If you’re like us — and I think you are — you can’t help but check your blog’s stats a few times each day to see how many someones have caught your latest composition, be it a post, poem, video, collage, or even a song. Back in June, Michael Pick gave us an excellent primer on WordPress.com stats. In part two, we’re going to take a slightly longer view to see what your stats can tell you as the days, weeks, and months roll by, and give you some ideas to help you attract more traffic.
Where to go, what to look for
We’re going to be working in the Stats tab of your Reader.
The default view is a look at the past 30 days of views and visitors to your site. A visitor is a unique user or browser/device that views one or more posts or pages on your site. Just started blogging? Stats looking a bit thin at the moment? Fear not — the tips in this article will help you to grow an audience and increase traffic to your site.
When you view your Stats tab, you can see which days brought the most visitors and views at a glance:
You can see at a squint whether specific days of the week bring more traffic than others. For example, squint at the chart above, which is for our Daily Post blog, and you can see that Fridays — the day on which we publish our Weekly Photo Challenge — are our highest traffic days, on average. Hovering over any day of the week reveals the number of visitors, views, and the titles of any posts published on that day:
The week’s top content
To find out which posts had the most traffic, click on the Summaries link in your Top Posts and Pages — the default view is a list of the top posts in the last seven days. Here, we see that Photo Challenges and Daily Prompts were popular with our readers over the past week:
ACTION TIME: Set up a blogging schedule. If you find that some days bring more traffic than others, consider setting up a blogging schedule so that you’re sure to publish on days visitors tend to drop by. For example, if you’re a food blogger and your readers show up on Mondays to check out your Sunday Dinner feature, you’ll want to set aside time to create on Sunday evenings to hit that traffic sweet spot each Monday. If you’ve discovered your humor haikus are popular with readers, pick a day of the week to publish and stick to that schedule. Readers will then know they’ve got something to look forward to. Looking for some inspiration? Check out Going Serial: The Power of Intervals for ideas on getting regular with your blog.
Weeks: the slightly longer view
Now, let’s take a step back and dig a bit deeper into the content that’s driven traffic over the past 30 days. Do you think our readers enjoy Photo Challenges? Yes. Yes, they do. They love them so much, we added a more abstract component to each Daily Prompt to inspire photographers, artists, and poets to create each day:
ACTION TIME: give the people (more of) what they want. Take a look at your 30-day stat summary. Notice any trends in the post topics that bring the most traffic? Resolve to create one more post per week on the same topic and see how the additional content affects your traffic. Let’s say you’ve been posting a new digital collage each Tuesday. Why not share the inspiration behind the Tuesday collage each Thursday, so that readers get insight into your thinking and artistic process? If you’re publishing fiction each Monday, why not invite reader questions and post the Q&A on Wednesday. You’ll not only engage more closely with your audience, you’ll be building a community around your work, too.
Months: hindsight is 20/20
Looking back at several months of traffic on your site can help you to see how changes you make, such as posting more often or less often, and which topics affect traffic over time. You can also study how many clicks your tags and categories get over time to gauge what’s most popular with your readers. For example, we noticed that traffic on Daily Post started to increase when we increased our posting frequency back in August, 2012:
Reviewing popular posts for the past 90 days can help you to see which posts and topics continue to resonate with readers over time. When we peeked into a longer view on Daily Post, we found that some older posts, such as Choosing the Perfect Blog Name: Two WordPressers Share Their Secrets, continue to be popular with readers over the long haul. Knowing this, we’re giving readers more blog naming inspiration. Seasoned bloggers might want to take an even longer view and see if there are any seasonal / annual trends that drive traffic. For example, you might find that your cocktail recipes are especially popular in early summer, just before the July 4th holiday in the United States. Or, that your fiction posts bring visitors in the late fall, as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) kicks off.
ACTION TIME: share your insights with the class.
What discoveries have you made from analyzing your site’s stats? Have you changed the type of content you post? Your posting frequency? What are the results? Please take a moment to share your insights by commenting on this post — we’re looking forward to see what you’ve learned.
Interested in learning more about stats? Check out:
- Stats Wrangling I: Digging into Your Data
- Your Statistics: More than just an Ego Boost
- Quick Tip: Ignore Your Stats