New tools to improve performance
on November 24, 2022 (last modified on April 12, 2023) • 23 minute read
Even though some have (falsely) predicted that the rise of social media would mean the end for blogs — blogging is still very alive and kicking: according to Ahrefs, about 22,000 people in the US search Google for “How to start a blog” each month. Still, blogging has changed quite a bit in the last decade and it requires more forethought and planning than it did in the days you could simply throw up a basic website, write whatever you wanted, and still get a decent amount of traffic.
Blogging may seem easy, but the fact is that it’s an involved process that requires both time and effort. To be successful and stand out from the crowd, you need to know how to set up the right foundations for your website, which keywords to use in the optimization process, which metrics to measure content success, which tools to use to make the whole process more manageable, and more.
So, what works when it comes to blogging? We have published more than 30 blog posts, ran dozens of surveys, and collected over 1,500 responses about blogging in the past couple of years. Our research helped us gain insights into:
And much more.
Here are the blogging stats that will help you shape your content strategy next year and beyond.
Growing a blog takes a lot of time. In fact, over 55% of the experts that we surveyed said that it takes three to nine months to gain initial traction for a new blog, while significant traction takes over a year.
PRO TIP: Be ready to give it time. Growing a blog is a marathon, not a sprint and you’re unlikely to see overnight success unless you get lucky. You will have to keep a close eye on the metrics, but even that will take time to give you useful info. The key to success with any new blog is to keep publishing and adding value regardless of the signals you’re getting.
Perseverance is key. Around 32% of our respondents said it took 4–6 months to reach 1,000 sessions per month. If we take a good look at the statistics about blogging we’ve gathered, we can see that growing a blog takes time. Getting to 10,000 takes significantly more time – for most of our respondents, it took more than 10 months.
PRO TIP: Build your blog’s authority. Your work may begin at your blog, but it doesn’t end there. You may be publishing the world’s best content, but if Google doesn’t consider your site good enough, the articles aren’t going to rank and few people are going to see them. So, write guest posts for other blogs, do thorough keyword research, be active on social media, and scour the internet for backlink opportunities.
Our respondents identified keyword optimization as the most significant blog growth factor. Publishing volume landed in second place, followed closely by backlinks. Converting visitors to subscribers and social sharing were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.
PRO TIP: You really can’t make it in the blogging sphere without SEO, and keywords are the backbone of good SEO. To identify keywords that your audience is searching for, do some research on the existing content that uses them (Google is your friend), and try to deliver higher-quality, more engaging, and better-optimized content to your audience.
Building on the previous point, experts we surveyed said relevance is the most important factor when it comes to keyword selection. According to our blogging stats, search volume and search intent follow as the second and third most important factors, respectively.
PRO TIP: Simply searching for keywords on Google can be surprisingly effective. By actually searching for a keyword you want to target, you can find out if the search term means what you think it means. You may think you know enough about the topic to just assume relevance, but if people are interested in a different kind of information than what you’re offering, your chances to rank will remain fairly low.
Almost 40% of the companies we surveyed said they publish new blog pieces weekly, while less than 20% of our respondents either publish monthly or up to two or three times per week.
PRO TIP: Consistency is the name of the game here. Fill out your publishing schedule ahead of time and keep posting regularly. Of course, you should allow for some flexibility for breaking news and current events commentary in your niche, but your audience will appreciate consistency more than a hectic publishing schedule.
While the time it takes depends on content type and length, an overwhelming majority of our respondents take more than two hours to create a blog post. According to our blogging statistics, just about one-third take two to three hours, while around 40% take between three and five hours.
PRO TIP: Not all content is created equal. A longer piece of content will take longer to write and an in-depth research report will take a lot of time just to complete the research. Take your time and ensure you’re producing quality content before you try to shave off some time from your process.
Time on page is one of the best indicators of content quality for blogs. The better the content, the likelier it is that people will stick around for longer. According to our research, almost half of our respondents said that the average time on page for their blog posts is 3–5 minutes, while just under 40% said their average time is 2–3 minutes.
According to Databox’s own Benchmark data, these numbers are quite different. The average time on page for B2B companies is 1m and 34s.
This benchmark was calculated from anonymized data from over 1100 companies. Are you a B2B company and want to benchmark your marketing performance, including Sessions, Users, Pageviews, Avg. Session Duration, and more, against other companies like yours? Join the Benchmark Group for free.
