Help! My blog traffic is falling! How can I recover my stats?
This week’s Build Your Blog Vlog is all about blogging traffic and how to figure out why your traffic is falling.
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Welcome to the Build Your Blog Vlog.
I’m Kim Herrington of Bear & Beagle Creative.
Every week I answer questions about blogging, content marketing, and SEO sent in from readers or from discussions in our G+ group. You can find a link to the G+ group below and join in the discussions. You can also always send in your questions via email to info at bearandbeaglecreative.com.
This week’s blogging question is all about changes in blog traffic. How can I recover my numbers?
There are a few things that can cause shifts in your blog traffic.
4. Seasonal Changes
5. Technical Errors
To get down to the root of the problem, you’ll need to analyze your traffic in a tool like Google Analytics and look for issues in Webmaster Tools from search engines.
First, make sure that you’re not suffering from the easiest although often most annoying thing to fix—technical errors.
This can include things as simple as your Google Analytics tracking code has a glitch or website downtime. Take a look at your Webmaster Tools for both Google and Bing and check for any errors they’ve noticed. If you haven’t registered your website for Webmaster tools at both of the big search engines and for Google Analytics, it’s something you need to put at the top of your blogging to do list right now.
Also be sure to make sure your tracking codes are working properly. In your browser, use a tool to look at the code and look for your Google Analytics tracking code. It should be in the header tag. If it’s not complete or in the wrong place—or just missing entirely—you’ll see traffic problems in reports. Sometimes when you make changes to your website, it can mess with existing things like code so be sure to check this especially if you’ve made any design changes or plugin changes.
If you find nothing wrong technically, you’ll need to move on to more difficult problem areas.
Seasonal changes can be hard to track if you haven’t been blogging very long or had an established audience for more than a year.
Hop into your Google Analytics and use the comparison tool in the upper right hand corner to look at your traffic year over year. Did you see a similar drop in traffic this time last year?
If your blog was smaller last year, you might not notice a big dip so thinking about your audience can help.
For example, mommy bloggers tend to see a seasonal drop in traffic. Why? Moms are spending time with kids who are out of school and less time on blogs! If your blog grew in a audience segment that has more seasonal change, that might show some traffic changes that you didn’t have before.
Crowdsourcing information can also help you find out if other people are having seasonal drops too. Send an email to your other blogger friends who are in your niche and ask them how their stats are doing. If you see a trend across the board, it’s likely just seasonal traffic.
Competition is another source of traffic drops.
To combat against this, take some time to analyze your competitors and what they’re doing differently or changed since you’ve seen a drop in traffic. Are you doing everything you can to provide the most value to your audience? What are your competitors doing for your audience that you might be missing?
If it’s been a while since you’ve done an earnest competitor assessment for your blog, it’s time if you’re seeing drops in traffic.
Referrals, whether from other websites, social media, or from search engines, are an important part of your blog traffic. Take a look at your Analytics and figure out where most of your traffic came from before the change. Then compare that to where your traffic is coming from now.
What is different?
Links from other blogs can die out over time, especially if they link to content that’s become outdated.
Take a look at your trackbacks in Analytics to see how your blog is doing. If you’re not getting as many, that might be why your traffic is down. Working to increase these might be the change you need.
Another thing to consider is algorithm changes or SEO ranking changes.
Google and other search engines often update their algorithms to target different SEO abusers. Sometimes honest bloggers get caught up in the crossfire. Check to see if there’s been a new algorithm release since your change and what SEO experts say the change targets.
You should also take a look in your Google Webmaster tools or Analytics and look for keyword searches that brought blog traffic compared to the previous period. What changed? In Webmaster tools, also take a look at your keyword rankings and see if there’s been a drop.
Content is the last stage to check but is the hardest to analyze. We’re all so attached to our writing it can be difficult to see if from the outside. Be honest with yourself.
What’s changed in your content?
Are you posting on the same schedule?
Is it still high quality content?
Is your topic still appealing?
Are you being too promotional?
Is your content giving readers a reason to come back?
What changed about your content since the drop in traffic?
If you’re having a hard time analyzing your content, hire a blog coach like me or ask a friend for their opinion.
Of course, there’s a lot of work that goes into traffic analysis but if you dig deep, you’ll probably be able to find the source of your troubles as well as get a really intimate look at how you can improve your blog overall.
Do you have a blogging question? Be sure to send it my way by joining the Build Your Blog G+ group or emailing it to info at bearandbeaglecreative.com. You can find more blogging tips at bearandbeaglecreative.com.
Till next time, keep blogging!