How Often Do People Post To Their Blogs? [Infographic]

In reality, how often do other bloggers post to their blogs and is it really working for them?

commentbyposts

I produced the above Infographic after a big of digging on other people’s blog. I went to a well known blog and looked at one of their recent posts. Now the blog that I looked at is posting once or twice per week and so I was able to look at a fairly new post with 100 comments on it. I then clicked on every one of the comments links to go back to their own site, including the link to the guest blogger who had written the post.

What I Looked At

This rather well known blog is about blogging and about getting the most out of blogging. The post itself was also about blogging traffic. Most people leaving comments on that site do so because they think that the blog has a similar theme and that either the traffic is similar and might send over some interested readers. So it makes sense that if people are leaving comments with links to their own blogs then they are probably after a bit of traffic that is related to blogging and blog traffic.

Or more simply, I would expect the people leaving comments to be running blogs and know what they are doing.

How Often Have These Sites Posted In The Last Week?

So, I went through to all of the blogs and looked back over the last 7 days to see how many times each blogger had posted. Almost immediately I thought it was going to be a long task as one blog had about 20 posts in the last week!

However, this was quickly followed by a blog that simply said “coming soon” and a message that until there were 1000 followers on Facebook the posts wouldn’t start. It optimistically expected to hit that figure by last June. Maybe they could do with earning a reputation rather than leaving comments!

What I was surprised at was that almost half of these blogs had not been posted to in the last week – and in many instances the latest post was months ago. Yet these people were actively commenting in the hope of driving in traffic.

The Active Bloggers Are Posting At Least A Few Times Per Week

Many of the remaining blogs had posted once in the last week. I didn’t have any objective measures worked out to decide if these people had put up a quick post or were spending all week working on a quality post. However, in the end it turned out that over half of those posting in the last week were very active, having posted at least 3 times.

I am going to come back to these figures shortly with a full head to head on how often you should post to a blog. My experiences over the last few weeks and where I want to take this blog long term have made me realise that I need to tweak my blogging frequency slightly. But, I think what I’ve done in the early days was correct for a new blog.

Watch this space for more details!

Please follow and like us:

Using Google Bounce Rate To Improve Blog Traffic

There’s a lot that you can learn from Google Adsense to help you to improve your blog traffic. If you don’t already have it installed then read about installing Adsense else read on for some traffic building tips!

What Is ‘Bounce Rate’?

Google's definition of Bounce RateA page’s bounce rate is the measure of how many people arrived on that page and then left without visiting any other pages on your site. There can be good reasons for this, such as subscribers who have a link to a new post and know they have already read what they want to read from your blog.

But Bounce Rate can also be a warning sign that something is wrong with the page, website or even where your traffic is arriving from.

I suggest that a low bounce rate is around 20%. If you can achieve this regularly then you are onto a good thing! A high rate would be 50% and more, in which case you need to drill down and work out why you are losing people. But to do this you need to look at the different stats provided to see where you can be improving your site.

1) Where Are You Bouncing Visitors?

bouncerate2Have a look at the report under Behavior / Site Content / All Pages and sort the table by clicking on Bounce Rate. Bounce Rate is the percentage of people that have left your site from this page so it can be a good indicator of what pages people are not liking.

Ignore pages that have low traffic levels as the stats will be statistically unreliable, but take a look at the bounce rate. If you find a mixture of low / medium / high  rates then compare the pages carefully and see if there are any obvious reasons for visitors leaving. Are these lower quality writing? Do they have large images that are slow to load? Do they lack your normal levels of interest through formatting and supporting images?

If it’s fairly level but high (e.g. above 50%) then you need to see what’s wrong with the visitors in general.

2) Where Are Your Visitors Exiting?

exitsAlso in the Behavior / Site Content list is Exit Pages. This lists pages people most often leave the site from and the list can be different to the bounces because it’s not affected by the number of people arriving there. Have a look at these pages and decide if they are natural dead ends or whether a bit of clever linking could provide further reading.

Many of your posts could lead to further posts that are similar in nature or provide further detail. Other pages might be natural dead ends. For example a newsletter page is a natural dead end as people will finish reading, subscribe and move on. Likewise subscribers might view your home page or latest post and leave.

But where possible look at your exit pages and see if they are suffering any of the problems listed earlier or whether you can tempt readers to remain.

