If you’ve been blogging for any time at all, you know the only constant in the blogging world is change.
As soon as you learn one thing, there’s something new to do right away.
It never ends!
And this makes it realllly hard to know what to focus on. You’re pulled in a million different directions all the time.
So, today I want to simplify one area for you – blog metrics.
Blog Metrics: Social Media, Traffic, & Email Subscribers
There are many metrics to measure on your blog.
Some popular metrics include:
- Website traffic (pageviews, unique visitors, etc.)
- Bounce rate (how quickly people leave your blog)
- Average visit duration
- Total revenue (the money you’re making from your blog)
- Social media fans or shares
- Email subscribers
But what really matters? Should you measure and pay attention to all of these metrics?
Well, it depends what your end goal is.
If your end goal is popularity, then you may care most about traffic and social media. However, if your end goal is monetization, then you may care most about email subscribers (more on this below).
If you focus on your blog metrics equally, you’ll be pulled in different directions for improving each metric. This is a huge problem because not all metrics will produce results.
Let’s take a look at the most popular metrics to measure on your blog — social media, blog traffic, and email subscribers.
Metric #1: Social Media
Social media is a great way to grow your blog, especially if you want to become popular. You can grow large followings and people can get to know you.
However, this has very little to do with becoming profitable.
Remember: Profitability > Popularity
At least for me that equation is true. If you want to become popular more than anything, then social media is the way to go and you should prioritize it. However, if your goal is profitability then it shouldn’t be your main metric for success.
I use Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter to grow my blog. These may seem like social media platforms, but really only Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are. YouTube and Pinterest are search engines that drive traffic.
Social media is a big part of branding and getting a loyal following that likes you.
Social media is great.
You don’t have total control over your social media accounts.
Facebook as a perfect example of why this is bad. Prior to 2012, if you had a Facebook page for your blog, you could post on it and your fans (anyone who liked your page) would see it. After 2012, Facebook changed things so that only a very small percentage of people who like your page see what you post. This means 1,000 people could like your page, but only 10 of them might see what you post regularly.
If you want your fans to see what you post on Facebook, you have to pay for advertising (this is how Facebook makes money). After 2012, bloggers could no longer get traffic to their sites from their Facebook pages in large numbers. They lost access to their fans overnight. Ouch.
This is just one example of how you don’t have total control over your social media accounts, and the rule applies to all social media. At any given moment, the next big platform can change their rules and you can lose access to your fans.
This doesn’t meant that social media is pointless. Not at all. It just means that you should be aware that you’re not in total control of having access to your followers on social media.
Metric #2: Blog Traffic
Blog traffic is one of the most popular metrics to measure. And it is a metric that you should measure because part of making money online requires traffic. But you shouldn’t prioritize traffic as the end all be all of measuring your blog’s success.
Something I learned from Six Figure Blogger is that:
- Sales = Traffic x Conversion Rate
So, it’s really important that I have traffic on my blog if I want to build a profitable blog. And the more people like me and my blog (i.e.: the more they trust me), the more likely they’ll want to stick around and buy things.
I know lots of blogs that have enormous amounts of traffic that make much less money than bloggers with less traffic.
There are many ways to increase blog traffic. The three I like and know the most are: 1) SEO, 2) social media, and 3) guest posting. SEO is definitely the most useful because it’s based on search engine results.
- To increase Google SEO read 21 SEO Tips To Increase Your Traffic Right Now.
- To learn the Pinterest strategy I use, take Pinterest Traffic Avalanche.
But you can’t guarantee an increase in traffic over time. Algorithms are changing constantly, and your blog may not get an increase in traffic simply from producing content over time.
Not only that but more traffic doesn’t necessarily lead to exponential income growth.
You should look at your traffic and measure it regularly. But you shouldn’t prioritize traffic as the goal. It’s not the best metric to measure if your goal is profitability.
Which brings us to what is the best metric to measure for profitability…
Metric #3: Email Subscribers
Now, to the best metric of all – your email list.
“The money is in the list” is a common phrase among professional bloggers and for good reason – there is a direct relationship between the size and engagement of your email list and how much money you make blogging.
