Inbound Marketing Strategy

How to Tell if Your Blog will Succeed (Or if You’re Wasting Your Time)

Brad Smith
February 10, 2012
Blog Analytics
height=”250″ Image courtesy of Brad Smith

How can you tell if your blogging is paying off?

Do you measure visits, subscribers, or Twitter Followers?

What if you’re wasting your time?

That’s a tough question, because there’s no clear answer. Many of the benefits are intangible.

But what about the big picture. There must be an easy way to quickly determine how you’re doing.

You probably don’t have time to be a Google Analytics Ninja. Nor would you want to be. You need to focus on content and promotion, not analytics.

It turns out, there is an easier way.

You can take basic website metrics and plug them in to an old copywriting formula.

The formula has been around for awhile. You’ve probably even heard of it before.

Here’s how you can measure your blogging success in just a few minutes.

How an Old School Copywriting Formula will Help You Measure Success

Copywriting has been around for a long time.

While originally popular in advertising and direct mail, it’s now a huge part of blogging and content marketing.

Copywriters have been using a tried-and-true formula for ages to get interest, build trust, and make a sale.

The forumla is AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.

Before anyone will buy something from an advertisement or piece of direct mail, they need to pass through the other three stages.

The same is true online. No one will hand you their credit card information the minute they land on your website.

Once you have their Attention, you need to get them Interested and build Desire before asking for the Action.

For example, I recently had someone subscribe to my mailing list. But they didn’t just read one post and sign up immediately. That’s not usually how it works.

They looked at 11 different posts and pages over 59 minutes before signing up.

That’s really important. Instead of forcing people to sign up, you need to provide enough value and information so they can work through each stage.

So how do you do this using the AIDA forumla?

Your basic website metrics will tell you how you’re doing at each stage. Use them all together in the AIDA context, and you’ll have a great understanding of where you’re doing well… and where you can use some work.

Attention

The hardest part of online marketing is winning the War of Attention.

People are under constant attack from information, and it’s difficult to break through.

But that’s why blogging is so important. It pulls the reader in when they actively search for your topic.

So this one should be obvious. You want to know your monthly traffic, and major traffic sources.

Measuring your overall traffic from period to period is good. But you also want to know how the traffic breaks down into sources.

Where do you need help, and where are you exceeding expectations?

Ideally, you want a healthy balance between sources. If you rely on one tactic or channel too much (i.e. search engines), then you could be in danger the next time Google updates their algorithm.

Interest

Getting people’s attention is difficult, but turning attention into interest is almost impossible.

Most good blogs have a bounce rate of over 60%. That means the majority of your traffic (attention) isn’t interested in anything else you have to say.

That might be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the unfortunate truth (and it’s why you have to attract a lot of attention in the first place).

The trick is to raise people’s interest by demonstrating exactly how they benefit from your content.

So how do you measure something vague like interest?

The bounce rate is one of the best indicators, and it’s usually defined in one of two ways:

  1. Visitor only views 1 page and then exits
  2. Visitor lasts less than 10 seconds and then exits

Shoot for 65% or less on your blog as a decent benchmark.

Besides that, there are two other closely-related metrics.

  1. Pages/Visit: How many pages do people see when they visit your blog?
  2. Time on Site: How long are they staying on your site?

Ideally, you want people to visit at least 2 pages per visit, and stay on your site longer than 1 minute.

That means you’re keeping people engaged, and you’re improving the chance they might actually take some Action.

Desire

The third and most crucial step is to build desire.

You don’t want to trick people into buying. You want them knocking down the door because they need it.

So don’t just tell them… show them exactly how it benefits them. Demonstrate how you can solve their problems. One of the best forms of marketing is by teaching.

But to get to that point, you need them to subscribe for more updates. The best way to build trust is to send them frequent messages over time. They’ll get a better understanding of who you are, and how you can help them.

The best metric is to watch how many people (out of your total traffic) are signing up as subscribers. You’ll have a weekly or monthly conversion rate that you can track over time.

It will also help you figure out how much traffic you really need to build your email list.

Action

The hard part is over.

You broke through the noise and got people’s attention.

You turned that momentary attention into genuine interest.

And then you’ve built trust with your subscribers.

The final part?

Ask them for the sale.

It isn’t difficult or manipulative. People already like you and trust your word. Otherwise they would have unsubscribed.

So if you feel like your product or service will genuinely help them, then just give them an offer.

Blogging is difficult. It’s a lot of work. You have to spend hours research, writing, editing, and promoting your content. So measuring your progress shouldn’t have to be.

Plug your website metrics into a simple formula, like AIDA, to quickly understand how you’re doing… and how you’re going to get better.