For B2C companies, the median value is just 10 seconds less — 1m and 24s.
This benchmark was calculated from anonymized data from over 900 companies. Are you a B2C company and want to benchmark your marketing performance against hundreds of other companies like yours? Join the Benchmark Group for free.
*Important note: Databox Benchmark Groups show median values. The median is calculated by taking the “middle” value, the value for which half of the observations are larger and half are smaller. The average is calculated by adding up all of the individual values and dividing this total by the number of observations. While both are measures of central tendency, when there is a possibility of extreme values, the median is generally the better measure to use.
Viewing benchmark data can be enlightening, but seeing where your company’s efforts rank against those benchmarks can be game-changing.
Browse Databox’s open Benchmark Groups and join ones relevant to your business to get free and instant performance benchmarks.
While blog post length isn’t necessarily an indicator of text quality, the popular opinion is that there’s a strong correlation between the two. Longer posts tend to be better researched and/or cover a specific topic more comprehensively.
A large majority of surveyed experts (82.4%) think long blog posts equate to a higher ranking. Also, 60% of our respondents strive to reach a word count goal.
PRO TIP: Our blogging statistics confirm that length is an important part of blogging and keeping content at 1,500 words or more is more likely to bring more value to the reader and show you did your research. Even from the SEO perspective, people spend more time reading longer articles, so Google will rank them higher because they’re perceived as more interesting, engaging, and authoritative.
When writing a blog post, you should have all the details ready. Having a full outline with headings and subheadings mapped out eliminates uncertainty.
Over 70% of the companies we talked to agree with this as they develop outlines before fully fleshing out drafts. The majority also consider headers and subheaders the most important aspects of an outline.
PRO TIP: Every article outline should include a working header, SEO research for the topic, and the key points you want to hit for the piece. This eliminates guesswork from the creative process and makes editing much simpler.
Traffic is the lifeblood of any blog. But how many monthly visitors should you aim for a month? According to our research, most company blogs have less than 25,000 visitors per month.
In fact, the largest percentage group, 35%, gets less than 10,000 monthly visitors while just over 20% get between 11,000–25,000 visitors every month.
According to Databox’s own Benchmark data, the median value for monthly sessions a B2B business gets is much lower — only 3,840.
This benchmark was calculated from anonymized data from over 1100 companies. Are you a B2B company and want to benchmark your marketing performance, including Users, Pageviews, Avg. Session Duration, and more, against other companies like yours? Join the Benchmark Group for free.
For B2C companies, the median value is higher — 9.190.
This benchmark was calculated from anonymized data from over 800 companies. Are you a B2C company and want to benchmark your marketing performance against hundreds of other companies like yours? Join the Benchmark Group for free.
PRO TIP: Remember that traffic is only one part of the equation. Conversions are where you realize the potential that your number of monthly visitors truly has. To maximize conversions, a good idea is to create relevant calls-to-action for each post. Instead of having generic CTAs all across the website, you should try to customize them and change the message to match the topic of the content.
According to our research, most marketers have an average visitor-to-lead conversion rate of up to 1-3% on their blog. The majority of our respondents actually struggle to reach the upper end of that band, and only a minority manages to exceed it.
It’s a long road from a visitor to conversion; a large majority of your leads won’t end up as full conversions and breaking the 5% barrier is a challenge. Even though almost 35% of our respondents said that their conversion rates fall in the 2–5% range, about 30% of them manage to get more than 10% on a consistent basis.
PRO TIP: Just because your readers enjoy the content doesn’t mean they will take action on their own. You need to encourage them by offering them an opportunity to share their contact info, which will get them closer to the purchasing process. You can do that by adding compelling calls to action (CTAs) in your blog posts, offering content upgrades and other freebies, installing lead magnets, using interactive content, hosting giveaways, and so on.
Here’s how you can ensure your CTAs are performing well and check if they need to be optimized.
Despite the incredible popularity of social media platforms and video content, blogging is here to stay. It’s still one of the best ways to keep your audience informed and to deliver high-level, quality content.
Over 70% of the companies we surveyed think that blogging has become more effective in generating leads. Only 7.8% think it’s become less effective.
