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August-2014-traffic-report

August 2014 Traffic Report: Finally, a Quick & Easy Look at the ROI of Content Marketing

 

August-2014-traffic-report

When it comes to your website, do you ever wonder, What’s working? What content is most effective? Are we getting an ROI on our marketing dollars?

If you’re doing a great job with your content, it will be effective and engaging, and you’ll be generating not only brand awareness and traffic, but measurable ROI in the form of leads and sales.

(These are all areas we cover in detail in the process we go through with our Groove Digital clients.)

So how do you know your content is effective, and is actually leading to increased sales? How do you actually evaluate the ROI of content marketing?

To answer this question, we supplement the excellent data provided by Hubspot (which really helps us look at the leads and sales end) with data from Google Analytics (GA), which gives us an overall picture of our traffic and its effectiveness. The nitty gritty details of the GA analysis is exactly what I’m going to reveal in my monthly traffic report for August. (To see July’s report, click here.)

In the past, I’ve found GA to be overly complicated and hard to use. I always knew there was gold in the data, but GA’s poor design makes it difficult to figure out exactly what’s going on. Each month it took time and effort to dig around for the statistics we wanted to view, and each month we knew there were more that we could be looking at. This month, we began using our latest GA dashboards, and I couldn’t be happier.

The data we look at for our traffic report helps us to answer the questions of What’s working and what’s not? What’s most effective? and What is the ROI of our content marketing – how many leads is it getting us?

Here’s what we found for August:

Business Stats

Our high-level traffic and conversion data is available on our Business dashboard. Here we find out:

  1. Are we getting more visitors?
  2. Where are our visitors coming from?
  3. What is the trend in conversions (in our case, subscribers)?
  4. Where are conversions coming from?
  5. Who are our top social media referrers?
  6. Are visitors consuming more content? Are they spending more time on the site?
  7. What percentage of our traffic is from mobile?

BIBusDashTraffic & Referral Sources

Our traffic has risen more or less steadily since we started blogging regularly on Bright Ideas. Here’s a look at the month to month increase:

BI-traffic-inception-thru-August-2014

 

For the month of August, we continued our focus on Groove Digital Marketing agency activities. Even with the majority of our posts published on Groove, Bright Ideas received a lot of traffic, as would be expected from a mature site where we’ve been blogging for almost two years.

August-2014-traffic

This month, our increase is due largely to increased referral traffic – we had a couple of posts go viral on StumbleUpon again (more on this in the Popular Content section below).

Subscribers & Referral Sources

To get truly useful data from GA, you want to know not just what traffic you have, but how many conversions you’re getting. In other words, how many of those visitors are you converting to subscribers? Or, if you have online product sales, to customers? In our case, we measure conversions in terms of subscribers.

In order to do this you need to set up what GA calls conversion “goals”, so that this data will be available. This was something that until recently, we didn’t have working (it’s trickier than it should be!). We finally hired someone to help with this.

Click here to purchase these dashboards for your business (includes goals setup).

We had significantly increased conversions in August. Most of the increase was from email; the numbers in the other areas remained similar to July’s conversions.

August-2014-conversions

Significant Conclusions:

  1. We are getting more visitors. Much of our increase in August was due to increased StumbleUpon traffic.
  2. Conversions were significantly increased over July, much of which was from email.

Content Analysis Stats

Our Content Analysis dashboard helps us answer questions such as:

  1. Which content was the most popular?
  2. Which entrance pages got the most traffic?
  3. What pages had the most conversion “assists”? (A page “assists” a conversion if visitors view it before conversion.)
  4. Where are visitors exiting my site?
  5. What is our overall site engagement? (How long are people spending on each page?)
  6. How engaging is our top content?
  7. Where in the world is my traffic coming from?

BIContentDash

Popular Content

By far our most popular pages are lumped together under ‘Other’. This is actually a really good thing as it indicates we have a lot of different content that appeals to our visitors.

August-2014-content

After ‘Other’, the most popular content were the posts that went viral on StumbleUpon (Lessons Learned from 50 Marketing Agency CEOs and How to Start a Business with No Money). These were actually both great posts (the former is a summary of the best of the best I’ve learned from other agency owners, the latter a podcast interview where I was the interviewee and my friend Wes and I talk about what it takes to make it in business), but as we’ll see below, most of the StumbleUpon traffic was not high quality and didn’t convert well.

Click here to purchase these dashboards for your business.

Popular Entrance Pages

Again, our StumbleUpon posts showed up as popular entrance pages, as people went directly from StumbleUpon to those pages.

