Blog Prefect Goals for 2016

January can be a busy time of year if you run a review from January – December. In Britain, unlike America, we tend to do things differently with tax years running from April. This Blog was actually started in July 2013 so in order to account for a full year I would have to  count from 14th July – 13th July every year. Fortunately I run stats beginning 1st January (the sensible way).

All these stats are great but you have to do something with them to make it meaningful. If you’ve followed any of my previous monthly reports you’ll know that I break my dashboard into 7 meaningful metrics. 3 have some control by what I do, 1 is a gut instinct and the final 3 are out of my control (more down to you as the audience).

Blog Prefect Goals for 2016

As you can see by the dashboard below, I’ve derived some goals to meet by 31st December 2016. It was my Internet friend and fellow blogger Mi Muma from beamoneyblogger.com who introduced the idea of setting goals by way of a thoughtful article and I agreed with the sentiment so brought the idea to life on this blog. It so turned that bar my highest performing post of all time, the goals post was the second most popular of the year so I felt honour bound to carry it on for a second year.

2016 Goal

Changes

My goals do have a noticeable variance from last year in that Bounce Rate is now gone. I identified, with Ahmad Imran’s (from Reasontouse.com) observation, that bounce rate doesn’t form a meaningful output anymore. I have therefore substituted the measure for Old vs New.

So what is Old vs New?

My new meaningful measure is a look at how Old posts perform versus new posts within the month. Ratio wise I always expect old posts to outperform new ones in the month because they’ve had more time to get established. The amounts of sway from left to right is the interesting part. A sway in favour of Old indicates that my new posts are failing in the marketing area. A sway to the New indicates that my old posts have less overall attraction but that my newer articles have more bite.

Why set Goals?

Last year I had a successful time of releasing my goals for 2015, this year I felt I needed to do the same, mostly to recap on where I have succeeded but also to explore where I have done badly and to pull up my breeches for another year.

2016 is important for more than one reason.

On July 14th the site will be 3 years old. For the first time I will be celebrating the birthday of this site (as I hadn’t on Year 1 and Year 2). I also plan to launch a competition with a cash prize as part of my birthday celebration.

As a symptom of 3 year’s birthday my 3 year introductory rate on Bluehost will be ending. This means that my Internet property cost will rise which means that in order to fulfil the same level of payback on my investment I will have to do more going forwards.

Dashboard Comparisons

There is a story behind the data and this story helps me decide the goal. As you may notice, the goal this year is a variable goal. I have chosen such a variable goal rather than a blanket percentage increase because I know that I will have to be conservative with some figures. There is a small risk that the numbers I had last year were artificially higher than they should have been because I had one article that hit page 1 of google and I don’t think I have the ability to match that this year. That is to say that the article was a phenomenal one off.

Minimums and Maximums

Two particular areas I like to take a look at are the Minimums and Maximums. This data can give me an insight into my best and worst performing months which gives me a steer into where I need to target more or less yearly effort. However, I don’t entirely base my outlay of work based on last year’s performance because there are other variables involved such as the content itself and how well that responds in the year.

2015 Min

2015 Max

 

Yearly Average

The next area I take a look at is the Average for the year and how well overall the year compares. This can then be compared against the previous year to see what average increase there is. You have to be careful with averages because there is a phenomenon known as skew. It is a bias either negative or positive which can potentially drag the whole series of stats in a direction that doesn’t necessarily correlate to the overall performance. Some of my figures in February 2014 suffered from an experiment I made with a service from SEOClerks. Needless to say this had a severe negative skew on my stats during February.

You can see how certain numbers will chomp at your statistics even though they were a blip or a “Pune Effect” a term I coined from an unusual geographical event I saw in my stats. In statistics, skew can be corrected by “red-banding” certain figures, this means that those figures that are extraneous are put to the side in favour of more supportive numbers. I opted to exclude February 2014 from the averages or tune it by dividing the 11 remaining months and providing it the average figure. Fortunately I’ve not had to do that in 2015 as all stats seem in keeping with the data provided by Google Analytics. Manipulating data in such a way can be seen to be cheating but in some respects where you are accepting lower figures than those presented, you can preserve a more meaningful data set for yourself to work with.

