How to Do a Kickass New Year Blog Review

Filed as Features on March 3, 2013 11:56 pm

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Caution. This post is kind of long…

The New Year is already here (for a while, actually), so it’s probably a good moment to do a review of some kind and take a look at how well your blog was performing during the last 12 months.

Now, apart from some fairly common things (like taking a look at your traffic stats, for example) there’s also a range of other actions that may not be all that obvious at first, yet they can still provide some great insights into your blog’s current condition.

Image credit: Gravixar

First of all, why do you even need to do some review, instead of just blogging normally?

Well, okay, you’ve got me, I don’t intend to sound like a smartass and tell you that you absolutely have to review everything you do. You don’t. You can continue blogging in 2013 like nothing ever happened and you’ll probably be just about fine.

However, if you do perform a review, you can plan your next actions to capitalize on the strengths of your blog and to fix the weak spots in its armor. In other words, you can make everything more connected to the reality you’re in and the position your blog has in the niche.

In just a minute, you will know exactly what I mean by this.

Step #1: Starting with the obvious

This is about your traffic stats.

(Hey, not everything has to be groundbreaking. Besides, we have to start with the basics, and no serious review can go without looking at the stats.)

What’s important, however, is not the numbers themselves. It’s the trend.

If your blog is a kind of new then you probably don’t have a big audience yet, so you might not feel all that great looking at, say, your average daily number of visitors sitting at a majestic number of 30. But this isn’t something you should worry about. The important part is whether your traffic is on the rise or not.

If it’s not rising then you need to think of a way to change the situation and get on track (some ideas on this in a minute).

Step #2: Your posting frequency

Your posting frequency (or the average number of posts you publish every month) is important for a number of reasons. Just to name a few:

  • It gives you an insight into your consistency and your ability to keep working undistracted.
  • It shows you possible areas for improvement. Do you think that you could get better results if you posted more often or less often, for example?
  • It allows you to compare your traffic stats against your posting frequency.

The last item on the list is about determining whether your posting frequency has any direct connection with the number of visitors you get. If so, the easiest way for you to get more traffic is to simply post more.

Step #3: Best performing days

You can look at this metric from multiple perspectives. For instance:

  • What is the best performing day of the week?
  • What is the best day to post new content?
  • What are the results during national holidays?
  • What’s the best performing time of the year? And many others.

Once you have such info you can plan the next 12 months to include periods of more frequent posting during the best time of the year and periods of less frequent posting during the times when people hardly even visit your blog.

Step #4: Top performing pages

Your top performing posts are one thing, but as it turns out, it’s the pages that tend to attract the most traffic for many blogs.

The top performer is usually your about page. But the second and third place on the podium can vary depending on your niche and the pages you have on your blog.

If you stumble upon some well performing page, it’s a great idea to work on improving it even further. Always try to find what’s already popular and make it even more popular.

Step #5: Returning visitors

In plain English, returning visitors = your community.

New visitors come from Google or other sources of traffic and then either stay for a while or leave and never come back. Returning visitors are people actively interested in what you’re doing. That’s why they’re the crucial group for every blog’s existence.

Take a look at your Google Analytics and check how many returning visitors your blog has. Is this group on the rise?

If you’re not pleased with what you’re seeing, you need to start working on improving your content (a common source of returning visitors), as opposed to improving your SEO (a common source of new visitors).

Step #6: Number of guest posts you scored

Image credit: ScottieT812

This is a good statistic to keep track of because it gives you an overall look at how much effort you’re focusing on your blog’s promotion.

Guest posting is by far the most effective way of attracting new audiences and building your brand and expertise. The more you do it, the more your blog will grow. Simple.

A good idea is to take a look at the stats for 2012 and set a goal for 2013 to improve on them. You can, for example, set out to increase your guest posting rate by 50% or so if possible.

Step #7: Number of guest post offers you received

Now let’s take it the other way around.

As your blog becomes more and more popular, you should start receiving some guest post offers yourself.

Basically, the more genuine offers you get, the better shape your blog is in. And genuine being the keyword here.

Genuine means that the offers come from real people who have researched your blog beforehand and not just some random spam-bloggers.

Again, this is not that much about the numbers. It’s more about the overall trend.

Step #8: Did you expand in any way?

This one is tricky. What I actually mean is did you include any additional product to your blog’s main offering (to your content)?

For instance, some things that are usually a nice addition to most blogs:

  • Email newsletters (no fancy software required, nor any investments; try MailChimp).
  • Any kind of products. Things like software, apps, packages of resources, etc. (PDF e-books of 15 pages or less don’t count.)
  • Joint venture projects. Things you do with other bloggers in your niche.
  • New branches of your blog. New domains that are part of your empire, or new “hub-sites” (there are many platforms that let you launch those; there’s a whole list at Website-builder.com).

In the end, the point here is to take a look at your blog as a more broad business than just the blog itself. If you’re serious about making your blog the next big thing then you should start thinking about expanding in one way or the other.

Step #9: Number of new subscribers

The nature of this metric is quite similar to the number of returning visitors, but subscribers actually deserve a separate place in every blogger’s heart.

(By subscribers I mean both RSS and email subscribers.)

The number of new subscribers you manage to attract every day is actually a great market research tool. Especially if you’re offering some bonus in exchange for signing up.

For instance, let’s say that your bonus in an e-book on {insert your topic of choice}. If you’re constantly attracting a healthy number of new subscribers, this means that the bonus is still a great answer to the market’s needs. But if this number starts declining then it’s probably a good moment to restructure your offerings (maybe your whole blog), and also to launch a new gift.

Note. You can monitor your stats through FeedBurner (RSS) or MailChimp (recommended email newsletter service).

Step #10: Pages/posts with the most SEO potential

Finally, the topic of SEO. The most favorite thing for all bloggers, right?

This isn’t about minding your rankings in general, though. You probably already do that on your own. This is about looking at the potential of some posts and pages on your blog.

Basically, the content that brings the most traffic (for fairly popular keywords) yet sits on the lowest positions in the rankings is the one with the most potential.

This may sound a bit complicated, so let me give you an example. Let’s say you have two pieces of content:

  • Post #1; 100 visitors a day; #4 spot for a popular keyword on Google,
  • Post #2; 130 visitors a day; #2 spot for a popular keyword on Google.

In such a scenario, post #1 is the one you should focus on in your next SEO campaign, even though it’s not your top performing post at the moment. That’s because once you get it to position #2 or #1, it will outperform post #2 massively.

Step #11: The average number of comments and shares

Let’s end the list with one pretty obvious metric that’s still important for the overall picture.

If you have comments enabled on your blog, you have a great way of evaluating how in-tune your content is with your audience and niche.

Similar story here, the numbers are not that important. What’s important this time is the relative difference between individual posts.

For instance, if one post has 20 shares, and another has 40, this basically means that the second one is two times more in-tune with your audience’s needs.

By using such an approach, you can pick the best posts on your blog, and then replicate their success in the future.

Even though a review is nothing mandatory for a blogger, I’m confident that it will pay off and make your blog better in 2013, so I really urge you to perform one. It will only take an hour…

I guess that’s it for my list, but feel free to ask me anything and also point out some other metrics you find important for a kickass New Year review.

This guest post is written by Tobi, an expert marketer with over 3 years of online experience that writes for Websitebuilder.net

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