HP Technology at Work

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Hit your numbers in no time

October 2014

So your company, like many small businesses, probably already has a blog. Hopefully you have an enthusiastic stable of bloggers who are updating it with regular posts. But are you taking the time to measure how it’s doing? Metrics matter in any business, and there are metrics you can use to show that your blog is contributing to the company’s overall success. Here are a few approaches you can take to prove your blog’s worth:
 
Blogging for traffic
Is the main goal of your blog to drive traffic and amplify your brand’s reach online? If so, you’ll want to make sure your content is search engine optimized (SEO). Start with popular search terms related to your business, then develop a content plan that allows you to naturally work in those words and phrases in a conversational way. Your key metrics will include total visits (from both new and returning visitors) to demonstrate increases in traffic; what percentage are new visitors; and traffic derived from search engines to show your SEO tactics are working.
 
Blogging for conversion
While a well-trafficked blog is important, many companies aren’t as concerned with traffic numbers as they are with conversion rates. If directing consumers to your ecommerce portal is the main goal of your blog, you’ll have to tailor your metrics in a slightly different way. Total visits are still important, but your key numbers will include how long your visitors are staying on the site and how many pages they’re clicking on, as well as outbound clicks to your ecommerce portal (also known as a referral rate).
 
Blogging for brand identity
Are your customers passionate about your company? Like social media, your blog can be used as a “top of the funnel” tool to develop a community and get potential consumers to start trusting your brand and feeling good about it. In this case, total visitors aren’t as important as returning ones—those are the people who are interested in engaging with your brand. How much time are people spending on your site? Are they leaving quality (non-spam) comments? How much traffic are you getting from people sharing your posts on social media? Are people adding your blog to their RSS feeds? All of these metrics are indicative of whether or not you’re making an impression on consumers.
 
Getting the data: Google Analytics
Some companies have their own preferred tools to monitor web traffic, but in most cases Google Analytics can help you measure your metrics the best. Setting it up is easy: simply sign up for a free account and you will receive some tracking code to insert into your blog template (or, if you’re using a platform like WordPress, just add a Google Analytics plugin). Next you’ll want to set up some simple filters, such as blocking the IP addresses of your company’s blog administrators (you don’t want to be measuring your own traffic, after all). Google Analytics will walk you through setting up your goals; within a few hours you’ll be able to start monitoring your blog’s numbers.
 
The end result
Once you decide what your goals are, you may need to start adjusting the way you create blog content to cater to them. Are your metrics not where you want them to be? It’s okay. Growing a blog audience is no easy task—but with the right goals in mind you’ll be hitting your numbers in no time.
 
What other ways do you measure your marketing efforts? Leave your successful techniques in the comments below.