Sometimes You Have to Check the Numbers


When you blog, you often find yourself reminded that it’s not all about you.

Last week, I wrote about a month-long experiment of blogging with topic buckets, as Mack Collier suggested back in January. I reported that it has made my job as a blogger much easier, because I could write ahead of schedule on certain topics and free time for myself to write others when I’d most need it. After a few weeks, I felt I had a more organized posting schedule and a more focused array of topics.

Then Mack had to ask the big question: How has blogging daily impacted your traffic?

I work in television, and numbers — specifically, television viewership ratings — are a major aspect of what I do. In television, you live or die by ratings. They’re the first thing on everyone’s mind, even if they aren’t willing to admit it.

So why would Mack need to even ask about numbers? Why wouldn’t I have already answered that question?

It’s not that I’m not competitive. I am. In this case, however, I was looking at it more in an “If you build it, they will come” kind of way. There are plenty of good blogs — the majority of good blogs — that won’t get the audience they deserve, so saying, “if you build it, they will come” about a blog is foolish. What I mean is that I believe the change to topic buckets makes it easier to for me to write a better site. That in and of itself is a win.

A big one.

So it wasn’t that the numbers following the change weren’t important, but rather that I just assumed the numbers would eventually increase if I truly believed the content and strategy were improving first. Yeah, yeah, I know all about “what happens when you assume.” But in this case, I was interested in solving one specific problem with the thought of paving the way to increase traffic longer-term.

I do check my stats a few times a week. Once in a while, I’ll scan them on a daily basis. So I try to make sure I’m always aware of how things are going on some level.

But pressed for an answer, I had to go back and actually look at the numbers sooner than I anticipated. It scared me a bit, I must admit, because I worried I might not see a notable change. After all, I was trying to blog daily for a while: topic buckets made me better at pulling that off effectively, but blogging daily wasn’t necessarily new.

So I had to hope that the numbers might show any kind of positive change.

Then there was another challenge: in January, my friend Rick passed away. My post about him created an inordinately high level of traffic, so I felt the best thing to do was to exclude January from the measurement.

So I compared December, 2012’s actual numbers to February, 2013 numbers based on the first 11 days of that month projected out to 31 days (to match the number of days in December). Yes, Mack even made me do math! Unless I see a major drop in the second half of the month, which I haven’t seen so far, I anticipate a 29% increase in visits and a 26% increase in page views since I moved toward the topic buckets idea.

Those are projections, of course, and actual mileage is certainly likely to vary. Still, a better presentation seems to have had an impact, and anything better than a 25% increase is definitely one I’ll be more than happy with!

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.


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