August-2014-entrance-pages

Similar to last month, traffic direct to our homepage increased as well. This month it was up almost 10%.

We also sent traffic to some of our new posts last month (including Tony Wright’s interview and our July income report).

The remaining popular pages are older posts that seem to be receiving significant organic traffic: my analysis of Infusionsoft vs Ontraport and Infusionsoft vs Mailchimp. With these posts, we used focused keywords and smart SEO tactics when we first published them, and our domain authority with respect to all things Infusionsoft is strong.

August-2014-entrance-page-details

If we look at the pages that received a lot of StumbleUpon traffic (Lessons Learned from 50 Marketing Agency CEOs and the How to Start a Business with No Money Interview), we see that most of the people who visited those pages also left our site without exploring any further. Compare our top couple entrance pages with our top exit pages:

August-2014-exit-pages

Conversion & Conversion Assist Pages

These are the pages that were most likely to convert a visitor to a subscriber (we also have PPC goals set). Our increase in conversions from July to August was mostly due to these PPC goals.

conversion_assists_per_page_July_2014

Significant conclusions:

  1. We had a variety of popular content.
  2. Besides our homepage, the pages that received the most traffic were those that went viral on StumbleUpon.

Click here to purchase these dashboards for your business.

Additional Information

In addition to the Business and Content Analysis Dashboards, we have Site Performance and Realtime Traffic dashboards.

Site Performance Stats

Our site performance dashboard answers the following:

  1. What is the average page load time?
  2. What is the page load time for new vs returning visitors?
  3. What is the average load time for popular pages?
  4. What is the mobile page load time?
  5. What is the average server response time?
  6. What is the server response time for new vs returning visitors?
  7. What is the average domain lookup time?

BIPerformanceDashThese page load times reveal longer loads than we’d like. Luckily the averages are a bit misleading, as there are spikes in page load times a couple of days a month. Still, we’d like to have pages that consistently load quickly. We have actually switched our site around on the back end a number of times to try to reduce our page loads. This report would indicate that we still have more room to improve.

Realtime Traffic Stats

Our Realtime Traffic dashboard answers the following:

  1. How many active visitors are on the site right now?
  2. What are their locations around the world?
  3. What pages are they on?
  4. What keywords brought them to the site?
  5. How many pageviews have there been in the last 60 sec?
  6. How many pageviews have there been in the last 30 min?

Realtime Dashboard   Google Analytics Aug 8When we look at how our site is performing month-over-month, we like to see averages and trends. However, if you want a snapshot of what’s going on on your site right now, the real time traffic dashboard is where you’ll find it.

Want Dashboards Like These?

If you’d like to purchase these dashboards for your own business, you’re in luck! We have a dashboard package available that includes:

  • The Business Dashboard
  • Setup of GA goals so your conversions appropriately reflect your leads or online sales (as applicable) – necessary to make the conversions portion of your Business Dashboard work correctly
  • The Content Analysis Dashboard
  • The Site Performance Dashboard
  • The Realtime Traffic Dashboard
  • Plus a training call to be sure you know exactly what each part of the dashboard means

Click here to purchase these dashboards for your business.

Summary and Insights

If you thought this post was helpful, please be sure and share it!

Our dashboards quickly revealed that:

  • We’re getting a lot more organic traffic.
  • We’re getting many more conversions, a significant number of whom are interested in Infusionsoft.

Best of all, it didn’t take a lot of time to figure this all out.. have I mentioned how much I’m digging those new GA dashboards?

Click here to purchase these dashboards for your business.

Hey, thanks for the info. Now what?

If you need any help with content creation, we have tons of free resources to get you over the hump. Please subscribe to this blog to ensure that you never miss an article.

Have questions or comments? Please contact me.

If you really enjoyed this post, please help us to spread the word by clicking one of the social media sharing buttons.

Thanks so much!

[xyz-ihs snippet=”BuildGrove”]

July-2014-traffic-report

July 2014 Traffic Report: Finally, a Quick & Easy Look at the ROI of Content Marketing

July-2014-traffic-report

When it comes to your website, do you ever wonder, What’s working? What content is most effective? Are we getting an ROI on our marketing dollars?

If you’re doing a great job with your content, it will be effective and engaging, and you’ll be generating not only brand awareness and traffic, but measurable ROI in the form of leads and sales.

(These are all areas we cover in detail in the process we go through with our Groove Digital clients.)

So how do you know your content is effective, and is actually leading to increased sales? How do you actually evaluate the ROI of content marketing?

