Recently I read an article from Jon Loomer where he broke down where his blog traffic comes from, cautioning his readers not to “build a house on rented land.” The premise of the article was that relying on any one traffic source too highly could potentially put your blogging business in jeopardy.
I was curious: Where does my blog traffic come from? What does this mean to me? Why do I care?
Looking at the Analytics
Before I even finished reading the article, I could sense that I might be in trouble. I was pretty sure that the majority of my traffic was coming from a single source and should that source cease to exist, my blog would mostly likely crash and burn. So I headed to my Google Analytics and did a little research.
Traffic Source Analysis of Life by Ashley Pichea
I started with a three-month analysis of my blog traffic sources:
- Pinterest: 83%
- Facebook: 5%
- Search Results: 4%
- Other Blogs: 3%
- Everything Else: 5%
Then I decided to see how the current month stacked up to the averages of the previous three:
- Pinterest: 80%
- Other Blogs: 10%
- Facebook: 4%
- Search Results: 3%
- Everything Else: 3%
Not only did I prove my theory correct that my blog would be in trouble if Pinterest ever ceased to allow me to use it for promotional purposes, but I was able to identify where I was getting the majority of the rest of my traffic.
Did you notice what’s missing? There are no Twitter or Google+ percentages listed in my results (they were each responsible for less than 1% of my traffic). Also, my RSS/Email feeds aren’t resulting in clicks over to the blog.
This analysis gives me valuable information that I can use to optimize my social sharing strategies – I can either ignore these platforms altogether (not “wasting” my time), or I can “up my game” becoming more intentional in building relationships on these platforms that will increase my reach.
Traffic Source Analysis of Homeschool Blogging
After doing the analysis on my personal blog, I decided to see what the results were for Homeschool Blogging. I was less sure of what the results would be, as I actually pay less attention to the analytics on this site in general.
- Pinterest: 38%
- Search Results: 32%
- Facebook: 8%
- Twitter: 6%
- Other Blogs: 5%
- RSS/Email: 2.5%
- Google+: 2%
- Everything Else: 6.5%
- Pinterest: 40%
- Search Results: 27%
- Facebook: 12%
- Twitter: 5%
- Other Blogs: 5%
- RSS/Email: 4%
- Google+: 3%
- Everything Else: 4%
One of the insights I gained from this analysis was that thanks to the diversity of traffic sources, there is amazing potential for growth on Homeschool Blogging, but I will have to work much harder to grow my personal blog.
Why do I say that? Think about it – if each traffic source increases its referrals by 10 visits each month, HSB will grow by 80 visits a month whereas my personal blog will only grow by 50 visits a month. Also, if ONE traffic source “crashes,” HSB is in a much better position to withstand the crash than my personal blog.
Another insight I saw was that HSB actually has a “circular” traffic source that is growing – RSS/email. As this traffic source grows, I retain greater “control” over my audience, as I not only am getting people to “commit” to having regular contact with me, but they want to come back and interact with the content I’m sharing (and potentially even share the content with their audiences).
So What Now?
Now it’s time to determine what traffic sources I want to be intentional about increasing, and which traffic sources I can allow to become passive (i.e. allow others to share my content without having to have an active presence myself). This will not only allow me to better manage my time, but it will give me focus for the time I am spending.
And as bloggers who homeschool, we all know how limited our time is each day/week!
Side Note: After Jon Loomer looked his traffic referral sources, he looked at his revenue sources. Unfortunately, I don’t have tracking set up for this yet – this is one of the things on my 2014 “to do” list.
What About You?
What is your biggest traffic referral source? How diversified are your traffic sources? What will you do with the information you’ve gleaned from this exercise?