How to Adapt Your Social Strategy as Your Blog Grows

social strategy

 

*** This is a guest post by Brent Jones. ***


Gosh, it seems like just yesterday that I contributed my first guest post to Build Your Own Blog.

But in fact, it was almost 15 months ago. And in that guest post, I explained why — at the time — I felt that Google+ was better than Facebook for my blog.

And from strictly a traffic and share count perspective, that sentiment was certainly true back then.

In fact, I provided numerous screenshots in that post illustrating that Google+ definitely drove more traffic to my blog than any other social platform.

But times change, and blogs do, too…

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Charles Darwin

…because if you fast forward to present day, Google+ is no longer my top source of social traffic. It isn’t even in the top two.

Take a look at January 2016

social strategy

February 2016

social strategy

…and March 2016.

social strategy

So far, every month in 2016, Facebook has been my top social traffic source. In fact, I get more Facebook traffic to my blog than every other social source combined… multiple times over!

Things change — true story.

But what isn’t a true story is that Darwin quote above… fun fact? Darwin never actually said that. But this quote is erroneously attributed to him all over the web, so I just decided to go along with it…

for two reasons.

First, I think the quote speaks to successful blogging as a whole. Times and digital trends change rapidly — and if we refuse to adapt to them, we’ll get left behind.

But second, and perhaps more importantly, I want to illustrate that there is a lot of misinformation freely available on the internet.

See, the purpose of this post isn’t to try to tell you that Facebook is the be-all, end-all of social traffic. Far from it.

And that’s because no two blogs or audiences are the same. There are no magic solutions. And one-size-fits-all approaches to marketing seldom generate positive results.

The real purpose of this post is to get you thinking about your own numbers.

I want to get you thinking about the importance of knowing and understanding your own traffic numbers, as well as the importance of investing your time where it gets the best return.

Because let’s face it… each of us gets just 168 hours a week. It’s what you do with that time that will ultimately determine the success of your blog.

Social Strategy Tip: Know Your Traffic Numbers

My wife thinks I’m nuts.

And she’s probably right.

We’re both work-at-home freelancers. Her office is upstairs while mine is on the main level.

Sometimes, she’ll come downstairs without making a sound and catch me staring at my Real-Time Overview in Google Analytics. Just staring at it… processing… watching the active users on site number go up and down.

I love numbers.

Numbers comfort me.

They’re a universal language… a language incapable of lies.

In other words, my wife is right… I am nuts.

But consider this.

In January 2015, when I published my first post on Build Your Own Blog, my own blog was less than four months old.

–I hadn’t yet been successful in defining a niche or a target audience for myself.
–I had published precious few guest posts and had been invited to contribute to very few expert roundups.
–I had yet to participate in my first webinar or Blab… actually, come to think of it, I don’t think Blab was even a thing at the time…
–I had no strategy in place for things like blog commenting or outreach.
–I wouldn’t even launch my video interview series for another four months — on which Matthew Loomis would be my first guest.

That isn’t to say I was doing everything wrong at the time — just that I hadn’t really found my groove as a blogger.

It would be fair to say that my online reach and influence were minimal to non-existent at best.

Accordingly, it made a lot of things about Google+ very appealing to me:

–The communities were well-organized and easier to find and join than similar groups on Facebook were.
–I could interact with and follow anyone freely without first having to send a friend request.
–Heck, Google+ even tracked the number of times my content had been viewed right on my profile page, which was very encouraging to me as a new blogger.

I instantly had some success with Google+ and — erroneously — concluded that Google+ was better than Facebook in every way imaginable.

But time passed, my blog evolved, and a lot changed in just one year.

For example, in March 2015, I had my best traffic month up until that point. I got just over 3,000 visits that month.

social strategy

Surpassing 3,000 visits in a month seemed monumental at the time!

But fast forward 12 months to March 2016, and my monthly traffic situation looks a bit different, doesn’t it?

social strategy

And I’m projecting 18,000 to 19,000 visits this April.

The bottom line?

It would be unrealistic of any blogger to expect to employ the same strategies when getting 3,000 visits per month versus 16,000 visits per month.

Times change.

Strategies change.

Blogs and audiences change.