PRO TIP: Provide good content first, generate leads second. If you start creating a post thinking only about generating leads, you’re doing it wrong. Instead, focus on your customers’ needs and offer them helpful content that lets them take the next step in your conversion funnel.
Striking a balance here is important. Measuring a blog’s performance too frequently can drown you in noise and meaningless variations, while measuring it too rarely can cause you to miss important data points.
Almost half (47.8%) of the experts we talked to said they measure their performance weekly, while 42.2% measure it daily.
PRO TIP: Landing Pages section in Google Analytics is an excellent way to measure blog growth. You’ll see how many landings the blog posts are generating, as well as the mediums and sources that drive the initial traffic.
There isn’t a strict set of KPIs that will help you measure your blog’s performance. What metrics and KPIs you’ll track depends on your goals, content strategy, and many other factors. When we asked our respondents to select the most important blog KPIs, they listed 15 additional metrics we haven’t mentioned. They named Clicks, Page authority, Next action, Sales, Inbound links/backlinks, Scroll Depth, CTR, Revenue, Shares, Comments, Conversion Rate, Conversions, Click Depth, Return users, and Time on page as crucial indicators for measuring website performance.
PRO TIP: The most important KPIs depend on the goal you’ve set and the stage of the content. So when you’re deciding which KPIs to track, you should determine which KPIs are key for your overall goals, as well as which KPIs to track based on the goals of each individual blog post you publish.
Another thing you can track is bounce rate. Learn how to properly track Bounce Rate by Blog Post so you can see which posts are most relevant and engaging to your audience.
Click-through rate is the percentage of people who see your results in their SERP and click to find out more. Responses we got from companies we surveyed indicate that the average CTR for a blog post is 2%.
This information almost perfectly matches with Databox’s own Benchmark data, where the median value for CTR across the entire website is 1.98%.
This benchmark was calculated from anonymized data from close to 450 companies. Do you want to benchmark your marketing performance, including impressions, average position, clicks and CTRs for all business types against other companies like yours? Join the Benchmark Group for free.
Video may have killed the radio star, but blogging is still alive and kicking.
Over two-thirds of our respondents say that blogging is more effective than video marketing when it comes to generating leads on their websites.
PRO TIP: This doesn’t mean that video marketing is ineffective, just that blogging still has the edge. For the best effect, you can do both. After creating comprehensive blog content, you can amplify it with video marketing. Alternatively, you can create a robust video first and then cut it into smaller videos for social media and blogs.
Continuing from the previous point, our blogging statistics show that blogs have an even more dominant position over video when it comes to driving traffic. A large majority of 84% of our respondents said that blogging is more effective than video marketing at driving traffic to their websites.
There are many ways to get visitors to subscribe to your blog or a newsletter, but our respondents identified subscription bars (at the top or bottom of the page) as the most successful method. Subscription bars are followed by landing pages in a strong second place.
PRO TIP: A subscription bar is a more subtle and sophisticated way to build your subscriber list and while it may be the most effective, that doesn’t mean you should neglect all other methods. Various forms of pop-ups can complement the subscription bar, while targeted social media ads are great for people who’ve visited before and have not seen the sign-up form.
Without a good CTA, most people won’t even know they’re supposed to do something after reading your blog post. Even if they do, they may flounder if the CTA is missing or if it’s poorly implemented.
Most of our respondents’ blog post CTAs have a CTR between 2-5% and less than 10% of respondents saw click-through rates between 16-20%.
PRO TIP: Pay attention to your CTA’s copy, color, and position. You should also text variations to learn how effective different variants are in getting people to click through and convert. In addition, don’t forget to change your CTAs depending on the customer and their stage in the conversion funnel.
Old blog posts are important and our statistics about blogging show that keeping them updated can ensure you keep getting high-quality, and high-volume traffic from them. Nearly half of the experts we surveyed stated that 61-80% of their organic traffic comes from “old” blog posts.
PRO TIP: The best way to update an old blog post is to add new, relevant content. That will help keep the audience engaged as the content remains informative with the addition of updated tips and new points of interest. If you’ve received some questions regarding the blog post, a great idea is to include the answers in the updated version.
Just because the content is old, doesn’t mean it needs to be updated. Before updating your blog posts, you should have a clear process for it and ensure you know what you want to accomplish. Over 2/3 of the experts polled said they have an official process for blog post updates.
