If you have been hanging around for a while, you may know I’m a sucker for stats. While I’m really great at plugging numbers into spreadsheets, I’m not so great at analysis or tying cause and effect together. (That’s one of the reasons I recently moved everything over to Airtable. I’m hoping to get better at “big picture” going forward.)
As the year comes to a close, this is a great time to look at your overall blogging trends, identify holes in your bucket and make a plan for the new year. How will you know where you are going – or how to get there – if you don’t know where you have been.
Let’s look at where you were at this year and what you can improve going forward.
This is all information you can gather from Google Analytics. If you are new to Analytics, I highly recommend learning the basics. There is so much great information in here that can help you improve and meet your goals. Google offers a free course here. You can also find a highly rated course on Udemy here.
- What were your top 15 posts this year?
- What were the word counts for each of these posts?
- Where did the traffic come from of each of these posts?
- Were these posts in line with your initial chosen niche?
- Were these posts truly helpful or can they be improved further?
- Are these posts properly monetized?
- Were these the posts you expected? If not, why do you think those other posts didn’t make the list?
- Were these older posts or published this year?
- Take these URLs and run them through ShareCounter. How did they perform on the top social networks?
- Do you have “best of” or “start here” pages readily available to visitors in your navigation?
- Use a plugin like Export All URLs to export a list of all your posts with their categories and dates published. Drop these into a spreadsheet or Airtable Base.
- How many posts did you publish last year?
- How many categories did you cover last year? Was your content dispersed appropriately?
- Was every post categorized?
- Take time to schedule sharing on social media your top posts and maybe some of those you wish were on the top 15 list.
- What were your top traffic sources for the year?
- Take a look at the graph for each medium for the entire year. Did it go up or down? Was the cause something within your control or not?
- Take a look at what posts were most popular on each of your top channels. Go to Acquisition > Social > Overview. If you click each social platform you will be able to see which posts received the most traffic from that network.
- Are your profile pictures and bios up to date for each platform?
- Which platforms do you like most? Which do you like least? Would outsourcing the latter be a worthy investment?
- Are you consistent on all channels that bring you traffic?
- What opportunities and avenues would you like to try or focus on more fully next year?
- How many opt-in freebies are you offering on your blog? Which ones are performing best? Can any be retired? Do you need to create new ones?
- Are all of your opt-in forms working?
- What is the open rate of your email newsletters? What can you do to improve it?
- Are all of your links working? You can use a plugin like Broken Link Checker to see. I recommend deactivating this plugin when you are done with it as it can cause false clicks on your affiliate links.
- Do you need all of those plugins you have installed?
- If you are using Yoast, how many posts do not have the green light? If you are not using Yoast, are you still using SEO best practices to ensure you are getting the biggest draw from search traffic as possible?
- Check your blog on all devices to ensure it’s mobile-friendly.
- Check your sidebar. Are any ads there converting or should they be replaced?
- Do you have prominent opt-in boxes available in a variety of places? (Ex. Below post, popup, sidebar, floating bar, etc.)
- How’s your homepage? Does it reflect your current mission and style? Does it feature your best posts and great navigation for new visitors?
- Make a list of every service you pay for on a recurring basis.
- Is there any crossover between services? Could you get rid of one or the other?
- Are any no longer necessary?
- Are there any pressing needs you need to address? Maybe something hasn’t been working right for a while and needs replacing. Maybe you have outgrown a service and need to upgrade.
- Through what avenues did you make the most money? Break that down further. What individual programs or products delivered the greatest income?
- Narrow down your list to 6 to 10 things that you can dive deep on. How can you further promote these things? Ex. Dedicated email campaigns, webinars, etc.
- What things do you need to stop promoting? Perhaps they aren’t worth the time or maybe you have to constantly chase down payments.
- What monetization avenues do you most enjoy? Ex. Affiliate marketing, product creation, service offerings, etc.
- What monetization avenues are trending that you could implement?
Big Picture Audit:
- Now that you have looked at your blogging world through a microscope, how do you feel?
- Overall were things moving in the right direction or is it time to pivot, trying new things and giving up things that just don’t produce results in relation to the time and effort involved?
- Is it time to outsource those tasks you don’t enjoy or don’t want to learn?
- What’s your budget for learning, outsourcing, paid tools and services, etc.?
- What blog/business conferences would you like to attend next year? Narrow that list down to one or two if you will need to travel.
- What are your big picture goals for next year?
- What skills do you need to learn to take your blog to the next level? Who are the experts in these fields? What courses are available?
- What tasks do you need to implement on a daily, weekly and monthly schedule to make those things happen?
These are some of the tasks I will be completing to gauge my process and set goals for the year. Feel free to enter your email address below for support materials including a printable workbook and an Airtable Base Template to get you started.