But knowing where to invest your time — specifically, on what social platforms — starts first with understanding your own numbers and what they mean.

As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.

Social Strategy Tip: Decide Where to Invest Your Time

In a perfect world, every blogger would have a massive reach on every social media platform.

We’d all be Snapchat superstars, top Twitter gurus, and Instagram celebrities.

But, we don’t have unlimited hours in a week.

Many of us have a day job.

Some of us offer coaching or consulting services and simply use our blogs as inbound marketing tools.

For me, I am a freelance social media manager, and my blog serves as a side project for me, focused on helping new freelancers to build their own online, service-based businesses.

It goes without saying that we can’t be all things to all people, nor can we be active on every social platform at every moment of the day.

It comes down to prioritizing where we get the best return on our time.

For me, in light of my Facebook traffic growth, I have stepped up my Facebook strategy for 2016 — it’s where I am getting my best results, so it’s where I’ll continue to focus my efforts.

But perhaps it isn’t Facebook for you. Perhaps your target audience hangs out on Pinterest, and perhaps Pinterest is your best source of blog traffic… then it makes the most sense to focus the majority of your time and energy on Pinterest.

The key takeaway I want you to get from this post — and from me sharing my numbers — is that there isn’t one single social sharing strategy that will catapult your blog into an autopilot money-making machine.

Most of it comes to down to testing and tweaking what works best for you.

1. Try something.
2. Measure the results.
3. Tweak.
4. Try again.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 until you are happy with the results.
6. Scale your efforts — or give up and try something new.

But as you are trying, tweaking, and measuring, please remember to…

Social Strategy Tip: Always Look at the Bigger Picture

Lastly, I want to throw you a bit of a curve ball… some food for thought, if you will.

You might be thinking — given that Facebook is now my best source of social traffic — that I’m about to give up on Google+.

Hardly.

Let me show you why with social conversion numbers from Q1 2016, so encompassing January, February and March:

social strategy

During that period, visitors to my blog from Google+ subscribed to my mailing list at more than twice the rate of visitors from any other social platform.

In fact, I got less than half as many visitors from Google+ as I did from Twitter, yet I acquired an equal number of new email subscribers from both platforms.

Crazy, right?

This is why I want to leave you with the reminder to always look at the bigger picture.

Numbers are just numbers.

They comfort me, yes.

And numbers never lie.

But numbers also don’t tell a complete story.

At least not without comparing them to other numbers.

At the end of the day, traffic — whether that’s social, organic, or referral traffic — is really nothing more than a series of numbers on our computer screens.

So before deciding which social platform is best for your blog, you need really understand what end goal you’re working to accomplish.

–Is it blog comments or social shares?
–Is it mailing list subscribers?
–Is it contact form inquiries?
–Is it affiliate link clicks?
–Is it product sales?

And I can’t answer that for you.

You’ll have to dig through your own data, draw your own conclusions, and invest your time accordingly.

Just remember…

The importance of knowing and understanding your own traffic numbers,

the importance of investing your time where it gets the best return,

and to always look at the bigger picture!

And if you have questions or thoughts, I would be happy to connect with you in the comments below. Drop me a line, and I’ll be sure to reply to you personally.


Brent JonesAuthor Bio:

Brent Jones is a freelancer and blogger living in Fort Erie, Canada with his beautiful wife and two dogs. Since 2014, he has earned his full-time living by freelancing online and he can teach you to do the same on Brent Jones Online. Be sure to connect with Brent on Twitter and Facebook.


42 comments

  1. Brent Jones   •  

    I am positively thrilled to be appearing on your blog again, Mr. Loomis!

    Thanks so much for having me.

    I’ll post my traffic numbers for April here in the comments once the month has concluded… that way, we can see if the trends I outlined in this post continue.

    I look forward to connecting with your audience here in the comments.

    Best,

    Brent

    • Brent Jones   •  

      Oh, and PS… I love that drawing of me. 🙂

      I look like Beavis & Butthead’s better dressed cousin. Haha…

      Plus, I haven’t been that lean looking in years!

