March 2014 Traffic Report

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MarchTrafficReport

MarchTrafficReport

Welcome to my March Traffic Report. To see February’s report, click here.

Traffic generation is a challenge faced by every entrepreneur, at Bright Ideas we’ve made a habit of publishing our traffic reports as a means of giving insight into how we are doing, what is working, and what isn’t. Additionally, writing the report forces me to look! If you think this is helpful, please be sure and share this post.

The data we look at for our traffic report helps us to answer what we want to know most each month.

When you are doing your own analysis, be sure you start with your own top questions. Ours include:

  1. Is overall traffic up or down? Why?
  2. Are overall subscribers up or down? Why?
  3. Which traffic/referral sources are contributing the most to traffic and subscribers?
  4. How can we adjust our strategy to increase traffic and subscribers?

Here’s what I found for March…

Traffic

Audience Overview_Mar 2104

Mar 2014 Traffic

As you can see, our traffic was significantly higher in March than in February (13,429 vs 7,351). However, pages viewed and visit duration were down, and bounce rate was up.

This makes sense, given that we received almost 2,000 visits as a result of one of our posts (The Dumbest LinkedIn Mistake I See Over and Over Again) going viral on StumbleUpon, which is one of the sites we use to promote our content. The StumbleUpon traffic had a very high bounce rate, and most visitors spent very little time on the site, likely because most of the visitors from StumbleUpon weren’t a good fit with our audience.

We also received some additional traffic due to an Infusionsoft webinar we hosted on March 11, since Infusionsoft sent some of their leads to our site during the week leading up to and including the 11th.

However, most of the additional traffic was almost certainly due to an increased podcast production schedule that we implemented in March. In March, we went from approximately 1 podcast post and 2 text-based posts per week to approximately 5 podcast posts and 2 text posts. The additional content led to more reasons to visit the site, as well as more content promotion and social sharing.

For the month of April, we have shifted down to 3 podcasts per week, so that we have an opportunity to focus on our Groove Digital Marketing agency activities.

Conclusion #1: Overall traffic was up significantly from February, due to significantly increased podcast production and also to one post ‘going viral’.

Subscribers

Mar 2014 Opt Ins

Mar 2014 Opt Ins

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I believe the conversions in Google Analytics are a rough estimate of actual conversions (opt-ins), and should be only loosely considered. According to GA, conversions in March were at 302 compared to 107 in February. These don’t agree precisely with my more reliable subscriber numbers from Infusionsoft, but are within 10-20% and are good enough to indicate trends.

Clearly, our additional traffic led to additional opt ins. We had also run a split test in February on an alternate main landing page header, and it didn’t convert as well as our original header. So in March, we returned to using the original header.

We created a new Infusionsoft-specific landing page prior to our March 11th Infusionsoft webinar. We received a significant number of opt ins from people who visited this page (according to GA, 94). This makes sense since people who are interested in Infusionsoft are more likely to be a good fit with our target audience. A number of these were associated with the webinar promotion, and others were as a result of an Infusionsoft Google PPC advertising campaign that we ran.

We received significantly more opt ins as a result of emails that we sent announcing posts (82 vs 3). This is one area where again I’m not sure I trust GA, since most of these folks should have been subscribers already, but it’s also very likely that there were more emails forwarded to people who then subscribed. We actually sent the same number of these types of emails in February and March, so I’ll attribute this more to the nature of the popularity of our March posts (the LinkedIn  and marketing agency posts I mentioned above, as well as a post updating you on our agency activities).

Here are some other highlights with respect to opt ins:

  • Our opt ins as a result of Google organic traffic increased almost 3x (20 vs 7). We actually had slightly fewer, shorter organic visits on average, although this was not statistically significant. Unfortunately with keyword “not provided”, it’s difficult to analyze and the reason for the increased opt ins is unclear. It’s possible that it’s as simple as the return to our original landing page header.
  • Our opt ins that could be tracked directly from social networks and syndication increased 5x (26 vs 5).

Conclusion #2: Overall subscribers were up significantly in March, due to increased traffic, and targeted traffic as well.

Referral Sources

Here’s where Google Analytics showed my traffic coming from:

Mar 2014 Traffic Sources

Mar 2014 Traffic Sources

Once again, the largest portion of my traffic is from people typing in the URL directly. This is followed by our emails to our list, and in this case StumbleUpon was a larger referrer than Twitter.

As far as other social referrals, as it has been in the past, Twitter is our major source of referral traffic, followed by LinkedIn and Facebook.

Conclusion #3: In March, we received a significant amount of traffic from StumleUpon. Other than that, our major sources of traffic (and conversions) continue to be the major social sites (Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook).

Other Metrics

In addition to looking at traffic and subscribers on a monthly basis, you want to be sure you’re periodically looking at your pages viewed, landing page conversions, and SEO acquisition reports.

In March, the first two of these were unremarkable, but there was something interesting (if not especially remarkable) in the SEO reports.

SEO & Acquisition Reports

Google has definitely made it more difficult to see which keywords you are ranking for (instead giving the unhelpful “not provided” result). However, you can still look at acquisition reports both in terms of queries and landing pages, and for your top queries, make some educated guesses about which landing pages your keywords are taking people to.

In March, Google did show that we ranked for “how to start a business for under 100,000 dollars”.. again, Google makes it a little difficult to know for sure, but it appears that this search led folks to the somewhat unrelated podcast on how to launch a podcast and get 100,000 downloads a month.

That’s a little unfortunate, since I do believe that a marketing agency is a great business to start, for those with under $100,000 to invest (and with some marketing knowledge, of course).

Summary and Insights

  • Our March traffic was almost double that from February, primarily due to an increased podcast production schedule.
  • This increased traffic was the main reason that our subscribers were up almost 3x from February to March.
  • Going viral on social media may or may not be significantly helpful, depending on whether that traffic is converted to subscribers.
  • Targeted traffic that you direct towards a high-converting landing page can lead to much more long term benefits (subscribers).

Additional Resources

What Do You Think?

If you found this traffic report valuable, and you don’t want to miss out on future reports, be sure to become a subscriber now.

If you have anything you’d like to share or ask, please take a moment to do so in the comments section below, and I’ll make sure to respond.

In particular, I’m curious: What other questions would you like to have answered when looking at the traffic report for your own site?

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