Blogging: Do the Math

How much difference does a blog make in your website’s performance? We decided to do some simple calculations with Google Analytics data to find out.

We looked at 25 properties with blogs and 37 properties without blogs. In both cases, the sites were unselected — we just used an alphabetical list and gathered the data for each property on the page. Some of the sites with blogs employ Haden Interactive as their bloggers, but not all.

We looked at data for the first quarter of 2016 compared with the first quarter of 2015. We threw out sites which did not have full year-over-year data.

Since there was a wide range of industries and specific goals, we simply looked at the overall traffic data. Every website has traffic, and increasing traffic is always beneficial, whereas metrics like the number of pageviews or the geographic range could be meaningful in some cases but not in others.

We were surprised by the numbers.

For sites without blogs:

  • The average traffic for the first quarter of 2016 was 1,243 visits
  • The average change between 2015 and 2016 was -29.75%

For sites with blogs:

  • The average traffic for the first quarter of 2016 was 77,932 visits
  • The average change between 2015 and 2016 was +33.92%

Google says that the average year over year change in traffic for websites in general is -3%. If we average all our test sites together, we get 2.08% change, which is not that far off from Google’s universal average. But we see about a one-third improvement in traffic on average for the sites with blogs, and a nearly equivalent drop in traffic for those sites that do not have blogs.

As for the total numbers, our sample included both very small traffic sites, including one that had a mere 14 visits during the quarter, and quite large sites, including one with 941,278 visits. One of the sites without a blog had over 16,000 visits during the quarter, and three of the sites with blogs had fewer than 1,000 total visits. Of the sites with no blogs, more than half had fewer than 1,000 visits during the quarter.

Looking at the raw data, it is clear that high traffic sites typically have blogs and low-traffic sites do not. Our figures don’t reflect a few outliers in the overall data.

In fact, the difference in the numbers for sites with and without blogs is so striking that we can say with confidence that simply having a blog does wonders for a website’s traffic.

Why?

Think about it. If you have a five-page website, you may come up well in search for specific keywords. The low-traffic sites in our sample all showed organic traffic for keywords they would probably choose as keywords they would like to rank for.

But if your five-page website also has a year’s worth of blog posts — for our blogging clients, that’s 156 posts — then you have at least 31 times as many opportunities to show up in search for keywords, including those long-tail keywords that drive most search traffic.

You have at least 31 times the potential landing pages for ads or social media posts (I’m saying “at least” because your Contact and About Us pages probably don’t offer much opportunity as landing pages). And you have something that brings visitors back to read more, which your blog-less competitor does not.

Does your company website have a blog? It should. Contact Rosie to get started, or fill out the simple form below.

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