    • Matthew Loomis   •  

      Brent,

      I’m stoked to have you back! This is a fantastic follow up and I love how you use numbers to show your growth over the past 18 months. Every great story has the protagonist somehow develop, grow or change, usually for the better, and your story is a good one. Satisfying read.

      It appears many of us are finding Facebook to be the top, or one of the top performers for driving traffic. As much as that pains many to admit, time has proven Facebook to be tops for many bloggers. Facebook is tops for me as well when it comes to traffic. I’m sure a big reason is because people are on Facebook the most. Generally folks spend the most time there and Zuckerberg has big plans to continue that trend. He has changes coming that include eventually users will never click away from FB when clicking shared links. Of course the other SMs will copy that setup. So as you said, things will eventually change again and we will need to reassess and make a new strategy. Always.

      Pinterest is the other platform many are still underestimating.

      I hope you’ll do this topic again maybe in late 2017. :). Thanks again bro for sharing some of your secrets with us here. I’m glad you like the image. You look great! I thought the same thing when I first had these images made for me…wow. I look really slim. LOL

      Cheers,

      Matthew

      • Brent Jones   •  

        Well, as you know, I’ve been cycling quite a bit lately.

        So I’m just going to claim that your illustrator knew that and wanted to display my newly acquired leanness. 😉

        I’m happy to post updates as time goes on, Matt.

        I probably should have specified in this post that all my Facebook traffic is free, with the exception of one post I boosted for $20 CAD in March. I think that got me 50 clicks or so. The rest was free.

        But yeah, lots will keep changing in the years to come. And I really hope what readers took away from this post is that there isn’t one right or wrong solution… it’s just a matter of knowing our own numbers and focusing our (often) limited resources where we’ll get the best return.

        Thanks again for having me!

        Brent

  2. Andrea Jones   •  

    I’ve seriously became a numbers person too after understanding exactly what they mean. Brent changed my mind. I mean, I still struggle with taxes and such but I find satisfaction in being able to prove growth on social media. And not just growth with people who don’t engage, but comparing that growth with engagement and website metrics!

    I highly suggest everyone do the same. 🙂

    • Brent Jones   •  

      I’m glad I could help you gain an appreciation for numbers.

      Numbers don’t tell a complete picture all the time… but they do often give us a sense if we’re moving in the right direction.

      For instance, if I cycled 20 miles a day week one, 30 miles a day week two, and 40 miles a day week three, it would appear that I am making progress.

      But without knowing how many feet in elevation were gained each day or week, or how much wind I had to contend with, or what type of bike I was riding, it’s tough to assess the overall effort put in.

      But it’s a start.

      And as we both know, anytime we can prove results to clients with numbers, it goes a long way towards building trust and credibility. Great that you track everything so diligently for your clients.

      🙂

      Brent

  3. Dr. Rin Porter   •  

    Brent,
    Great description of how you got started with a certain type of social medium and then graduated to a different type. The style of this post reminds me of Neil Patel’s work! Yours is just as thorough as his! I think your narrative will help others with blogs evolve as their traffic evolves.

    Matt is a great mentor to many of us. Thanks, again, Matt!

    Rin

    • Brent Jones   •  

      As thorough as Neil Patel?

      Wow! That’s the best blogging compliment I’ve ever received, I think.

      I don’t know if I’m quite on Neil’s level — he’s much better at providing solutions, and I strictly intended for this post to encourage readers to analyze their own numbers.

      I manage different social networks for different clients. The target audience and objectives are different. The posting strategies are different.

      And so it would be foolish of me to turn around and say, “The best platform to drive traffic to your blog is ___.”

      Because I can’t say that for certainty. Every situation and every blog is different.

      But that’s basically what I said last year when I published a post claiming Google+ was superior to Facebook. At the time, that was true, but it was kind of like looking at the complete picture through a keyhole. Which is silly.

      Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Rin! Thanks for checking it out and commenting.

      Best,

      Brent

    • Matthew Loomis   •  

      Hi Rin,

      Appreciate that. Hope you’re doing well. I haven’t heard from you in awhile.

      Matthew

  4. Maddy Osman   •  

    Brent,

    Numbers really ARE important and shouldn’t be ignored. Your point about looking at things every month and making changes if you notice your content isn’t resonating is also important.

