Since October 19th, I’ve been participating in 30 days of blogging, thanks to a challenge hosted by Indie Business Network in the Blog Your Brand Facebook group. I’ve missed previous challenges due to travel and other things that came up (like morning sickness!), but I buckled down for this blogging challenge, pushing through some website issues and the entire family getting sick for two weeks.
I’ve always attributed blogging to being one of the number one drivers for Modern Soapmaking’s reach and traffic. I knew that every blog post that I wrote (that was targeted and on point for my audience) was paying off ten-fold in the long term. This 30 days of blogging, however, gives me the opportunity to really dive into the statistics and evaluate how content creation influences my website traffic, visitor behavior, and return on investment with some cold hard facts.
The 30 days of blogging challenge rules were simple: post a meaningful blog post daily for thirty days and share the post on the daily blogging challenge thread by midnight. Each post had to contain at least 300 words and a relevant graphic or video.
Thus far in the challenge, I’ve published 28 new posts (this postand tomorrow’s post are being left out). Those 28 posts contained a whopping 37,327 words, which is an average of 1154 words per post (which is slightly higher than my normal average of 1057 words per post, and much higher than the minimum set forth by the challenge.) I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo before, but have never made it through the end of the month to hit the targeted 50,000 words. This challenge to complete 30 days of blogging has been the closest I’ve ever gotten, so I’m doing quite the happy dance here!
I use a variety of statistical tracking software on Modern Soapmaking, but the most thorough and easily accessible for anyone is Google Analytics. It’s absolutely free to sign up for and to implement on your website, so if you aren’t currently tracking your website’s traffic and users, go set that up. I’ll wait. 😉 There are tons and tons of tutorials out there for how to use Google Analytics, so no excuses!
Modern Soapmaking’s traffic doesn’t change much seasonally, so I compared the thirty days prior to the challenge with the thirty days of the challenge to see how the 30 days of blogging was immediately influencing my analytics. Let’s dive in:
How 30 Days of Blogging Affected Website Traffic Immediately
34.89% Increase in Sessions
A session is a period of time a user spends on a website, it may be easier to refer to it as a visit. In comparison to the previous month of the challenge, Modern Soapmaking saw a roughly 35% increase in recorded sessions during the 30 days of blogging. (In other words, yay for a larger number of times people were using Modern Soapmaking’s website.)
22.69% Increase in Users
Users are people who have visited a website, they could be new visitors or returning visitors. During the 30 days of blogging, Modern Soapmaking saw roughly a 23% increase in the number of people who visited the site, which is a high five for more visitors checking Modern Soapmaking out!
38.89% Increase in Pageviews
Pageviews are the total number of pages users look at. In comparison to normal, almost 40% more pages were viewed during the blogging challenge.
2.97% Increase in Pages per Session
The pages per session statistic tells you the average number of pages a person looks at during a visit. Over the course of the 30 days of blogging, there was a 3% increase in how many pages someone looked at during a single visit. This is a really minimal increase, but an increase nonetheless.
16.12% Increase in Average Session Duration
The average session duration is how long someone stays during a visit to your website. The longer someone stays on your website, the better chances you have of capturing them as a customer or subscriber. (Unless they are spending a long time on your website trying to find their way around, but usually, they just leave instead!)
1.12% Decrease in Bounce Rate
The bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave after viewing the page they land on, rather than clicking on another page on your website. You want this percentage to be as low as possible. On average, a bounce rate for a retail website should be between 20% and 40%. (To learn more about your bounce rate and why it’s so damn helpful, read up on this article from Kissmetrics about improving it.) Initially, during the challenge, my bounce rate increased a little bit. And now it’s decreased a little bit. I’ll take it!
Changes in Where the Traffic Came From
As a whole, my traffic doesn’t tend to line up with the average of other website traffic sources. I tend to see about 45% of my traffic coming from search results, 30% from social media, 17% is typically direct traffic, and the remainder is a mix between referral, email, and untraceable traffic sources.
