content in its search results.
Now, you must be thinking, what is a good bounce rate for a blog, correct?
Well, as a rule of thumb, a bounce rate between 26-40 percent is considered excellent. A bounce rate between 41-55 percent is considered as good. A bounce rate between 56-70 percent is considered average. And a bounce rate higher than 70 percent is considered as below average and calls for serious consideration of the content on your blog.
Now, if you want to improve the bounce rate of your blog, there are a couple of things you can do such as:
Bottom line is, every blogger must track these 2 blog metrics to not only measure their blog performance but to also learn to grow their traffic over time.
Most bloggers track their blog traffic from day one and it’s all well and good as we discussed.
But, it’s equally important to know from where exactly your blog traffic is coming.
Is it Organic Search? Social Media? Referrals? Or any other traffic channel?
Of all your traffic sources, which particular social network or which referral websites are sending the highest traffic over to your blog?
Knowing from where exactly visitors are arriving on your blog can help you discover your high-performing traffic channels as well as the under-utilized ones.
This data can also be incredibly helpful for preparing your future blog strategy.
For example, let’s suppose that you’re running paid marketing campaigns on Facebook and Pinterest.
But, after looking at the traffic sources in Google Analytics, you discover that Pinterest is responsible for 90% of paid traffic, while Facebook only generates 10% of paid traffic on your blog.
This clearly gives you a sign that the money you spend on Facebook paid advertising campaigns could be better spent elsewhere.
The key takeaway is, knowing exactly where the traffic is coming from can help you with building an effective strategy to further grow your blog’s traffic.
The number of Social Media Shares is another blog metric you need to track to see if your blog visitors are engaging with your content.
In fact, if you regularly receive a good amount of social media shares on most of your blog posts, it basically tells you that your blog visitors are finding your content so useful and engaging that they feel compelled to share it on their personal social media networks.
Google, on the other hand, also considers the number of social media likes and shares as a ranking signal.
To Google, social media likes and shares are Social Signals, which it takes into account when ranking a blog’s content on its search results.
So, if one of your blogging goals is to become a popular blogger or want to see if your content goes viral on social networks, you should definitely track social media shares on your blog.
I would even recommend installing Social Warfare, which is a paid social sharing plugin to display and keep track of social shares.
However, if you can’t afford the Social Warfare plugin, you can still keep track of your social shares on BuzzSumo, which is a popular social media search engine.
All you need to do is, enter your blog URL into the BuzzSumo search bar and it will fetch your most popular content on social networks with the number of shares.
Social media clicks are one of the crucial blog metrics that I think all bloggers should track to measure their overall blog performance.
It gives incredibly useful insights such as what type of posts your target audience is engaging with the most.
It also tells us what type of headlines have higher click-through rates.
And most importantly, it also tells us how to use these insights for growing your blog further in the future.
Such insights can be quite helpful for understanding your blog readers’ needs and aligning your future content strategy with their interests.
So, whenever you share your blog posts on social networks, which I highly recommend to do over and over again, you must adequately track them to gain helpful insights.
For this, you can use Bit.ly to create short and trackable URLs for your blog posts to share on social networks.
It’s free to sign up on Bit.ly and it also offers sufficient features for newbie bloggers.
For example, Bit.ly’s free plan allows both shortening and tracking important engagement metrics such as impressions, clicks, and location.
So, go ahead and immediately start tracking your social media clicks for every post you share on different social networks.
Though comments don’t directly impact on your blog’s SEO, they still give bloggers useful insights for their content.
For example, blog visitors generally consider the comment section as a chance to connect with the blogger.
And most blog visitors only write comments on the most popular and respected blogs.
So, if your blog is receiving any amount of comments from blog visitors, you should take it as a positive sign that your audience is loving and engaging with your content.
In fact, when first-time visitors see comments already written by other people, they also consider your blog to be popular and also try to be a part of the conversation.
In simple words, like a big social share count, blogs with tons of comments also get noticed.
And that’s not even its main benefit!
Comments, apart from making your blog look popular and respected, also give a ton of helpful insights:
So, if your blog receives comments, even irregularly, make sure to respond to each and every one of those comments.
Doing so will most certainly encourage other blog visitors to write a comment to start a conversation with you, which will grow bit by bit over time.
And soon, your blog will become popular and respected in your blog niche.
If one of your blogging goals is to make money blogging, be it via affiliate marketing, selling eBooks, or launching online courses, then email subscribers should be one of your top blog metrics to track.
Email subscribers are basically the people who want to hear from you in the future.
They are the ones who are eager to read anything you publish.
And they’re the ones that trust you the most in your industry.
In fact, email subscribers in the blogosphere are also considered as leads because bloggers can accurately track how likely a subscriber would buy their products or buy the products they recommend on their blogs.
So, if you’re just starting out as a blogger and want to make money from your blog, it’s critical to steadily grow your email subscribers list in order to grow your blog’s revenue.