To answer this question, we supplement the excellent data provided by Hubspot (which really helps us look at the leads and sales end) with data from Google Analytics (GA), which gives us an overall picture of our traffic and its effectiveness. The nitty gritty details of the GA analysis is exactly what I’m going to reveal in my monthly traffic report for July. (To see June’s report, click here.)

In the past, I’ve found GA to be overly complicated and hard to use. I always knew there was gold in the data, but GA’s poor design makes it difficult to figure out exactly what’s going on. Each month it took time and effort to dig around for the statistics we wanted to view, and each month we knew there were more that we could be looking at. This month, we began using our latest GA dashboards, and I couldn’t be happier.

The data we look at for our traffic report helps us to answer the questions of What’s working and what’s not? What’s most effective? and What is the ROI of our content marketing – how many leads is it getting us?

Here’s what we found for July:

Business Stats

Our high-level traffic and conversion data is available on our Business dashboard. Here we find out:

  1. Are we getting more visitors?
  2. Where are our visitors coming from?
  3. What is the trend in conversions (in our case, subscribers)?
  4. Where are conversions coming from?
  5. Who are our top social media referrers?
  6. Are visitors consuming more content? Are they spending more time on the site?
  7. What percentage of our traffic is from mobile?

BIBusDash

Traffic & Referral Sources

For the month of July, we continued our focus on Groove Digital Marketing agency activities. Even with the majority of our posts published on Groove, Bright Ideas received a lot of traffic.

traffic_and_referrals_July_2014Continuing the trend from last month, our traffic from organic search is waay up again! Most of the increased month-over-month traffic came from organic search, which increased by over 70% from June (in May we had just over 600 organic visitors; before that we were averaging around 400!):

organic_increase_July_2014

Again, as in June, it appears that most of the increase in organic traffic reflects the long-term effects of posts with targeted SEO that were published in February and March (more on this in the Page Performance section, below). This data, as well as a once-again lower Alexa rank this month, indicates that – as expected over time – our domain authority continues to increase.

Essentially, we’ve hit some sort of critical mass. Strike another win for content marketing!

Subscribers & Referral Sources

To get truly useful data from GA, you want to know not just what traffic you have, but how many conversions you’re getting. In other words, how many of those visitors are you converting to subscribers? Or, if you have online product sales, to customers? In our case, we measure conversions in terms of subscribers.

In order to do this you need to set up what GA calls conversion “goals”, so that this data will be available. This was something that until recently, we didn’t have working (it’s trickier than it should be!). We finally hired someone to help with this.

Click here to purchase these dashboards for your business (includes goals setup).

We had significantly increased subscribers in July. Most of the increase was from organic traffic, which converted at 3.5% vs 2.1% in June.

conversions_July_2014Significant Conclusions:

  1. We are getting more visitors.
  2. Our visitors are coming from a balanced portfolio of traffic sources. Most of our increased traffic is coming from organic search.
  3. Conversions were significantly increased over June.
  4. Most conversions are coming from organic search and direct. We can assume that most of the direct conversions are from organic search or referral (people who typed in the website manually vs clicking on links).

Content Analysis Stats

Our Content Analysis dashboard helps us answer questions such as:

  1. Which content was the most popular?
  2. Which entrance pages got the most traffic?
  3. What pages had the most conversion “assists”? (A page “assists” a conversion if visitors view it before conversion.)
  4. Where are visitors exiting my site?
  5. What is our overall site engagement? (How long are people spending on each page?)
  6. How engaging is our top content?
  7. Where in the world is my traffic coming from?

BIContentDashboard

Popular Content

By far our most popular pages are lumped together under ‘Other’. This is actually a really good thing as it indicates we have a lot of different content that appeals to our visitors.

most_popular_content_July_2014

Besides our homepage and our main blog page, the most popular pages were two posts that went viral on StumbleUpon (How to Attract Retainer Clients on LinkedIn, and The Dumbest LinkedIn Mistake I See Over and Over Again).

Click here to purchase these dashboards for your business.

Popular Entrance Pages

Again, our StumbleUpon posts showed up as popular entrance pages, as people went directly from StumbleUpon to those pages. In addition, we sent email traffic to our Groove Digital Marketing Agency Update page, and our June 2014 income report.

