Data Snacks

Comparing Your Current Blog Performance to Previous Periods

In this episode of Data Snacks, we show you how to properly track your blog performance over time.

Marija Hladni Marija Hladni on June 1, 2022 • 8 minute read

Today we are going to talk about blog performance. Managing a blog, whether it is a business one or a personal one, requires commitment. So naturally, you want to see the results of that commitment through clear numbers, from visits to conversions. 

This is why tracking the success of your blog over time is so important. You can see whether the changes you make in your strategy and approach have provided you with the desired result or if further adjustments are necessary. The only way to really accomplish this is to be able to see how your blog has progressed over time.

You can see now why it’s so important to track and analyze the performance of your blog. Today we’re going to be building a dashboard together that will help you discover- 

  • Blog KPIs you should already be tracking
  • How to use Custom Date Ranges to compare your blog performance over time
  • What you can do to improve some of the key metrics if you are not hitting your goals

Below, you can view the full episode or keep reading for a fully transcribed version of the episode, complete with relevant screenshots.

Let’s get started.


Let’s Discover How your Blog Post is Performing

Alright, I am inside the Databox app, and the first thing I’m going to do is navigate to the Databox Designer. I want to use HubSpot Marketing and Google Analytics as my data sources, which you can find here by searching the Metrics Library. If you use a different marketing tool, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to follow along.

Adding metrics from your selected data sources is super easy. Once I’ve chosen Hubspot from the Metrics Library here on the left, for example, all I have to do is drag-and-drop some of the available pre-built metrics. 

The main blog performance metrics I want to be able to visualize today are going to be from two sources – first Google Analytics – Bounce Rate and Pages per Session, and from Hubspot Marketing – Blog Views, New Blog Post Published, Top Blog Posts by Click-Through Rate, Top Blog Posts by Page Views, New Email Subscribers and New Leads by Source. These are going to serve as our basic metrics for the blog performance analysis and comparison we are going to end up with. And don’t worry if you didn’t catch all of that, we’ll walk through each step together.

Here’s a look at the dashboard we’ll be creating today. You may notice that there are several ways of presenting the data in this dashboard. With Databox, you can choose how you want to visualize your metrics, which is extremely helpful when it comes to easily determining your blog performance. For example, the gauge here easily represents a comparison between two numbers while the table works better for some of the other metrics. Both are represented in this dashboard because they serve different purposes… which we’ll get into later. Let’s start building this thing first.

Let’s See What Our Blog Performance Data is Telling Us

We will go through each metric and see what we can learn.

Google Analytics metrics – Bounce Rate and Pages per Session. 

 There is a lot to be said about the importance of Bounce Rate – some will even go as far as saying it is the one metric that is the most telling. This is not too far from the truth – Bounce rates are important because they might indicate that the page content is irrelevant, or confusing to your site visitors. 

To add this metric as a gauge, I head to the Visualization Types menu and choose gauge. Then I click into the datablock, choose Google Analytics as my data source, and from there choose Bounce Rate.

Bounce rate is defined by Hubspot as the percentage of people who land on a page on your website, then leave without clicking anything else or visiting a second page. A high bounce rate across your blog means that visitors are not interacting with the content. According to SemRush – A bounce rate of 56% to 70% is on the high side, although there could be a good reason for this such as slow page loading, 404 errors, or poor mobile optimization. A 41% to 55% would be considered an average bounce rate and an optimal bounce rate would be in the 26% to 40% range.

However, in order to see whether or not changes you make are influencing this number, tracking bounce rate over time is a must. With Custom Date Ranges – you can choose to see your bounce rate over a specific period of time – before and after you made changes to your blog- see if there is an improvement, if the number is lower. To enter a custom date range, click here on Date Range, then scroll down and enter whatever dates you’d like to see reflected in your datablock.

Similar to this, Pages per Session show us the Average Number of Pages Viewed during a Session during the specified Date Range. Now, keep in mind that repeated views of a Single Page are counted. So if someone is interested in more than one piece of content on your blog after they visit this metric will show them just that. To add this to our dashboard, I’m actually just going to duplicate my Bounce Rate datablock, then change the metric to Pages per Session.

A high Pages per Session rate is an indication that your blog visitors find your content to be valuable and engaging. And again with CDR, or Custom Date Ranges, you can easily compare these metrics across months and quarters to see if the improvements you made had an effect.

Now we are moving on to HubSpot Marketing metrics

Let’s Start With A Table Containing New Blog Posts Published, Blog Post Views, and New Blog Subscribers

 It is important to have a comparison of these three over time, because you want to see whether an increase in the number of blogs published has had a positive impact on blog post views and ensuring an increased number of new blog subscribers.

There needs to be a clear trend here, otherwise, your team is just turning their wheels without making an impact on your goals. To create this table, once again I go to Visualization types, and this time choose Table. I’m going to click in to edit this datablock and select “Data from multiple metrics”. In the first row, I’ll select Hubspot Marketing here and choose New Posts Published, I’ll add a second row and select Blog Post Views, and finally, I’ll add a third row and select New Blog Post Subscribers. By comparing these three metrics over different time periods with our Custom date Ranges you can get your answers and see if the increase in publishing is providing you with the results you want.  

Two Valuable Metrics are also Click-through Rate and Page Views

These metrics show us the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page. To add each of these to our dashboard separately, I’ll search our Metric Library and simply drag each datablock in.

Now, having a high number of blog views with a low CTR, or Click Through Rate, means that people who see your posts don’t really interact with them. As we mentioned before this could be due to the same issues giving you a high Bounce rate or just non-engaging CTAs. Luckily with the data on this dashboard, you can easily see the current state and as you build your blog compare it to previous periods to see whether the changes you make bring you closer to your desired result.

Finally, We Come to Leads by Source

This tells you which source brings the most visits to your blog. Of course, we all want to see high numbers with direct traffic and organic search because that’s the free stuff, but sometimes additional promotion is necessary. By comparing this metric over time periods of weeks, months, or quarters you can see whether certain blog boosting campaigns have changed the source of your leads and if more adjustments are needed.

Ok, we have our dashboard. But more importantly, we now have the opportunity to compare your blog’s performance over time. Each time you make a change, new design, more powerful CTAs, or increase your publishing rate you will be able to see if that makes a difference by comparing your current blog postperformance to previous periods. 

Time to Start Comparing Your Blog Performance

That’s it for today. 

Being able to compare your current blog performance to previous periods enables you to get insights into trends for certain KPIs like Bounce Rate, Blog Views, and CTR. 

These insights will help you make changes to improve the declining numbers or keep the current strategy if the metrics are exactly where you want them in comparison to the goals you set.

If you need help Comparing Your Current Blog Performance to Previous Periods our Support team can build the dashboards you need for free to help you get started. Head on over to databox.com/free-dashboard-setup to get started, or, just click the link above.

About the author
Marija Hladni
Marija Hladni Senior Marketing Strategist at Databox
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