Blog stats review – what is the point of them?

Comments, followers, visits, likes, retweets; there are many numbers bloggers can use to track progress, but is it actually worth the time to collect and review blog stats? Being a blogger these days can  mean more than just writing blog posts; many bloggers, like myself, use social media to help promote posts, engage with readers and help build relationships beyond blog comments. However, each post on social media is time taken away from other activities, family and of course the blog, so is it time well spent?

Blog stats

I admit I like numbers, so it does not surprise me that my first blog stats post was in April 2007 after just one month of blogging. I’ve been varied in my consistency and what I measure, I started by looking at the most popular posts and more recently my follower numbers on different networks. I find these stats interesting in themselves, but since listening to Paul Armstrong’s Advanced Social Media talk at BritMums Live I’ve realised I’m measuring numbers that are easy to get rather than ones that tell me something.

“Are you measuring activity or results?”

I know this, but admit I’ve ignored it with this blog, probably because I don’t know what result I’m trying to achieve.  I started on a whim to find out what blogging was, and I guess I’ve learnt that after seven years. Over the last three weeks I’ve been thinking about if writing posts is enough, or am I wanting to achieve something I haven’t articulated. I’ve decided it is engagement. I want people to enjoy reading what I write, and I want to chat with people. How do you measure engagement?

My approach of measuring my number of followers isn’t completely silly as it is likely there will be more chance of engagement from more followers. So for the sake of continuity, and because they are our vanity numbers, I’ve included my followers with a comparison to last month (ohh what a lovely post BritMums bounce)

“Stop doing what doesn’t work”

What doesn’t work? That is an interesting question, what does it mean on a personal blog? To me it means firstly finding out where I’m achieving engagement and secondly which platforms are sending traffic here (because that is a type of engagement). With that information I can make a decision whether to reduce my time on the platform, try something different or that I enjoy using it so much it is worth spending the time (Instagram I love you).

It is not easy to find figures for engagement and I don’t want to count them up manually. I’ve found a few places providing some free information, particularly SumAll, but I think my method will evolve. For now this is the start of my benchmark. What sites do you use to look at social media statistics?

Blog stats engagement dashboard June 2014

Blog

It was a low posting month for me  on here, probably because I put so much energy into preparing and recovering from BritMums Live (this probably explains the increase in Twitter posts as well).  Plus I have several posts in draft that I’m finding hard to turn into finished blog posts. The number of comments per post increased and from a number of people which is great as it shows wider engagement (thank you Becca, Carin, Jill and Over40andMumtoOne ) BritMums Live definitely had an impact as my summary posts was one of my most popular posts and received the most comments in the month.

This highlights to me that people like timely posts on topics they feel a connection.

Instagram

I only joined Instagram in February and I have seriously fallen in love with it, helped a fair bit by getting a better phone in June. I’ve found Iconosquare a site for Instagram information stats; as well as seeing information about my posting (filters, frequency…) it has highlighted my crush on Capture by Lucy as I’ve liked more of her pictures than anyone else – by a long way

I haven’t received any visits from Instagram, but I enjoy using it so much I really don’t mind. Three of my four most commented pictures were connected to BritMums Live so again highlighting people comment on posts they have a connection too. I’m intrigued to see if the likes for pictures with text on them continues; I like them because they tell a story that could be different to the one told by the picture on its own, and I enjoy thinking about what would be fun to add.

My 4 most commented pictures followed by my 4 most liked pictures

Twitter

Tweetails estimates I spend 20 hours a month on Twitter, which is less than I feared, particularly as my tweets increased in June because of the build up to Britmums Live, but equally the replies I received per tweet increased as well. I haven’t found a way to find out the tweet which had the most replies, but Twitonomy says my tweets with the most engagement was

Pinterest

I haven’t found any useful, free Pinterest statistics to help me discover which pins were the most popular, but I have changed my account to a business account so I can now access the in built analytics. I find it interesting that visitors that came through Pinterest looked at several more pages/session than people who come through Twitter, suggesting they find my content more relevant and interesting.  Next month I hope I’ll be able to view more information about my pins although I’m not sure what to measure; what is engagement on Pinterest – comments or pinning from my site?

Google+

I keep trying to use Google+, but I’m not finding it much easier. I want to chat and have discussions because I see that as the biggest advantage of Google+ as there is no character limit but I find most of the posts are links to blog posts and I generally don’t want to follow links there and then. However, people who visit via Google+ spend more time and visit more pages than people coming through any other social media, suggesting there could be a benefit to continuing the network although I don’t get the pleasure from it that I do from other platforms.

Facebook

I don’t have a Facebook page for my blog, so the traffic is coming from my personal account or via Facebook groups. I suspect this figure is higher than normal due to interest in advance and following BritMums Live. As I don’t have a Facebook page I don’t think there are any other metrics to consider related to engagement.

Conclusion

Across all platforms, I wrote more posts than the previous month and my average number of responses per post increased as well. This feels very positive, but I suspect a lot of this is connected to everyone’s enthusiasm for BritMums Live so I feel it will be hard to maintain in June, I look forward to finding out.

Do you think blog stats are useful? How do you use them? How do you measure engagement? Do you recommend any metric sites I haven’t discovered?

Kate Davis (359 Posts)

Kate is a working mum of two children, with a desire to do a wide range of things from writing to video editing. I know to achieve all these interests I need to be as productive as possible. Facts about Kate: I get great pleasure using spreadsheets, I’m teaching myself Photoshop Elements, I learnt sign language to use with my children before they could speak, I’ve written a journal for over 25 years, I dream of publishing a novel and I've written this blog for over 7 years.


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4 Comments

  1. Posted July 14, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    You can spend awful amount of time looking at your blog stats. Normally, you should have a good idea how your blog is doing. Besides, visitor numbers may mean nothing to your goal. I generally look at my earnings to judge if I am doing well or not. There are times you can have many visitors but they may not be targeted for your purpose.

    On the other hand, my daughter just want to have fun with her blog and she only cares about private messages, comments and followers. I think you should measure what is important to you instead of looking at how many people visited to your site. You should gear your site to the goals you want to achieve with it. In my opinion the rest is just background noise. Plus, a lot of those visits may not even be real people but search engine bots.

    • Posted July 25, 2014 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes, you are right you can spend lots of time looking at stats and not writing posts. I love numbers and particularly graphs so I like the excuse to play in spreadsheets. I like your point about focussing on your goals and the rest being background noise and it is one good thing that came out of the exercise is I have decided on my goal.

  2. Posted July 14, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Don’t shoot me, but the only time I ever look at my stats is when a PR asks for them. I do what I do for me, and hope other people like it. I’m useless with Google+, clearly don’t use Pinterest properly, love Twitter and Instagram and do not have anywhere near enough time to comment on everything I’d like to.

    • Posted July 25, 2014 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      I think that is a healthy approach and I agree about blogging for yourself. I blog because I enjoy it, but I also enjoys graphs and spreadsheets and the stats give me an excuse to play. I’m struggling to use Google+ and use Pinterest to bookmark things I’m interested in and not ‘properly’. I have a long list of posts I want to comment on and I’m sure I’ll get to them at some point (thank you for spending the time to comment on mine :) ).

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