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.”KPI.org
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.Google
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.
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?
- Slow-loading website
- Irrelevant content
- Bad web design
- Bad formatting
- And more
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.
Those are the links pointing to your blog from another site.
There are several things you should keep an eye on when it comes to inbound links:
- The number
- The domains
- Where on your site they are pointing to
- The quality of those links
Ideally, the inbound links should be pointing to specific pages on your website, rather than the homepage.
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!