How do you know if your blog is successful if you don’t track its progress? We’ve already talked about how to measure blog performance, but what are the blog metrics that matter?
In other words, is it necessary to track all of the KPIs I mentioned in that post?
That’s why, today, we’ll have a look at the most important metrics every blogger needs to track.
DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, read my affiliate disclosure. This post is a paid collaboration with Nakturnal. All opinions are my own.
What Are KPIs?
KPIs stands for “key performance indicators”. In the words of KPI.org:
“Key performance indicators are the critical (key) indicators of progress toward an intended result. KPIs provide a focus for strategic and operational improvement, create an analytical basis for decision making, and help focus attention on what matters most.”
In other words, KPIs are the metrics you should focus on to measure the performance of your progress. In this case, the progress of your blog.
Why Do You Need to Measure Your Blog’s Performance?
Measuring your progress is important. Without tracking, you won’t know if your strategies are working and if you are moving in the right direction.
But before we go any further, I want to make it clear that there’s no point in tracking a metric if it doesn’t lead to your long-term goal.
Take some time to think about what you want to achieve. I’m telling you about the most important blog metrics in general, but you should set a clear long-term goal and specify a set of metrics that are relevant to that goal.
With that being said…
14 Metrics Every Blogger Needs to Track
Okay, so we’ve already made it clear that you need to track your blog’s performance. I go through the whole measuring process in my post on How to Measure the Success of a Blog. But what are the most important blog KPIs to focus on?
1. Overall Traffic
The foundation of your blog’s success is traffic. That goes without saying. But how do you measure blog traffic?
There are several metrics to focus on:
Average pages per session
Average time on page
What are pageviews?
Pageviews are the number of overall pages users visited in a specific timeframe. This number refers to all your blog posts and pages on your website.
Why is it important to track pageviews?
Because pageviews are the foundation of everything. If you want to analyze your blog performance, pageviews are the metric to start with.
How to track pageviews?
There are several ways to track metrics, but the best option is Google Analytics.
Go to Audience > Overview.
What are pages per session?
Pages per session refer to the number of pages a user visited during one visit.
Why is it important to track pages per session?
Because pages per session are a good indication of the quality of your content. The more pages per session, the more engaged your visitors are.
How to track pages per session?
In Google Analytics, go to Audience > Overview.
What is the average time on page?
Unsurprisingly, this metric refers to how much time visitors spend on your blog on average. This number goes hand in hand with the bounce rate.
Although, you need to be aware that these two metrics aren’t the most accurate. Why is that? Well, you need to understand how those two metrics are calculated.
In the words of Google, bounce rate is calculated this way:
In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.
This means that to calculate the average time on page accurately, the search engine needs the second click to know how long the user has been on the page. Otherwise, the time on page is calculated as 0:00.
NOTE: Rather than tracking the average time one page of your blog, keep an eye on the average time on page and bounce rate on specific pages. Why? Because some pages, such as your freebie landing pages, will naturally have lower time on page.
Why is it important to track time on page?
Time spent on page is a good indicator of the quality of your content and your website. If you find that your bounce rate and time spent on the page are high, it might mean that there’s something about your content or website that puts your visitors off.
What can cause a high bounce rate?
Bad web design
How to track average time on page?
In Google Analytics, go to Behavior > Overview. If you want to know the average time of specific pages on your blog, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
2. Sources of Traffic
How do you know if your strategies are working? By tracking the sources of your traffic!
What are the traffic sources?
Simply put: the way people find your site.
Why is it important to track traffic sources?
As I already mentioned, your traffic sources tell you whether your strategies are working. Tracking your sources will help you:
Better understand your audience
Which strategies are working for you
How to improve your strategies
How to track traffic sources?
Go to Google Analytics > Acquisition > Overview.
As you can see, there are four types of traffic sources:
Organic traffic is the traffic coming to your website from the search engines.
Social traffic refers to the number of visitors coming to your website from social media.
Direct traffic refers to the visitors who either typed your URL directly into the search engine or also traffic coming from your PDFs or any kind of tools you’re putting out. It can also refer to the traffic coming from email.
