When I posted my October goals back at the start of the month, a few of you said you’d be interested in seeing some more in-depth posts on the blog-specific goals I’d set, and how I go about trying to meet them.
Well, you DID ask…
My idea here was to make this a monthly post in which I’ll look at how the blog did over the past few weeks, and talk a bit about what I’ve been doing to try and grow it, and specifically, what worked and what didn’t. So, kind of like a working case study, basically, where rather than just talking about what MIGHT work and what might not, I’ll try to show you what ACTUALLY makes a difference to my blog and, more importantly, what doesn’t.
Er, I totally get that not everyone is going to be into this kind of detail, so I won’t take offense if you want to just skip these posts, but I find it really helpful to sit down every month and look at how things are going, so I guess this series is as much for me as for anyone else, really. Oh, and the NON-blog-related goals will get their own post next week, so if you’re just interested in whether I managed to meet my step total for the month or not (and I can’t imagine why you would be, but still…) sit tight: your time will come…
Here’s how the blog did in October:
PAGEVIEWS: 132,177 (last month: 120,596)
UNIQUE VISITORS: 45,655 (last month: 42,439)
(Because it’s been a really busy weekend, I had to write this post on the 31st, which is why the stats run from 30/9 – 30/10…)
So, before I go any further, two quick qualifications to the data above:
01. When we switched blog themes at the start of the month, the Google Analytics code stopped tracking for a couple of days, so the total number of pageviews and visitors was actually higher than it looks from these figures.
02. September’s totals, meanwhile, were unusually low, because I was on holiday for most of the month, and even although I did my best to keep posting, taking a break will always lead to a drop in traffic. So the monthly traffic was higher than it looks, but not as much of an increase as the figures suggest, basically.
Even with those two extra days of tracking, though, I still wouldn’t have met my October goal of 150,000 pageviews. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed by that, but I’d also be lying if I said I was surprised, because I really haven’t done much AT ALL this month to try to meet that goal. In fact, the entire month has really been taken up with changing the blog template, which turned into much more of a headache than we were expecting it to be, and was just a total time-suck, basically. Because of that, this month has really been just about keeping things ticking over as best I could, and trying to recover from the holiday slump: so it wasn’t a bad month at all, all things considered.
Top Content: Most Viewed
These are the posts that got the most views over the course of the month: most of them are older posts, which are still getting traffic from either Google or Pinterest (so, they’re the cornerstone content I talked about in this post, basically). It’s quite unusual for a newer post to make it into this list because it generally takes a while for posts to gain traction on Google or Pinterest, so I was pleased to see three of this month’s posts in there this time!
In my case, the beauty-related posts in this list have been the most popular for a loooong time now: those kind of posts do well in Google, because people tend to search for information on products and how to use them, whereas they don’t search Google for outfit posts, or random life updates, say. This is probably a sign that I should be doing more tutorials…
Top Content: Most Commented
To calculate this one, I look purely at that month’s posts, to analyse which were most popular with my readers. This month the top posts were movie and book-based ones, which was interesting to me because I don’t normally write a lot of that kind of stuff. Reflective stuff like the ‘Making Friends as an Adult‘ post and the ‘Fashion Tips I’d Give My Younger Self‘ also tend to do well, but I was surprised by the Sephora post, because my beauty posts normally generate zero interest from my readers, despite doing well on Google: not sure what happened there!
Comments were pretty low in general this month, though, and I had my first post in years which failed to get any comments at all in the first day it was up, which was really disappointing. I have lots of thoughts about this, and actually wrote out a huge post about it which I decided not to publish, because the downturn in comments on blogs is something I’ve talked about a lot, and really struggle with. My takeaway from this month, though, was that two of the posts which generated most interest (the ‘Favourite Books’ post and the ‘Fashion Tips I’d Give My Younger Self’) were ones I’d actually written a while back, and had been saving for a rainy day, so to speak, so maybe that non-time-specific type of content is the way forward. Or, you know, maybe not.
These are the sites that send most people to the blog: no surprises to see Google at the top, but it does surprise me to see Bloglovin’ and Facebook so high in the list, as my following on those sites isn’t huge, and has proved impossible to grow – especially on Facebook, which I’ve pretty much given up on, because it only shows my posts to a tiny percentage of the people who follow my page. I think I need to start paying more attention to those two, and try to increase my following on them – I’ve no idea how, though!
Most Popular Pins:
Pinterest is a decent source of traffic, but I know I don’t really make the most of it – I should really take my own advice on this one, huh? The fact is, when something does well on Pinterest, it can really help your traffic: the reason that random post about my new dressing table is one of the most viewed the site at the moment is all down to this pin, which sends visitors to the site from a few different boards:
Earlier this month, I suddenly started getting daily emails from people asking me where I got my mirror: I was so confused, and actually thought it was some kind of wind-up, until I realised the photo had been getting a lot of re-pins. For next month, I want to try to make time to work out a better strategy for Pinterest: as I say, I know I could be making much better use of it, so it’s just a matter of working out how to do it!
What I tried this month to grow my blog:
Er, nothing, really. Well, not NOTHING, obviously: I did change the theme, and that’s mostly what’s responsible for the increase in unique vistors. It’s one of those things that visitors won’t really notice, but the site is running faster, which can have an impact on how highly it ranks in Google, so fingers crossed that continues to help! Because the change of theme took up so much time, though, I really didn’t get time to do ANY of the things I’d planned for this month, though, so October has been a bit of a write-off, really. Hopefully next month I’ll have something to actually record in this section, though: fingers crossed!
With all of that said, I did have my highest-ever number of unique visitors this month, and although the pageviews weren’t the highest ever, they did increase from the previous month. That was partly due to the new theme, which, although not radically different from the previous one, does seem to encourage people to look around more, but it was also due to the fact that I published more posts this month which were offering something to the reader (whether that be a book/movie recommendation, or just something they can offer their own opinions on), rather than just talking about what I’ve been up to, which generally won’t get much of a response. Food for thought!
I think last month’s goal of 150,000 pageviews was definitely a bit too ambitious, but hey, might as well aim high, huh? So I think I’ll shoot for that again this month, and see where I end up!