During my 30 days of blogging, 5% more of my traffic came from social media websites rather than search engines. Since I was sharing my blog posts daily on both Facebook and Twitter (as opposed to not sharing new content on social media every day before the challenge), an increase in traffic from those websites was expected. Plus, it takes time for search engines to index and rank new content to deliver in search results, so over time, this will likely even back out.
Older blog posts still saw the same traffic they were receiving before (one of my most popular posts is typically responsible for 20% of my traffic), but adding new posts in the mix increased traffic to Modern Soapmaking as a whole and helped amp up the eyeballs on the website. Here’s some interesting social tidbits:
- Pinterest is the source of a lot of traffic from my older blog posts, I still saw roughly the same amount of traffic from there as usual.
- With all the new blog posts I’ve written that were posted on Facebook daily, my traffic from Facebook increased by 132%.
- There was also a 150% increase in traffic from Twitter as I tweeted new blog posts daily as well, and saw the support of other bloggers participating in the challenge!
The Most Valuable Post Award during the 30 days of blogging goes to an article I wrote about controlling trace in cold process soapmaking. This single post alone was responsible for 6% of my website’s page views during the challenge, plus 5% of my total visitors popped onto my website through this post. In the first 24 hours that this post was live, it introduced 1,217 new people to Modern Soapmaking and has been shared on social media 783 times since publication. In the long run, this post will likely become another large contributor to traffic to Modern Soapmaking both through search engine results and social media.
Another post definitely gets a runner-up mention for the Most Valuable Post Award during the challenge, and that’s the article I wrote about the importance of following cosmetics regulations and the story of one soapmaker being visited by the FDA. This post accounted for 3% of my website’s page views during the challenge. 695 people were introduced to Modern Soapmaking in the first 24 hours that it was live, and it’s been shared on social media 290 times since then.
Many, many other new blog posts brought in significant bundles of traffic or pageviews, and will continue to do so for a long time!
How 30 Days of Blogging Affected Visitor Behavior Immediately
17% Increase in New Newsletter Subscribers
Blogging alone won’t typically sell more products immediately, and tends to be a long term investment for a business. One way to see a return on that time investment is by using email marketing to engage possible customers over time, so they can become more familiar with you and your expertise. If you’ve made sure to make your newsletter sign-up process easy and prominent for visitors, blogging should increase your subscription rate.
During my 30 days of blogging, Modern Soapmaking saw a 17% increase in new subscribers!
25% Increase in Visitors Interested in Purchasing
All of the pages on Modern Soapmaking which can bring in revenue saw a large increase in visitors during the challenge. This means that more people looked into working with me one-on-one or purchasing my digital ebooks and workbooks. Blogging shows your expertise and helps connect you to visitors, so it makes sense that more content meant more people who saw my value.
10% Increase in Revenue
It’s not typical for blogging to directly influence revenue or sales immediately, but Modern Soapmaking did see a small increase in sales of ebooks during the blogging challenge.
40% Increase in Registered Users Logging In
This statistic surprised me, but during my 30 days of blogging, Modern Soapmaking’s registered users visited more often and logged in more often. Some of this increase is due to users logging in to leave comments on new articles, but others engaged in older content, purchased new ebooks, and in general, spent more time on Modern Soapmaking than normal. To me, this translates as providing more value for users that were already familiar with Modern Soapmaking and it’s content, which makes me happy.
Is 30 Days of Blogging Worth It?
I definitely don’t think blogging every day is going to be worth the time investment for any soapmaker in business, but my goal with sharing these statistics is to show how much blogging can influence website traffic and user behavior. The great thing about blogging is that it is a long term investment in your business, as the blog posts you create today continue to net traffic in the future and give you content to share again and again.
I highly encourage soapmakers to blog at least once a week, to help bring in that almighty website traffic and to build a relationship with their customer base and fans. In six months, it will be interesting to see how the blog posts I wrote during the challenge will pay off – I can make predictions, but I can’t know for sure until then!
Tomorrow, I’ll be writing about what I personally learned from this challenge (why, yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks!) I’ll also be sharing what my audience thought about the challenge through a survey I sent out via my newsletter. I would love to see you weigh in as well:
Are there any statistics that surprised you? Or do you feel inspired to start blogging? Let me know in the comments below!