3) Which Visitor Sources Are You Bouncing Most?

bouncerate3Look at Acquisition / Overview and again compare the bounce rates. Here you can get a couple of useful pieces of information. If the bounce rate is steady across all sources then you are probably fine. If one source is particularly high then that is worth looking at.

We can see from the above chart that none of the bounce rates are particularly impressive, but Referral and Social are significantly higher than Organic Search and Direct. By clicking on Referral I was able to see that on the whole the bounce rate was similar, but one site (rankings-analytics.com) had a 100% bounce and almost 20% of Referrals. Clicking again on the website it was obvious that it was just some form of robot seeing if the site is still working. So that worry can be forgotten.

In this case, Social being high is also not an issue because it’s people coming across to see the latest additions to the catalogue, so single page visits are OK. It makes Social a bit like Direct visitors, which be slightly higher than the rest particularly if you have a successful list for reasons already explained. But if other sources are high then it’s a warning flag that visitors are possibly arriving expecting something other than what your blog provides. This is especially important to investigate if you are paying for advertising and these channels are high bounce rates.

A high bounce rate on organic search could mean that you have been trying to do some SEO work and got it wrong. Possibly you have worked on keywords that are suitable for your site but then your landing page doesn’t fulfil the promises made. It might not give sufficient detail and confidence if you have tried too hard to optimise it.

Your Direct users and Other have probably arrived from links on other sites. High levels here could mean that you are submitting articles or writing blog comments on sites that aren’t related enough or the content pages aren’t related enough. This tells you to target your articles and comments differently.

On the other hand, if any of these rates are very low then dig into them also. They could reveal sources that are providing very closely matched readers. In this case you can increase your efforts on these particular sites and drop your efforts on the sites that are producing too many bounces.

4) Are Your Readers Mobile?

bouncerate4Are your readers using computers or mobile devices? Audience / Mobile / Overview will soon tell you. Have a look at the percentage of desktop vs mobile and this will show you whether they are. Then look at the bounce rate of both. Are they even or is one particularly high?

A high bounce rate on mobile will probably indicate that you aren’t using a mobile friendly design (as per the site shown above). Changing your theme, or design, might be required. But it’s worth trying your site out on different devices.

windowsvsiphoneUnder the Mobile tab is Devices, which can indicate if a particular device isn’t loading properly. For example, I’ve seen mobile sites render beautifully in iOS and Android but not Windows.

If you don’t have access to any devices or one particular device seems to have a high bounce rate and you don’t own that particular device sites such as MobileTest run simulators in which you can test your website.

5) What Browsers Are People Using?

bouncerate5Audience / Technology / Browsers then OS will show you if your site is losing a lot of visitors to a certain browser. Some browsers aren’t as popular with developers as others and all do have their own little ‘quirks’. It will also point out (again) if some mobile users are less likely to stay on the site. The figures above show Internet Explorer having a lower bounce rate than Chrome, which could be explained by it being a very old site that was written for IE.

If there’s a stand out browser with a higher than average bounce rate download that browser (if you don’t already have it installed) and test the site yourself. For example, I’m recommending the site shown be tested on Chrome. You might need to make changes or even get a new theme. You can’t get your readers to change browser, so support the browsers they are using most.

Clicking on Operating System will break down the data for you by OS. This includes mobile operating systems so can back up the data uncovered in the Mobile information.

6) When Are People Leaving?

bouncerate6Look at Audience / Overview and change the graph to bounce rate. Is it fairly level or all over the place? Now, here’s the trick. Look at the peaks and troughs and the look at your list of published posts. Assuming your home page is one of the pages with the highest bounce rates, a lot of those bounces are coming from this page.

Study which of your posts have been followed by high and low bounce rates. Whilst these posts are the first thing that people see they will affect how long people are on the site for. If you are getting traffic from serious, well planned sites and suddenly you put up a jokey post  you might see that the bounce rate raises following this, dropping when a serious post is published.

This tells you not only what posts retain people but also what posts visitors are coming over and wanting to read about. Providing more of the posts that are followed by low bounce rates could do you a huge favour.

Does It Help?

It could just be fluke that a certain browser, device, page or whatever is losing more people, but it’s always worthwhile checking out for any inconsistencies that you can improve upon. A few minutes of digging can also point you in the direction of where you can best get new visitors from and sources that are maybe under performing.