Don’t get me wrong, sudden peaks can be great but ultimately you want to pickup your baseline because by picking up from the bottom your overall throughput can only climb.

2015 AVG

Performance on Goal

I then take a look at how the average compared to the goal average I’d set and at how many times the monthly goal was exceeded. A good indication of success is if you are hitting goals multiple times during the year. For 2015 I’ve had some success in this regard with as much as 12 months exceeding targets.

You can visit the 2015 goal post here to see what I had declared as my goals. I had reviewed 2014’s average and added 15% increase.

2015 Goal Analysis

Areas where it proved difficult to improve

Post Performers

Post Performers observes the number of views on a post in the month that it was launched. It is a slightly unfair figure if you are looking at posts that were launched at the end of the month because they have less time to accrue views. Whichever post scores highest in that month, having been released in that month, is the number selected for the dashboard.

The figure is a painful number mostly because my marketing zone has dried up. I also believe that because my posting rate has been down, my consistency and ability to draw people in has reduced. In general I don’t spend enough time in publicising my work. I think it is an issue that many creators have problems with.

This year I set a higher target despite the fact that last year I failed to meet the previous target. I’m going to roll the dice and work harder.

Bounce Rate

Bounce Rate is a subjective figure in some sense due to the way that Google Analytics measures it and what is considered a normal amount. Google Analytics defines bounce as a person arriving on a site but exiting on the entry page. Other stat providers determine that a bounce occurs where a visitors stays for less than 10 seconds on the entry page or what you might consider a rapid close (or click-off as I like to call them).

The normal amount of bounce is a point for discussion, as it will vary wildly from niche to niche, site to site. Blogs can actually survive normally at bounce rates ranging from 80-90%. It depends on your content and how much of a half-life it has. Sites that haven’t been listed for long don’t have time to build up backlinks and authority so your results are likely to be low on the order of search results. Once a site begins to mature, more of your good content has the potential to be found and you have more pins in the pincushion, that is to say, more target keywords provided by your site. Google is a solutions based engine, if you provide your audience the goods, Google knows and rewards you. Otherwise you have to rely on Social Media and other forms of link sharing to pass around your content to wider audiences.

Bounce rate is cut. Finito. Fat lady singing. (but secretly I’m still measuring it).

Areas that performed well for growth

Pageviews and Visitors performed better than expected despite the final tally on WordPress stats being lower than 2014’s results (by 284 views). Visitors were up but not in such a good way. Normally when views to viewers is at the same ratio or close to 1:1 then this indicates that people aren’t hanging around for more.

Areas under-estimated for growth

My referral traffic was handsome in 2015. Entirely around Google search results I saw a huge uplift in traffic from one post alone. The reason for that was because it fit a niche of audience perfectly and so I was rewarded by Google. It has had the best view rate of any post I’ve written to date in the first month alone and had the highest figures I’ve ever seen for June and July. Therefore the 15% target I’d set was smashed every month of 2015. Not to blow my own trumpet but it’s pretty awesome, one of the happiest areas of my results and worthy of that fine purple.

In setting the target for 2016 I’ve had to be cautious because I am aware that whilst the good fortunes of the post could continue for some time yet, I can’t rest on that article alone to save my dwindling figures. Because of how busy I’ve been outside of blogging, I’ve been squeezed on my activity, losing contact with acquaintances that were taking me in the right direction and losing ground to competitors. Going by my Post Performance figures I need to start finding better ideas for content that have high openings from day dot.

So, just to recap on the goals once more:

2016 Goal

There is plenty of challenge in providing these figures. I’m not sure how the year will pan out, how much time I will have to dedicate, and what is going to be popular. What I do know is that I will find some tough hills to climb, have a few epic wins and otherwise continue soaring with every post written.

I’m never satisfied with my numbers entirely, I always know there is room for improvement, I know that there are guys and dolls out there who most likely receive tens if not hundreds of thousands of views per day and I’ve got a long way to go to reach those highs. The fact is that as long as the posts make a difference to some individuals, I’ve accomplished my mission.

