Lots of you reading this might be bloggers yourselves. Maybe you do it professionally, or maybe it’s just a personal venting ground. Either way, I’d probably enjoy reading your blog. Blogs of all sorts are great. But what use is a top quality blog with hilarious/ informative/ groundbreaking content if nobody can find it?
That is where WordPress’ Stats tab comes in. You may never have bothered with stats. ‘Why does it matter how people found my blog as long as they ended up here?’; ‘Why should I care which countries people who read my blog come from?’ Well, my name is Kayleigh Tanner and I am a stats addict, so join me here in Statistics Anonymous where I can safely tell you about why I need stats, why I crave them, why I can’t function (as a blogger) without them.
Firstly, the big mama of all the stats on offer: page views and the newer visitor feature. As you can see, my blog doesn’t get a tonne of hits at all. The spikes show the days I’ve posted a new entry. I mean, today, as I write, I’ve only had eight views on this entire blog. It tends to be that way if I don’t post. It’s a shame I’m not posting this on a day with more views so I can show the stats features off better, but I’ll work with this. The page views represent the number of hits your blog has had overall that day, and the dark blue bar inside the total views is the visitors, which is how many unique visitors have made up those views. So, where mine says 8 views and 5 visitors, it might be that one person looked at four pages and four other people looked at one each, or any other combination. This, I feel, helps indicate whether people are sticking around on your blog. The greater the views in relation to visitors, the longer it suggests people are staying on your blog and looking at other posts.
My personal favourite part of the stats page is the search engine terms. It can be invaluable to find out how people are reaching your blog, and the real terms that real people are searching. It can help you pick up on trends so you can produce more posts on the same topic to capitalise on the fact that there’s already a searching market for it, and it can help you tailor your vocabulary and tags. There isn’t much use creating beautifully verbose posts if nobody will realistically be Googling any of the words you’re using.
The tags and categories window is actually one of my least favourites as my most popular posts have pretty diverse tags. My BeautifulPeople post and my Pippa Middleton post, along with my Teeline posts, consistently pull in hits. I guess in a way it’s useful as it shows at a glance that these are the most popular, but it doesn’t really help me that my ‘journalism’ tag is the most popular topic, as I tag almost everything with that because of the nature of the blog.
The top posts and pages are really handy, because it’s a sort of broken down version of the tags and categories. As I said, it’s a shame I can’t show you a day where my blog has more hits so I could show you a typical set of my top posts and pages, but it’s interesting to see what people have been looking at. In fact, what IS interesting about today’s is that ‘Give us, this day, our daily soup (du journalism)’ is actually my first ever post on this blog. I presume someone hasn’t been clicking through my blog to find it due to my low overall number of views so far today, so I’d be interested to know how they found that, especially as there is no Google search which links to it.
I don’t often have a lot here, but this shows which links people have clicked on from your blog. This link comes from my first post, which I mentioned above. Even though clicks don’t prove especially popular on my blog, I like to include them anyway to make it more comprehensive and to help the reader out. I always find myself clicking links on other people’s blogs, so I like to provide them just in case someone takes an interest in something in particular.
Views by country is another really interesting way to look for trends. For example, on days where the BeautifulPeople post gets lots of hits, I get a lot of views from the US, so presumably lots of Americans are particularly interested in BeautifulPeople, which can be useful when planning other topics. I uploaded a post about my friend and electronic musician Hexus, which pulled in a surprising number of views from Eastern Europe. If nothing else, it’s always a thrill when you find you have views from Moldova or Kazakhstan or wherever.
Finally, we have WordPress referrers. This tends to be search engines like Google (always good, as it means your tags and keywords are working to pull people in from searches), but sometimes it’s from other blogs, for example if you’ve left a comment on another blog and someone clicks through to your own blog from that comment. I have a couple of email subscribers too, so I sometimes get email hosting sites as referrers. Facebook is another big one on days where I post, as my blog automatically posts to Facebook; likewise with Twitter. It can help you target your posts better; for example, if you get lots of referrals from search engines, you know to focus on the things people will typically search. On social networking sites, it’s more to do with what your friends and followers will want to read.
I hope that I’ve convinced you, and I’m sorry to say that I have no intention of cutting down on my stat habit. How do you use stats to optimise your blogging experience?