Referral traffic is the traffic coming to your website from another site. Referral traffic helps you determine how much traffic you’re getting from your backlinks.
What if your links are getting good impressions but no one is clicking on them?
What is CTR?
CTR stands for click-through-rate. It’s the percentage of the impressions and clicks your link got. In other words, it’s the percentage of people who saw your link and clicked on it.
This point is generalized. I’m not talking about a specific source of traffic. I’m talking about all the places where you are promoting your blog. No matter whether it’s Google, Pinterest, or Facebook ads. This point applies to all of them.
Why is it important to track your CTR?
You CTR tells you whether:
The article is relevant to your audience
Your titles are click-worthy enough
How to track your CTRs?
That depends on the platform. If we’re talking about traffic coming from Google, you’ll find this data in Google Search Console. If you want to track data from Bing, go to Bing Webmaster Tools.
If you’re using Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog, go to your Pinterest analytics and look at your link clicks and link click rate.
You should also pay attention to your email CTRs. If people are not reading your newsletters, you should probably change the type of content you’re sending out. Your email provider has some sort of analytics.
But what if you’re sending out some sort of mass email? For instance, you’re sending out blogger outreach emails. Well, first of all, you shouldn’t be sending them in mass amounts. Each email should be personalized. But that’s not the point. You can use an email tracking tool such as GMass to track the open rates and CTRs in your email.
4. Email Subscribes and Unsubscribes
We’re going to stay in email marketing for now. What’s the core of any email list? Unsurprisingly, email subscribers!
You should pay attention to how many subscribers your email list counts, but also the unsubscribes.
What makes people unsubscribe from your email list?
There are a lot of reasons. Here’s a short list:
You’re sending out too many emails
Your email content isn’t relevant to them
They simply don’t like your content
You might have said something offensive in one of your emails
The person subscribed to get your freebie and never intended staying on your email list in the first place
How to track email subscribers and unsubscribers?
That depends on your email provider. I’m using ConvertKit. If I go to Subscribers, I see all my subscribers, how many people unsubscribed, but also the unconfirmed subscribers.
5. Conversion Rates of Your Opt-ins
How do you get people to subscribe to your email list? By creating irresistible incentives! To get those freebies to your readers, you need to create sign-up forms.
But what if the incentive doesn’t turn your visitors into subscribers?
That most likely means that your readers aren’t interested in your incentive. It might also mean that the copy of the opt-in isn’t persuasive enough and can’t sell the incentive.
What is a conversion rate?
It’s the percentage of people who have some across your opt-in and subscribed.
How to track the conversion rates of your opt-ins?
Once again, this depends on your email provider. In ConvertKit, go to Landing Pages & Forms and you’ll be able to see the conversion rates of all your opt-ins.
6. Email Open Rates
I’ve already touched on this. Why send out emails each week (or however often you’re sending them out), if your subscribers are not interested in them?
That’s why it’s important to be tracking your email open rates.
If your open rates are low, you should probably change the type of content you’re sending out.
What is an email open rate?
The percentage of your email subscribers who opened your broadcast.
How to track email open rates?
I’m going to repeat myself, once again, this depends on your email provider. In ConvertKit, you can track your average open rate in Subscribers. If you want to track the open rates of a specific email, go to Broadcasts where you’ll find all the email you’ve sent out and the open rates as well.
7. Most Viewed Posts
Tracking your most viewed posts will give you an idea as to the type of content your audience wants to see the most.
How to track your most viewed blog posts?
You could use a plugin such as MosterInsights for this. If you don’t want to use a plugin, go to Google Analytics > Behavior > Overview and you will find your most viewed posts. In the top right corner, you can set the time frame.
Engagement is an important metric to track. Although, it’s quite vague to be referring to it collectively as a metric. Engagement isn’t just one metric. Rather, it’s a collection of metrics.
What are those metrics?
As you can tell, this doesn’t relate to your blog posts only. This can refer to your social channels as well.
It’s a good idea to be tracking your average comments, shares, and likes to see if your post is doing well in terms of engagement.
Backlinks, or inbound links, are another important blog performance metric. It’s the first SEO-related metric we’re going to cover.
What are inbound links?
Those are the links pointing to your blog from another site.
