Over the past couple of months I’ve been running an experiment. I wanted to see if blogging more frequently actually made any difference. Would it drive more traffic to my site? Would I get more subscribers? Would Google love me more? Would my social media followers increase more than average?
Since the beginning of July, I’ve published 25 posts over 10 weeks. I also changed my blog theme and layout to a more visual theme.
Here are the stats from WordPress.com (which unfortunately does not support Google Analytics).
So as you can see there were more visitors in some weeks, and therefore more views. But you would expect that – if you are publishing more frequently then you should receive more traffic. One popular post in week 36 skewed the results somewhat – ironically it was probably the one written with the least thought and preparation. Also the new blog layout was introduced in week 36 as well.
Blog subscribers have increased (both email subs and using WordPress) – approximately 25% of my blog followers have been during the past 2 months.
My top referral sources are unchanged. They are Search, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (in that order). Idealog syndicated and linked to a couple of my posts during the 8 weeks which also drove a bit of traffic (thanks Idealog!), and Google+ continued to mill around looking aimless.
In general, my blogs fall into the following categories:
- Blogs about topical events or changes in social media or digital stuff
- Blogs about blogging (ironic I know. Actually, this is one of them!)
- Personal blogs about things that have happened to me, or things I have been thinking about (this was my most popular one)
- Life hacks or How To blogs (this is my most popular post)
- Curation of other content (mostly links to articles or sites I have discovered over the week, like this one)
Here are some of the things I have learnt:
- The posts that are personal opinion or stories are the ones that are shared most.
- The posts that are Lifehacker style (How To) are the ones that Google loves most.
- Blog layouts seem to make a difference – I could see views of posts listed in the Recently Viewed widget which would not ordinarily get any other traffic.
- Timing does count. Blogs over the weekend always struggled compared to those published during the week. Also avoid publishing in the middle of an America’s Cup race, an All Blacks test game, an earthquake or during X-Factor.
- Consciously blogging more forces you to continuously think about content and topics. It’s a good discipline to get into.
- My writing improved (I think). I was more conscious of culling out unnecessary sentences, paying more attention to grammar, and using different writing styles to tell a story.
It was quite a lot of effort. Since I do my blogging in the evenings, it takes a reasonable commitment to spend an hour or two several nights per week researching, writing, editing, preparing images, sharing, obsessing over stats, tinkering with the blog layout, reading other blogs and looking for inspiration for the next post.
Was it worth it? Yes definitely, and not for the reasons that I set out to measure, but more for the focus it gave me and the practise with my writing skills which are forever needing improvement. I’ve also had some great chats with unexpected people who have mentioned to me either online or offline that they have read my posts (I always get a little thrill to know that someone cared enough to tell me). And I’ve spruced up the look and feel so my blog looks more modern now.
I’m happy. I hope you have noticed a difference too.