Have you ever visited someone else’s blog and wondered how much traffic they are getting? Or maybe you want to know how well your own site is doing, and aren’t sure what the best metrics to use are. There are many great tools out there that do a pretty good job of estimating how much traffic a website gets, and this is just a look at some of them.
Times have changed, and the same tools that were relevant and useful in 2013 are definitively not the same tools that bloggers, PR companies and brands use these days to determine blog traffic.
We now must consider how big someones social media following is, and more importantly, how engaged their followers are. I have included various tools to properly measure this, which should be used along side the other traffic measurement tools.
Why is traffic important?
Knowing how much traffic a website gets can help you in many ways.
Guest Blogging: If you are looking to guest blog (to increase the amount of inbound links to your site, and thus increase your Domain Authority) on other websites, you should first check how much traffic the site gets. You should never guest post on a site that gets less traffic than yours. Buffer Founder Leo Widrich used guest posting on blogs with high traffic helped to propel his site from 0 to 100,000 customers in just 9 months!
Paid adverts: Many bloggers offer paid advertising spots on their websites to give lesser known bloggers a bit of exposure to a large audience. Before you dig deep to pay for an advert spot, make sure to do some research on how much traffic the site is getting and how big their reach is on social media. There’s no point in paying if you don’t think you will get as much exposure as you might like.
Working with brands: Depending on if you are blogging for fun or trying to make an income from it, working with brands will either be high up your priority list on not on it at all. Even if you blogging is just a hobby, working with PR companies and brands can be a lot of fun and gives bloggers a real sense of achievement to know their blog is good enough to merit paid blogging gigs. One of the first things brands will look for is how much monthly traffic your site gets to see if it will be beneficial to them to work with you.
I’m sure there are many other great tools which can be used to see how much traffic a blog is getting or how influential a blogger is, so please note this is by no means a complete list. Also, these tools have not been ranked in order, they are all useful in different ways.
10. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is by far the best tool out there for measuring how much traffic a site gets. It is important to make sure you have signed up and that you have embedded all the relevant codes in your sight to ensure an accurate reading of your site traffic. The only problem with Google Analytics is that you won’t be able to access the stats of other people blogs, unless they decided to share monthly screenshots on their site or something similar.
It’s a great tool for you own site though, and tells you a variety of metrics from how many pageviews you get to where the traffic is coming from, what keywords bring people to your site from Google and how many people are being referred from social media networks to your site.
For my site, according to Google Analytics, I got 15,000 unique visitor in the last 28 days and almost 40,000 pageviews which people clicking on an average of 3 pages in total and spending around one minute on my site.
I love using SEMRush as it tells you so much about your site, and your nearest ‘blog competitors’. It tells you metrics such as how much traffic you are getting, how much that traffic is worth is $$$, how many keywords you rank for on the first page of Google and how many other websites link to your site. Remember, the more sites that link to you, especially sites with high traffic or authority, the higher your site will rank.
For my site, according to SEMRush, my site has received 26,000 hits so far in October. Consider it’s only October 18th, this seems about right, and matches up with the google analytics stats for the past 28 days.
Similar to Google Analytics, WordPress statistics are only good if you are looking for statistics on your own blog. They also only show you unique visitors rather than pageviews, so the numbers may look a little lower. Even so, WordPress stats are really helpful in knowing where traffic is coming from, how much comes from Google, what keywords bring people to your site and what social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Reddit etc) bring in the most visitors.
My WordPress stats for October so far say my site has received 12,000 unique visitors, with the majority of hits coming from Google search followed my referrals from Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. You can also see that since I started taking this blog seriously earlier this year, my traffic has really increased.
If you don’t get over 100,000 hits a month, Alexa doesn’t really offer a lot of insight. What it does do, apparently, is it ranks your website and tells you on a global scale and based on traffic) how popular your website it. Alexa says my blog is ranked 650,336 in the world which I believe means there are 650,335 websites in the world getting MORE traffic than me and probably millions that are getting LESS traffic than me.
I’m not too sure how accurate this is, as I have heard many mixed reviews, so if anyone has any experience with this site / tool, please leave a comment!
This is most relevant to Vloggers or bloggers who use a lot of videos in their blog posts. You can quickly estimate how much traffic a blog is getting by looking at how many monthly hits their YouTube videos get (on average). If a YouTube channel is getting million is hits, it makes sense that the blog is probably doing quite well too. One thing to consider, however, is to check out how much hits a few of their videos get rather than just one. These days many people have ‘one hit wonders’ which do not bring back repeat customers (or readers) to their site.
I know many of you might be asking, “What on earth is Domain Authority?!” so before I delve into how to use it to see how well a blog is doing, let me first explain what it is.