How to track your inbound links?
There are several things you should keep an eye on when it comes to inbound links:
The best tool to track your inbound links is Moz. Type your URL into the Link Explorer. You’ll see something like this:
If you scroll down, you’ll see where those inbound links are coming from as well as the anchor text.
10. Ranking Keywords
The best way to measure your SEO strategy is by keeping track of your ranking keywords.
How to track your ranking keywords?
If you want to track your keywords in Google, Google Search Console is the best tool to go for.
If Bing is on your radar, use Bing Webmaster Tools.
Sitespeed doesn’t indicate your blog’s performance. But it can greatly impact it.
Look, if your site takes 20 seconds to load, who’s going to be waiting there? I’m most likely going to click away and by doing that, your bounce rate will increase.
Not good, right?
What is sitespeed?
Sitespeed, also pagespeed or loading speed, is how fast your website loads after a user clicks on your link.
How to track your sitespeed?
Both Google Sitespeed Insights and GTMetrix are the tools I swear by. Each one gives you suggestions for improvements.
If you started your blog to make money online, there are also marketing metrics to track, such as your profits.
What is profit?
It’s the amount of money you’ve made after deducting the cost, tax, and other expenses.
With that being said, you also need to keep track of your cost. Running a blog can be expensive. Of course, you will need to make some initial investments. But you also need to make sure that your investments are not constantly higher than your revenue.
Then you also need to take things like tax into account.
I often see this in bloggers’ income reports. Yeah, it’s nice to see how much you’ve made. But how much did you invest in? What about tax deductions?
How to track your profit?
You can use either:
Pen and paper
Spreadsheet in MS Excel or similar software
Use a bookkeeping tool such as Quickbooks
13. Overall Growth
This isn’t a specific metric per se.
Look at your analytics to see your overall growth since the time you started. You might not see that much of a difference in your month to month progress. But if you look at your progress since the time you started, things might look a lot differently.
14. Your Performance
In all honesty, no metric matters if your performance sucks. Apologies for putting it this way!
I’ve had times when I had to look back and review my performance as well.
Set a specific goal, such as “I’m going to publish one in-depth blog post a week. This post will contain no less than 2,000 words and will also come with a freebie.”
Is this a realistic goal for you?
If not, how can you simplify it? You see, not each one of your posts needs a freebie. Rather, create a few freebies that can be used in multiple posts.
So, those are the metrics every blogger needs to track.
When measuring your progress, always start with your traffic. That’s the foundation of everything.
Other metrics to focus on are also SEO and email marketing related KPIs. With that being said, also don’t forget about your performance.
What other metrics do you think are important? Let me know!
Imagine getting 100k pageviews a month. Yay, right?!
But what if you dig deeper and found out that 95% of those visitors leave right after they land on your blog? Not so yay, right?
So, if the number of hits your blog is getting isn’t the number to focus on, what are the blog metrics that matter?
Let me start by saying that you need data to measure your success as a blogger. Data that go beyond pageviews. So, let’s have a look at how to measure the success of your blog and how to analyze your blog’s performance.
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of those links, I’ll receive a commission. For more information visit my Affiliate Disclosure.
What are KPIs?
You’re going to hear the abbreviation KPI a lot in regard to blog growth KPI stands for key performance indicators and they are the measurable metrics that indicate the performance of your blog.
How to measure the success of your blog
As a blogger, you need to keep track of several areas. Blogging isn’t only about driving traffic to your blog.
That’s why we’ll be talking about the traffic coming to your blog, your SEO, your social media, the revenue of your blog, and the success indicators of your content. So, let’s have a look at some of the most important blog KPIs.
There are several analytics services that measure your traffic. The single most widely used is Google Analytics, just because it offers a lot of metrics to measure and is accurate. So, how do we measure traffic?
To measure your blog traffic accurately, you need to keep in mind that there are quantitative and qualitative metrics.
There isn’t just one particular metric to focus on. You need to keep an eye on all of them to get a better idea of the quantity and quality of your traffic.
Pageviews represent the number of times a specific page was viewed. This is a good metric to keep an eye on, but as I said, it doesn’t give you much value without knowing some other data.
