This was my blog statistics in google analytics when I was just starting out.
I honestly don't know from where these 6 people came from (although if I open my audience section in analytics I'll probably find out :) ). At that point, I had little to none following on twitter and was trying to build an audience without sending my blog to contacts, from scratch like in the old days.
Unfortunately, I don't have a screenshot of my landing page from those days but I remember which blogger inspired me to build it. It was Jordan O'Connor, so it was pretty simple. Basically, I had only 1 page, which was my landing page, and a small introduction text to my blog. This resulted in the numbers that I had on my analytics dashboard.
Numbers can be really distracting, and obsessing over wrong or not important numbers can take too much valuable space in a brain. Each product (including a blog) has totally unique features. The metrics that founders choose for the products show what is their goal and priorities.
For me personally blog should be about quality vs quantity. Here are the metrics that I choose for myself:
- retention rate - number of users that come back to my website on a regular bases,
- conversion rate - how many people sign up for my newsletter,
- average session duration - how much time people spend on my platform.
My platform currently has only blogs in it, and the reading time of my average blog is 3 minutes, so here are my benchmarks for those metrics:
- retention rate - 30%,
- conversion rate - 20%,
- avg. session duration - 2 minutes.
This was the statistics for the month of September:
this is my statistics for the whole period:
Where I'm at now?
- retention rate - 9.4%,
- conversion rate - 4.5%,
- avg. session duration - 0:49
It looks and feels like a disaster from a statistical point of view. I have 23 subscribers in my newsletter, and retention rate or session duration is no way close to my benchmark.
Niche? What niche?
The top feedback for my blog so far was to get a niche. Target one specific segment of people and focus on one category of writing. This was everywhere, in each successful blog newsletter, in each mentorship session. I heavily resisted and continue to resist that idea. Mostly because I'm trying to reach the audience of people that really like to do a lot of things. Not like multitasking in a non-healthy way, but people who like doing market research and creating new apps with Nodejs and design products. However, I can feel the consequences of that decision. When you're trying to reach everyone, you eventually reach no one. This is heavily shown on my metrics.
Quality vs Quantity
Yes, as you can see I'm not doing good in the numbers department. But did anything changed quality-wise? The answer is resounding yes! My content starts to get shared on different platforms, which never happened before. For the last month, I got:
- 3 emails from people answering to my newsletter,
- 2 other creators reaching out,
- 1 proposal for my personal consulting business
- 1 message from a fan on Linkedin (which was very sweet :))
Vanity metrics vs actionable metrics (on which I'll have a separate in-depth blog) are two sides of one coin. My growing numbers enabled this engagement process. Although I'm quite behind my benchmarks without the growth it wouldn't exist.
Focusing only on numbers that are just numbers takes away too much time. What are the quality elements that back your numbers? What are the things that can't be measured by statistics? But it doesn't mean that having a benchmark is wrong, that's why here are my metrics for the future me that are a bit different:
- retention rate - 20%,
- number of shares per month - 40% (how many of my articles were shared),
- conversion rate - 20% - number of my subscribers.
Everyone's goals are different, share yours!