PRO TIP: Look for opportunities. A good approach is to look for mid-tier content that is getting some traffic but could be getting more. Perhaps there are multiple middling blog posts covering similar topics you could consolidate into one longer, more comprehensive piece. Once you’re done with the update, draft and redirect the posts you used to the updated, strengthened blog post.
Creating a lifecycle for each piece of content can help businesses maintain a blog update schedule that makes sense. Most experts we talked to said they update their content once a quarter. This doesn’t mean every post needs to be updated every quarter, just that there’s usually something to update.
PRO TIP: Don’t waste time updating content that doesn’t need to be updated. If you update blog posts too frequently, chances are that you’re only wasting resources. Perform regular content audits regularly, and when traffic starts to decline check what you can do to update it.
If you want to check your current blog performance to previous periods and ensure it needs to be updated, here’s how you can do it.
Keywords are exceptionally important for SEO, and looking for ways to include new and relevant keywords to blog posts is almost a no-brainer. Our respondents certainly think so, as almost 90% of them add content for additional keywords when updating old blog posts.
PRO TIP: It’s usually better to target low-volume keywords that you actually have a chance to rank for than high-volume ones that you don’t. This has a much better chance of bringing high-quality traffic to your blog post and the readers are much more likely to be interested in what they find.
While blogging statistics we’ve gathered from our respondents show that results are fairly close, comprehensiveness has been voted as the most effective factor when updating a blog post to improve its search position.
PRO TIP: You can perform simple keyword research of your main keywords in the blog post and take a look at the questions people are asking about the topic. Once you have a list of questions that people are most interested in, you can work to include them as well as the answers in the blog post. This should renew reader engagement and boost traffic.
It isn’t even close. Our blogging stats confirm that almost 40% of experts we talked to said WordPress.org (self-hosted) is their preferred blogging platform. The runner-up is HubSpot at less than 20%, and WordPress.com hovers at around 15%.
PRO TIP: WordPress.org offers a lot of flexibility and customization. It’s also fairly simple to use and very modular, supporting many plugins and themes that increase functionality. You can build almost any type of website by picking the right add-ons and dedicating some time to learning the ins and outs of the platform.
HubSpot is a more robust all-in-one solution that allows bloggers to handle various things within the HubSpot dashboard and provides detailed analytics. Unlike WordPress, HubSpot doesn’t require plugins to achieve its full potential; almost everything you need is available out of the box.
Many marketers are always on the lookout for more information and insight. Our business blogging statistics show that they primarily rely on Google to find new blogs with links from other publications and LinkedIn being second and third choices, respectively.
PRO TIP: Keeping up with the new information in the industry (any industry) is a never-ending task. Fortunately, Google is an excellent resource and you can use advanced search operators in order to refine your search. Once you find what you’re looking for, it doesn’t hurt to check the site’s metrics and ensure it’s actually an authoritative source. You don’t want to waste time on a content mill filled with subpar articles.
As you can see, blogging is certainly not dead. It’s still a useful and highly sought-after marketing channel. If anything, our blogging statistics show it’s growing in relevance and can complement “newer” channels like video and social media.
Still, the process of blogging has become more refined and marketers need to stay in step with current trends and developments in the industry. It can be demanding but also very rewarding.
So what’s the best way to ensure your strategies are working and that you’re in the same ballpark as your competitors?
Data, of course.
This is where Databox Benchmark Groups come in.
Benchmark Groups is a free-to-use feature that allows you to get instant, up-to-date data on how your company stacks up against similar companies based on the metrics and KPIs you’re interested in. You can use benchmark data available to deepen your insight into your blogging practices and performance and strengthen your position against competing blogs.
The whole process is 100% anonymous and no one can see specific data for a specific company. We take your privacy seriously and you can opt out at any time.Once you know how your blog compares to the competition, you can start developing better strategies, and content plans, and improve your performance.
Databox itself has a library of 100+ dashboards, 1000+ metrics and KPIs, and 100+ integrations available, all designed to minimize the time you spend monitoring your blogging performance. Instead, you can focus your efforts on actually improving the quality of your blog. And you try all of this for free.
Want to use Benchmark Groups to develop better Blogging campaigns? You’re in the right place. Sign up for Benchmark Groups today and take your blogging to the next level.
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