Sessions is the number of visits to your website. A session can include more than one pageview since some of your visitors will visit more than one page on your blog. On Google Analytics, sessions are represented as unique visits.
1.3 Bounce rate
The bounce rate is a percentage of people who “bounce” off your blog.
What does that mean?
Essentially, it’s the percentage of users who reach your site, view one page, don’t interact with your content and leave. But there are a few scenarios as to what might have happened:
The user leaves before the link even loads
The user lands on the page and leaves straight away
The user lands on the page, scrolls through the article and leaves
The user lands on the page, stays there for over 10 minutes without clicking anything, the session times out, which is when the session starts counting as a bounce
A bounce is represented as 100% in Google Analytics.
What can cause a high bounce rate?
Your website loads slow
The article wasn’t what the user was expecting
There’s something about your web design that puts your visitors off
Too many opt-ins
The content isn’t skimmable
Your content contains all the answers the visitor was looking for
NOTE: Some pages will naturally have higher bounce rates. Those are your landing pages where the visitor just fills a form or your contact page.
As you can tell from the information above, in some cases, the bounce rate isn’t the best indicator. That’s why there is another metric you need to keep in mind when looking at your bounce rate:
1.4 Time spent on page
You might have heard about dwell time and average time spent on page. Both of them are different.
As the name suggests, the average time on page is the average of the time Google Analytics collected.
Dwell time is the actual amount of time a visitor spent your blog.
In my opinion, time spent on page is the metric that tells you the most about the behavior of your visitors and the quality of your traffic.
The issue is that it’s a difficult one to track.
The reason is that Google Analytics needs the second click to estimate the time spent on page. If the visitor clicks on something, let’s say a link to another page, then the session is tracked.
Also, by default, the last page the user visits is measured as 0 seconds.
1.5 Pages per visit
As the name suggests, pages per visit are the number of pages a single visitor views per visit. As you can probably tell by what I’ve mentioned above, pages per visit are directly correlated with the bounce rate and time spent on page.
1.6 Returning visitors
Returning visitors is the percentage of people who have viewed your blog before and came back.
Obviously, if your blog is new, you won’t have a lot of returning visitors. But over time, the number is going to increase.
Returning visitor rate is a great indication of how successful your blog is.
Here’s a video from Google Webmasters on site speed myth-busting. They talk about the importance of good loading speed and that if there are two similar pages competing for a spot on Google, the one that’s loading faster will win.
3. Social media
On social media, it’s a bit more difficult. Each channel works differently and wants users to do something different. That’s why I’ll go through some of the most popular platforms where bloggers promote their blogs and focus on the most popular metrics.
I feel like a lot of people are focusing on the vanity metrics on social media. Think likes and followers. But those are certainly not the metrics to focus on.
Before we get any further, you have to understand that the main goals of each of those platforms is to retain users for as long as possible.
3.1 Instagram, Facebook, Twitter
I spent two years posting on Instagram every single day promoting my previous blog. I grew the account to over 6.5k followers until I stopped posting and the number started dropping.
If I learned anything in those two years, it’s that followers and likes aren’t that important. And also that Instagram isn’t the best platform to drive traffic to your blog.
Yes, Instagram can be a great tool to spread awareness of your brand, but you should rely on it as a traffic source.
Instagram is a classic example of what I mentioned above: Instagram wants to retain its users on the platform. You can’t add links to your captions. The only places where you can is your bio and stories (if you have over 10k followers).
So, what’s the most important metric on Instagram and any social platform?
The engagements. Specifically, the comments. And I don’t mean the “so cute!” type of comments. I’m talking about genuine comments from people who love your content.
So, what about followers? Why is everyone trying to reach the highest number of followers?
Well, because a higher number looks nicer.
But what sounds more appealing to you?
100k of uninterested followers who don’t engage with your content, or 1k followers who love your content and genuinely care about what you have to say?
With Facebook and Twitter, it’s essentially the same. All those platforms are driven by engagement. If your post gets genuine engagement such as likes, comments, and shares, your post is going to be pushed by the algorithm in front of the eyes of more people.
Pinterest is a little different from the other platforms.