Retaining visitors on your site might not seem as glamorous as increasing your SEO or notability through articles, guest posts and blog commenting, but it can lead to a better website that gains in reputation, builds followers and earns itself a good reputation and points you to which of these you are best employing.

This should result in longer term growth of the site.

Please follow and like us:

Can WordPress Ever Be Secure Enough?

headline6

With headlines such as this frequently in the news, you could be forgiven for thinking that WordPress is a security nightmare. Does it deserve the bad press that it frequently receives? Should be be putting our trust, sometimes our livelihoods behind it?

The above headline How to avoid being one of the “73%” of WordPress sites vulnerable to attack would lead you to believe that there’s a 3 in 4 chance that you are going to be hacked. But, once you open the article and read past the headline, it does, to an extent, show to be a bit of scare mongering.

In this case 73% of WordPress installations had the same potential security flaw. However, server side protection, as provided by many hosts, prevented the potential flaw from becoming an actual security whole and many non-secure hosts were deploying fixes to improve their servers too.

headline2

Millions of sites at risk” claims this site. With approaching 75,000,000 websites using WordPress millions represents quite a low chance in some respects, but where did this bug come from? In this case it was from third party add ons – the themes and plugins that you can freely add to a WordPress blog to customise and improve upon it.

headline3

And this is what we need to remember when we are using WordPress. The core of the code is downloaded from them, however we then install themes and plugins galore. Where are they coming from? I could publish a theme or a plugin today and you could be downloading it tomorrow. But, why should you trust me?

According to the WordPress site there are 40,832 plugins with 1,070,638,954 total downloads are at your fingertips. That’s a lot of plugins and even more downloads. Yet these plugins can change the behaviour of your website. They can, and it is frequently their job to, change the behaviour of your installation. Some actively prevent admin logons from working (e.g. Limit Logon Attempts, which is approaching 1,000,000 installations and yet comes with a large warning that it hasn’t been updated for 2 years.

Presumably that’s because it doesn’t need to be changed. It was written, does what it needs to and that’s the end of the story. But we’re then subjected to a warning that we’re learning to ignore – on a security plugin!

headline5

In all fairness WordPress do work hard themselves to patch security issues. As soon as they are found the team works hard to put out a a fix, even if those fixes are less than a week apart (see April 21 & 27 above).

But, why is WordPress in need of so many security patches? The issue is exactly what WordPress is and the way that we use it. In simple terms, it is known as “Open Source” because the source code is shared and anyone can view the code.

With packages such as Microsoft Windows and Mac OSx all that you receive is the compiled code. There’s no way of looking through the code to see if the programmer has made any mistakes. Because WordPress distributes the raw source code anyone can look through the code and check for omissions and errors that leave hackers ways into the site.

On top of this, we then let anyone and everyone write add ons – “plugins” as they are known, without any possible way of security checking other than finding out too late that something is wrong.

Furthermore, we then distribute the same potentially insecure code to 75,000,000 websites. Half of these are self host (not hosted at WordPress.com). That allows hackers to set up installations themselves to test on and then they have a huge audience of websites to attack. And it only needs 1 hacker to successfully attack 1 website for it to be a successful attack.

headline4

What can we as WordPress users hope to do about it? First, we have to basically cross our fingers and hope ours is not the site attacked when a new vulnerability is found. If it is, then there’s not much we can do about it other than report it to WordPress. Backups should allow us to roll back the site to before the attack, but that’s about as far as we can go.

If we are not the unfortunate few then upgrading is essential. If WordPress have released a security fix then it needs applying ASAP. No excuses – if there’s a fix then someone knows how to hack into your version and you need to be off that version ASAP.

headline1

But it’s the themes and especially the plugins that leave us most exposed. Various publishers have recently found that their products have opened up security holes and been exposed. However, short of some form of policing of both of these I don’t think there is a way to fix this “hole”.

And policing theme writers, with over 40,000 active plugins alone, isn’t a small job. That’s just the number of plugins that you can download from WordPress. Many thousands more are available from other sources and we happily install and use them.

Keeping everything up to date, that’s WordPress, plugins & themes, deleting unused plugins and themes, using secure passwords and logon protection will help us but I don’t think they can ever 100% protect us on such a gigantic open source project.

