Some simple KPIs for your charity blog

KPIs

If you're investing time into writing a blog, it's imperative that you track the results in order to see how it's impacting your marketing objectives.

The question I'll answer here is what specifically you should be tracking and reporting on and, once you have the numbers, what does it even mean?

I’ve been blogging for a very long time and I’ve been tracking with Google Analytics almost as long, so I have put together a list of a few simple metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) along with what they might tell us about your charity blog.

Also, as Google Analytics can be a bit overwhelming at best and digging this stuff out can be a terrible bore, I’ve created a Google Analytics dashboard that you can install and apply to your analytics just by clicking the link at the bottom of the post. 

1. Overall Blog Visits

Overall-Blog-Visits

First up, obviously you want to know how many visits the blog got overall - this will be your key metric and one that you are probably already tracking. There’s no doubt that this is a useful top-level KPI but it doesn’t really give you much of a picture about what is happening, what’s working and what can be improved; in order to get a better picture we need to segment this data and have a look at some specifics.

2. Visits to the blog homepage

Another metric you are probably already tracking is visits to your blog homepage. Here’s a couple of ways to segment that data to gain more information:

External

This tells us more about the people coming directly to your blog homepage - people following links to your blog homepage from their bookmarks, from your email newsletter, from social media, from other people’s sites or from finding you through search.

Internal (e.g. from blog posts)

Visits-to-blog-home-page-image

This shows us people who have read a post or two, like what they have read and want to see more, so they check out the blog homepage.

If this is really low and your bounce rate is really high, it could be that there is no clear path to the blog homepage from posts.

3. Traffic sources for your blog

It’s good to find out where your visitors are coming from. To do this, look at your most active channels and work out which have the most impact on driving traffic. Though it may not be wise to rely on these sort of high-level stats to heavily steer which channels you pursue and abandon, it will give you an idea about success - and maybe go some way to convincing the powers that be that it is a good idea to spend time on Twitter :D

4. Top posts

  • What are your top posts this month/quarter/year and what can you learn from this?
  • What sort of posts bring you the most traffic?
  • What sort of posts still do really well in search months or years after they are published?
  • More importantly, which posts bring you the most conversions? (Something I'll cover in another post.)

5. Average views per post

This is a great metric. Because it's an average, it shows you how well you are doing in general, across the board - if you publish a flurry of posts one month your overall visits may go up significantly but this metric will be a benchmark.

6. Inbound links

Inbound links (people linking to your blog from other places on the web) are a great indicator of good content.

Total to blog

This should be steadily increasing - if you see a spike one month then find out what caused it. Maybe you wrote a really successful post or maybe you were shared by someone influential? Find out and act on it - see if you can repeat that success.

Average per post

This will show you how well posts do for backlinks (another term for inbound links) overall and it will also give you a good benchmark to report on individual posts. Which posts have much higher than average inbound links? Post more like these.

7. Shares and follows

Sharing

This is easy if you use a sharing service like AddThis or Sharre, or an integrated service like Sprout, as they will give you monthly, quarterly, yearly and yearly statistics which you can compare with your GA dashboard for loads more insight.

8. Subscribers

It is always a good idea to encourage people to subscribe to your posts and obviously a good indicator of how well your blog is doing is to see these numbers increasing.

RSS

You can see how many subscribers you have using Feedly - just type this into your browser address bar:

http://cloud.feedly.com/#subscription/feed/{RSS_URL}

~ replacing {RSS URL} with your actual RSS URL

Email

If people can subscribe by email, then the service you use (e.g. MailChimp) will have a total subscriber number for you.

And one more thing... the number of posts published

While this isn't measured in Google Analytics, it is a good idea to keep track of how many posts you are putting out per week / per month. This will help you to keep up your posting schedule and allow you to cross-check any improvements to other KPIs.

If you up your posting schedule do you get more shares? More visits? More conversions?

You might think that it is a foregone conclusion that all these things are directly proportional, but most of the time they’re not - there will be a limit to the increase so it is a good idea to find out where the optimum point is: where do you get the best ROI for the time it takes you to write a month’s worth of posts?

Date: 
12 June 2014
Crispin Read