The remaining popular pages are older posts that seem to be receiving significant organic traffic: my interview with Sam Ovens, and my analysis of Infusionsoft vs Ontraport and Infusionsoft vs Mailchimp. With the Infusionsoft posts in particular, we used focused keywords and smart SEO tactics when we first published them, and our domain authority with respect to all things Infusionsoft is strong.

traffic_per_page_July_2014

Here’s more details on how the entrance pages compare between June and July:

traffic_details_per_page_July_2014

Conversion & Conversion Assist Pages

Now here’s where it gets interesting.. here are the pages that were most likely to convert a visitor to a subscriber. Our increase in conversions from June (145 conversions) to July (347 conversions) was 202. A whopping 154 of those – over 75% – were from our Infusionsoft resource page.

top_converting_pages_July_2014

Not surprisingly, this same page also had the highest number of conversion “assists” – that is, people converted to subscribers at some point after viewing these “assisting” pages.
(Other Infusionsoft-related pages that rated for conversion assists were our Infusionsoft vs Mailchimp page, and a tutorial on How to Segment Your List Using Infusionsoft.)

conversion_assists_per_page_July_2014

Significant conclusions:

  1. We had a variety of popular content.
  2. Besides our homepage, the pages that received the most traffic were those that went viral on StumbleUpon.
  3. The pages that converted the most visitors to subscribers were Infusionsoft-related.

Click here to purchase these dashboards for your business.

Additional Information

In addition to the Business and Content Analysis Dashboards, we have Site Performance and Realtime Traffic dashboards.

Site Performance Stats

Our site performance dashboard answers the following:

  1. What is the average page load time?
  2. What is the page load time for new vs returning visitors?
  3. What is the average load time for popular pages?
  4. What is the mobile page load time?
  5. What is the average server response time?
  6. What is the server response time for new vs returning visitors?
  7. What is the average domain lookup time?

BISitePerfDash

Realtime Traffic Stats

Our Realtime Traffic dashboard answers the following:

  1. How many active visitors are on the site right now?
  2. What are their locations around the world?
  3. What pages are they on?
  4. What keywords brought them to the site?
  5. How many pageviews have there been in the last 60 sec?
  6. How many pageviews have there been in the last 30 min?

Realtime Dashboard   Google Analytics Aug 8

Want Dashboards Like These?

If you’d like to purchase these dashboards for your own business, you’re in luck! We have a dashboard package available that includes:

  • The Business Dashboard
  • Setup of GA goals so your conversions appropriately reflect your leads or online sales (as applicable) – necessary to make the conversions portion of your Business Dashboard work correctly
  • The Content Analysis Dashboard
  • The Site Performance Dashboard
  • The Realtime Traffic Dashboard
  • Plus a training call to be sure you know exactly what each part of the dashboard means

Click here to purchase these dashboards for your business.

Summary and Insights

If you thought this post was helpful, please be sure and share it!

Our dashboards quickly revealed that:

  • We’re getting a lot more organic traffic.
  • We’re getting many more conversions, a significant number of whom are interested in Infusionsoft.

Best of all, it didn’t take a lot of time to figure this all out.. have I mentioned how much I’m digging those new GA dashboards?

Click here to purchase these dashboards for your business.

Hey, thanks for the info. Now what?

If you need any help with content creation, we have tons of free resources to get you over the hump. Please subscribe to this blog to ensure that you never miss an article.

Have questions or comments? Please contact me.

If you really enjoyed this post, please help us to spread the word by clicking one of the social media sharing buttons.

Thanks so much!

[xyz-ihs snippet=”BuildGrove”]

BITrafficReport-June2014

June 2014 Traffic Report

BITrafficReport-June2014

 

Welcome to my June Traffic Report. To see May’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 at what’s going on! If you think this is helpful, please be sure and share this post.

This month, we have great news – our traffic from organic search is UP.. waay up! Read on to the Referral Sources section to see why.

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 are all the details that I found for June…

Traffic

BITrafficJune2014

For the month of June, we continued our focus on Groove Digital Marketing agency activities.

In fact, we created less content in June than May (12 vs 16 posts), which means that proportionally we actually generated more traffic per post in June than in May. We also started to see less traffic from StumbleUpon, where a very popular post (The Dumbest LinkedIn Mistake I See Over and Over Again) went viral a couple of months ago.

Conclusion #1: Overall traffic numbers were lower in June, which is in line with a reduced posting schedule.

Subscribers

BIConversionsJune2014

We had slightly lower subscriber numbers for June, but only 9% lower versus over 16% less traffic.

Conclusion #2: Overall subscribers were down slightly from May, which makes sense given the lower traffic volume.

Referral Sources

BIReferralsJune2014

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

Google Analytics reports the largest portion of traffic coming from social. However, organic traffic increased significantly in June (220%, to be exact!).

BIOrganicTrafficJune2014

In a typical month, we usually see around 400 visitors coming from organic search. That number increased significantly in May at over 600, and increased even more significantly in June with 1,855 Google organic search visitors!