I’m taking further steps this year to try to eliminate what could potentially be classified as “indulgent” posts and I will be taking other steps to pimp this ride. (yes, he said that.)

Over to you?

What kind of goals have you set yourself for 2016?

Just started out? If so, what do you envisage as a sensible number? You could strike it lucky and be popular off the bat. You might swing the other way and have a really limp reception to the world of blogging with small numbers. What are you prepared for? But more importantly, how are you prepared to fight?

Been going for a while? Prepared for great or a slip backwards? Is the post schedule you are working to really paying out? Is the place you pimp your links reaching enough clickers? Has your marketing strategy dried up or swelled in recent times? Thought about changing your theme or bringing on more staff?

Been going for years? Got any spare loot? 🙂

And Finally….

Good luck with your ventures for 2016, by the time this post goes out the very short-lived January will almost be a memory. I hope you’ve started out with your best foot forwards but if you need some encouragement or a friendly ear, get in touch on twitter @blogprefect.

End of Month Traffic Report October – December 2015

A cuban taxi, a rather well preserved '51 Cadillac.

A Cuban taxi, a rather well preserved ’51 Cadillac.

Three whole months in one Report?! Surely not Jackson. Have I been sleeping at the wheel? No. It is nice to be putting my favourite post format together but this time with three reports in one. The reason I opted to not post monthly reports for October, November and December respectively was because they were commonly the only post happening some months. I wanted to be producing meaningful content rather than an overview of what’s happened.

Needless to say, its time to tot up my data for the final three months of the year and hope that I don’t have too much egg on my face (or in this edition, blood on my face).

End of Month Traffic Report October – December 2015

Shout outs

I have one shout out and this person has been a great source of encouragement for me. This gent’s comments have lifted me out of a tighter, darker spell and for that he has my great thanks. I hope to continue a great relationship with him into 2016 and beyond and wish him great success with his blog.

Ahmad Imran of Reasontouse.com

Ahmad’s site is a clean and well organised blog that covers a number of topics including; Android Flagships, Android Apps, ChromeBooks, Software, Blogging and WordPress. His articles are intelligent and insightful and I’m sure that he’ll rise from strength to strength. Being a technology fan myself, I can relate to his articles (even though I am an iOS user at the moment) and I have seen some flashes of brilliance in his work.

Want to get involved?

This is my up front request for you to get involved this year 2016 (and beyond).

Twitter:- @blogprefect

Google+:- +Jackson Davies

Site’s email:- headboy (at) blogprefect.com – Also available in the contact page.

The Posts and Reasoning behind Them

From 2016 onwards, I am going to be slightly more critical of my articles than I have been before. Mostly because I have poured hours and thousands of words in and not seen the relative warmth in abundance. In truth that time could have been better spent finishing the current project I have running over on jackowrites.com or finishing a self-help book I am writing at present. I realise that in part my marketing zones are not providing as much of the burning embers as they used to. I saw a much better time of things in 2014 especially in Google+. It seems that the audience has waned there so I need to go and seek a better afterglow elsewhere.

October

This month saw me return back to the coal face of my Open University Degree. Because I failed my Economics Honours Optional Module and decided to pass on it permanently, I opted for a design module which is much more up my alley. Of course, this decision was difficult to make as it means that my readership will suffer until the end of May 2016. I’m annoyed with myself for failing by 2% on my previous module but it happened and I’ve got to deal with it! My ever trusting girlfriend has been graciously patient and I am thankful for that desipte her initial disappointment.

  1. End of Month Traffic Report September 2015
  2. T317 innovation: designing for change

November

November was a busy month. Not much more can be said. So why say more? 🙂 What I can say is that both posts took me some time and I was creating these whilst working on a host of other things related to www.jackowrites.com, the science fiction novel I’ve been writing for some time and my degree (besides my day job).

