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Welcome to the How to Blog section of BooksKidstravel! I thought it would be useful to new bloggers to follow along with me while I start this project. I will post monthly updates on what I’ve learned, resources I’ve found helpful, and my stats so you can avoid my mistakes and learn from what  I’ve done!

When I decided to start BooksKidsTravel I dove into doing research about setting up a blog.  I watched webinars about marketing the blog. And I read about writing blogs. I thought for sure BooksKidsTravel would be an instant success! I could quit my day job by month 2 and run it and travel full time. (Okay, I didn’t really think that, but you know….dreams.) So I launched it! Annnndddddd……

Crickets. Chirping. Sure I got some traffic but it wasn’t what I expected. And that is where this post comes in:

How to Blog: Lesson 1- Google Analytics

Before we jump into my own stats after the first month. I want to share with you what I’ve learned about tracking your traffic. I track on Google Analytics. There are many things to track but, for now, I am focusing on pageviews, sessions, users, and bounce rate.

Pageviews: The number of pages on your website that someone looks at. If you land on my page and you read about the Top 10 things to do on Cape Cod and, from there, hop over to read about The Adventure Park at Heritage Museums and Gardens, then google analytics marks that as two page views.

Users: Each individual user. Using the example above, when you come look at my two pages on Cape Cod that shows up as two pages views for one user.

Sessions: Each time a user comes back to my site. So say you read the two articles on Cape Cod and then came back later to read How to Meet the Disney Princesses from the same computer. You are still the same user so that count won’t increase, but the session count from that computer will.

Bounce Rate: This tracks the percentage of single page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page.

Month one update: The numbers

Without further ado, here are my numbers from July 3, 2017 to August 9, 2017:

Pageviews: 295

Users: 136

Sessions: 189

Bounce rate: 74.07%

What does this tell me?

A few things. First, not many people are getting to my blog. Second, I don’t have a lot of returning visitors. Third, people are coming to read one article and not staying around to read more. Readers aren’t engaging with the blog.

My session and user numbers are pretty close so that means I don’t have a lot of people coming back to read new articles.

My bounce rate is pretty high! I want to make sure people engage with my page and look at other pages in each session. I need to look at my content and my page to see why:

  1. people aren’t visiting bookskidstravel,
  2. people aren’t sticking around to read more, and
  3. people aren’t engaging.

Questions to answer: Is it that people can’t find the website? Are people not connecting with what I am writing? What can I improve upon to engage readers?

Goals for August 2017

Pageviews, sessions, and users: I am not setting a specific goal number for August but I do want to see this steadily increase.

Bounce Rate: I’d like to decrease this to at least 65%. I am hoping to increase engagement by adding freebies for signing up. So stay tuned!

Content: I aim to add one article about reading, one article about being a working mom, and one article about travel a week. Writing three quality articles a week isn’t going to be easy, but that’s the goal.

Update Site: I found two resources I think will be very useful to fine tune my content and my website.

  1. My friend, Kate, runs Simply Stylish Business Solutions and helps business owners find their own voice and style to be successful. Kate rocks at so many things, but has been especially helpful to me with branding and identifying my ideal reader. I highly recommend following her facebook group, Simply Stylish Business Solutions, and using her Branding Workbook and Step by Step Guide to Developing Your Ideal Customer Profile. Again, I wish that I used these before launching my blog, but at least I am now!
  2. I joined Marianne Manthey’s Facebook Group, Blog Beautiful. Marianne offers weekly design open houses for feedback to new bloggers! She was super helpful to me with advice and I am tweaking the design of my blog to reflect that. She reminded me that I need to keep my reader in mind when I blog and suggested I use her tagline worksheet and add a small photo/bio to the front page. I highly recommend her website, Design your Own Lovely Blog, which has tons of helpful information about launching and designing a successful blog. I wish I had read through more of it before I launched BooksKidsTravel. But live and learn, right?

*Sneak peek: Kate is working on a content calendar! Since she is the most organized person on the planet, I am super excited to use it.

Lessons from Month One of Blogging:

  1. It’s probably not going to be an instant success! And that’s okay. This whole process is fun.
  2. Do all the research before launching your blog. I mentioned above that I wish I had done more research about branding, design, and reaching my ideal reader before I hit publish on that first post. I focused too much on how to market with social media and not enough on my own image and what I am marketing.
  3. Don’t forget who you are writing for! I focused too much on myself as the author instead of you, the reader. Do your research into your ideal readers and make sure your blog is geared toward them.
  4. Don’t be afraid of making changes. If it’s not working, try something else.
  5. Don’t give up! Even if you aren’t seeing the results you wanted to see, keep going. You’ll figure it out and enjoy the process while you do.

Have you started a blog? What lessons did you learn your first month of blogging? Sign up to follow my adventures as I build a blog!