It appears that traffic is up via a number of different search phrases and landing pages, including some specifically targeted posts we created in February and March. The average search position is lower (and here a lower number is a good thing, as the higher the number, the lower down our results show up), which would indicate that over time Bright Ideas has built up enough domain authority that Google is more likely to display our links in search results.

The theory that our domain authority is increasing is further supported by our lowered Alexa rank (this is in order of popularity, so once again a low number is a good thing), which as of July 8 was  140,535 (up 67,854 from 3 months ago).

This increased domain authority is likely a result of the significant amount of valuable content available on the site – essentially, we’ve hit some sort of critical mass. Strike another win for content marketing!

Conclusion #3: In June we received a significant increase in traffic from organic search, due to increased domain authority.

Summary and Insights

  • Our June traffic numbers were lower than in May, which makes sense given that we created less content.
  • Our social traffic remained high in June, which is in line with our social promotion.
  • Organic traffic increased significantly in June, likely due to increased domain authority.

Hey, thanks for the info. Now what?

If you need any help with content creation, we have tons of free resources to get you over the hump. Please subscribe to this blog to ensure that you never miss an article.

Have questions or comments? Please contact me.

If you really enjoyed this post, please help us to spread the word by clicking one of the social media sharing buttons.

Thanks so much!

[xyz-ihs snippet=”BuildGroove”]

MayTrafficReport

May 2014 Traffic Report

 

MayTrafficReport

Welcome to my May Traffic Report. To see April’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 at what’s going on! 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 May…

Traffic AudienceOverviewMay2014

For the month of May, we continues our focus on Groove Digital Marketing agency activities, and the result was traffic numbers very similar to the previous month.

Conclusion #1: Overall traffic numbers were very similar in April and May.

Subscribers

 

SubscribersMay2014

We had slightly lower subscriber numbers for May. Given that we had roughly the same amount of traffic both months, this might not make sense at first glance. However, a closer analysis shows that much of our social traffic in May came from StumbleUpon, much more so than in April, and therefore a higher portion of traffic overall. As I mentioned in last month’s report, this traffic was due to a very popular post (The Dumbest LinkedIn Mistake I See Over and Over Again) going viral on StumbleUpon; however, much of the traffic that came from it was fairly low-quality and didn’t spend much time on the site.

Conclusion #2: Overall subscribers were down slightly from April.

Referral Sources

ReferralsMay2014

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

Google Analytics reports the largest portion of our traffic coming from social; in fact more than twice the number that typed in the URL directly or accessed our site due to emails we sent to our subscribers. We did receive over 600 visits due to organic search, which is almost 50% greater than average (which is closer to 400).

Google has made it more difficult to see where this traffic is coming from (thanks to “keyword not provided”), but from what data we can see it’s possible that some specifically targeted posts we created in February and March may be providing the traffic.

Some of the social traffic that was reported was due to a post going viral on StumbleUpon, which began to happen in March and bled over into April and May (we reported this in more detail in our March Traffic report).

Conclusion #3: In May we received a significant amount of traffic from social media.

Summary and Insights

  • Our May traffic numbers were roughly the same as in April, which makes sense given that we had a very similar production schedule these two months.
  • Our social traffic remained high in May, in large part due to a post going viral on social media.
  • Organic traffic increased significantly in May.

Hey, thanks for the info. Now what?

If you need any help with content creation, we have tons of free resources to get you over the hump. Please subscribe to this blog to ensure that you never miss an article.

Have questions or comments? Please contact me.

If you really enjoyed this post, please help us to spread the word by clicking one of the social media sharing buttons.

Thanks so much!

[xyz-ihs snippet=”BuildGroove”]

April-2014-Traffic-Report

April 2014 Traffic Report

April-2014-Traffic-Report

Welcome to my April Traffic Report. To see March’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 at what’s going on! 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 April…

Traffic

Bright-Ideas-Audience-Overview-

For the month of April, we 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 down slightly from March.

Subscribers

Bright-Ideas-Subscribers

With the lower traffic, we also have lower subscriber numbers for April.

Conclusion #2: Overall subscribers were down slightly from March.

Referral Sources

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

Bright-Ideas-ChannelsGoogle Analytics reports the largest portion of our traffic coming from social; in fact about double the number that typed in the URL directly or accessed our site due to emails we sent to our subscribers. We did receive over 400 visits due to organic search, which is on par with what we have been averaging.

Some of the social traffic that was reported was due to a post going viral on StumbleUpon, which began to happen in March and bled over into April (we reported this in more detail in our March Traffic report).