WordPress is constantly evolving, adding in new features and improvements. It moves with the times so that the dashboard looks modern and uses modern techniques. But changing code always means risk and one of those risks is security.

And I think all that we can do is to take backups and cross our fingers.

Please follow and like us:

Did The Articles Send Any Traffic?

Following on from the article directory experiment that I set up last week, what benefits have I seen?

1weekWhat Am I Looking For?

There are 2 possible benefits to look at here. First, is anyone reading the articles, clicking my author biography links / in post links and then visiting my site. This, in modern days, is where I see the greatest potential benefit.

The second possibility is in link building. But this is slow, hard to prove and search engines are so wary of this type of link building that it’s value is very much reduced. It would be difficult to find any such links, especially after a week, so not a measure I’m intending to look at.

What Actually Happened?

How much traffic have I received? A grand total of 11 new visitors. 10 from ArticleCube and 1 from EzineArticles. These are the 2 that are the most protective of what they do, so I was expecting them to be ahead of the rest.

Obviously, this is just 1 article rewritten and posted to a few sites. I have recently seen ArticleSpy sending traffic to another of my websites, but not in this case. Their method of releasing loads of articles at once can potentially hide this submitted just after a release. However, my 1 article was published quickly and before the site went quiet, so probably not an issue.

LargeArticle kept telling me my brand new article of 540 words was either already published or under 500 words, so they never published it for me. ArticleDunia, which I added when I had problems with submitting to ArticleSpy, and which I hated for it’s over use of pounder adverts has sent no visitors to.

What is interesting though is at the same time I submitted links to 1 of my posts to GrowthHacker. I didn’t expect anything to come of these links as the articles weren’t as deep and meaningful as others on their website. However, it only took seconds to submit. By pure fluke it has also sent 11 visitors my way – exactly the same number as this whole experiment.

It Could Be Improved…

What wasn’t fair on the ArticleCube article (my fault) is that because you put the links into the text I had forgotten to make sure I had 2 choices of places to link back. I’d written all of the articles with the anticipation of linking from a biography.

Next time, I’d make sure there is an opportunity for a link towards the bottom of the page (my only link being at the top). Catch the readers when they have finished reading, rather than when they are starting to read. It makes more sense. If I’m allowed 2 links then I should be using them

Conclusion

So far, I’m unimpressed with a lot of the sites. I know from previous experience that some articles will really hit the mark and get thousands of readers generating hundreds of click, whilst others will languish in obscurity and never be read. A fair experiment would involve a whole pile of articles to each directory. But when that involves rewriting the same article 5 times, some times to 600+ words, that’s a huge commitment especially if I wanted to ry to publish to each one a few times per week!

But, I think I have the general measure of them and know where to continue trying with. EzineArticles I am disappointed with compared to previous results – the view figures provided by the site are down on what I’d hoped for. ArticleCube I need to think a little more about the content to include a link to the site at the right point.

One good point about these 2 sites – neither seems to insist on the article being unique to them. I see further investigations coming up!

 

Please follow and like us:

The Advantages Of Internal Linking

When I am writing a new blog post, if part of it is relevant to another page on my site then I will always offer a link. It might take a few seconds longer to prepare and actually insert the link into the post, but I consider it well worth the effort. Why?

Internal Linking For TrafficThere are three main reasons for applying a lot of internal link – easier for readers, easier for Search Engines and a bit of “self protection”.

Easier for readers

This should be the driving factor behind this technique for everyone. If you are making you blog easier for readers to use then it’s a technique you must use. By offering links to other (relevant) posts you are offering your readers further relevant reading to follow on from what you have currently presented to them.

Whether this is just another closely themed post or a post that gives more detail, it doesn’t matter. It could be referring to a theme you have already talked about, or maybe a review of a product or tool that is just getting a passing mention.

By showing your readers where they can find this extra information they might just go there. This means they are staying on your blog for longer and that means they are more likely to find it a useful resource and want to come back.

Search engines

Search engines will also appreciate this “help” in a small way. You are building a network of site links to detail pages, thus making sure that the search engine robots are finding the pages you think could be relevant.

Search engines also love pages it when the pages they send their visitors to have the detail, then link to further more detailed information. So you are working with the search engines to provide what they want.

