Have you ever come across articles from bloggers boasting about page views to their site or views on Pinterest and you wished so much you could reach those numbers? The truth about blogging stats is that most bloggers have no clue what those numbers actually mean. In addition to being able to know had to use the numbers to grow your blog, it also helps make sure you don't get duped into buying courses in an attempt to reach those same stats!
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The Truth About Blogging Stats
When I first started blogging several years ago, I was amazed at the reports from other bloggers boasting of high page views and couldn't wait until my own blog reached that kind of traffic. I quickly learned about blogging threads where bloggers supported each other by visiting each others' sites in an effort to increase their traffic. I had zero idea of how any of it really worked or how joining those groups could negatively impact my site.
I, like many new bloggers, got sucked into buying courses that weren't very helpful simply because the course authors presented data graphs showing how much traffic their sites were receiving. I didn't have a clue what all those other numbers meant – I only knew they were getting high page views!
I'm hoping this post will help you to better understand the data from places like Google Analytics and Pinterest so that you can really understand how your own blog is doing in the big picture of it all. I also want to make sure that you don't get starstruck when you read about other bloggers' successes. Unfortunately, there are many bloggers out there who will inflate numbers (because they know most don't understand them) simply to get you to buy their course.
**If you are just getting started with blogging, be sure to read about 10 Steps to starting a Christian blog.
Understanding Google Analytics Data
It is important that you have Google Analytics connected to your blog so you can track our site's performance. There is a LOT of data that comes from Google Analytics!! For the purposes of this post, we are only going to talk about the main performance view that comes up when you log in. You can also install the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin so you can see a snapshot of your stats right on your WordPress dashboard.
- Users – The total number of individual users who visited the site during the date range.
- New Users – First-time users who visited during the date range. This number will be a portion of the number shown in “users”.
- Sessions – The number of times your site was visited (includes an initial visit and return visits). You want the number of sessions should be much higher than the number of users because that means users returned for additional visits to your site.
- Page Views – The total number of pages viewed on the site. You want this number to be double, triple, quadruple the number of sessions because that means your visitors are clicking through to read more than just the page they landed on.
- Pages/Session – This is an average number of pages viewed during a session. You want this number to be MORE than 1 page.
- Average Session Duration – The average time a user spends on your site during a session.
- Bounce Rate – This number is calculated when a visitor lands on your site and doesn't engage with your content. Basically, they come and leave very quickly without scrolling or clicking through to other pages. A high bounce rate can indicate that 1) Your content isn't that great (not usually the case); 2) Your posts are too short; 3) You don't have links for your readers to click on to find more content; or 4) You are participating in blogger clickthru threads. Regardless of the reason, a high bounce rate can indicate to Google that your content isn't relevant because visitors aren't staying on your site to read more.
Misleading Blog Stats
You may have come across other bloggers who talk about having reached high page views or sessions to their site. While it may sound impressive to see an image that shows high page views, it is important to view those numbers in comparison to the rest of the data. The image below shows a site with over 16K page views which is a really great number to reach. However, when you view it in perspective to the rest of the data, it isn't as impressive as you might think.
Having 10k users with only 12K sessions means that the majority of those users did NOT return to the site. A bounce rate of almost 85% means that visitors are not staying on the site very long. The pages per session is 1.30 which basically means that they clicked to one additional page while visiting. An experienced blogger would know these numbers indicate forced traffic from over-participation in blogger clickthru threads and not genuine, organic traffic.
What Are Great Blogging Stats
Now that you understand the correlation between all the numbers, take a look at the image below from Kingdom Bloggers. The ratio of 4507 users and 5284 sessions to over 15K page views is a great ratio because it is almost triple the number of sessions. You can see that the pages/sessions is almost 3 which means that users are staying on the site longer and reading multiple posts. A bounce rate of 0.44% is perfect because it translates to people sticking around to read content on the site.
Again, in the image below from one of our contributing authors Worth Beyond Rubies, you can see she had over 6000 sessions with over 16K page views and a bounce rate of 0.36%. Her readers are averaging 2.69 pages per session which means they are clicking through to read more content.
The Truth About Blogging Stats – Pinterest
Pinterest analytics is another area of data that you need to really understand so you can use it to improve your pinning strategy. I'm sure you've come across a blog post or Pinterest pin that boasts “see how I went from Zero to 1M views on Pinterest….” and couldn't wait to learn how to do that. While 1 million monthly viewers may sound impressive, it really is a misleading term.
Monthly Viewers – This number reflects the number of people who SEE your pin. This includes the number of times it was displayed in someone's home feed or if it showed up after a search query. This is a hugely misleading number because many newer Christian bloggers see this as a number that matter. Yes, the more people that physically see your pin, the better the chances of them clicking on it, but just because they see it doesn't mean they will engage with it.
Monthly Engaged – This is the number (of the two) that matters most. You could have 1 million views to your pin but if you aren't getting any engagement on the pin then you aren't doing as well as you thought. The term “engaged” includes any action on the pin such as taking a closer look, clicking on the pin, and/or saving the pin.
These two numbers will always be different and your views will always be more than your engaged. I've come across accounts with upwards of 1M monthly views that had less than 15k monthly engaged. Considering the image above has over 12K engaged at 300K views, that 1M views account doesn't seem so impressive after all.
New to Pinterest? Be sure to read about using Pinterest for your Christian blog.
Do you really understand what all those blogging stats mean? This post can help! Click To Tweet
What Really Matter for Pinterest Stats
The truth about blogging stats is that the information gained from actual Pinterest analytics isn't as helpful as those you can get from Google Analytics (GA). Don't get so caught up in the monthly views data every time you log into your Pinterest account (if it goes down, that doesn't necessarily mean your account is suffering). Instead of focusing on Pinterest analytics, start learning how to read deeper into your GA numbers.
In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition – All Traffic – Source/Medium, then click on Pinterest in the results. What matter in regard to whether or not Pinterest is helping you is what you find here. Are you getting traffic to your blog directly from Pinterest? This is the data that matters!!
What matters most about Pinterest is that Pinterest is sending traffic to your blog. It is really difficult to figure that out (on the big picture scale) from only reading the analytics on your Pinterest account. Google analytics breaks it down into much more detailed information. The image above reflects a 7-day period in which the website received over 1900 sessions that were referred from Pinterest.
So now that you understand the truths about blogging stats, you can really understand how to analyze the data to improve your Christian blog strategy for reaching more people. Understanding these numbers can also help you in discerning what is real and what is inflated when reading posts from other bloggers boasting of high numbers.
Be sure to also read The Truth About the Yoast Plugin to ensure you fully understand how it works and how important fulling understanding SEO really is. And be sure to get signed up below for our Christian Blogging Tips newsletter!
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