Mastering Blog Metrics, Content Creation and Retaining Readers

bicycleBy Guest Author, Jean Chong

I’m just like many other blog readers:  I’m fickle –I read other people’s blogs whenever the fancy strikes me.  Now that I have less personal time, I’m even more picky in choosing blog posts that I click open to read. I’m even more mindful on the subjects that I want to write for blog posts. However,  I want to ensure that I am still able to captivate a few passing readers to pause, read my pithy words and browse my photos.

Blog Metrics Tools That I Use

I regularly check behind my blog wall, statistics for my blog readers –at least daily. I use sitemeter for Third Wave Cycling Blog. The company president does want readers to feel comfortable checking  this blog without revealing to the whole world, their visit presence  –even if it’s only location of their Internet server. However on my personal blog, Cyle Write Blog , I like to use feedjit reader tracker in its widget. I like piquing a reader’s interest about location of other fellow readers world-wide.

For both blogs, WordPress viewer statistics have helped me when determining topics I want to write on, techniques I use to highlight older blog posts in various widgets, and also when I comment on other blogs and Internet forums on similar subjects.

How Blog Statistics and Reader Trends Help Me

Due to surprising popularity of my first post on bike art, I later spun off  2 additional blog posts on more bike artwork pieces. I was fortunate to hook up with a local artist and art book author who coincidentally was also a cyclist and did photograph outdoor public art as a hobby and for his book.  He voluntarily offered some photos where I do give him credit on my blogs. In turn, I mention his art book in my blog posts with a direct link. This happy partnership happened all because he read my first bike art blog post!

Later  I also wrote a completely different post on a third blog about bike art where I am a  team writer for Tourism Vancouver’s blog, Inside Vancouver.  As a team writer, I can also see my total view statistics for all my articles compared to their other team writers.  So far, my viewing rank on this blog team, is modest because I choose to write in the niche area of cycling tourism and tourism sites accessible by non-car transport modes. But at least, WordPress blog statistics help me determine what grabs potential visitors to Vancouver and what they would like to see from the bike saddle or by walking.

A real surprise to me, is the level of interest and more diverse range of readers visiting my blogs: it isn’t just cyclists.  Sometimes it’s people interested or hunting for specific topics on food or travel destinations.  I can see this by the Google keywords they used to accidentally land on my blogs.  I’m sure they are as surprised when they reach my blog as I am, to learn later of each other’s niche interests.

bike & flowersI am not a geeky, blog slave to metrics in order to generate writing inspiration for my blog content. But it’s a nice feeling to know that  my core blog focus on cycling, as well my secondary blog interests in art, food, culture and travel, also have gained some interest or at least, curiosity.

Now I am more motivated to write on personal experiences and observations with some hopefully unique personal photos to flag down passing readers, have them browse around while they have a cup of coffee and blog surf.  Yes, I always will continue to appreciate feedback from readers –always a bonus over metrics.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do your blog viewing statistics help you determine  types of topics or your writing style for future blog content?
  2. Has it changed the type or range of topics that you will write?
  3. What trends in reader statistics for your blog, have surprised you?

P.S. Note for those with free blogs from and being free hosted by WordPress.com. Google Analytics CANNOT be used on your blogs.
Related posts found in this blog:
Visitor tracking on WordPress.com blogs
Real time visitor tracking (non-JavaScript) for blogs
getclicky real time stats for wordpress.com blogs
Two free unique visitor counters for wordpress.com blogs

13 thoughts on “Mastering Blog Metrics, Content Creation and Retaining Readers

  1. @jbhafer: You’re doing something right. You must have had to set aside time to use social media networking tools regularily. My problem is that I work full-time outside of all my blog work now. Plus the people at 3rd wave are busy in several projects so launching yet another social media tool, would require assigning someone to regularily and effectively participate in this type of networking.

    @Joanna: There must be something special about that cherry jam. Most interestingly on cyclewrite blog, there has been interest on my cross-cultural comparisons on dumplings or at least people stumble across that blog for a recipe.

    So far, I haven’t yet provided any recipes on food posts. I tend to choose specific types of foods and write on food memories, with more recent food encounters while travelling and other people entering into my life. However I would be open to taking time to write a recipe if there was enough reader interest on the food topic that I wrote. Unfortunately that means I have to test that recipe..since I rarely cook from using written recipes.

