An awful lot of research that’s conducted on blogging revolves around B2B topics such as lead generation, lead nurturing, and customer purchase trends and habits—i.e., basically how brands can better leverage blogging as a tool to create more brand awareness and generate higher revenue.
While this is invaluable data to digital marketers, it does little to help individual bloggers who blog for other reasons such as building their personal brand or running a niche online publication.
So we sorted through many online reports, blog posts, and infographics to find specific, actionable insights and blogging statistics that anyone can apply right now in order to get higher shares and more traffic for their blog. Here’s what we found:
1. 62.96% of people perceive blogs with multiple authors to be more credible
No matter how well you know the subject that you blog about or your intent for blogging—if you want your readers to view you as a credible source of information—going it alone may not be your best strategy.
Having more than one authors writing for your blog gives off an impression that you’re both serious about what you do and are in it for the long haul.
Just think of the most popular blogs (Mashable, Gawker, Get Rich Slowly) on the web and you’ll realize that only a small minority of them are written by one person; of course there are exceptions (Ramit Sethi, Jeff Bullas, Seth Godin), but again, exceptions don’t make the rule.
When you’re just beginning, you can look at hiring writers to contribute to your blog. As your blog begins to gain popularity, accepting guest posts can be a great way to get the same result without spending a dime.
Takeaway: Don’t be a one man show, hire authors and accept guest posts for your blog
2. 80% of all the daily traffic on a blog consists of new visitors
According to research conducted by Compendium, 8 out of every 10 people who land on your blog are visiting it for the first time. This number flies in the face of the popular opinion that repeat visitors is one of the metrics that should be used to measure the success of a blog.
It’s also interesting insight because it offers bloggers a clear choice—that of either converting these first time visitors into readers or just letting them slip away.
Now that you know you need to convince those 8 people to stick around, you need to optimize your blog to achieve that objective. There are actually more than one ways to do this.
First, understand that the majority of your visitors don’t land on the home page, instead they land on a specific blog post—so the site navigation must have uniformity and must share all the basic elements of the home page, i.e., about, contact, and subscribe pages.
Second, adopt a conversational tone in your posts so that your first time visitors actually feel that they’re talking to a person and not an article spinning bot (a good way to test this is to read what you’ve written and see if that’s how you would talk to someone face-to-face in real life).
Third, make your readers an offer they can’t refuse. Give them something of value (the most popular example is an eBook) in exchange for their email and their permission to be contacted. This way you can build an email list that you can use to promote your content in the future and create a hedge against any fluctuation in other traffic sources.
Lastly, have a mechanism in place that comes into action just as readers are about to exit your page. This will help convert some of your bounce traffic into subscribers. Some of the services you can try include Bounce Exchange, Picreel, OptinMonster, and PopUp Pro.
Takeaway: Set up and optimize your blog with an aim to turn first time visitors into repeat visitors
3. Blogs that post daily get 5X more traffic compared to those that don’t
This one actually makes intuitive sense, with blogging, as with most other things, you get what you give. Studies conducted by HubSpot and Edison research suggest a strong correlation between publishing frequency and blog traffic, with blogs that post daily receiving up to 5X as much traffic than those that post weekly or less.
Of course, you need to consider your reader’s appetite for content before you start pushing out a post everyday. And also whether that’s something you can do without compromising on quality or feeling burnt out.
The bottom line is that even if you can’t keep up this pace for any reason, anything over and above your usual rate of publishing should give you an incremental jump in traffic.
To begin with, start publishing one or two more posts per week in addition to the number that you are publishing right now, then compare and see if you see a jump in traffic. The idea is to reach a place where you’re neither under-publishing nor publishing beyond the point of diminishing returns.
Takeaway: Increase the number of posts you publish every week and measure the change in performance
4. Once you write 24-51 posts, your blog traffic jumps by up to 30%
But wait, it doesn’t end there. Once you go over 51 posts, blog traffic increases by 54%, and then goes up to 3X after 100 posts, and then by 4.5X after 200 posts.
Unfortunately, most novice bloggers get frustrated with not seeing any results from their efforts and give up blogging long before they ever reach that point. When you initially start a blog, unless you already have a big following on social media, it takes a certain amount of time to gather an audience for your content.
This makes sense because the more pages Google has indexed from your blog, the more traffic it will be sending your way—assuming of course that you’re optimizing your content for search.
This ties in really well with the point above about post frequency, if you’re just starting out, publishing good quality content at a fast pace may be the best strategy to quickly increase the traffic that your blog receives.
These statistics also hint towards the importance of perseverance as a quality every successful blogger needs to possess, the ability to not be demotivated by the initial slump, and the drive to ride over it.
Takeaway: Keep at it, don’t give up blogging too early just because you aren’t getting the traffic you expected
5. If a post is greater than 1,500 words, on average it receives 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes
Everyone’s opinion is divided when it comes to the matter of agreeing on the ideal length of a blog post, but here’s one thing that everyone does seem to agree on—longer is usually better.
According to data collected by Capsicum Media Works, pages that have a higher word count seem to be ranked higher by Google in search results. On average, 10th position pages have 400 less words on the page than first position pages.
This is important because 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. If writing an extra 400 words can significantly move your position up in search rankings, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing it.
Then of course, there’s data from Quicksprout that echoes the same idea but simultaneously emphasizes the importance of not just cranking up the word count, but produce superior quality content.
This is because a big factor that search engines take into account while creating rankings is the number of inbound links that a post receives—chances are if people find your content to be useful, Google will agree with them.
But in the end, there’s no ideal number, as previously mentioned, opinion is still divided and varies from site to site ranging from 1500 words to 2500 words. For optimum results, most of your posts should fall within that range.