Domain Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. Use Domain Authority when comparing one site to another or tracking the “strength” of your website over time.
With this in mind, working on your Domain Authority (DA) should be a priority for new bloggers who would like to take blogging serious down the line. Be sure to buy your own domain name as soon as possible as this is a big mistake I made. After blogging for FIVE YEARS, I only bought the domain name journalistontherun.com in May of this year, which is way my DA is a disappointing 22/100. A blogs DA will tell you how well that site ranks on Google. If your site is shown on page one of Google for many different keywords (such as ‘best travel blogs’ or ‘how to book cheap flights’ then your DA will start to increase.
The better your SEO, the more websites that link to you and the more traffic you get in general, the higher that DA number will go. Some of the top bloggers in the world have a DA of 60 or above while sites like CNN and the BBC would be in the 90’s.
If you use Twitter regularly, in my case very hour rather than every day, and share a lot of your blog content in tweets, keeping track of your reach is very important. I really like Twitter Analytics it because it shows me who the most influential people to tag in your tweets are, what sort of tweets do well (always ones with photos attached!), and who my most influential new followers are. It will also tell you how far your tweets go, how many impressions your tweets get and the total reach of all your tweets over a 28 day period. This will be an important metric for PR companies and brands because if you can prove you have a very large, and engaged, target audience, they will be more inclined to work with you on future projects.
In my case,my tweets reached a phenomenal 319,000 people over the past 28 days. On average, my reach would be around 200,000 each month, but last month seems to have been an exceptional month, with many tweets, many photos and a lot of mentions from bug name accounts like Visit Dublin and Joe.ie.
As almost 50% of all my blog traffic comes from Facebook, I find Facebook Insights to be a very important metric when measuring blog traffic. Did you know you can ‘watch’ up to 10 other Facebook pages alongside your own? I tend to ‘watch’ a few blogs that are in the same category as my own and a few that are making waves worldwide and would be considered the ‘world’s top bloggers’. I follow their insights as it’s interesting to know which of their posts do best so you can try to do something similar. You can also learn a lot from the way the post, what they post and most importantly when they post.
Facebook Insights is also an important metric because there is no point boasting about your 50,000 FB followers if you’re weekly reach is only a few hundred. Really, your reach should be at least 5 times bigger than your total follower count. This means now only are your ‘fans’ commenting and liking your blog posts, but they are actually sharing with their own friends and followers. The more shares…the more traffic!
2. Blog Post Comments
They say that, on average, one out of every 200 readers will leave a comment on a blog post. In my experience, while not 100% accurate, it is a good enough tool for measuring how much traffic individual blog posts receive. If a post is quite controversial, and has received 84 comments, like my post on why NOT to solo travel, you will quickly work out that the post received A LOT of traffic. 84 x 200 = 16,800, which means based on the 200 to 1 rule, this post probably received over 16,800 hits. According to WordPress, the post actually got 17,222 hits so far, so I must admit it’s very accurate indeed!!
1. Klout Score
I know at least one person, with a much higher Klout score than I, who will kill me for including this metric. Admittedly, many people think Klout is all nonsense, and that your score will increase the more you post regardless of whether people are genuinely engaging with you or clicking your links and reading your blog posts. I’m not so sure if that’s true, as I only see my Klout score increasing when people become very engaged with my tweets and like and comment an extraordinary amount on my Facebook posts. That said, I know if I didn’t post at all, which happened for a few days in August, my Klout score dips right down to the mid sixties.
So, what is Klout and why is it important?
Klout measures your ‘social influence’ across all social networks from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram and even LinkedIn. There’s no point having 100,000 Twitter followers if none of them Retweet your posts or click-through to your blog posts.
Klout is also used by many PR companies to see how influential you are online and if you represent their brand, how much extra exposure will they receive. If you are always sharing your blog posts, and you have a high Klout score, it most likely means that a lot of people are clicking your links and thus contributes to your site traffic in a big way.
Two Bonus Tools
When I first shared this post, it was suggested (thanks Nial!) that I add in Trust Flow and Citation Flow to this list so I am going to give a quick summary of both below.
Trust Flow: Trust Flow is a tool designed by Majestic, (a site quite similar to MOZ) which gives sites a score based on quality, on a scale between 0-100. If your site is closely linked to a trusted site (think BBC, CNN etc) your site will have a higher Trust Flow score, whereas sites that may have some questionable links would see a much lower score.
Citation Flow: Citation flow is another tool created by Majestic and is used alongside a sites Trust Flow score. It is a score between 0-100 which helps to measure the link equity or “power” the website or link carries. It essentially predicts how influential a URL might be based on how many (good) sites link to it.