If you’re like us — and I think you are — you can’t help but check your blog’s stats a few times each day to see how many someones have caught your latest composition, be it a post, poem, video, collage, or even a song. Back in June, Michael Pick gave us an excellent primer on WordPress.com stats. In part two, we’re going to take a slightly longer view to see what your stats can tell you as the days, weeks, and months roll by, and give you some ideas to help you attract more traffic.
Where to go, what to look for
The default view is a look at the past 30 days of views and visitors to your site. A visitor is a unique user or browser/device that views one or more posts or pages on your site. Just started blogging? Stats looking a bit thin at the moment? Fear not — the tips in this article will help you to grow an audience and increase traffic to your site.
When you view your Stats tab, you can see which days brought the most visitors and views at a glance:
You can see at a squint whether specific days of the week bring more traffic than others. For example, squint at the chart above, which is for our Daily Post blog, and you can see that Fridays — the day on which we publish our Weekly Photo Challenge — are our highest traffic days, on average. Hovering over any day of the week reveals the number of visitors, views, and the titles of any posts published on that day:
The week’s top content
To find out which posts had the most traffic, click on the Summaries link in your Top Posts and Pages — the default view is a list of the top posts in the last seven days. Here, we see that Photo Challenges and Daily Prompts were popular with our readers over the past week:
ACTION TIME: Set up a blogging schedule. If you find that some days bring more traffic than others, consider setting up a blogging schedule so that you’re sure to publish on days visitors tend to drop by. For example, if you’re a food blogger and your readers show up on Mondays to check out your Sunday Dinner feature, you’ll want to set aside time to create on Sunday evenings to hit that traffic sweet spot each Monday. If you’ve discovered your humor haikus are popular with readers, pick a day of the week to publish and stick to that schedule. Readers will then know they’ve got something to look forward to. Looking for some inspiration? Check out Going Serial: The Power of Intervals for ideas on getting regular with your blog.
Weeks: the slightly longer view
Now, let’s take a step back and dig a bit deeper into the content that’s driven traffic over the past 30 days. Do you think our readers enjoy Photo Challenges? Yes. Yes, they do. They love them so much, we added a more abstract component to each Daily Prompt to inspire photographers, artists, and poets to create each day:
ACTION TIME: give the people (more of) what they want. Take a look at your 30-day stat summary. Notice any trends in the post topics that bring the most traffic? Resolve to create one more post per week on the same topic and see how the additional content affects your traffic. Let’s say you’ve been posting a new digital collage each Tuesday. Why not share the inspiration behind the Tuesday collage each Thursday, so that readers get insight into your thinking and artistic process? If you’re publishing fiction each Monday, why not invite reader questions and post the Q&A on Wednesday. You’ll not only engage more closely with your audience, you’ll be building a community around your work, too.
Months: hindsight is 20/20
Looking back at several months of traffic on your site can help you to see how changes you make, such as posting more often or less often, and which topics affect traffic over time. You can also study how many clicks your tags and categories get over time to gauge what’s most popular with your readers. For example, we noticed that traffic on Daily Post started to increase when we increased our posting frequency back in August, 2012:
Reviewing popular posts for the past 90 days can help you to see which posts and topics continue to resonate with readers over time. When we peeked into a longer view on Daily Post, we found that some older posts, such as Choosing the Perfect Blog Name: Two WordPressers Share Their Secrets, continue to be popular with readers over the long haul. Knowing this, we’re giving readers more blog naming inspiration. Seasoned bloggers might want to take an even longer view and see if there are any seasonal / annual trends that drive traffic. For example, you might find that your cocktail recipes are especially popular in early summer, just before the July 4th holiday in the United States. Or, that your fiction posts bring visitors in the late fall, as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) kicks off.
ACTION TIME: share your insights with the class.
What discoveries have you made from analyzing your site’s stats? Have you changed the type of content you post? Your posting frequency? What are the results? Please take a moment to share your insights by commenting on this post — we’re looking forward to see what you’ve learned.
Interested in learning more about stats? Check out:
- Stats Wrangling I: Digging into Your Data
- Your Statistics: More than just an Ego Boost
- Quick Tip: Ignore Your Stats
- Jul 15, 2013 @ 4:55 pm
Jul 15th at 6:34 pm
I always check my stats, I love seeing which posts (the word-filled or photo-filled ones) do better and from which countries are the visits. It’s such a lovely, fulfilling feeling to know that people from many different countries visit your blog, and not just your own country and (for the most part) the USA.