    And it’s important for people to define end goals instead of just “I want a million followers on every platform.” I’ve always been told to make SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

    Congrats on all your recent success with your blog! I’m looking forward to more of your strategy posts!

    Maddy

    • Brent Jones   •  

      Hi Maddy!

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Ah, yes. Tweaks need to be made to everything — our branding (as we both know), our content, our goals… certainly not just our social traffic generation strategies.

      Weekly, monthly, quarterly… always tweaking.

      “I want a million followers on every platform.”

      ^ My question to those people is always… “Why?”

      Are you so bad at building relationships and closing the deal that you need a million followers in order to succeed?

      Don’t get me wrong. We all want lots of followers. Lots of subscribers. Lots of traffic.

      That’s a no-brainer.

      But if it were me, I’d be a lot more focused on the engagement and conversion numbers than the sheer number of followers.

      Numbers don’t lie, but numbers don’t tell a complete story, either.

      There are a lot of marketers with 20,000 followers who get more engagement and bigger results than the marketers with 200,000 followers.

      Chat soon,

      Brent

  5. Andrea Beltrami   •  

    I’m with the wifey…you numbers folk are freaks! 😛

    She says oozing of number overwhelm. ONE of these days, I will get on the numbers bandwagon, one of these days I tell ya.

    Epic article, brotha…it’s really been about investing in one platform at a time for me. Chasing the bright light is a straight shot to dilution town, so I put all my eggs in one basket and nature that bad boy until it has strong legs to stand on. And THEN I add another platform to the fam.

    Off to avoid the numbers…

    • Brent Jones   •  

      Hi Andrea!

      I suppose I could write another whole article on the topic of, “Be unapologetically you.”

      Actually… better yet… I’d leave that one to you. 😉

      If you’re not a numbers person, there’s no harm in that. I’m not a visual stylist or a branding badass, either. We all have our strong suits.

      But there’s something to be said about your “one platform at a time” strategy. That’s brilliant. I’ve had clients who want to hire me to do run their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube…

      All from a cold start. No brand awareness. No followers.

      I mean, I hate to turn down business… but I like to be upfront with those people, too. Like, why don’t we get two or three platforms really down solid, then we’ll look at the others?

      Too many people with shiny objective syndrome.

      Thanks for commenting, Dre! Hope you’re kicking ass this week.

      Brent

  6. Soumya Roy   •  

    Brilliant numbers and really I am feeling positive after reading this post. By profession I am DM and SEO consultant and trainer. But I lack in social media traffic on my training website and thankfully I have started working on it. And your post gave me some nice ideas which I was not using till date and I am sure those will get me better numbers than now we are getting from social sites. Thanks for sharing this post and for those ideas too.

    • Brent Jones   •  

      Hey there Soumya,

      What’s going on?

      Well, I’m glad to hear my post gave you some ideas. Thanks for commenting!

      Oddly enough, I don’t blog much on social strategy these days. But perhaps I should.

      If you have any specific questions, let me know.

      My best advice? Read the comment from Andrea Beltrami above. Focus on one platform at a time until you get better results, and then move on to the next.

      Good luck.

      Best,

      Brent

  7. Jasper Oldersom   •  

    Hey Brent,

    You did it again. Yet another super helpful and engaging post.

    I had NO idea that the quote wasn’t his. That’s quite a shocker and awesome at the same time. Millions of us are attributing quotes to the wrong person. One of the side-effects of internet I suppose. 😉

    The quote remains super valuable, though. Also, I immediately thought of Michael Scott in The Office: https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/enhanced/webdr06/2013/4/19/23/enhanced-buzz-19669-1366427483-1.jpg

    I get you. Real Time Overview is amazing. And being nuts ain’t that bad. I actually listen to the “Weird Entrepreneurs” podcast all the time 🙂 Also, how lovely that you get to work from home with your wife!

    Recently, I also got to work with Lucky Orange, which gives you the possibility to follow users mouse movements on your site in real-time which was fascinating (and helpful!). Although I’m definitely not a number cruncher, I do love numbers. Especially when they’re in my favor!

