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Blogging 201: Give ‘Em What They Want

Conduct a short and simple stats analysis that will help you create an editorial calendar for the next 30 days.

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

Time to take a step back. Live with the design you have for the day while we switch gears and start focusing on your content. We’re diving into stats to learn more about what your readers love.

Today’s assignment: conduct a short and simple stats analysis that will help you create an editorial calendar for the next 30 days.

Why do this?

  • Because knowing which topics and posts are most popular helps you to brainstorm new content that you know your audience will love.
  • Because knowing which days of the week your visitors are most likely to show up lets you to plan to publish that content on your best days.

Let’s talk about cake for a moment: if you know your best friend loves cheesecake and she drops by every Sunday, you’d probably have a bit of dessert on hand when she shows up, right? It’s the kind of thing friends think nothing of doing for one another.

Your site’s stats can reveal what your friends like and when they’re likely to stop by. If you know what your readers love and when they show up, you can plan to give them what they’re looking for, making them more likely to come back. Pass the cheesecake!

We’ll start with the stats on Top Posts and Pages to see which posts and topics resonate with our readers. Go to the stats tab in your Reader. Just under the main graph tracking your daily views and visitors, you’ll see your Top Posts and Pages for the day. Click on the Summaries link:

toppostsandpages-2

On the Summaries page, you can view Top Posts and Pages over the last seven days, 30 days, 90 days, one year, and all time. Here are some Daily Post stats:

90days

Not surprisingly, the home page got the most traffic, follow by Blogging 101: Zero to HeroOur three ebooks did well, and photo challenge posts (“Selfie,” “Juxtaposition,” “Object,” etc.) are routinely popular.

Stats don’t tell the whole story — although we’ve written more posts on choosing the perfect blog name, none have enjoyed the popularity of the first one, shown on this chart. Use your stats as a starting place, and then experiment.

What did we learn here?

  • Knowing how much readers enjoyed participating in Blogging 101: Zero to Hero made it a no-brainer for us to repeat that course and create this Blogging 201 course.
  • Strong participation in photo challenges tells us that people love the photography topic, so we’re increasing the number of photography-focused posts we publish.

Now that we know which topics resonate with readers, let’s look at the Recent Weeks chart to see which days of the week bring the most traffic.

Head back to your stats tab. On the far right of the main graph tracking your daily views and visitors, click on “Summaries.” You’ll see three tables: Months and Years, Averages Per Day, and Recent Weeks — pick Recent Weeks.

Here’s are some from The Daily Post:

recentweeksdp

We can see that while traffic is fairly consistent, Mondays and Fridays generally bring more readers. Wednesday is the second runner up, and Tuesdays and Thursdays are the slowest.

What did we learn from this chart?

  • Thursdays aren’t ideal days to run our best content.
  • We’re better off publishing more posts on Mondays and Fridays, because that’s when most readers visit.
  • Tuesdays are big opportunities for us to improve traffic.

Now, we can take what we learned and start sketching out a calendar. For The Daily Post, that means:

  • Photo challenges (our most popular regular feature) on Fridays (our most popular day).
  • Photography-oriented posts on Tuesdays, to give Tuesdays a boost and reinforce that there’s great content all week long.
  • Shorter, experimental, or niche posts on Wednesday and Thursdays.

TIP: use The Commons to ask your new readers what topics they’re enjoying, and what more they’d like to read about.

Take a look at your blog’s popular posts and popular days, and sketch out an editorial calendar for the next 30 days. Ask yourself:

  • What are your top five features? Which topics do they represent?
  • Which days of the week bring the most traffic?
  • When should you plan to publish new posts on your most popular topic?

An editorial calendar is entirely up to you and needs to fit into your life — what and how often you choose to publish is your choice alone. Return to your blogging goals from Day One — did you create a posting frequency goal? Now’s the time to plan to meet that goal.

Are you really stuck? Here are five ideas for new posts you can use right now, no matter the subject of your blog.

If you didn’t create a posting frequency goal, that’s fine, too. Armed with your insights from your stats analysis, brainstorm some new post ideas and plan when you’ll publish them.

We’ll be delving deeper into stats in a few days. For now, let’s get comfortable with stats and start figuring out how to use them.

Questions? We’re here! Head to The Commons for more space to chat.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the advice from this. I already check my stats regularly. I don’t have many readers yet for me to be able to tell these type of things though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a great post! It showed me how to analyse my stats and make the best use of them! thanks! Although, I don’t think my blog has been going long enough to work out which days are the best to post on… 😛

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My blog is only a few months old so there’s not much my stats will tell me yet. The numbers are all over the board!

    Therefore, my editorial calendar will be based on the various blog hops I’ve found to participate in….like today is Wordless Wednesday, and then there is Sunday Selfies..both photo and pet related, so I fit right in.

    Not only are they run consistently, you might even gain a few followers, as well as find others with similar interests. 🙂

    Like

  4. I think, at least for us, we are only really getting views at this point so the stats page is our only real way to know that any activity is happening with our blog. We aren’t getting many comments or likes yet, so it is always exciting to see how many views a new post has received. I do like the tip about seeing which day of the week our viewers prefer though, I hadn’t thought of that! Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. As a natural-born researcher, I’ve always loved to analyze things in this way. It wasn’t but a week or so ago that I was browsing through these stats areas. Now, I’ve had a pretty tiring day so, I’ll sign off for now and play with stats while hubby is at work! (he works nights) That way, I can focus with undivided attention. Back later!