Conclusion #3: In April, we received a significant amount of traffic from social media.

Summary and Insights

  • Our April traffic and subscribers were slightly lower in April, primarily due to a decreased podcast production schedule.
  • Our social traffic remained high in April, in large part due to a post going viral on social media.

Hey, thanks for the info. Now what?

If you need any help with content creation, we have tons of free resources to get you over the hump. Please subscribe to this blog to ensure that you never miss an article.

Have questions or comments? Please contact me.

If you really enjoyed this post, please help us to spread the word by clicking one of the social media sharing buttons.

Thanks so much!

[xyz-ihs snippet=”BuildGroove”]

MarchTrafficReport

March 2014 Traffic Report

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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feb14-traffic-report

February 2014 Traffic Report

feb14-traffic-report

Welcome to my February Traffic Report. To see January’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. Plus, writing the report forces me to look! If you think this is helpful, please be sure and share this post.

We look at our traffic report in such a way that it helps to answer what we want to know most each month.

When you are doing your own analysis, be sure you start with your own list. Ours includes:

  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…

Traffic

Feb-2014-traffic

Overview of traffic for Feb 2014

As you can see, our traffic was very similar month over month. However, our bounce rate was way down, which turns out to be due to an analytics script error. I would not have discovered this nearly so soon if I hadn’t done this traffic report – another reason to regularly check your metrics!

As far as new traffic goes, we are just starting to experiment with paid traffic sources. If you’d like to see the results we’re getting, keep an eye out for a post on that soon. If you’re not already a subscriber, make sure you don’t miss out – become one now.

Conclusion #1: Overall traffic was similar to January.

Subscribers

Feb-2014-conversions

Feb 2014 Conversions (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 February were down to 107 from 122 in January. My subscriber numbers were down in Infusionsoft as well.

However conversions were not down in a statistically significant way when you consider that February is a shorter month (February has 90% as many days as January, and February had 87% as many conversions as January).

We did experiment with different headers on our landing pages in February, and those split tests converted at slightly lower rates than our original headers, so that contributed to the lower conversion rate. Obviously, we have reverted to the original headers.

Conclusion #2: Overall subscribers were down slightly.

Referral Sources

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

Feb 2014 Referral Sources

Feb 2014 Referral Sources

Once again, the largest portion of my traffic is from people typing in the URL directly, followed by Twitter, and then by our emails to our list. Again, for people who are typing in the url directly, I can only guess that those people are doing so in roughly the same proportion as the referral traffic whose sources we can see. For instance, many of them may already be subscribers, and others will be from Twitter.

Once again, Twitter is our major source of referral traffic, followed by LinkedIn and Facebook.

In an effort to significantly increase traffic from our podcasts (right now, most of this traffic is showing up as ‘direct’, since people type in the URL after listening to an episode), we have just shifted to 5 episodes per week and are expanding our podcast selections with shorter episodes of “Ask Trent” and other Bright Ideas branded podcasts. This could have a significant effect on our traffic.

Conclusion #3: 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.

Pages Viewed

Most of our high traffic “landing pages” (or at least what Google Analytics thinks are landing pages) are actually blog posts. These tend to get the most traffic soon after they’re posted, so the month-over-month data is not very useful. However, a look at our most popular pages provides some insight.

MostPopularPagesFeb2014

As you can see, other than the homepage, our posts that are open, transparent, and honest (e.g., where I reveal my failures or my income) tend to be the most popular. I’ll continue to share these types of posts with you.

Page Conversions

Once again, these numbers don’t match with what I see in Infusionsoft, but they do provide a good breakdown of the relative number of subscribers coming from different traffic sources.

PageConversionsFeb2014

Most of our conversions are from “direct” traffic – folks who type in the URL directly. Many of these are traffic from our own list, when we haven’t put tracking links into our emails. Of those who came to us in other ways, organic search and our top social media sites are all providing roughly equal numbers of conversions.

SEO & Acquisition Reports

The idea behind SEO analysis is to 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. Our top keywords all include the phrase “bright ideas”, and likely take people to our homepage. However, we do have other keywords that show up in search, and we’ll be focusing more on optimizing for search in the near future, so stay tuned for more information on that.

Summary and Insights

  • Our traffic was pretty consistent with January; however, our bounce rate was way down (great) and conversions were also down (not so great).
  • Look for pages on your site that people tend to visit, and optimize those pages.
  • Older posts with a high percentage of traffic from new visitors may be doing well in Google search.
  • Analyze your most popular pages and look for opportunities to improve page conversions.
  • Analyze your SEO acquisition reports to see if you can determine which keywords are doing well and which landing pages people are visiting based on these keywords. You also have an opportunity to improve page conversions on these landing pages.

