Creating the perfect blog is more about science than it is about writing, and you can take that from an experienced writer.
Instead of just having a blog, you should routinely check your blog’s performance and make the necessary adjustments.
If you don’t know how I’ll show you 11 ways you can transform your blog into a money-making marketing funnel.
Table of Contents:
- Check Your Bounce Rate
- Check the Comments
- Check Engagements (Views, Likes, Etc)
- Measure Growth Over Time
- Conduct A/B Tests
- Check Your Budget
- Get Feedback on the Quality of Your Writing
- Request a Website Audit
- Check the CTAs
- Look at Your Competitors
- See What’s Ranking Online
1. Check Your Bounce Rate
If you’re wondering…
“How in the world do I even know if my blog is performing well?“
Then, you should check its bounce rate.
Here’s the definition of bounce rate.
Bounce rate is an analytical metric that measures the time people spend on your website without clicking on anything.
Note: Bounce rate and any other analytical metric I discuss in this blog can be found on Google Analytics if applicable. You can speak to your website provider or SEO agency on this matter if you need this type of data.
If someone visits your blog and then leaves immediately without clicking, then the blog missed the mark.
Obviously, the person didn’t find what they were looking for or was just uninterested.
That’s why it’s called…bounce rate.
It’s the rate at which people bounce from your web pages without converting.
The goal is to keep your bounce rate low.
An ideal bounce rate differs from business type.
Specifically, it can vary from industry too.
I know this can be a lot of information to take in, so when you find your blog’s bounce rate, compare it to these benchmarks.If your bounce rate is too high, then it’s a sign that your blog has significant issues.
If your bounce rate is average, then it may need minimal changes to get it to where you want it to be.
If you have a great bounce rate, then your blog may be fine.
If your bounce rate is high and your blog’s traffic is low, then that could be a sign that your website could be experiencing some technical difficulties.
You can read your bounce rate to interpret the direction of your blog more than any other analytical metric.
2. Check the Comments
Checking the comments of your blog is another great way of seeing how it’s performing.
Successful blogs have vibrant communities that respond rapidly to their published articles.
Just check out Brian Dean’s blog, Backlinko.
Brian is an SEO and link-building genius who also happens to be a very great blogger.
Look how many comments his blogs get.
When readers are super impressed with your content, they’re going to comment and let you know.
These comments are detailed and thoughtful, which shows you that Brian runs a very successful blog.
Now, just because your blog doesn’t have regular comments yet doesn’t mean that it’s all bad.
Getting more people to engage with your posts is a long-term goal that even myself is trying to consistently achieve.
Don’t sweat it.
Keep creating amazing content and people will eventually notice.
3. Check Engagements (Views, Likes, Etc.)
This is an obvious rule of thumb, but it may be overlooked.
You can quickly tell if your blog isn’t performing up to standard by seeing how much web traffic it’s generating.
Little no views shows that your blog has a lot of problems.
However, your blog could be just as bad if its averaging a lot of monthly traffic with a very low conversion rate.
For example, if you wrote a blog with the purpose of converting a reader and it fails to accomplish that goal…
It doesn’t matter how many people read the blog.
If no one is being converted, then the blog is a failure.
Keep an eye on the views and likes of your blog.
These are important indicators of its success, and you can use them in tandem with your blog’s bounce rate to uncover many hidden problems.
4. Measure Growth Over Time
Alright, let’s say that you know your blog isn’t performing up to your standards…
But, you can’t exactly pinpoint the underlying issue.
My best takeaway here is to measure the growth of your blog over time.
Basically, do the things you’ve been doing and collect analytical data over a period of three months or so.
Here are some things to check for and the questions you need to answer.
- Is your bounce rate consistent (good and bad)?
- Has the traffic of your blog fluctuated recently?
- What are your usual blogging habits (frequency, research, etc)?
This is your baseline information.
It’s going to be what you use to compare to future information you receive when you begin conducting experiments.
Told you – blogging is a science!
Fortunately, none of this stuff is hard.
Analytical data from your website provider is usually very comprehensive.
It’s going to give you all of the information you need to make judgements.
And, with that, let’s move on.
5. Conduct A/B Tests
Experimentation is a big part of marketing.
It’s also a major part of making your blog successful.
In marketing, we run A/B tests or split tests to make improvements to our campaigns.
Here’s the definition of an A/B test.
An A/B test, or a split test, is an experiment that compares the results from two sets of data (Set A vs. Set B).
An example of an A/B test is seeing which call-to-action (CTA) leads to higher conversions (“Join Now!” or “Start Making Money Today!”)
Essentially, you’d test both CTAs over a long period of time.
Whichever CTA generates better results is the winner and the one you’re going to use moving forward.
Okay, so there are a lot of moving parts as far as A/B tests go.
So, here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can conduct the perfect split test.
- Step #1 – Find the Problem: Based on your data, what are the problems that exist on your blog? Once you identify these issues, the experiment can begin.
- Step #2 – Form a Strong Hypothesis: Now that you know what problems exist, attempt to make strong educated guesses on why these problems are occurring. Make sure you can use your data to back your hypothesis up.
- Step #3 – Determine a Solution: Once your hypothesis is formed, come up with a solution to your problems. Make sure it’s actionable and can be tested.
- Step #4 – Test: You can begin testing your solution. Set B will be your solution and what you’re testing it against (Set A).
- Step #5 – Compare Results: Gather the results of your A/B test. Rinse and repeat if necessary.
Of course, I’m going to tell you all of this and not provide an experiment.
Roll the film!
- Step #1 – Find the Problem: After reviewing my data, I noticed that the traffic of my blog is high but the conversion rate is low. People are viewing my content like I planned but no one is purchasing my products!
- Step #2 – Form a Strong Hypothesis: I think something is wrong with my CTAs. After all, readers are looking at my blog. Perhaps they’re confused about what they should do next.
- Step #3 – Determine a Solution: I should revamp the CTA of my blog to be more direct. My original CTA was “Join Now!” (Set A) That seems to be a bit cliche. How about I try “Start Making Money Today”? (Set B) Everyone likes money!
- Step #4 – Test: I changed the CTA (Set B) in my blog after gathering the results from the other CTA (Set A).
- Step #5 – Compare Results: It turns out that my conversion rate tripled since I made the change a few months ago. I didn’t do anything different in either test but change the CTA. My hypothesis was right.
That’s how A/B tests work.
It does take a lot of time and troubleshooting to get at the real problem behind your blog’s performance.
However, think of this entire activity like fixing your car.
I, for one, have had numerous old cars that always broke down regularly.
My dad and I would spend days fixing my car.
But, each time, we would realize that the real problem wasn’t what we thought it was.
Since I needed the car and knew its worth as a form of transportation, I was patient and we always got the job done.
Do the same with your blog, and it’ll work wonders!
6. Check Your Budget
It’s one thing to invest significantly into your marketing initiatives for them not to work…
That says more about the initiatives and the people in charge than the money you’re spending.
Now, be honest here…
If you spend $100 every month on content marketing, do you really think it’s going to net you a 500% return on your investment?Tweet
Look, content marketing costs money.
You have to pay someone to write the blog, edit it, optimize it, and promote it.
There’s a lot of work to be done.
So, if you’re just writing stuff that you think your audience wants to read in an hour and posting it to your blog…
It’s gonna suck.
Oh, and even if you’re not spending a lot of money…
You’re going to just waste your time and cause people with strong buyer’s intent to go straight to your competitors.
Meet with your marketing team to discuss improvements you can make to your content strategy and how much it’s going to cost.
Being honest and straightforward here will give you a general idea of how much you’re going to have to spend to achieve the results you want.
After all, a return on investment only happens when you make an investment.
Not a small donation…
7. Get Feedback on the Quality of Your Writing
Feedback is important in marketing.
Especially from your audience.
Getting constructive feedback is hard nowadays.
It costs a lot of money to do surveys and the like.
Instead, you can obtain feedback from your colleagues about what you can do to improve your blog.
You can alternatively reach out to influencers for their advice.
Now, here’s a trick to doing this.
You can visit the blog of your favorite influencer and ask a question.
Many will answer you, but it’s important not to say:
- Please check out my blog
- Here’s a snapshot of…
- Or any other long-winded response
Instead, do something like this:
This person got an actual response from Brian himself.
Although Brian didn’t get into huge detail, his advice was still helpful to convince the person to try out Google Trends.
The main takeaway here is to keep your questions brief and be respectful of the blog.
Don’t publish spam comments.
You could be blocked forever doing that.
You don’t even have to ask a question all of the time.
This user added on to Brian’s article and he responded with some great insight.
If you’re respectful and have something valuable to add to their blogs, influencers will usually respond to you.
8. Request a Website Audit
Now, there could be a chance something is technically wrong with your blog.
In that case, you should request an website audit from your website provider.
A website audit is a comprehensive diagnostic report that identifies all of the technical errors of your website, including your blog.
Your website provider should automatically tell you if your blog is experiencing technical issues.
But, it couldn’t hurt to check and ask.
9. Check the CTAs
I covered everything about CTAs already, but in my experience…
Most problems you will encounter with your blog will stem from the CTAs.
It’s not difficult to get people to read your blog.
It’s difficult getting them to convert.
By trying the A/B tests I covered earlier in the blog (just click here to refresh your memory), you’ll be just fine in identifying the perfect CTAs for your blogs.
10. Look at Your Competitors
It goes without saying that if your competitors’ blogs are better than yours, you need to reconsider your strategy.
One of the best ways to do this is by spying on your competitors.
Fortunately, there are several competitor analysis tools you can use.
SEMRush and Ahrefs are two keyword research tools that provide this feature.
Ahrefs, in particular, makes it simple to type in a competitor’s web address in a search bar and find the keyword they are ranking for.
Getting this kind of insider information can give you a competitive advantage in your industry.
11. See What’s Ranking Online
If you’re not impressed by your competitors, you can see which blogs in your industry are doing well.
Take notes on key observations and apply them to your website.
For example, I recently read a great blog from HubSpot.
For those that don’t know, HubSpot is the go-to source for marketing insights and tips.
I saw a lot of things I liked and took snapshots of them.
I captured the headline, which was great.
I noticed a CTA right in the middle of the article and I liked how they put that there and structured the copy.
Finally, I loved the ending CTA, which inexplicably tells the reader to download a free resource.
You can do the same thing I did by noting observations with your favorite industry blogs and making improvements on your blog.
Have Anything to Add?
That’s all, folks!
Following these strategies will help you monitor, improve, and learn from your blog’s performance.
Did you like this article or have anything to add?
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Founder of Blog Seminary, a content marketing agency based in Memphis, TN. Also a proud husband and father of two.