It’s often labeled as social media. That’s why it’s here. But, it’s actually not. It’s a visual search engine.
It started out as an app for inspiration for recipes and DIYs. The app has grown over the years and is now one of the go-to places for bloggers to promote their blogs.
Of all the social media platforms mentioned here, Pinterest is the most friendly one for driving traffic to your blog.
It rewards new fresh content
It doesn’t mind users leaving the platform to visit your site (I mean, that’s what it’s for)
The timespan of your post is way longer than on other social media platforms
So, what’s the metric to focus on Pinterest?
A lot of people focus on monthly unique visitors. That’s the number you see underneath your username on your profile.
But this is the number of the overall people who came across your content on the platform. The issue is that those people might not have even interacted with your content whatsoever.
The metric to focus on is link clicks!
After all, that’s why you’re promoting your blog, right?
The bottom line is: impressions and engagements are important metrics to focus on social media. But even more important are link clicks.
4. Email marketing
Collecting emails is essential to building a loyal readership of your blog.
It’s a great way of retaining visitors as you can notify them each time you publish a new post. It’s also a great way for your biggest fans to keep up with you.
I’m using ConvertKit to collect emails, so that’s where the screenshot is from. But really, the metrics are the same.
Obviously, the number one metric to focus on are subscribers. None of the metrics mentioned below will matter if you have no subscribers.
Don’t take it personally is people unsubscribe from your email list.
Some people realize they don’t want to be on your email list for various reasons and that’s fine. It’s also completely normal for some people to sign up for your email list to get your freebie and then unsubscribe right away.
But if you get a sudden spike of unsubscribers after you sent out an email, it’s an indication that the content didn’t resonate with them or that you might have said something offensive.
4.3 Open rates
The open rate is the percentage of people on your list who received your email and opened it.
This is an important metric to track.
If your numbers are low, your content probably isn’t what your subscribers are looking for, or you’re not using action-enticing subject lines.
CTR, or click-through-rate, is the number of people who clicked on your link.
In email marketing, the CTR depends on whether the reader wants to know more about the subject. If the reader isn’t enticed by the email campaign, they won’t click through.
In the link above, you’ll notice that the average email CTR is 2.6%.
4.5 Conversion rates of your opt-ins
One thing you need to track are conversion rates of your opt-ins.
You need to get people on your email list somehow. You’re going to do that with opt-ins.
But don’t expect people to just give you their email address. You need to offer something in return.
If your forms are not performing, there might be several reasons behind it:
Perhaps the offer isn’t enticing
The opt-in copy doesn’t speak to the visitor
In marketing, how things look is very important. You can simply change the color of the button, and the conversion rate increases. It’s incredible.
Keeping track of how your content performs is crucial to you as a content creator. It tells you what kind of content resonates with your audience and what you should keep producing.
5.1 Most popular posts
This simple metric will tell you which content your audience likes seeing on your blog, and most likely wants more of.
5.2 Average comments, likes, social shares, and average inbound links per post
Keeping track of your averages will tell you if a post is performing below or above average.
If your blog post performs below average, you might have been promoting it less than your other content. But it also might be a sign that this isn’t the content your audience is interested in.
5.3 Content rating
You might not have this feature, but I think it’s a great indicator as to whether your visitors like your content or not. Not all visitors will go into your comments and tell you their opinion.
I have a plugin called WP Discuzz and at the end of each post, there’s a content ranking, where my visitors can give the article a number of stars depending on their opinion on the article.
But then, of course, to see how your content is performing, head over to Google Analytics, and keep track of your bounce rate and average time on page.
Ideally, keep track of those on specific pages to see which content performs the best and which needs improvement.
Of course, there are some exceptions, such as your contact page, where your visitors most likely won’t be spending 4 minutes on average.
How often should you check your metrics?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on your traffic and how often you publish new content.
A good frequency would be once a day. But don’t get obsessed with it.
Why do you need to focus on one metric at a time?
Depending on where you are in your blogging journey, you’ll be focusing on a different metric.
If you already have some traffic coming to your blog, you have an overview as to which areas need improvement. By focusing on improving one metric at a time, you beat the overwhelm and you’ll improve the metric faster than if you tried improving all of them at once.