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Every week you set aside a couple of hours to pour your heart and soul into your blog post. You create images for pinning, you use best SEO practices, and you edit again and again before you hit publish. But, is all that effort really worth it? Is there any way to know?

You know we wouldn’t ask if there weren’t! Really, anything you spend time on needs to be measured. You need to know if the time you spend blogging is time well spent and you need to know how to improve your results.

Here’s what you should be measuring and how to make improvements where necessary:

1.    Blog Traffic & Referral Sources

Look at how much traffic you are getting to your blog and where this traffic is coming from (e.g. social media, referrals, direct traffic, organic search, etc.). It’s easy to see overall site performance AND the sources of the traffic in your HubSpot dashboard and sources report, but you can get similar data from Google analytics by going to Behavior > All Pages.

If you want to break out just visits to your blog posts, you’ll need to enter a search term that will limit the figures to just blog posts. In our case, “/blog/” works. Finding sources for blog posts only requires you to look at each traffic referrer in Google analytics. If you have plenty of blog posts, you may find it works well to look at website figures as a whole.

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What to Look For:

Once you know where your blog traffic comes from, you’ll get a feel for how well you’re doing promoting your content by various means. If most of your traffic is coming from organic search you know you are doing a great job with your SEO. If most of your traffic is coming from social media, that reveals a different strength.

How to Improve:

If your organic traffic is lacking, brush up on your SEO skills and do some keyword research. Social media not sending any love to your blog? Make sure you are sharing compelling images and descriptions to drive people back to your blog for more.

2.    Individual Post Views

Just what it sounds like – how many people are reading each of your blog posts? Your HubSpot dashboard will show you at a glance. In Google Analytics, look at Behavior > All Pages and then search for something that will break out just blog posts. For us “/blog/” did the trick.

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What to Look For:

Which topics get the most attention? Are there certain title styles that seem to draw in more visitors? Maybe list posts work well for you, or perhaps your more provocative titles get the most views.

How to Improve and Use What You Learn:

Make an actual list of your observations. Which topics should you write about more often? Which seem to flop? Spend your time where it counts. If you see one topic that dramatically outperforms the others, would that be a good niche for your business overall? Could you combine several related blog posts in to a downloadable ebook?

3.    Visitor-to-Lead Conversion Rate

How many visitors to your site are becoming leads? The number of leads divided by visitors is your conversion rate. To track this, you’ll use your HubSpot dashboard or Google Analytics, but you’ll need to have goals set up.

What to Look For:

The higher the better! Look for your conversion rates to go up as you get better at landing page copy and creating compelling calls to action.

How to Improve:

If your conversion rate isn’t increasing, take a close look at:

  • Whether your premium content is compelling enough for people to become a lead.
  • Whether your premium content is aligned well with your blog content.
  • Whether your call to action images and copy are motivating (see step four).
  • Your landing pages and forms – do they spell out the benefits of converting? Do they ask for just the right amount of information?

If you have just one opportunity for people to convert, say a “contact us” or “get a free demo” form, you will likely have an extremely low conversion rate. Create more downloadable content that will appeal to people who aren’t quite ready to take that step.

4.    Call-to-Action Performance

What’s the conversion rate on each of your calls to action? Again, HubSpot makes it easy to see, but you can also set up goals in Google Analytics to track your CTA performance.

What to Look For:

First off, make sure you are using CTAs wherever appropriate. When you have plenty of good downloadable content, there is no reason that you shouldn’t include a CTA with every blog post. Make sure you choose one that relates. For example, your blog post on “How to Choose Health Insurance” wouldn’t feature a CTA for your ebook on “5 Ways to Make Your Car Safer.” You get the point.

Look at the rate of conversion for each individual CTA.

How to Improve:

If some CTAs are outperforming others, use those more often, but also try to figure out why. Is the image better? Is the copy more compelling? Is the offer itself more appealing to a wide number of visitors (this one is tricky – sometimes a less universally appealing offer leads to better-quality leads, so you don’t necessarily need to stop promoting these).

When you were looking at individual blog post views, likely one or two stood out as top performers. Why not put your very best CTAs on those posts if they are related?

5.    Conversion Rate from the Blog

The performance figures for your CTAs on the blog. This is easy to spot in your HubSpot page performance report for the month. This may not be a complete number, as you may also include text links in your blog posts that may be converting as well.

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What to Look For:

While your conversion rates are important to track and improve, it’s the total number of leads that will hopefully turn in to customers that pay the bills that is vital. If your conversion rate is 50%, but you only have one lead, that’s not great!

How to Improve:

This often has as much to do with your landing pages and content offers as it does with your blog. However, in the blogging department, it may be a matter of increasing traffic from the right audience. So, double-check your keywords and subject matter. Look at and strive to improve your conversion rate at the same time. Total leads WILL increase – as long as people also have a good reason to convert.

Keep on blogging, but don’t do it blind!