It’s not exclusively the number of people on your email list, but also the engagement of your list – the percentage of people opening, clicking on, and replying to your emails. Your list needs to trust you and like you.
An email list of subscribers who love and trust you is the most valuable asset to a blogger. They will support you and be happy to buy from you.
When I first heard this, I believed it was true but didn’t really know if it would be the case for me. Fast forward to a year later, and my email list of 25k+ is directly aligned with how much money I make (regardless of traffic).
- Here’s My Email List Story
I started building my email list with Mailchimp for free for the first year of blogging. This was my choice because I didn’t want to pay for an email provider. I managed to grow my list to 2k email subscribers after one year. But that’s it. There came a point when the free option was no longer working for me and I wasn’t making money.
There are problems with using a free email server that I quickly realized. I didn’t have a good way to get people to join my email list because Mailchimp doesn’t allow you to have multiple sign up forms all over your blog with multiple offerings (aka opt-ins or freebies). I also couldn’t set up autoresponders, which are key to building trust with your subscribers.
So, I decided to sign up for ConvertKit at the advice of many of my blogger bffs.
When I first switched from Mailchimp to ConvertKit I immediately saw a rapid increase in my subscribers from 2k to 10k. This is because the opt-in forms are so easy to create with ConverKit, and I put them all over my blog.
With ConvertKit, it’s hard not to build an email list. However, at the time, I didn’t realize how much this would increase my income.
Next, I built out autoresponders to build trust with my audience so they got to know me better and ultimately trusted what I was talking about. It turned out to be the best decision I made.
I went from making $5k my first year blogging to $30k my second year. I don’t think there’s any way this would’ve happened without my email list.
- Email List Secrets: Opt-Ins & Autoresponders
In order to get people onto your email list, you generally need to give them something – whether it’s a free PDF, download, eBook, or email course – people want something for free in exchange for their email address.
These are called opt-ins.
The best way to grow an email list is by creating something for your readers and giving it to them for free in exchange for your email list.
This only works if you have an email company that allows you to have multiple opt-ins and forms on your site. I use ConvertKit, which does this perfectly.
You’ll notice at the bottom of my posts, on certain pages, and as a pop-up, I have opportunities for readers to opt-in to my email list in exchange for me giving them something (example: here).
Then, I use ConvertKit to set up autoresponders to email my list automatically.
An autoresponder is a series of emails that get sent out automatically to people on your list when they sign up or opt in. Usually the series lasts about 5-10 days. With the free version of Mailchimp, you are limited with how many emails you can send out, making it impossible to effectively send out all the autoresponders.
You build trust and a better connection with your audience through your autoresponders. And it’s completely automated. You set up the sequence of emails once and that’s it. This is how you can grow and monetize your blog so quickly. Every day you get more opt-ins, people get into your automated email sequence. This automation is the secret to growing a profitable blog.
The reason that ConvertKit is so good at this is because it was created by a successful blogger.
I really can’t think of a more important system I have on my blog that enables me to make money blogging than the sequences I use with my email list via ConvertKit.
No launches or webinars required for making money blogging this way. This is the fastest, most passive way I know of to monetize your blog. The money is in the list.
Can you use a free email company to grow your list? Yes. Should you if you want to make money from your blog? No. You’ll be too limited.
Automation with ConvertKit is really the secret to monetizing your blog.
A Final Note!
As a newbie blogger, it’s overwhelming with how much you can measure on your blog.
It’s super important to focus on what’s essential when you are a new blogger and not get pulled in a hundred different directions if you want any shot at success.
My best advice is to start with the end in mind. If you know what your end goal is, you can prioritize and focus on metrics that mean the most to you.
Measuring traffic and social media growth are both important when it comes to readership, popularity, and even monetization to a certain extent (although you have less control).
But your email list is the most important metric to measure. It’s a direct indicator of growing your blog income. I use ConvertKit for email because it has the capabilities necessary for monetizing (multiple forms, offering freebies, and setting up sequences). You can use a free service (like Mailchimp), just know that you’ll be limited in what you can do, and eventually you’ll need to make the switch if you want to make money blogging.
Here’s my review of the best email marketing services for bloggers.