How often do you check your blog stats?
Once a week? A day? An hour?
I’ve been known to obsess over blog traffic, especially if I’ve written something I think is especially profound and want to make sure the whole world shares my opinion.
Checking your blog’s traffic stats is actually quite useful, and not just for massaging your ego. By carefully studying what people are reading, where they’re coming from and where they’re clicking through to you can learn a lot. Including:
1. What topics are popular, so you can write more of the same. Based on a careful reading of my stats, I know that the most popular posts on WordCount have been on writing basics, blogs for writers, market intelligence and the fates of specific freelancers, good or bad.
2. What post formats work best, so you can write more of them. Based on stats, WordCount readers like posts that are lists, best ofs and how tos, plus posts on controversial subjects such as whether or not to write for content aggregators. Armed with that information, I now look for opportunities to do more of those types of posts. I’m also thinking of ways to aggregate those types of blog posts into an ebook or something else I could self publish.
3. What days of the week get the most eyeballs, so you can be sure to post on them. I get more traffic on weekdays than weekends, so unless it’s the May blogathon I sponsor every year and I’m blogging everyday, I blog M-F and take weekends off.
4. What reader-commenters are also fellow bloggers, so you can befriend them by leaving comments on their blogs or adding them to your blog roll, helping boost traffic for both of you.
5. What keywords are bringing readers from Google or other search engines. If you know what people search on to find you, you can be sure to tag future posts on similar subjects with those same keywords. Top keywords and phrases that bring people here: word count, michelle rafter, qualities of a good editor, freelance story ideas and hyperlocal news.
How often do you check your blog stats? How has checking your blog stats changed how you blog?