Takeaway: If you’re consistently writing posts that are under 1,500 words, try increasing the word count and measure the change in performance
6. 94% of people who share posts do so because they think it might be helpful to others
Much has been written about the psychology of sharing online, but perhaps the most interesting finding comes from a study conducted by New York Times which says that a majority of us share content because we want to help others.
This explains why how-tos and guides continue to remain staple web content formats. So creating helpful content and packaging it in easily digestible formats is one way to get more shares, but definitely not the only way.
In another research titled “What Makes Content Go Viral?”, two UPenn professors studied articles published over a three month period to discover the factors that contribute to higher sharing of content. Here’s what they found:
- Longer articles gets shared more compared to shorter ones
- Practically useful, surprising, and interesting articles get shared more
- Articles that inspires anger, awe or anxiety gets shared more
So make sure that your content involves at least one or more of these elements so that it has the basic components in place that encourage a higher instance of sharing among users.
Source: New York Times Insights
Takeaway: Create content that is either helpful or stirs up strong (preferably positive) emotions in people
7. Blog posts with images get 94% more views compared to those without
Humans are visual beings, this is proven beyond a doubt by the fact that our brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster compared to text. Now this isn’t exactly new information, advertisers and marketers spend big money on getting the visuals just right for their campaigns—from top models to exotic locations, no expenses are spared.
You know why? Because it works, that’s why. Visuals help sell ideas and things much better than text can ever hope to.
Thankfully, you don’t need big money, top models, or exotic locations to leverage the power of visuals for your blog. Almost any visual is better than having none—images, graphs, infographics—anything that provides contrast to the text and works as a visual anchor will be a great improvement.
Of course, there are some caveats here. It’s easy to go overboard with visuals, which is just as bad, if not worse, than not having any, you need to be able to decide when visuals will help and when they won’t. Using generic stock images that share no context with the content is also a bad idea because it annoys most users.
Here’s an interesting article Neil Patel of KISSmetrics wrote about
Takeaway: Learn to use visuals strategically in your blog posts
8. YouTube has become the 2nd largest search engine–bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask and AOL combined
Yes, the YouTube you go to watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and College Humor videos and probably think of nothing more than an entertainment channel gets more search queries than four major search engines combined—3 billion per month to be precise.
If you’re not part of the network, you’re just giving up your chance of being discovered by new audience.
A lot of people, from comedian Ray William Johnson to Scandinavian gamer better known as PewDiePie, have made legitimate careers (and millions of dollars) running their YouTube channels. But these people are professional YouTubers.
So while copying them exactly may not be an appealing idea to everybody, there are certainly ways in which the average blogger can use the power of YouTube to reach new audience and get higher traffic for their blog.
The type of videos that you can make will depend on your content vertical, for instance, if you’re a beauty blogger, you could make DIY beauty videos. Technology bloggers usually make unboxing videos, reviews, and tutorials. You get the idea.
If you’re wondering where and how to get started, Gregori Ciotti has a great Blogger’s Guide to YouTube over at his blog Sparring Minds. Phil Nottingham at Moz discusses the marketing value of YouTube. And finally, Social Media Examiner has a post on how you can use YouTube to drive additional traffic towards your blog.
Takeaway: Use the power of YouTube to acquire new audience and drive more traffic towards your blog
9. Click through rate (CTR) is 17.36% higher when using the recipients first name in the subject line of emails
Don’t you hate it when you need to address somebody but just can’t seem to recall their name, quite an awkward spot that, isn’t it? And yet we do it all the time with emails, especially when there are more recipients than one, such as in the case of newsletters.
Most bloggers run their own newsletter these days to keep their reader updated of fresh content that’s posted on the website. And quite honestly, they’d be foolish not to do so, considering what a great way it is to acquire and retain a ready audience. But not all bloggers truly go the distance when it comes to optimizing email campaigns.
As suggested by this study conducted by Marketing Sherpa, just making this one small change, i.e., personalizing email subject lines for recipients can have a significant impact on click through rate.
And doing so has never been easier, you would be hard pressed to find any email marketing provider who doesn’t allow the functionality to implement this.
All you need to do is make sure that you’re collecting relevant data such as the first name and last name of subscribers at the signup stage and then link the database to the email before sending off the email. If you want to further improve your email campaigns, Copyblogger has a great guide on the subject.
Takeaway: Take time to optimize your email campaigns for higher CTR, starting with personalizing subject lines
10. Smartphones and tablets now account for 60% of total time spent online, leaving the PC behind
Last year, comScore reported that mobile platforms—smartphones and tablets—combined account for 60% of total digital media time spent, up from 50% a year ago. This essentially means that mobile is the new PC.
How many times has it happened with you that you clicked on a link on your mobile that led to a website that either (1) took ages to load, (2) required to you to pan, scroll and resize endlessly to view the content, (3) kept throwing up annoying pop-ups and dialogue boxes—until you finally had to close the page out of frustration? One thing you can do to ensure this doesn’t happen to your users is to implement a responsive design for your website.
Responsive web design is an approach to web design that focuses on providing an optimal viewing experience — easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling — across devices of all shapes and sizes, from computers to mobile phones.
If your website is based on popular content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla and Magento—you will find hundreds of beautifully designed out-of-the-box responsive themes. Or you can have a designer create one according to your specifications, even though the latter would be more expensive.
Takeaway: Invest in a responsive design for your blog if you haven’t already got one
These were some of the facts and statistics that we found that can help bloggers make the most of their efforts without having to reinvent the wheel—and we’re confident they’ll work for you—because data never lies.
Having said that, this is by no means an exhaustive list and I’m sure that we’ve missed some real gems out there because we couldn’t find them. Have something to add to this list?
Let us know in the comments!