Most bloggers send out newsletters on a regular basis about new blog posts they publish to boost traffic on their blogs.
But, you can also leverage your email subscribers’ list to make money from affiliate marketing. In fact, it’s one of the top ways to make money from blogging.
For example, let’s say you just cracked a sweet discount deal with a company that sells a product your email subscribers are highly interested in purchasing.
Now, you can just shoot a special discount email to all of your email subscribers with a direct purchase link and the discount code to earn affiliate commissions on every person that buys the product from your link or discount coupon.
After email subscribers, the next most important blog metric bloggers need to track is the conversion rates.
There are many different ways a blogger tracks conversion rates on his blog.
For example, some bloggers track their conversion rate based on how many visitors subscribed to their blog after reading their content.
Other bloggers track their conversion rate based on how many of their email subscribers opened their email, click on the link they sent, and read their new blog post.
Then comes the bloggers who track their conversion rate based on how many of their blog visitors click on the affiliate links in their content and make a purchase.
The point is, bloggers track their conversion rates based on their individual blogging goals.
And you, as a blogger, should also do the same on your blog.
Figure out what exactly your blogging goal is and track that particular goal with the conversion rate metric.
Backlinks are not what they used to be.
There was a time when lots of backlinks meant higher rankings, vast search visibility, and tons of traffic.
Those were the good old days…
Today, however, that’s not the case!
Backlinks, for those who don’t know, are also known as inbound links, which are basically the hyperlinks from one website or blog to your blog.
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing look at backlinks as a vote in favor of a website or blog.
In simple words, search engines take backlinks as a highly important ranking signal when ranking a site on its search results.
This means the more backlinks you can create or get, the higher your chances to rank on top positions in the search engine results page.
There are, in fact, many tools like SEMRush for tracking as well as finding new backlink opportunities.
Just put in your competitor’s URL, head over to the backlinks section, and you can see from where your competitor has created their backlinks so you can create backlinks from the same domains for your blog and beat them in search results.
Although, I should tell you that this trick doesn’t work anymore…
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that backlinks don’t matter anymore.
In fact, they matter more than ever before.
What I’m saying is, ever since search engine marketers started hunting for backlinks from everywhere, Google muddied the waters a little bit.
In simple words, if you want to improve your search engine rankings through backlinks, you now need to get backlinks from authoritative and well-respected domains.
Apart from this, the relevancy is also a key factor here.
For example, let’s say you have a website or blog in the sports niche.
Now, if you create backlinks from food-related domains, then those backlinks will have no value, even if the domains that are linking back to you are highly authoritative.
So, if you want to improve your search engine rankings through backlinks, then it’s critical to ensure that every backlink you get or create is from a relevant niche domain.
And now that you understand the backlink concept fully, let’s talk about why and how bloggers should be tracking backlinks.
The most important thing that bloggers need to understand about backlinks is to not get obsessed with it.
Sure, backlinks matter a lot.
But for bloggers, quality content should always be their first priority.
In fact, if you can create highly-engaging content for your blog readers consistently, then authoritative domains from your industry will automatically start linking to your blog as a reference.
The point is, bloggers should first focus on creating quality content on a regular basis if they really want to grow, and simultaneously, they can still track their backlinks growth using tools like SEMRush.
Most first-time bloggers never track this blog metric, but knowing what it costs to run your blog is highly important.
You see, you can generate all the traffic in the world, but if it’s costing you too much amount of money and time to do so, then obviously there is something wrong.
So, how much is it costing you to run your blog?
Blogging costs generally involve web development, web hosting, social media marketing tools, email marketing software, etc.
But, besides tracking such financial costs, bloggers should also be tracking how much time they’re spending to run their blogs.
Tracking both financial costs and time can help you figure out where you might be generating lower ROI, so you can divert that time and costs to more important things.
I know what you’re probably thinking…
I know that in the beginning, I told you not to track any vanity blog metrics such as traffic, shares, clicks, and social shares.
But then, I went ahead and just contradicted myself by explaining the same exact blog metrics in this post.
Believe me, it was not my intention.
Why I did what I did is to basically teach you that blog metrics are just that and nothing more.
What I mean by that is, they’re just a form of numbers and statistics that can be interpreted in any way you want to.
And tracking these blog metrics are useless unless you assign a specific purpose or a clear blogging goal that actually means something.
In fact, the primary objective of this blog post was to first help you realize that tracking any of the above blog metrics is meaningless if you have not first defined what blogging success looks like to you.
And I hope that after reading this post, you’ve now learned both, why defining your blogging goals first is important, and how to choose the right blog metrics to track based on your individual blogging goals.
So, what are the blog metrics you’re tracking to measure your blog’s performance?
Make sure to let me know in the comments below. 🙂
Also, if I have missed any important blog metric to mention in this post, feel free to share it with me in the comments.