    It’s amazing where you were early 2015, Brent. It’s crazy when you look back and realize your own progress, ain’t it? Although I’m on the right path and doing the right things, I’m still “finding my groove” as well.

    I do find that recently people are starting to ask me to contribute to roundup posts and reach out to me through email more often. It’s amazing and something I never would’ve guessed when I decided to start blogging.

    Thank you for giving us an unbiased picture of social media marketing and in which channels we should invest.

    Personally, I comment a lot of blogs and focus on connecting with bloggers. I also have great success using Twitter and I’m active in the Kingged.com community. Google+ used to be the channel that most of my attention went to as well.

    Matthew, thanks for having Brent as a guest. It’s been great getting to know you last week 🙂

    – Jasper

    • Brent Jones   •  

      Hi Jasper,

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

      That quote from the Office / Michael Scott / Wayne Gretzky is actually my favorite quote of all-time. Good call!

      Since re-branding and relaunching my blog this year, my numbers — both social and organic search — have been steadily rising every month. I think the direction I have taken things was for the best.

      Now I need to spend a bit of time monetizing better.

      Any time I see a quote on the internet from Darwin or Einstein, I am naturally suspicious. So I decided to look this one up.

      Apparently, he didn’t say it.

      But what good is the internet if not for cat memes and incorrectly attributed quotes?

      See you on my blog tomorrow,

      Brent

  8. zahirul islam   •  

    Valuable information. To create blog it has many facility. Google+ is the best for blog. It helps you learn new things and write better. Thanks sharing this article.

  9. David Hartshorne   •  

    Hey Brent,

    I already knew you were a numbers nerd because you told me last year when I wrote about Google Analytics over at Shade Of Info.

    I remember you original post here on Matthew’s blog about GooglePlus. That’s one channel that I personally have never really gotten into. But I know some people that love it and make it work.

    There are some pertinent reminders here for blog owners to be checking their stats to see what is working best. (And, I think, looking at what can be improved on the not-so-good channels.)

    – Is your increased Facebook traffic organic or advertised? I know I’ve seen a few adverts from you on there.

    I like your final comparison about conversions: smaller numbers of visitors from GooglePlus, but higher conversions. It’s so important to dig deeper and not take everything at face value.

    Great post, Brent! Really enjoyed reading this one.
    – David

    • Brent Jones   •  

      Oh, yeah… I’m a hardcore numbers nerd. Haha…

      Amazing how long we’ve been connected now, eh?

      Crazy.

      I remember that Google Analytics post you wrote. It’s amazing to me how many bloggers have never even thought to install Google Analytics on their blog.

      I love Google+ as the underdog it is. As I mentioned in another comment, as I built up my presence on Facebook, I found my relevance on Google+ declining.

      I don’t know whether that’s a commentary on the Google+ platform itself, or if I just started paying less attention to it. Perhaps both.

      But when it comes down to where I’m going to focus my time, it’s going to be where I get the best return.

      My Facebook traffic has almost entirely been organic this year. I boosted one, maybe two posts this year… might account for 50+ visits, but not a lot.

      As you know, I’m not only a numbers nerd, but I’m super thrifty, too. LOL

      Thanks for checking out my guest post. Glad you enjoyed it, and I appreciate you leaving a comment.

      Best,

      Brent

  10. Philip Verghese Ariel   •  

    Hi Brent,
    Nice to see you again on Matts page!
    I could very well relate you in regard to G+
    Few years back this was my notion too!
    G+ will beat fb, and in several places I mentioned this too!
    But to my surprise fb stand out on top of the group!
    As you pointed out fb is my major source of traffic and G+ comes only 3rd in line even after Twitter!
    Thanks for sharing it with your proofs!
    As Matt said we can see in 2017 with another post on this line! 🙂
    A well narrated story!!
    Thanks Brent and Matt
    Best Regards
    ~ Philip

    • Brent Jones   •  

      Hi Philip,

      Great of you to check out my guest post and leave a comment.

      Facebook took time for me to build up, but as I did so, I found my relevance on Google+ declining.

      I don’t know whether that’s a commentary on the Google+ platform itself, or if I just started paying less attention to it. Perhaps both.

      Either way, things are constantly changing.

      Who knows what the future holds?