Jul 15th at 6:38 pm
Since my blog does cover travel, there are certain blog posts that searchers and readers tend to dredge up when they need ideas/info. on a particular spot that I may have written about and they might be wanting to travel to visit or at least dream about. For instance my winter blog posts on places where we’ve snowshoed would tend to be discovered in Canadian winter months (recognizing that other parts of the world, their winters may be hot tropical weather!).
For my blog posts on food, there are certain seasons when certain local fruit,veggie is ripening, then I get a run on Saskatoon berry or kohl rabi. But other stuff there is no seasonal pattern on blog traffic since the food type just isn’t grown in North America. So lotus root blog post hits just happen any time of the year.
Jul 15th at 7:06 pm
hmmm. Well, I’d say this isn’t completely true. At least for me it isn’t. My content determines my stats, not the other way round. I started blogging on a regular schedule from the beginning, on mondays, thursdays and saturdays. I do have more visitors on these days but that’s due to the new post, because it appears in the reader, and because I promote it on Facebook, twitter, etc. I think it is much more important to know at which time of day you post your entries – and then again it is quite important to know your audience. If you are writing to an international audience, you’ll never post at the best time of day to get everybody’s attention…
Jul 15th at 7:38 pm
Good info here. But going to the Reader in order to click the Stats tab adds an unnecessary step. Just click on the sparkline (the little graph) on the administrator’s bar.
Jul 15th at 7:58 pm
Things could be even more helpful if we could define a time-frame to pull the stats, i.e,, from this date to that date.
Jul 15th at 8:18 pm
Thanks to your last post on Stats I did a tongue in cheek post about likes and stats and it received more than sixty “likes”, my biggest ever. It shows how we are all a bit overly influenced by them no matter how hard we try not to be. Personally I love when that little red star appears even more than my number of views.
Jul 15th at 8:23 pm
I am very new to blogging and was interested in getting more information on reading the stats and hopefully attain more interaction from any follower. I will certainly begin to set up specific days to post as well as attempt to post more frequently.
Thank your for the information.
Jul 15th at 8:33 pm
I blog my art work and it seems like Sunday is the big day for me. I guess most people are home and checking their reader / email.
My audience is international so there isn’t a special time that works best.
As for post quality – it seems like pics with a clear point of focus do the best. (ie – not a general landscape but a clearly shown flower)
Jul 15th at 8:47 pm
Checking WP stats always involves a split second of holding my breath… until I see the new totals indicate my edgy site is reaching more and more people. Thanks for all the information you collect for us. These tips are so helpful. Love, love, love WordPress.
Jul 15th at 8:56 pm
I agree with Amemina — I’ve found that content determines the stats. And I know I’ve slacked off on number of times I post A LOT and still the stats seem to grow . . . sort of . . . I never have very many hits, and like Tric, I would rather have likes. Somehow, I’m finally starting to get a few more hits, but still no one “likes” it . . . I will have to check out the 30 day and 90 day stats, though, I don’t think I’ve looked at them yet. Although I’m much too obsessed with the other stats!
Jul 15th at 9:53 pm
My engagement also drives stats. When I take the time to interact with my readers, respond to comments, give them shout-outs and visit their blogs, my stats go up for the day regardless of topic.
Jul 15th at 9:59 pm
I started my blog near the end of a month, so I was able to look back at month 1 and compare it to month 2′s progress. At its start, a blog receives so few views that the longer outlook is necessary for reliably judging growth.
I also wanted to note that the gem on this page wasn’t mentioned explicitly. Assuming that these are The Daily Post’s real stats, they’re helpful for gaining a sense of perspective. It’s hard to know what numbers it’s reasonable to hope for, so having the statistics for such a wildly visible blog is very useful.
Jul 15th at 11:02 pm
I find it’s less about specific days, and more about timely topics, “riding the wave”, so to speak… but since \i mainly write about Canadian politics, i guess that’s no big duh…
Jul 15th at 11:47 pm
I hide my stats… far too depressing .. luckily the page is a opener to my mind and helps personally – (anyone buying that?) helpful article though, thanks for sharing
Jul 16th at 1:27 am
So during what time of the day is a good time to post? Of course, we’re in different time zones.
Jul 16th at 5:28 am
I normally post in the evening. This gets me maximum views from both my country (India) which is preparing to go to sleep, and the West, which has just bout woken up. My morning posts don’t get as much ground though.
Jul 16th at 5:36 am
No doubt stats is a great feature. The best parts I like – countries and average views per visitor!