    @Cooking in Mexico-You’ll like feedjit when it works soon for you.

    @nothingprofound- I agree that author satisfaction for blog post is a preferred priority since it helps influence improved writing style which in turn hooks in a reader or 2. The quality of a blog post shines through if the author is enthused about the subject matter.

  2. I never check my stats, that side of blogging is a complete mystery to me. Even if I did it wouldn’t effect my writing, or what aphorisms I choose to put on my blog. I try to please myself first, and hope in turn my readers will be pleased.

  3. Great tips. Am I correct in thinking I cannot use feedjit on my WordPress platform without an upgrade, as I cannot use plugins? Is there any other way to have this feature?
    Thank you.

    Kathleen

      1. tt,
        I attempted this before I posted my query, and got instructions as follow. My first attempt was with the link your guest writer provided. The second attempt was with the link in the article you linked to above. Same instructions both times.

        Click here to download feedjit.zip containing your WordPress plugin.Now do one of the following:
        Sign in to your blog and click the Plugins/Add-New menu on the left. Then click “Upload” at the top and upload the feedjit.zip file you downloaded.If the first option doesn’t work for you, manually copy the feedjit.zip file to your WordPress blog’s wp-content/plugins/ folder. Then unzip feedjit.zip in the plugins folder.Then sign-in to your blog and click the “Plugins” menu on the left and click “Activate” on the Feedjit plugin.Now click the Widgets menu on the left under Appearance. Drag Feedjit to the sidebar on the right.

        I don’t think I have a plugin folder. I looked on my dashboard to make sure, and can’t see any such thing. I thought I had to be self-hosted to use plug ins. My apologies if I am missing something obvious. There is so much that can be done on dashboard, and I know I have not mastered all of it yet.

        Kathleen

        1. @Kathleen
          You got the wrong thing from feedjit.
          What you got is only for WordPress.ORG installs.
          There is NO FTP access to wordpress.COM blogs.
          http://en.support.wordpress.com/ftp-access/
          We cannot upload plugins or zip files or themes or anything else into them.
          http://en.support.wordpress.com/plugins/
          All Javascript code is stripped out by wordpress.COM software to maintain security on this multiuser wordpress.COM blogging platform.
          http://en.support.wordpress.com/code/

          I got the non – Javacript code from feedjit and placed it into a text widget long ago. Since then the feedjit site has changed radically. I suggest that you contact their Staff directly and clearly state “I need the non – Javacript code for WordPress.COM blogs. I cannot use the code for wordpress.ORG blogs. Can you provide the non – Javacript code for WordPress.COM blogs. Or has it been discontinued?” http://feedjit.com/app/contact

  4. Hello Jean! Interesting post and I would like to respond to your discussion points if I may.

    I check my stats every so often and have found a few surprises. I wrote one post as a response to those stats before Christmas when I got a lot of searches for a particular Christmas cake and I knew I wasn’t going to get round to baking it, so I wrote a post with helpful links to all the good recipes I knew for it. I tend to write my posts around the photos as I think they are very important on a food/outdoor blog like mine.

    I put the flag counter widget on my blog a couple of months ago and that is quite fun and doesn’t reveal your presence like the live traffic feed one does, though I am tempted by it, the first time I came across it on a blog it unnerved me slightly, so I haven’t added it to my blog as yet.

    There seems to be a neverending stream of people searching for wild cherry jam coming to my blog… that’s the one that surprises me.

  5. I use Google Analytics (free) to track my collaborative photo blog’s visitors. There are a range of tools, including separating out traffic from search engines, directly typing in the URL, and social networking sites.

    My biggest surprise is how many viewers I’m getting just by working the social networking channels. Viewers are growing at about +200% each month and over 80% of all my traffic is from social networking sites. I’ve also found that they stay longer and look at more pages per visit. One of the truly surprising things to come from tracking my blog’s stats.

    1. Thanks for your reply. Just a quick note here so no confusion arises as many of my readers have free hosted WordPress.com blogs. We cannot run Google Analytics on free blogs from and being free hosted by WordPress.com.

      I believe that the metrics from alexa and from quantcast are also very useful.

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