      Thanks for commenting.

      Best,

      Brent

      • Philip Verghese Ariel   •  

        Hi Brent,
        Good to hear from you again.
        Nice, that captcha trouble fixed and i could see my comment live. Thanks.
        Hey, as you said it must be the other way round! Our less attention or activities may be one of the reasons behind, as said in the beginning i have been giving more attention to G+ than any other social sites, but i could not find much response of results thus i shifted my activities to twitter and then fb and again I found that there was a more response or reaction from fb than twitter, so naturally anyone will shift to that side, may be that is the reason of this result. Anyways fb is here to stay!
        The good news is that, just the other day i read an article/news about Facebook that they are going to pay for its members’ activities or posts on the pages. If so that will be again an added qualification or advantage to them, I am sure people will stick with it!! LOL
        Nice speaking to you again
        Wish both of you a great weekend
        Best

        ~ Phil

        • Brent Jones   •  

          Hi Phil,

          It’s great to see you’re experimenting with several different platforms. I’m sure both your strategy and mine will shift many times in years to come.

          Best,

          Brent

    • Matthew Loomis   •  

      Hey Phillip,

      Glad you enjoyed Brent’s story!
      Many of us hoped G+ would become something extraordinary…in a way, it still is, but on a personal level, not a business level. 🙂
      I still think G+ is the most “mentally stimulating” platform. It just isn’t the greatest for business. At least for me. I’m not saying I don’t use it, it just comes in way behind most of the other platforms.
      So now we either learn Facebook or miss out on the traffic and connections.
      I’m starting to like Facebook again. 🙂

      Good talking with you, Phillip!

      Matthew

  11. Sunil Pasbola   •  

    Hi, Brent, it’s great to see a significant increase in the number of visitors to your site over the past one year. It is a great achievement in itself. However, surprisingly the bounce rate of your site is very high despite the great content. The average time on pages and pave views per session have also dropped with an increase in the number of visitors.

    You rightly commented above that these metrics also play an important role in improving the overall performance of a site. Have you tried to identify the real cause of high bounce rate and low page views per session? If yes, please do share with us next time.

    If I am not wrong, keeping in view the above metrics, there seems to be no major problem with the design of your website as I have visited your site and I found it user-friendly. In my opinion, the possible reasons could be:
    1. Poor performance of some of the pages on social media sites
    2. Week internal links or ineffective internal linking
    3. Wrong keyword optimization (If you are getting organic traffic)
    4. Low returning visitors (If I am not wrong, in your case I think it would be around 20 to 25%,)

    There could be several other reasons. if you find any other reason and measures to resolve the issues, please do share with us next time. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

    • Brent Jones   •  

      Hi Sunil,

      Thanks for your feedback.

      I have to be frank… I don’t get too concerned about bounce rate.

      I used to.

      I tried all sorts of things to bring that number down last year.

      But eventually I realized that bounce rate, much like most numbers we look at and analyze, really means nothing without comparison to other numbers.

      A high bounce rate is neither good nor bad.

      For instance, if I am searching for a phone number for a local pizza shop, and I find it right on their homepage, I won’t click any further into that website.

      What do I do next?

      I call that local shop and order a pizza.

      Their bounce rate might be 100%, but their primary goal of selling a pizza was still accomplished.

      On other hand, another pizza shop might have their phone number buried on a contact page that happens to be hard to find.

      I click through several pages, get frustrated, and leave the website. Their analytics show a low bounce rate, even though they get fewer calls for pizza orders.

      See what I mean?

      Bounce rate is pretty irrelevant, in my opinion, unless you’re looking at the bounce rate of a specific sales page, for instance, with a specific conversion goal.

      And time on site is always a wonky metric, because those who “bounce” are automatically recorded as having stayed on your site for zero seconds.

      Based on other bounce rates I’ve seen, I’d say mine is more or less typical for a blog — especially a blog with very little focus on monetization. A user clicks over to a blog post, reads it, and leaves. It happens.

      Further, even if they leave a comment, most of my blog posts are powered by Facebook comments… as such, no page redirect occurs after a comment is posted.

      This is especially true for my organic search traffic — my posts that rank highest use Facebook comments. So despite an active comment section, it does nothing to decrease my bounce rate.