You can also use this technique to “revamp” pages that maybe are slipping off the radar a bit. If a once popular post is falling down the rankings and you suddenly post a link from your home page to this post it might just be the little nudge to the search engines that it needs.

Self protection

A strange one here. Some people steal content. They do so through your RSS Feed. There are various ways of protecting yourself from this “theft” and this can be a very good one.

So blog X decides to steal content and publish it in order to make an Adsense revenue. But they steal from your blog. However, in that stolen post are a couple of links to the detailed posts on your blog. Suddenly the two previously mentioned advantages apply again. You are getting link from another website that the Search Engines might like, whilst the readers are seeing the original source of the writing and might choose to visit your site instead of clicking on blog X’s Adsense blocks.

Please follow and like us:

End of Week 5 Review

Another week of the 13 weeks has ticked by and now I’m really in need of starting to get traffic arriving on the site. Here’s what I’ve been trying!

Articles

Having submitted a couple of articles to Ezine.com I’d been hopeful of some traffic. I know from previous experience that sometimes an article produces thousands of hits, but more times they produce none. So with just a couple of articles out there (and I used to write 1 or 2 per day for 3 months) and in a short space of time there’s a good chance of them not sending any visitors, which is what is happening.

SEO

My tentative experiment here hasn’t really taken off due to issues on the link building side. Still something that I can work on ASAP! I have now tied this idea into a whole series of articles. I’m going to do a set based on the topics around starting blogging, with most of the posts using basically researched keyword terms.

Article Experiment

I’ve started a little experiment in which I’m running head to head tests on several article directories. So far only one has sent any visitors and that’s the one that took slightly longer to get the piece ready, which is rewarding. I think a few more well worked articles could be going that way soon. The visitor count seems to be increasing from that source, so maybe a good find!

Other Bits

I’ve tried a few “fire and forget” pieces, such a Pinterest, blog commenting, infographics etc in which I try something out and forget about it. Then it’s down to watching the traffic stats and if one of these methods appears in the traffic stats remembering that way what happened. One of these, which to be honest I had no hope in because I didn’t think my submission fitted their quality, has produced a slow trickle of visitors.

This involved publishing a post here and opening it for discussion on their site. Since it has worked on a post I didn’t think would do much good I’ve written 2 much more detailed posts and I’m going to submit those to the site. One this week and one next week.

Blog commenting

I really have no faith in blog commenting as a traffic source, however I’m always willing to learn and so I have left a couple of comments on larger sites and am going to go back to those this week and keep an eye out for new posts and try to get in quickly.

I’m also going to follow up by going over to other commenter’s blogs and seeing what comments I can leave there. A bit of a scatter gun approach, but if I start to see traffic then I’ll know which sites and that the technique works.

Infographic

I produced a very basic infographic last week. I did see a couple of visitors hitting the site following this so this week I’m going to do a much higher quality graphic.

Next week

I really have to start generating hits on this site, but the first part of the week will be the info graphic and the discussion piece and after that it will be time to review the article experiment and see what’s going on there. And in that time also some blog commenting!

 

Please follow and like us:

How Long Did It Take For The Articles To Go Live?

Following on from my article directory experiment, how long did each of the directories take to get back to me on the articles that I submitted?

EzineArticles.com Blogging Home PageEzineArticles – Reviewed and live the very next morning. This is what you want! I know from experience that this site will reject articles for grammatical, spelling and other errors, so I’ve learnt to write them all to a reasonable quality. All articles in this experiment were written to the same quality standards.

I didn’t find my article on the home page of the site (no idea if I looked too late or whether the editors select which articles are shown there), but I did see it on the Blogging category page which, I hope, is well ranked on Google. The oldest article on that page is just over  month old, so hopefully my post will sit there for that long too.

Article Spy ListArticleSpy – the article, once over the myriad of submission difficulties, was reviewed within a couple of hours. (My other recent articles have taken a week on this site, maybe someone has been on holiday?)

However, without a confirmation email it’s difficult to know exactly when it went live, but on this occasion it was certainly very quick and well within an acceptable time.

LargeArticle – one of the first directories that I managed to get submitted to, however the last of the group to review my article. No articles at all reviewed in the 24 hours after I submitted my submission and when finally they looked at it I received an email saying either it was under 500 words or it was published elsewhere. I double checked the word count – 512 words. And it’s never been published elsewhere, so no idea why they just deleted it. Just in case I submitted the wrong article, I’ve sent it again with some additions and a nice image. 541 words and I’ve checked that it is all unique. Fingers crossed.

