Sex blog stats: do your visits and pageviews matter?

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
  • Etc

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. 

Comment List

  • HappyComeLucky 02 / 05 / 2017 Reply

    I don’t make any money from my blog because I worry about the changes that are triggered by monetising it. I am finding it hard to get a clarity of information on it. I have read several things that say that the Digital Economy Bill with its definition and attack on ‘porn’ applies to monetised blogs. Is this true? Are non-monetised blogs in a different category? Can you shed light on this? I can’t risk getting it wrong.

    • Girlonthenet 02 / 05 / 2017 Reply

      Good question – thank you so much! There’s a lot of info in this brilliant overview by Pandora Blake: but the bits I think are most relevant to sex bloggers are:
      1. definition of porn as defined by the DEBill (and within that: banned porn versus ‘subject to age verification’ porn)
      2. definition of commercial website

      So. Porn: anything created to arouse, blah blah etc. Most sex blogs (unless they are straight-up toy review blogs like Epiphora’s) will fall under this definition. However, there’s a get-out for sex bloggers in that the DE Bill no longer includes some of the stuff that was in there are the start (audio porn, for instance, falls outside of the scope). So blogs that are just words and audio likely won’t be subject to age verification. However, still images and videos definitely count, so anyone who takes part in memes like Sinful Sunday, or posts nudes etc on their blog, is still publishing ‘porn’ as the government sees it.

      Some porn is banned outright under the DEBill – anything that falls under the definition of ‘extreme porn’ as defined by section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act. (p60, point 7 gives an overview). So really for sex bloggers this is only going to be an issue if the images they’re posting involve things like injury, piercing, etc. It’s not ideal but it is much better than the previously proposed rules which would have banned things like squirting or facesitting.

      So. If you have a sex blog, with pictures, and your pictures aren’t extreme, you’re not going to get your site banned for the content. BUT you may still have to comply with age verification rules. I.e. you may have to ask your users to verify that they are over 18, and this is where ‘commercial’ comes in. But the commercial thing is complicated and I can’t quite get my head around it. Basically it could mean just ‘any website you make money from’, but then that could include anything from the obvious (ads, affiliation, paywall/subscriptions) to the less obvious (using your blog to promote a book, or using it to generate freelance work etc). ORG (which has campaigned heavily against the DEBill) says this:

      “The Bill covers all commercial websites designed for sexual arousal, including materials classified as 18 and not only R18 (the hardcore that must be sold only in sex shops), located anywhere in the world. On demand services are excluded, and there are issues with the definition of commercial, but the intent is to capture as many websites as possible.”

      Which I appreciate doesn’t answer your question now. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m going to stick my neck out and say that i think you’re likely to fall under the definition with any of the obvious monetisation routes (ads, affiliation, etc) though you may be on slightly safer ground with a ‘contact me’ page that explains the kind of work you’re willing to do (i.e. freelance/custom stories etc). Personally, my approach is to steer clear of photo content (which isn’t hard for me because I don’t have many images anyway), and make sure that what exists on my site will fall well outside the definitions of AV-able porn (so audio and text mostly). If they come after me, I will point out that I am not technically ‘porn’ by their definition. If I were a more visual website, I think what I would do is continue with rev streams like advertising/affiliation (as long as they can be quickly stripped from site if I get challenged) and wait and see as things develop, but on the understanding that that stuff may have to be stripped. I’d also keep an eye on age verification solutions – if your site *does* seem to be one that the bill will target, then there will probably be AV solutions you can add to your site that mean you can still make money from it, and also make sure you’re compliant with the law. But they may be expensive and it might be a thing you decide in the long run isn’t worthwhile.

      Sorry I realise that isn’t a super-definitive answer, so much of this stuff is still up in the air, but it’s on my radar (and I know Michael’s a lot too!) so will try to add in some more updates etc here as things go through because you’re right it will have a big impact on sex bloggers, and I think there are lots of areas of it where we sit in a grey zone where we could be disproportionately impacted. In the short term I wouldn’t go building any revenue streams that you’re wholly reliant on, in case you do have to either stop monetizing or put your whole site behind an AV barrier.

      • HappyComeLucky 06 / 05 / 2017 Reply

        Thank you for that answer. I will wait and see. I don’t really want to take my site down but if it comes to it, I will have to. I will watch this space.

      • Neil 08 / 05 / 2017 Reply

        That’s a very good answer!

        If a talk on the various legal aspects of blogging, including implications of the Digital Economy Act 2017, site blocking and so on, might be of interest for Eroticon 2018 and you don’t have someone else in mind (I think Miles has spoken on obscenity before), I’d be happy to help out.

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