I started this blog in April 2013, purposely for sharing practical tips on how to make money online in Nigeria. Now — one year after — I decided to analyze various aspects of the blog to know how much progress I’ve made and how close I am to achieving my goal.
After playing with my Google Analytics reports for about 30 minutes, I was able to retrieve some vital statistics about the blog that will help me figure out where I’ve done well so far and where I’ve under-performed.
I’ll be showing you these statistics because I want you see the practical manifestations of many of the tips I’ve shared on this blog. And I want you to learn from my findings, mistakes, and progress.
Now, let me start by showing you my findings. I’ll try to comment on each and explain why I think I got those figures. Later in the post, I’ll share 10 lessons you should learn from these findings.
The screenshot above shows the traffic reports for the 30-day period between April 4 and May 4, 2014. Over this period, the blog attracted 2,155 visits from 1,512 users. Based on that, I deduced that the blog presently attracts about 70 daily visits. To me, that’s rather low for a one-year old blog.
In addition, there were 4,317 page views over the last 30 days, which means the average visitor reads at two pages before leaving the blog.
Now, what about all-time traffic? I checked that, too. I found out that the blog had attracted 13,627 visits from 9,007 users since the time of its launch. And there had been 24,660 page views. See the screenshot below for the figures.
Of course, my traffic fluctuates. It goes up particularly on days when I publish new posts because I notify my email subscribers and Facebook fans after publishing a new post. I observed that the traffic also spikes whenever I publish an interview.
In addition to the traffic from my email subscribers and Facebook fans, my guests also send traffic to the interview by sharing the link with their mailing list subscribers or on social media.
2. Traffic sources
Having discussed the number of visits, let’s now see where the traffic has been coming from and why.
The screenshot above shows the traffic sources over the past 30 days. Of the 2,155 total visits, 757 were from direct visits, 733 were referral visits (that is, they were sent from other sites), 483 came from search engines — mainly Google, and 171 came from social media.
Now, let’s see the all-time reports.
The above screenshot shows the all-time sources of traffic to the blog. Of the 13,627 total visits to the blog since its launch, 5,639 visits (41%) came from other sites (referral visits), 3,441 were direct visits (25%), 2,567 (19%) came from Google, 580 (4%) came from social media, and 50 visits came from my email campaigns.
Looking at the 50 visits from email campaigns, I asked myself, “Does that mean only 50 visits have come from my email subscribers, despite sending them notifications each time I publish a new post?” But I quickly found the answer to be “No.”
Most of my subscribers, instead of clicking the link to the new post in the email I sent to them, visit the blog directly, and this explains why there is a huge number of direct visits.
Since referral visits made up the largest fraction of my traffic, I decided to probe further into where these visits were coming from – I mean, the referring sites. Below is a screenshot of my finding.
From the screenshot, you can see that a whopping 4,711 visits came from my other blog (URL obscured deliberately). Why? Because I linked to Web Income Plus in a post on that blog. The post ranks number one on Google for a keyphrase commonly used by Nigerians who want to transact business online. So, due to the high SEO ranking, that post on my other blog attracts lots of visits, and sends down visitors to this blog through the embedded link.
The report also revealed that Google sent 2,649 visits to this blog. This is because the blog ranks prominently in Google for keywords related to PayPal alternatives for Nigerians, hottest blogging niches in Nigeria, how to make money online in Nigeria, and hundreds more.
Nairaland, the most popular online forum in Nigeria, had also sent me 904 visits so far. This is because my signature contains a link to this blog anchored by a very catchy line of text. So, each time I open a thread or reply to one, other users will get to see my signature, and those interested will click on it.
Next is MyTopBusinessIdeas.com. This blog, owned by Ajaero Tony Martins, had sent me 127 referral visits. Why? Because I once interviewed Mr Martins on this blog, and he shared a link to the interview on his blog.
Your traffic — no matter how much — is useless if visitors don’t engage with your blog before “bouncing.”
Engagement is a measure of how helpful your blog is to your visitors, and how interesting or relevant they find your content.
With that in mind, I analyzed user engagement on Web Income Plus using the two most suitable metrics: average session duration and bounce rate.
As you can see in the first screenshot in this post, the average session duration is 3 minutes and 57 seconds, which means the average visitor spends about 4 minutes on the blog before leaving.
I think that’s good enough. Getting the attention of internet users isn’t easy. So, holding them down on my blog for a whopping 240 seconds is no small feat — not necessarily the best, though.
Looking at the same screenshot, you’d see that the bounce rate is 62.92%, which shows that visitors spend some time on the blog before leaving. (A lower bounce rate indicates longer visit duration.)
Overall, I’d grade myself 7/10 in this aspect.
So far, I’ve published 36 posts on this blog (you can see all of them here). Now, I don’t need anyone to tell me that I performed very badly in this aspect. Yet, I preach consistency and the like. Well, do as I say…because I’ve not led by example with regard to my posting frequency. I have my excuses, though. And I think they’re strong enough.
The poor posting frequency notwithstanding, I try to put in my best when writing a new post. In fact, one of the reasons I don’t post often is that I always wait for the time I can concentrate fully on writing a detailed, unique, and helpful post.