      Heck, a user could come over to my blog via Google, leave a Facebook comment, share the post, and then exit. Google still records that the user bounced, even though they were highly engaged with my content.

      Anyway, I’m quite satisfied with my conversion numbers (subscribers to mailing list), which is the primary metric I focus on.

      So, yeah, a year ago or so I wrote a blog post on this. About the relevance of bounce rate, or lack thereof.

      For most bloggers, I’m not convinced that this metric is one to get too concerned about.

      Perhaps I’m wrong.

      Matt, do you want to weigh in here? What are your thoughts on bounce rate?

      Anyway, for me, it’s just not high priority at the moment.

      I do, however, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      Best,

      Brent

      • Matthew Loomis   •  

        Hey Brent,

        Yes, I do think bounce rate importance can vary depending on the site and the purpose of the site. That being said, most of us are not like pizza shops that just want to give out a phone number and have people phone call them. Many sites have a goal to get people reading/consuming their content, so I do pay attention to bounce rate, time on site and average page views and work to make them better. When you have a long funnel on your site like me, you do consider it an important metric that provides valuable feedback.

        Wondering what tool Sunil is using to determine your bounce rate…do we even know if its accurate?

        That’s my take on it.

        Matthew

        • Brent Jones   •  

          He’s grabbing my bounce rate from the screenshots I included in this post. 😉

  12. Sunil Pasbola   •  

    Thanks Brent for your prompt reply. Your reply holds logic and I do believe bounce rate can never be used as a reliable metric to measure the quality of a website. I have tried clarifying the concept of bounce rate in one of my blog posts. And I agree with you to a great extent.

    There could be several reasons for the high bounce rate. Bounce rate varies from industry to industry. It could be 20% for some websites and 90% for others depending on the type of industry and niche. However, here we are talking in context of your blog. Linking facebook comments to your blog might be one of the reasons for the high bounce rate. However, we cannot rule out average time on page as the most reliable metric to measure how effective a website in engaging the audience. I don’t think bounce rate is counted as zero seconds on a page.

    Google does take into consideration the time when someone visits a page and shows it as average time on page. You can easily verify it on the Google Analysitcs. For example, some of the pages on my blog have 100% bounce rate but still the average time on page is more than 6 minutes. If bounce rate is counted as zero second how come Google shows the average time on page so high. Bounce rate only shows that readers are leaving your site after reading only one page. It does not say anything about the amount of time audience spends on a page. Therefore, it cannot be used as a reliable metric to measure the quality of a website.

    However, average session duration and average time on page or site are some of the most reliable metrics. Interestingly, there is a strong relationship between these two metrics and bounce rate. I don’t think it is possible to read a 1000 words post in a minute for an average person. It simply shows that the majority of the readers are leaving a site within a couple of seconds after landing on a page. And you are right it happens most of the time. However, when it happens too frequently it is an alarm that indicates about a problem that needs to be addressed.

    Thanks once again for your detailed reply. I am sure it will help us all to learn a lot of things from each other.

  13. Brent Jones   •  

    Hi Sunil,

    I don’t mean to be argumentative with you… BUT…

    A bounce is always counted as zero seconds.

    Period.

    Google it.

    You’ll find out what I’m saying is true, and straight from the Google product forums.

    Time on site is measured as the time between page load and clicking to a second page.

    A click to a second page means the person did not bounce. Hence anyone who doesn’t bounce records a time on site, and anyone who does bounce does not record a time on site. Just the way it works.

    But even if time on site were calculated the way you think it is — based on actual time on site before exiting — it still wouldn’t be a very useful metric.

    Again, I go back to my pizza shop example.

    If I find what I’m looking for on the homepage — ie: the phone number — I’ll call, and that’s that. Very low time on site. No extra time needed.

    Whereas, if I can’t find the number, I might spend more time on the website looking for it, but my user experience wasn’t as positive.

    Both bounce rate and time on site mean very little in my mind.

    I think the metrics we should really be focused on are conversion metrics. In other words, what action do you want your visitors to take?

    Is it clicking a certain affiliate link?

    Joining your list?

    Filling out a contact form?