    Like

  6. I check my stats a lot. It seems that my the drugstore posts are more popular than the higher end posts. I have some posts that I need to write before I can buy other products to review so I think I’m going to get serious about tweeting old posts and start with those popular ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I do believe that understanding the stats are important, but I just started this new blog. But I will definitely save this and reblog it for my friends who have been in the game in a little longer. Its an interesting, informative read – especially because i am a communications student in research right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Checking stats is something I get lazy at, there is no distinct pattern I can see just yet, but then again I’ve only been having cursory looks over the posts.
    Hopefully as the blog grows and my posts become more regular I can analyze for maximum readership!

    Like

  9. I understand the whole stats thing and I view my stats but I see people who are so intently focused on numbers that they produce the same
    thing over and over again…I’ve noticed this on several sites where
    the numbers become a game. It’s a balance. We all want people to
    see our work but we also want to produce work that has meaning
    for us…excellent post as usual. I really like this blog …I’m getting what I need…:)

    Liked by 2 people

      1. definitely. I mean, that’s the joy of blogging isn’t it, to find that there’s someone in the Philippines, or Brazil that loves the same things you do. Or stumbles across your site by accident due to a spelling error. It’s hard to tell from the stats.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I like the idea of using the stats as a very useful guide, rather than the things that drive what I am going to write about. You are right, our blogs should reflect what has meaning for us.

        Like

  10. Thank you for this great information. I love checking out my stats on a regular basis. Although I am still building my visitors and followers it gives me insight as to where my visitors/followers are from. The flags, visits, views that appear always put a smile on my face and this inspires me to continue. I am still learning how to navigate and improve my blog and my computer skills. It will be a year in December since I started my blog and I have set my target and I believe I can achieve it. The more posts I add and tag the more my library will increase. This has been a wonderful journey for me and I will continue to enjoy and share.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. One of the best way to attract followers is by taking part in classes such as this one. This is a very supportive and active community. 🙂 I will be a new follower now, and do check my blog out, hopefully follow me back, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I find stats a bit addictive, to be honest. 🙂 On the serious side, I have worked out what posts work best for my blog, so I do try to make the most of every post. Some of my posts are aimed at WordPress bloggers, while others are aimed at tall women, rock fans, etc. I find that posting the links on FB (in relevant groups) boots my stats big time.

    What would be very helpful is some kind of stats showing us how much time a visitor spends on the blog: whether they have just clicked into a couple of posts, or have properly read a few posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love checking the stats, I think they are the most addictive part of blogging because, as well as encouraging comments and lots of likes, it is the only way of measuring ‘success’. However, yes there is a but here, I blog for a number of reasons, and these have changed with the years, and I get slightly depressed that posts that I was never very proud of make it to be top of the list of the most visited. So I blog about what I want without thinking about the stats histograms. Then check the stats every hour lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I could very much relate to this since I vowed to blog for my own pleasure, but as you have said looking at stats is quite addictive. I just hope that by trying to accommodate popular demands I will not lose my own esthetic/aesthetic in the process. I tell myself every time I wonder why certain posts of mine garnered more views than the ones I actually like and proud of that tastes do differ.

      Good luck blogging and have a wonderful days ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree with previous commenters; statistics are only meaningful if you have enough numbers. My stats go up on the days I publish and I am not sure I can read much more into them. As a gardening blogger I find most people read my posts on the days I publish, followed by a few more over the following days. Occasionally people are reminded about me when I comment on their posts and then I get a little flurry of activity from them. As I only get between 30 and 50 views a week I can’t see any clear patterns. I can see, however which of my static pages get most hits and this is also shown by the search engine terms that sometimes show up. This is encouraging me to publish more of these as a reference to help other gardeners.
    For me, though, the great comments I get from my followers is more important than the number of strangers who have viewed my posts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really agree with you about the comments side of things. It’s a strange thing this chasing of statistics! They’re only meaningful if they translate into truly interested followers who want to interact in some way. Anyone can use the ‘follow me , I’ll follow you!’ tactic, but not sure it has any value in the end !

      Liked by 3 people

  14. I have not enough visitors yet to use my stats 🙂 Also I think they are heavily influenced by what’s happening on my other social media. If I post a link on my facebook page and on one day it’s shared a lot that will influence my stats and say nothing about my returning and engaged followers.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Does anybody know if the days listed are the day in the country of origin of the blogger, their server, the reader? Just curious. I am assuming that the dates are for the United States and could be adjusted for the Asian Pacific if I were to correctly analyze the stats. Is that correct? I would have to mentally push all stats back 12-14 hours? I know, I know. I think of some humdinger questions, don’t I?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Interesting. I thought that the .com version (http://mzachariasblog.wordpress.com/) would be more popular thanks to these courses, but, like @Wearific! pointed out, probably linking the .org version (www.mzacharias.com) is still probably more successful in bringing in repeat readers who actually know me. Interesting that the days of popularity varied between the two and the type of pages also varied. Posts connected to blogging 101 or photo challenges were higher on the .com, but the ones where a personal connection was evident (such as with the burlesque posts or info about upcoming exhibits of mine) were higher on the .org blog in recent weeks. Hmmm….

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I used the online tutorial provided by WordPress in January to learn how to build my site. It’s interesting because I got a couple visits there but I think those were just auto-spam. I took my original “test” article down in March and finished building it there under a free theme. In April, I bought the Premium theme Mixfolio and began really adding content. So, at this point, I see slow but steady growth. I’ve noticed that I get more activity when I post new stuff and then it sort of drops off. I’ve also noticed a trend of spam hits. They usually occur between Tuesday and Friday for me. My site is still too new to really see too many trends yet but it is nice to really look at that to determine where to go…..

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I love checking my blogs stats to see how its doing but I didn’t think of using them to do this before. I don’t have many readers yet though, so its hard to make any sort of judgement at the moment.

    Like