I was reading an article by Mi Muba from BeAMoneyBlogger.com on 11 guilt-free tips for writing a business plan for your blog and had a thought about whether I set decent goals for my blog. The easiest goal to set is just to outperform the quantity performed last time. But is that a sensible goal? I then got to thinking about my statistics that I perform regularly for my monthly traffic report.
I’ve been working on my KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for Blog Prefect as I have more data to fully benchmark success and failure criteria in my monthly output. With this in mind I’ve gone back over 2014 to produce some key sets of data to monitor my future end of month reports in 2015.
Blog Prefect Goals for 2015
- So where does my data come from?
WordPress stats form a small part of the data. I can only trust certain information.
Google Analytics provides a fair proportion of this information but is further filtered to my key dynamic filter which I refer to as GAF. The GAF filter is termed “ActualTraffic” in my saved filters, its purpose is to strain out Crawley, West Sussex, England and only count those who stay longer than 30 seconds. I count 30 seconds or more as a good sign that there is some interest even if it is only a very quick scan of the page.
Bounce Rate is unfiltered Google Analytics. The percentage figure gives me an overall depiction of gross follow through. That sounds horrible. Check your underpants people. Keep this clean, it’s a family show.
Starting with the Average:
- My average highest individual view for a post during a month rests at 16, that is shockingly low so I want to work on that. Bear in mind that the highest individual goes into that pot so to have an average of only 16 suggests that I have many posts that drag the outstanding numbers below the surface of the water.
- Bounce rate has been below the danger zone of 80% but I want to work on trimming it down by at least 8%.
- Page Views is also a low figure. I need to be hitting more per month than this consistently. If I were to go by Moore’s Law, I need to double that figure at least.
- I would like to double Referrals at the very least but it is down to how well my social sharing is going, as ever that is why this falls in the uncontrollable bracket.
- The visits vs visitors display is one of my newer adjustments to the KPIs but as you can see there is an error. A discrepancy exists between Visitors and Visits (visits in Google Analytics terminology is known as sessions). There is no way there can be 45 visitors and only 33 views so this data has been skewed somewhere.
- ATOS (Average Time on Site) is okay at the moment but I’d like to get the numbers up to 10 minutes.
The next measuring jar for 2014 was the Minimum
This is a highly useful weather vane for displaying the worst periods of the year. As you can tell from this information, February, March, April and August all suffered in 2014 to one degree or another. In particular April was a hard hit month. (Which I’ll explain in further detail in the environmental factors below)
If any of my stats for a month fall below this amount in 2015, I need a kick in the butt, literally.
What is particularly striking in these stats are ATOS and Referrals. These were particularly low in comparison to the rest of the year.
This tells me that I should be ready to brace myself in April to perform better or expect the same woeful results, but that I need to get my act together to follow through properly in February, March and April to avoid egg on my face. I know this is going to be hard as my Degree module will bite into this time as will the Holiday I have planned in March.
The final measuring jar is the inverse of this figure, the Maximum
December was a particular key month in all of my meaningful stats rounding off the year. The bounce rate is almost as low as it was on the first month of the blog in 2013. I started out with 50% bounce rate in June 2013 which is the best the site has ever seen in GA stats (but Alexa has had me as low as 9%).
February was also a prominent month. September saw the peak of my referral traffic which had built steadily from May, increasing positively each month up to September before topping out.
My target in 2015 is to outperform all of these purple figures in at least 1 month.
Environmental factors to note:
February 2014 was an unusual “Experiment” month for Blog Prefect. It received some paid traffic that month which marred the figures considerably. This is why February shows in the purple months, yet would have been a pretty average month without this boost that occurred for 5 days.
In April I was reeling from a personal issue and so my site took a big hit in terms of quality during this period. This was one true month where I wasn’t performing at my optimum and the stats reflect that.
November saw some weird numbers, unusually high skew on WordPress stats which didn’t reflect in Google Analytics.
December, another feature to the purples, was an unusual month with some high sustained numbers of traffic acting like a targeted advert to the site. I had not triggered anything but I suspect that some link or inquiry inflated these figures unnaturally and I doubt that this same warmth will be seen in January 2015. (At time of editing, this appears true with lower numbers).
It is important to set yourself a goal and that is exactly what I’m going to do this year. I had some thoughts about this and first went with an incredibly heavy target. It was silly to do that because those targets would most definitely be unreachable.
Instead I would perform a 15% increase on the 2014 average. So what does that look like?
This is an achievable goal if I work hard each month to ensure that I don’t have any of the drought factors that will pull the average down.
- Noting the blue triangle in the bottom right, this is to signify that the data has been altered to balance the stats. You cannot have less visits than you have visitors so there must be at least a ratio of 1:1.
There is going to be a bit of challenge in this goal set. I don’t feel that I’ll be able to achieve the 15% on all areas. Some of the stats I know are difficult to put right quickly and will require attack. That’s all part of the fun though.
Bounce rate seems difficult. Sometimes I get the mix right, other times not so I feel this is the stat I’m most likely to fail on based on 2014’s ups and downs.
Over to you?
What kind of goals have you set yourself for 2015?
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?
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?
Been going for years? Got any spare gold? 🙂
I wanted to tie in this epic soundtrack from 1965 because I hope to have a year as funky as this. They don’t make TV series soundtracks quite as good as this any more.