    Clicking “Buy Now”…?

    Focus on the actions.

    The actions a user takes to get to your website, and then the actions a user takes after arriving.

    Whether or not they click through to a second page, or whether or not they stay on your page for 10-20 minutes doesn’t really matter, so long as the primary action you wanted your visitors to take was accomplished.

    Longer times on site and more pageviews does not equate to a better user experience, a better website, or more money in the bank.

    Again, just my two cents. 🙂

    Best,

    Brent

    • Matthew Loomis   •  

      Gotta say a big Amen to what Brent said here. LOL

      Conversion metrics are definitely the most important thing to watch closely.

  14. Brent Jones   •  

    Hi Matt,

    I promised I would post my April traffic stats, so here they are:

    Sessions: 19,268
    Sessions via Social Referral: 3,113

    1. Facebook // 2,360 // 75.81%
    2. Twitter // 550 // 17.67%
    3. LinkedIn // 83 // 2.67%
    4. Google+ // 78 // 2.51%
    5. reddit // 15 // 0.48%
    6. Pinterest // 13 // 0.42%

    Seems the trend has continued to hold true — Facebook is delivering great results!

    • Matthew Loomis   •  

      Hey Brent,

      Thanks for sharing your latest numbers with us. You’re a man of your word. 🙂

      Not surprised about FB still leading by a large margin…do you spend much time on Pinterest? My guess is you don’t, because it appears to be a good traffic source for those who work it. I’ve been wanting to spend more time on it. I’ve started making the more optimal image dimensions for Pinterest….yet, when I’m on the site itself, I’m not even sure how to share a post??? It’s easy to use the Pinterest share button on somebody’s page, but how do you share directly to Pinterest? Or maybe you don’t? (Yeah, I’m putting myself out there on this….stupid question? 🙂

      Matthew

      • Brent Jones   •  

        Hi Matt,

        Funny enough, I’ve spent a lot more time on Pinterest for clients than I have for myself. I know a lot of bloggers swear by the reach they get on Pinterest, but I’m still not totally sold.

        I spend virtually zero time on that platform, but a few of my posts have been shared hundreds and even thousands of times on Pinterest. Yet, I still see very little traffic from it.

        I’ve got 200 followers or so I think. Again, not a big focus for me. But I may explore it more one day…

        To add a post manually, click the + sign in the bottom right corner, then paste in the URL you wish to share. Choose the image you want to pin from that post, and it’ll link back to your post automatically.

        What I found really telling is that I got more traffic from LinkedIn in April than I did from Google+. Huh. Imagine that!

        Have a good one,

        Brent

        • Matthew Loomis   •  

          Thanks for the “manly” Pinterest tips, buddy! LOL (I should watch that podcast.)

          I’m not too surprised about LinkedIn bringing in more bacon than G+. As much as I enjoy that platform, it’s a strange bird. Which is why I don’t spend a lot of time there these days.

          Thanks again,

          Matt

  15. Ankit   •  

    This article was awesome! I had been saving it for a while and just now had a chance to read it. I work only with Pinterest and most of my clients. I’m always looking for ways to dive into their target audience and these tips have jogged so many ideas. Thank you!

    • Matthew Loomis   •  

      Happy to know how much you loved this one. 🙂

      Enjoy diving in to your new ideas!

      Matthew

    • Brent Jones   •  

      Thrilled to hear it, Ankit. Thanks for stopping by and leaving us a comment!

      Brent

  16. Lorraine Reguly   •  

    Hi Brent.

    Clearly, Facebook loves you!

    Ironically, it’s how I found this post. It was “suggested” to me just now!

    And from the comments here, I can see that this is 7 months old!

    However, it is still relevant, and useful. I, too, have been seeing an increase in my readership since I began interacting with others more on Facebook.

    Remember to tag me in posts about blogging, business, and freelance writing! 😉

    Thanks from your fellow Canadian freelancer,
    Lorraine

    • Matthew Loomis   •  

      Hi Lorraine,

      Glad you found this post helpful. Brent is a great freelancer to follow. He’s offering so many good teachings for freelancers–Canadian and beyond! 😉

      Please drop by again sometime,

      Matthew

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