Whilst I wouldn’t class myself as a fanatical tester and tracker, I do test and track extensively. Having now published this blog for close to a year, I have reached a number of conclusions.
To be fair, I reached these conclusions more than 6 months ago… but saying anything at the time really would have fallen on deaf ears. I needed to have an established audience created in a traditional way, without any “explosive” growth from gaming social media, paid advertising or leveraging existing traffic.
- It would have been looked on as moaning and whining
- I would be told that you can’t expect instant success from blogging
- That you have to write better content to be successful
- The only blogs that gain lots of traffic and subscribers write list posts and have great headlines
- You have to optimize your monetization to make any money online
However ultimately everything comes down to one thing…
Blogs Suck For Lead Acquisition
- The number of editorial links you receive is generally related to the number of subscribers
- The number of repeat visitors to a blog is generally related to the number of subscribers
- The amount of money a blog can make is generally related to the number of subscribers
- The prominence of a blog on social news sites is at least partly related to the number of subscribers
So to get more links, visitors, money and possibly even success on social news sites, you need to optimize your visitor experience with one single aim, to get more qualified subscribers
Here is a little test for you, lets look on this as a group project.
1. No. of New Visitors During Last Month
In Google Analytics I know that I have had around 20,000 unique visitors that Google Analytics looks on as new visitors during the last month. Whilst this figure is fairly inaccurate, at least it is “constantly inaccurate”, so we can use it as some kind of reference point for the future.
In Google Analytics it is also possible to segment the new visitors by the source of traffic. I still gain more traffic from Google search than I receive from social media such as StumbleUpon, in fact 32% of my new visitors are from search, and that traffic is generally highly targeted.
2. Subscriber Gain or Decline During Last Month
Go into Feedburner or your other feeds stats, and work out how many subscribers you have gained or lost during the last month. Feedburner numbers can fluctuate a little, so go for an intelligent average.
Over the last month I know that I have gained around 400 subscribers
3. Compare New Visitors To Subscribers
Based on my data:-
(400/20000)*100 = 2%
2% doesn’t sound very good, it almost certainly isn’t very good, though the figure is probably a little on the low side. Many of those “new visitors” could well have been previous visitors.
At the same time, many of those subscribers could well have been repeat visitors.
2% Subscription Rate Sucks…
But Is Yours Any Better?
If you had traffic coming to a sales page, you might be happy with a 2% conversion rate… though you would obviously strive for more.
If you are offering totally free content of high quality, you should expect a much higher subscription rate unless your conversion of traffic into subscribers totally sucks, and lets be honest, mine currently does, and there is a high chance your’s does as well.
This isn’t a problem with blogs as such, as blogging software is really just a content management system.
It is very rare to see a blog that has a highly optimized traffic funnel, in fact I have seen some marketing blogs advocate what is effectively the exact opposite of an efficient sales funnel. For some silly reason they advocate advertising to new visitors, and switching off selling to people who have subscribed.
People who subscribe are your hot prospects, and if you don’t sell them something, they will most likely buy from someone else. If they buy from someone else, you have lost a customer
There are factors that might give some “abnormalities” to the overall statistics, such as a newly launched resource with plenty of traffic leverage from friends, affiliates or social media, and an efficient traffic funnel can change things dramatically.
Older blogs that are reaching a saturation point within their niche might have a reduced rate of subscription.
Blogs that can leverage “fake” subscriptions by frequent discussion of competing RSS readers and aggregators probably have a higher subscription rate than their real “responsive” numbers. I know my own numbers aren’t too far off because the occasional “hit” such as my article on “Linking Abuse” was read by 90% of my subscribers based on Feedburner usage statistics.
Email subscriptions for 3rd party blogs are hard to quantify if they are not reported to Feedburner.
So what is your subscription conversion rate of new visitors for your blog?