  1. How to keep working currency in the black
  2. Community Group Spotlight: Blogging in Google+

December

December has a traditional problem which I have observed before. The fact is that I get certain weeks that just dip entirely off the scale. Mostly because those of interest to my content disappear off the face of the Earth at this time of year. It is as if the alien mothership has come to collect. It doesn’t only limit to Christian and Jewish readers. All numbers are down at the two weeks that butt up to the New Year. I tend to have an inverse reaction in January which is an active time for newbie bloggers. With this in mind I tend to save content that I’ve worked on for a long period and release it in the New Year. There I see much better numbers and often will have winners for the year.

  1. Being Stuck in the Wilderness – The Comfortable Uncomfortable Part 2

How the Posts Did

Bare in mind that these figures are representative of the month they were released in (not the figures they accrued in subsequent months). This can have a negative or positive effect relative to the early or lateness of which they were posted in the month. I grant that this isn’t scientific.

Oct-Nov-Dec-2015-Post-Perf

Despite low view rates there are two positives. Firstly none of the above had a zero view event and more than half had at least one comment, which I see as favourable, compared to other months this year. Traffic Reports are always a crowd pleaser. Something about the metrics is a key to people’s love.

Dashboards

I always look forward to compiling the dashboards and you are going to see a predominance of one specific colour. One month as, mentioned above, does have a seasonal disadvantage but generally the others run as standard months and have no similar excuses.

GAF Filter

“Google Analytics Filter” – Segmentation for my viewers.

October 2015

Dashboard Oct15 vs Sep15

Not too bad a month as it goes, despite the red, compared to a similar time the year previous this was a good figure.

November 2015

Dashboard Nov15 vs Oct15

A further slide from October, November’s numbers still aren’t a catastrophe. My only real disappointment here was the post performers figure.

December 2015

Dashboard Dec15 vs Nov15

It is funny how the post performers was the only stable element to this snapshot mirroring November’s figure. Everything else was a slide on previous figures and as my Instinctive measurement denotes, a good month for vampires. My least happy element here was the ATOS dip. I had measured this half way through the month of December and it was a minute higher but clearly with the seasonal dip in effect, this was eroded.

General Observations

Referrals have slowly been sinking over the past couple of months. During June and July I had a huge spike and I have not seen these numbers since. Page views have been dipping in line with these referrals so as you can guess, the core of my viewership are entering from search engine results at this time. It is just a shame that I’ve been unable to followup the success I had with the amazing article fortune I had near the start of this year.

Bounce rate has been high but this was to be expected. As I have mentioned previously, this measure will be dropped in 2016, in favour of a more meaningful metric. Post performers figures have remained weak despite an improved showing in October. Afterglow values from these posts are down in the months they are published. The new metric I am releasing in the 7 measure dashboard next year will shed more light on this.

ATOS (Actual Time on Site) has been fluctuating but is actually remaining in a healthy number, definitely up on the worst figures for last year which I would classify as a success.

Referrals

Oct-Nov-Referral-2015

Dec-Referral-2015

The referrals for this quarter display the usual suspects in most instances but I’m still happy with referrals overall. It is good to see them. That “Google Search” figure is predominantly attributed to a single article but there is some small afterglow on some of my older articles. November to December wasn’t a massive drop in all fairness so I’m quite happy about that but ultimately I can only make so much change in fortune to these numbers which is why referrals is marked under “uncontrollable” in my dashboard. It’s where you, the reader, come in.

Conclusion

It has been a good year in all fairness. Despite having posted considerably less than 2014, I have seen a huge swing upwards in views on certain posts. I have actually managed to reach the first page of Google with one of my articles which began the increase in views.

My one hindsight wish is that I had more time to be consistent. I feel like one of my major traffic zones has been lost to poor consistency and I’m personally disappointed with that but I have to be adult about this and begin looking elsewhere to find a good fit.

Despite my effort in Twitter I still don’t have the pull in numbers or the required marketing mojo (without spending money) to pull the kind of audience I would hope for. I will continue to work on my Twitter marketing channel but at current time realise the limitation of numbers contained therein.

Previous Reports

September 2015 – Traffic Report

August 2015 – Traffic Report