20 Aug Is Anyone Reading My Stuff? How to Measure Blog Success
It’s notoriously difficult to measure the success of blogging, because it’s a long-term game. One blog post probably won’t lead to anything. Years of blogging hopefully will. Because hope is not a strategy, let’s dive into how to measure blog success.
Unfortunately, this is not a quick and easy process.
Over the past few months – maybe it started before the pandemic, but I can’t remember that far back – I have been inundated with requests from people who want to publish a guest blog on my website. I’ve turned them all down, but it got me thinking: how visible is my blog?
I’ve been blogging nearly every week for nine years, which is like a zillion years in marketing years. At this point, it should be plastered everywhere online.
I realize you have probably not been blogging for a zillion years. Maybe you just want to know if it’s worth spending the time and effort to blog. Here’s how to find out.
How to measure blog success
I emailed my friend Nicole, who knows more about Google and rankings than me. This is when I found out how convoluted measuring your blog’s visibility – and success – really is.
Do a keyword search
Nicole said there isn’t a universal search rank that she could check, because I (and that means you too) rank differently for different keywords. If you have a Nicole in your life, you could ask them to run a search on select keywords.
If you don’t, do your own keyword search. Look at your most recent, or most popular, blog posts. What keyword did you optimize those blog posts for? Do a search and see if you show up on the first or second page of search rankings.
(If I lost you at “optimize blog posts”, read this. It’ll explain what I’m talking about.)
Spend time with Google Analytics
Nicole’s best advice was to “spend some time on Google Analytics and look at how people are coming to your site and what pages they are landing on. Google isn’t great about breaking down the keywords people use to get to your site, but you can look at the list of queries that brought people in.”
She added that queries are often bot-driven, so it can seem a little random. Just what we need – bots messing up our marketing. But I digress.
Assuming that Google Analytics is set up on your website, you can find what pages people are landing on by looking at Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. (While you’re in Google Analytics, here is some other stuff to look at.)
Once you’re on that page, scroll down a little bit and you’ll see this box:
Click on “page title”. Now you’ll see the full title – not just the url – for each page people have visited. This will be ranked by page view (highest to lowest). Here’s what it looks like for me since June 1:
In the bottom right corner, see “view full report”? Click on it. Now you’ll a fuller picture of what blog posts are most visible.
Next I want you to look at Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. This shows you how people are getting to your site. Here’s how people have found my site since June 1:
Note the amount of organic search traffic. This tells me that my blog and website are visible, because that’s a decent amount of traffic.
Unfortunately, that’s as much as I can find out. When I click on “organic search”, the vast majority of search terms are listed as “unspecified”. Nicole did say, “Google isn’t great about breaking down the keywords people use to get to your site.” And this proves it. Sigh.
So now you know how to measure blog success! Well, kind of.