Additional Resources

What Do You Think?

If you have anything you’d like to share or ask, please take a moment to do so in the comments section below. You will get a response.

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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Jan14TrafficReport

January 2014 Traffic Report

Jan14TrafficReportWelcome to my January Traffic Report. To see December’s report, click here.

As 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. Plus, writing the report forces me to look! If you think this is helpful, please be sure and share this post.

This month, we decided to revamp the traffic report a bit in order to answer the questions we most hope to have answered each month.

When you are doing your own analysis, be sure you start with your own list. Here’s ours:

  1. Is overall traffic up or down, and why?
  2. Are overall subscribers up or down, and 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…

Traffic

Jan2014MoOverMoTraffic

As you can see, our traffic was down significantly in January as compared with December, and was more in line with traffic levels from November. An analysis of traffic sources showed that traffic was down overall from almost all sources except those like Google organic.

The main difference is due to a large spike in traffic near December 10, which coincided with the launch of my book. This makes sense, as we did significant additional promotion at this time.

The book promotion led to a lot of new visitors, many of who may not have been very engaged with Bright Ideas. So this also helps explain why the average visit duration was 23.71% higher in January – those who were visiting the site were more engaged.

Conclusion #1: Overall traffic was down since we didn’t run a major promotion in January.

Subscribers

Jan2014MoOverMoConversions

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the conversions overview in Google Analytics does not seem accurate to me. I have found other sources online that show that while you can trust Google Analytics on data such as visits and pageviews, you can’t rely on their reports for revenues, transactions, goal conversions, or conversion rates.

I’ve come to accept that the Analytics report on conversions is something I can use for a loose metric, but I use my more reliable Infusionsoft data to make real decisions.

The main things I was able to determine from the Conversions report: conversions (opt-ins) were down in January, which makes sense since traffic was also down (again, mainly due to the spike in traffic due to promotion of the Digital Marketing Handbook).

Unfortunately, my Infusionsoft analysis also showed subscribers were down overall even based on November 2013 metrics. Upon further analysis, here’s what I determined about the lower subscriber numbers:

  • We used to add subscribers to Bright Ideas if they also opted in through another of my sites, however most of these folks were not entirely well suited for Bright Ideas. Halfway through November, we stopped adding them to our count for Bright Ideas subscribers. This resulted in a significant drop in subscriber numbers (see the December traffic report for details).
  • In December, this drop was not as noticeable because we had so many new subscribers due to the book promotion.

Conclusion #2: Overall subscribers were down since we didn’t run a major promotion in January.

Referral Sources

I already began to discuss referral sources in the Subscribers section above, but mostly in regards to what I’d seen in Infusionsoft. Here’s where Google Analytics showed my traffic coming from:

Jan2014TrafficSources

Once again, the largest portion of my traffic is from people typing in the URL directly, followed by our emails to our list and then Twitter.

For people who are typing in the URL directly, I can only guess that those people are doing so in roughly the same proportion as the referral traffic whose sources we CAN see. For instance, many of them may already be subscribers, and others will be from Twitter.

When I compared lead sources for new subscribers in Infusionsoft, the only place that I noticed a decline (besides that which we’d attribute to traffic overall being down) was that we had fewer subscribers from a handful of well-aligned partners who helped promote the book to their very engaged lists – specifically, Nathan Barry and Michael Gass.

The other thing I noticed was that the numbers directly from Google were down somewhat. In fact, per Infusionsoft, the number of new subscribers who initially found Bright Ideas from Google search have been trending steadily downwards since August or September.

However, per Google Analytics, our organic traffic has almost doubled since this time. I can only assume this is due to Google providing less data, and that it may have something to do with Google’s Hummingbird update of August 20, 2013.

Google search has not been a major source of traffic for Bright Ideas, because I’ve put little to no effort into SEO up to this point. Still, it makes sense to optimize what we’re doing for the best search results, and we’re in the process of reworking our posting strategy to take this into account (stay tuned for more on this in a future post, and see the link below in the resources section).

We have done substantial work on content promotion since last fall, particularly since October when we hired a full time VA who does a lot of content promotion for us.

