This sounds like a practical question: do your sex blog stats matter in the course of you running a blog? What can they do for you, and which ones are the most important to pay attention to? In reality, it’s also a bit of a philosophical question: do they matter, on a personal level, to you?
I am a giant stats nerd. I am utterly obsessed with my traffic, and more than happy to swap stats info with people who want it, because I like to learn about the breakdown of unique users versus pageviews versus – crucial additional measurement for people like me – blog income.
How much money do you make from your blog for every thousand unique visitors? How many pageviews do you need before you give up your day job? And – philosophical again – how many daily visits do you need in order to feel at one with yourself: satisfied that you have done a good job?
If you cannot answer any of these questions, please don’t panic. Many of us can’t.
Blog stats: reach versus conversion
There are a number of different ways to measure your blog traffic. The idea for this post was born of a twitter chat I had with a couple of other bloggers. One was saying their traffic was good (they thought) but they didn’t really know what that meant or what to do with it. Another said that they wanted to get more views, but weren’t that interested in making money from their blog, so they weren’t really sure what the value in the views really was.
So. The first question we need to answer before we measure blog stats is this one: what are the stats going to be used for?
If you, like me, are a blogger whose income mostly comes from book deals and freelance work, then your blog stats are useful because you need to have reach. You need to be able to tell people – publishers, editors, etc – that loads of people read and enjoy your work. You also need to be doing well for things like popular search terms (so that you can be found easily, and ideally commissioned).
If you are a blogger whose income comes from advertising, reach is useful for you too. Sometimes people buy advertising space based on how many people will end up seeing the ad. In this case, it’s helpful to be able to show that loads of people will see it (of course!).
If your income comes from affiliation or self-published book sales, you’re going to want something a little different: conversion. You’re interested not just in how many people read your site, but how many of those click through to buy products or books. If you get a million people reading a post, that’s lovely, but if not one of those people clicks through and buys anything, it’s basically useless if you need to earn money.
Most sex blogs do more than one of these things – for instance they will earn money through a combination of these income streams, plus other things like maybe consultancy or freelance copywriting. I’ve simplified a little bit here because I want this to be a handy starter guide, but ultimately what matters to you is going to depend on your unique offering, and how you’re selling yourself to people. Remember: no one does what you do quite like you, so you need to work out what your unique offering is, and what kind of user behaviour best fits your offering.
How do I measure reach and conversion?
Reach is the easy one. It’s all in your headline figures:
- Pageviews per month
- Users per month (in Google analytics this is now called ‘sessions’)
- Unique users per month (in GA this is now just called ‘users’)
- Twitter/Insta/Facebook followers
- Newsletter subscribers
In terms of blog stats, let’s focus on the first three. I usually give two figures when people ask for my blog reach: unique users per month and pageviews per month. This gives people a good indication of how many individuals read my blog, and how many pages they tend to look at per visit. If I just used ‘users per month’, the number would be skewed by the fact that I have a core of dedicated followers who come back frequently within a month to read more than one thing. So: unique users plus pageviews – the two headline stats I use to demonstrate the reach of my blog.
Within Google Analytics you can also drill down into your demographic data – so if you’re trying to persuade sponsors/publishers/etc to get on board with you, you can explain that you do well with their particular demographic, or that a certain percentage of your users come from the country they’re looking to target.
Conversion is more complicated: with conversion you’re looking at a percentage of people. Of the thousand people who visited your blog, how many of them clicked through to one of your relevant links?
In Google Analytics, you can track these external link clicks under ‘behaviour’ and then ‘events.’ Go to ‘top events’ and click ‘outbound traffic.’ You’ll see a list of the external links that people clicked from your website – which should include affiliate links, adverts, in-text links in your blog, and even your blogroll links. From here you can work out roughly what your click conversion is. If you’ve published a new sex toy review, compare the pageviews of that post with the number of clicks on the company website you linked in the piece. Comparing more than one review can tell you interesting things about the way you write – is there one call-to-action (i.e. a piece of text that says ‘buy this toy’) that is more effective than another? Are there certain kinds of review (video reviews versus text reviews for instance) that convert people better?
And from there of course there’s another layer down the chain: of the people who click, how many actually end up buying something? If you’re measuring book sales on Amazon and you’re self-published, you can get hold of this data (though not in as much detail as a stats nerd like me would like). If you’re selling sex toys, affiliate schemes will often give you this data themselves. Their stats will be different to Google Analytics, because they often measure differently, but they do give you a vague indication of conversion, and allow you to understand the chain:
How many people read a blog post … how many of those people clicked through … how many of those ‘converted’ into buyers of this toy.
Reach and conversion: two really important things to understand if you’re looking at your sex blog stats and you want to know what’s going on. They are, of course, not the only things to understand – there are myriad options in Google Analytics, and tonnes more things you can measure and track. I just wanted to give an overview of the kind of questions you need to ask yourself before you dive into stats, and a few tips on what might be helpful numbers to look at.
I’m going to try and write a few more of these stats explainers – because it’s fun and hopefully helpful for some bloggers. If you have any specific questions/case studies of things you’d like to find out, please do drop them in the comments and I’ll have a go at tackling some of the questions in future posts.
What if you don’t want to make money from your blog?
This is totally, 100% fine. There are plenty of us bloggers out here who want to earn a crust from writing – if you don’t need or want to then please don’t feel like you have to. Earning money is one thing you can get from sex blogging, but there are tonnes of other things too – personal fulfilment, sharing stories, meeting new people, honing your writing skills, all that great stuff. While I’m a little bit money focused (because blogging/freelancing/booksing is my job), feel free to pick what you want from the stats tips – you might want more visitors because you want your message to spread further. Or you might choose to measure success by completing blogging challenges, or getting linked to from other bloggers you admire.
If you don’t need to earn money from your blog, you have the freedom to measure your success based on what feels good rather than how many pounds or dollars it nets you.
Whether you are interested in sex blog stats from a financial perspective, or a personal one, remember the first rule of stats club: data is a tool. You don’t just swing it around your head and go ‘was that good?’ – in order to use the tool, you have to know what you want to build.
So: what do you want to build?
If you have questions about sex blogging, stats, freelancing, or anything that you think we at Eroticon could help answer – don’t be shy! Please do ask us, in the comments here or over on Twitter. You can also email us for an invite to the new Eroticon forum, which is a space for you to chat to other sex bloggers, erotica writers, and Eroticon attendees who might also be able to help you with burning questions.