Jul 16th at 5:57 am
Well, for me it’s also more important at which time I’m blogging.
I do link my posts to FB, Twitter and sometimes on boards.
So it’s more important that a lot of my readers are online when I publish a new post, so they can read them immediately.
Jul 16th at 6:33 am
I love checking the countries who have visited my blog. Last month I was delighted to see a visitor from Benin which made me to search the place on the map. I am gathering knowledge as I peer through the stats. Thanks for the informative post.
Jul 16th at 6:47 am
When I saw a particular post becoming v popular it inspired me to develop that post into a book
Jul 16th at 9:16 am
Now I’m slightly different to all of you as I have a blog on the American hit TV show Supernatural. I am finding during the summer when the show is not on my traffic really dips and I am lucky if I hit 100 views per day. Some days are not too bad considering the show is not on at the moment. Now I post almost every day, sometimes twice a day. My blog stats vary from when I post to when I don’t post, they can be most of the time higher. There is a fluctuation, but not much of a one. I love my Stats and country stats and visit them at least three times a day, not that there is a great deal of change. My best ever view has been 555, and my viewing stat is almost 3 million since last October, Considering the show has such a huge fan base, how can I successful chip into that market, and bring more traffic my way? Love these tips by the way.
Jul 16th at 10:57 am
I have lots of readers outside my timezone (I’m both grateful and fascinated!) and my regular readers tend not read posts on the day they’re published. Also, I’m a ponderer who blogs when they’ve come to some conclusions about an issue, rather than writing about an idea the day it comes into my head. All of these things mean that so far I haven’t been inclined to tighten up my blogging schedule.
However, this post has inspired me to experiment with writing something topical and time-sensitive, and see if it changes my stats.
Jul 16th at 12:50 pm
I keep checking stats too, such a good feature, I love being able to drill down deeper and take a look, it is great to think that my writing reaches so many different countries. Just need more followers now….
Jul 16th at 1:56 pm
I am a numbers guy and love the way the stats page can slice and dice the data. I have developed a blogging routine and find that there are certain group activities, like the weekly photo challenge that drive a lot of traffic to my blog. When there is something else I want to get views I will try to post it around the time of that peak in visitors because many times folks will check out some of my other posts. I also include the trackbacks from the Daily post list as that draws other writers to my posts.
Jul 16th at 3:02 pm
“a couple of times a day”?!?!? are you kidding me? Should be “a couple of times a minute”
Jul 16th at 4:28 pm
I started a new blog and I am frequently checking my stats, I think it is an addiction.
Jul 16th at 7:18 pm
I must agree with most, I always check my stats. It becomes an addiction and even more when you have weeks that more than the average amount of visitors visit your blog. I love seeing the places where my babbling reaches. I just wish i knew how people get some many followers… I am happy with the ones I have though “) good luck to everyone on their blogging ventures!!
Jul 17th at 10:56 am
I check my stats each morning and am thrilled if I have one or two visits. I don’t expect thousands of views, but I just enjoy writing my posts and what ever happens, well so be it. I just enjoy telling my stories about my dogs.
Jul 17th at 12:29 pm
This was enormously interesting – thank you.
I do check the stats but only a couple of times a week. Mine don’t shift much, so checking stats doesn’t niggle at me like it did in my first days blogging.
Interesting though, to think of setting up a blogging schedule – what an idea! I really haven’t “studied” the stats (and in fact am the kind of person who prefers someone else would!) but am now curious what I might possibly find if I did.
Seriously very interesting, this one.
Jul 18th at 2:05 am
I’ve found that the number of hits my blog gets even depends on the weather.
Warm, summer days (not hot!) are some of the slowest days for views.
Jul 18th at 12:55 pm
I always check my stats. Everyday, at least two times. The best parts I like: countries and average views. I think it is an hard addiction. Thanks for the post!
Jul 20th at 5:25 pm
Checking stats is the new normal and as far as the posting is concerned there is no fixed time. Sometimes I post early morning India time, but I keep working till late night and post mostly late night. But I think stats do not matter to a new blogger and I am more focused on the content and quality of content. I seriously think if we continue to write interesting things on a regular basis, stats will definitely improve. I am planning to check my stats in a focused way after a year or so. As of now, it’s the write up which will make life interesting.
Jul 21st at 12:58 am
Who can resist stats? The challenge is in how not to struggle and personalize over the random dips and silences.
Jul 23rd at 7:40 pm
Thanks for sharing. Very helpful.