When I analyzed the sources that were giving us measurable results, I found them to be:

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Google organic

And to a lesser extent:

  • Pinterest
  • Quora
  • Google+
  • Business2Community
  • Reddit
  • Just Retweet
  • Technorati
  • YouTube
  • Stumble Upon

Sources that are giving us little/no results (and what we’re going to do about it):

  • Digg (change how we’re doing this, or quit doing it)
  • Medium (we’ll continue posting here, since for certain phrases our posts in medium rank on the first page in Google search results)

Other items to note:

  • Disqus has been a source of traffic and subscribers. I didn’t enter them above, since the traffic didn’t originally come from Disqus; it’s the plugin we use to manage comments. But it makes sense that subscribers would come from here, since people who comment will usually return to the site when we reply to their comments, and at this point may be engaged enough to subscribe. The number of new subscribers from Disqus has substantially increased since we began offering an incentive in the form of a comment contest for each post (check out the information on that at the end of this post).

Conclusion #3: Our major sources of traffic (and conversions) are the major social sites (Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook). We are getting some traffic from other sites, but as expected it’s less. Our conversions are significantly higher when we get ‘warm’ traffic from well-aligned partners helping with promotion.

Lessons Learned

It pays to take some time to periodically look at what’s working and what’s not, so that you can adjust your strategy. We will continue monthly traffic reports.

Give people a reason to come to your site, then give them a reason to continue to engage with you. Having great content is one thing, but they’re more likely to return and to be engaged if you have a way to follow up with them (this is where great landing pages and lead magnets come in).

Conclusion #4: If you really want to increase traffic, run a major promotion. Just be sure to give people a reason to maintain contact with you if they’d like, so that your traffic spike turns into leads.

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. We’ll cover these in detail in a future traffic report.

Summary

  • Our traffic and conversions were down in January, mostly because we didn’t run a big campaign like we did in December.
  • Traffic was not down significantly based on historical data for months we didn’t run major promotions.
  • There are adjustments we can continue to make to increase traffic and conversions.

Additional Resources

What Do You Think?

If you have anything you’d like to share or ask, please take a moment to do so in the comments section below. You will get a response.

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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DecemberTrafficReport

December 2013 Traffic Report

DecemberTrafficReport

Welcome to my December Traffic Report. To see November’s report, click here.

As 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. Plus, writing the report forces me to look! If you think this is helpful, please be sure and share this post.

Click to Tweet: Check out BrightIdeas.co latest monthly traffic report

Audience Overview

dec2013-audience-overview-web

As you can see from the chart above, overall visits were up 34.45% from 8,645 to 11,623 (a new record) and unique visits were up 42.82% from 4,615 to 6,591.

In looking deeper into where the traffic came from this month vs last, the biggest gains were as follows:

  • Direct traffic increased 74.77% from 2,699 to 4,717 visits
  • Twitter referrals increased 173.83% from 298 to 816
  • Facebook (mobile) referrals increased 446.94% from 49 to 268
  • Referrals from NathanBarry.com went from 0 to 351 (he helped me promote my book)

I suspect the reason Twitter and Facebook referrals were up so much was because I was aggressively promoting my Digital Marketing Handbook, as well as recruiting the help of others – and I’m happy to say that the book launch was a huge success!

 Conversions

dec13-conversions

The conversions overview has always baffled me. It’s not a particularly hard report to create, however, it never agrees with the data that I get from Infusionsoft. Being as I trust Infusionsoft more than I trust GA, I’ve appended the report with the actual data.

Landing Pages

dec13-landingpages

The conversion rate of our home page improved slightly, from 5.11% to 5.61% – although we didn’t make any changes to our home page.

Traffic Sources

dec13-trafficsources

As you can see, the largest portion of my traffic is from people typing in the URL – or at least this is my understanding of this report (if I’m wrong, I would love for you to leave the correct interpretation down in the comments).

A few months ago, we started to use campaign tracking links extensively in our emails, and you can see that emails to our list definitely account for a significant portion of our traffic. If you aren’t yet building a mailing list, you need to start now (check out our 2013 income report to see how incredibly valuable it is to have your own mailing list).

 Referral Traffic

dec13-referrraltraffic

Social media is an absolutely wonderful tool for content promotion (a topic I cover extensively in my book) and in this report you can see that Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all made incremental contributions to overall traffic. What I cannot tell for sure is how many people saw our content on social media and then decided to type in the URL instead of clicking the link.

Summary

When it comes to understanding GA, I consider myself a complete neophyte. GA collects a ton of data; I wish I was better at interpreting it. That is part of the reason why we are going to publish traffic reports on an ongoing basis – we hope to get much better with our understanding of analytics.

If you are an analytics guru, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below as I, and the rest of our audience, would undoubtedly learn a thing or two!

Additional Resources

What Do You Think?

If you have comments or questions, please take a moment to leave them down in the comments. You will get an answer.

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