Article CubeArticleCube – this one took about 5 or 6 hours to be approved. Not sure exactly what time I submitted it and there wasn’t a confirmation email that it went live, but it’s on the website and in my list of approved articles.

I am impressed with this directory. It took a little bit more time than others to submit to, but the finished published article does look really great. Even the article summary makes it look great in both the Blogging category and within my author profile page.

A lot of time and effort has been put into making this site look good. They are protecting the site by asking for quality articles. I just hope the payback is quality traffic, which looks to be the case as it was the first of the directories to send me any visitors.

ArticleDuniaArticleDunia – 4 minutes! Then apparently 4 minutes later I also submitted and had instantly approved a Casino article. I tried to logon to check this out but with all of the popups, fake virus scams appearing and it just not remembering me there was no chance. Looking at my author profile the additional article has not been attributed to me. Both mine and the incorrect article were showing 9 views within 4 hours. Seems too good to be true.

Even if traffic is  high, the inability to logon and the annoying background adverts (even when you are browsing articles) just make this site totally unworkable.

Please follow and like us:

Home Page Of ArticleCube!

I don’t know how long it will last there, but I’ve noticed that my submission has made it to the front page or ArticleCube. Whether all new articles get there or not only time will tell, but it’s nice to see it up there!

Home Page of ArticleCube

Something on this website to work on for any future submissions is the size of the image. To fit in with the styling it’s been cropped, removing my site URL from the image! Doesn’t really matter, but would have been nice had Google Images picked it up.

Having the article on the home page gives a double whammy effect. First, people and search engines can easily find the post. Second, the category is also listed on the home page so might help to keep it, and my article within the category, well ranked.

It will be a few days realistically before I see which of the directories are sending traffic and that will ‘peak’ over the next few weeks. So we’ll watch carefully all of the directories for now.

Please follow and like us:

Starting The Article Directory Experiment

The experiment is under way and here’s my first observations.

Signing Up & Article Submission
Article ExperimentEzineArticles – article was submitted very easily, however I have worked with this site for many years so I knew exactly what I was doing here.

LargeArticle – took a few attempts to get through their game validation, but eventually I had a new account set up and the article submitted.

ArticleCube – this one was so frustrating I almost gave up. ‘Can’t use that email it already exists‘ and ‘Can’t reset password email not registered‘. That was after it took about 10 minutes for the page to come back to me to register following 2 of the most confusing captchas I’ve seen. On about the 5th attempt, using a different email, I finally received a notification that my application to be an author was going to an administrator.

The next day I received confirmations that both email addresses were accepted and I could logon and submit the article. It takes a bit longer to submit to here, not only because they want longer articles, but they also want an image (at least one, embed more in the post if you want) and you place the link in the content of the article, rather than the biography. This could work in their favour long term.

Article Spy is becoming full of spun articles.ArticleSpy – submitted the article and the site lost it straight away. I’ve had this before on this site – it doesn’t seem to like my laptop. Luckily the article was saved on the computer before I submitted it, so all was not lost. But after further attempts on 2 browsers on another computer, I almost gave up. To be honest, this site has recently become full of spam / spun articles (see image – click to read) but I persevered and eventually had my article submitted.

Extra Directories

The one that I almost removed from the list, ArticleSpy, was chosen as a fairly simple one to get past the review process. So I decided to add some similar directories in case I did lose it. I decided to go with a few new directories in case one let me down, which happened immediately!

FreeContentArticles.com – you submit the article via a form, without any logon (how can you make changes later?). However, big issue is that they insist on you linking to them first. Seemed too much like link farming to me, so I left.

ArticleMobi.com – I signed up, but then couldn’t find where to submit an article. Presumably there’s a manual accept to become an author, which I’m waiting for.

ArticleDunia.com – this one came ranked well in a chart that I was looking at so I thought I’d give it a go. Reasonably easy to sign up and then submit an article (but why did it want my postal address?). However, a really annoying habit of updating a sort of popup window in the background frequently, which causes a horrible flicker. By adding in this advertising, which I’ve totally ignored, unless I see a lot of traffic I’ll not be continuing with this site.

 

Please follow and like us: