How to Interpret Blog Analytics

March 1, 2013By
blog analytics

Blog posts account for 35% of the traffic on GBW. via Dennis Wong

A post on blog analytics is one I’ve wanted to do for a little while.

I’ve gone over the ROI of blogging in the past.

In this post we’re going to dig a little deeper to gain an understanding of  how business blogging plays a role in overall website traffic and getting new leads and customers.

Ghost Blog Writers Analytics

We’re going to look at one week of analytics from the GBW Blog. It’s a good indication of what the traffic normally looks like for GBW on any given week.

The way we would normally interpret the most popular posts for the week would be to look at the pages with the most visits or pageviews. If we look at GBW in this case we see that the most popular pages last week were:

1. Homepage

2. Services

3. Analyzing The FreshBooks Blog

4. About

5. Contact

The one irregularity in the list is the FreshBooks post. This week that post did better because the folks at FreshBooks saw that we analyzed their blog. They left a comment and shared it on social media. It brought extra traffic to that post.

Normally blog posts aren’t in the top five on the site. The next one on the list is the Our Work page, which includes the work we’ve done for clients.

I don’t believe this is an uncommon situation for B2B companies. People visit your homepage to learn the basics about your company. They look at services. They learn more about the company and its people. Then they hopefully contact you.

It’s a good situation for GBW and for any B2B business to see stats like this.

However, this overview can be kind of misleading.

If you look at this top page report you might conclude that blogging doesn’t play a role in bringing traffic to the site. Only one post made the top 5 after all and that was a unusual occurrence.

The Long Tail Effect

In the search world we often talk about the long tail.

A normal keyword like “shoes” is part of the short tail or the fat tail. It’s a common keyword with tons of searches. A term like “womens high heel shoes” is part of the long tail. It doesn’t have as many searches.

The crazy thing is that if you add up all the long tail terms you get way more combined traffic than you do with short tail terms.

Business blogging works the same way.

There are the common pages on the site, which is good. We need people to visit the homepage, the services page and the contact page. That’s a good thing.

However, we need people to discover the site and that’s where the long tail of business blogging comes in.

If we combine all the blog posts with pageviews on GBW from the week we find that blog posts account for 45% of all traffic to Ghost Blog Writers. That leaves 55% of the total traffic to the non-blog post pages like the homepage, services page, etc.

Let’s assume that in a normal week – without the FreshBooks outlier – that blog posts account for 35% of the traffic with the other 65% given to the regular pages on the site.

Ghost Blog Writers Traffic

Blog Posts: 35%

Regular Pages: 65%

Now we can see the real impact of a business blog on a business website.

Awhile ago we learned that businesses that blog get 55% more website traffic.

If we look at the traffic on GBW as 100 total pageviews we can assume that blogging accounted for an increase in pageviews by 35 views. That’s about 53% more than just the 65 pageviews without blogging.

But that’s a low estimate because the people visiting the blog posts are likely to visit other pages on the site. Not all of them do, but some will go to the homepage or the about page. Others will read more blog posts. Some will leave the site and come back to the homepage through search. Others will signup for the email newsletter and will visit from there in the future.

Much of the traffic to the regular pages on the site are a result of the blog.

In fact, GBW doesn’t do any other marketing other than blogging.

Traffic to the site comes through search to the homepage for terms like “ghost blogging services”. Some traffic comes from word of mouth referrals (thanks to the great clients we have) and most of the remaining traffic comes as a result of the blog.

People find posts on the site through search and social sharing.

That’s how business blogging works and that’s how you can use blog analytics to see the real impact.