If you read this blog often, you’d have observed that most of my posts are quite long. Most of them exceed 1,000 words. The longest so far is the tutorial on how to set up a WordPress blog, which exceeds 2,000 words. Do you know why my posts are long? I try to include every necessary detail to ensure that the reader has few or no questions to ask after reading. Any post that leaves you asking too many questions — despite reading it to the end — is a useless post!
I tried to find out which posts on this blog have attracted the most visits. I observed that the post titled, “Online Payment Methods for Nigerians: 5 Ways to Receive Payment from Foreigners (Aside PayPal)“ has been read 7,866 times (and that’s why you’ll see it always topping the list of popular posts). This is partly because it is the post to which I linked from that article on my other blog.
Here is the list of the top 5 most viewed posts on this blog since its launch in April 2013:
- Online Payment Methods for Nigerians: 5 Ways to Receive Payment from Foreigners (Aside PayPal) — 7,866 views
- How I Make Money Online (in Nigeria): My Story, My Goal, and My Advice to You — 1,516 views
- 6 Proven, Risk-free Ways to Make Money Online in Nigeria — 899 views
- The Secret Keys to Success in Blogging (Interview with Ajaero Tony Martins) — 469 views
- How to Make Blogging Work for You (An Interview with Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin) — 443 views
Interestingly, the longest post on the blog didn’t make the list.
In the aspect of content, I grade myself 8/10. Or do you disagree?
In terms of interaction, I can say the blog has been active to a good extent. Readers have left comments on most of the posts, and I replied almost every comment on the blog.
As of the time I’m writing this post, the blog has 552 comments — including those left by me. And the most viewed post on the blog happens to have generated the most comments — about 80 comments at the moment.
When I launched this blog, I was using the Graphene theme. (Remember that old, orange color design?) I love that theme because it is highly customizable and simple (I love simplicity). But the theme has one downside — it’s not responsive — and this is why I ditched it.
I recently switched to another theme that looks great on mobile devices (responsive, I mean). After tweaking for several minutes and getting my hands dirty with some coding, I ended up with a design I like.
And since I switched to this new theme, I’ve received a number of positive feedback about it from my readers. Even Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin described it as “seductive.”
7. Related assets
I have two main assets for driving traffic to this blog from my own end: a mailing list and a Facebook page.
Presently, my mailing list has over 450 subscribers, while the Facebook page for the blog presently has about 215 likes.
I’m growing both assets organically. So far, all subscribers and followers have joined on their own, and I’ve not tried to attract blog subscribers or Facebook followers with paid advertising.
This probably is the part that interests you the most. But, well, I’ve not made a dime from this blog so far. And I’m not in a hurry (after all, I have other blogs that fetch me money).
When the time’s right, the money will start flowing in. I don’t mind if that would take additional one or two years. I’ve always known that online business isn’t a get-rich-quick thing.
Now, here are the lessons you should learn from my findings…
- Lesson 1: Publish new posts frequently and consistently. The more you publish, the more traffic you will attract. As I stated earlier, traffic spiked on days when I publish new posts on the blog. If you can publish a new post per day, do that. But ensure that your posts give value to the reader.
- Lesson 2: Build a mailing list and notify your subscribers each time you publish a new post. Similarly, share the link to each new post on your social media profiles. Your subscribers and followers make up your guaranteed traffic. Even if search engines don’t rank your posts, your subscribers and Facebook followers will always click your link.
- Lesson 3: Feature experts in interviews and publish the interviews on your blog. Each time you publish interviews, chances are your guests will also share the link with their blog readers, mailing list subscribers, social media followers. This will increase referral traffic to your blog. And you can convert those extra visitors into regular visitors by getting them to subscribe to your own mailing list, too.
- Lesson 4: Implement SEO. Optimize your blog posts for keywords that your audience are using to find the type of information you share on your blog. This is what helped my blog generate a decent fraction of its traffic from Google.
- Lesson 5: Publish guest posts on other blogs, especially blogs with higher authority. Your guest posts on such blogs can continue to send traffic to your blog over a long time. As I explained earlier, my topmost source of referral traffic is a guest post in which I placed a link to this blog. Though that other blog is mine, the results have nothing to do with ownership. I still would have gotten the same results if the blog belonged to someone else.
- Lesson 6: Adopt forum marketing. Participate actively in online forums where topics related to your niche are being discussed, and share helpful tips. Place a link to your blog within your signature, so that people who appreciate the information you share can click through. As I explained, Nairaland sent me lots of traffic.
- Lesson 7: Offer helpful posts that really solve readers’ problems. This will compel visitors to stay longer on your blog to read more posts, which means increased engagement. The more engaging your content is, the higher the number of regular visitors you will have.
- Lesson 8: Encourage readers to leave comments on your blog. And when they do, respond promptly to their comments and questions. This is your way of telling them that you value them very much. Also encourage readers to share your posts on social media.
- Lesson 9: Choose a simple design for your blog. Don’t kill your design by trying too hard to make it look beautiful. Nobody will blame you for a very simple blog design. But an overdone blog design can repel visitors from your blog.
- Lesson 10: Don’t make money your priority. I’ve run the blog for over a year and haven’t made a dime. Yet, I’m still not in a hurry to make money anytime soon. Though I’m moving slowly, I’m sure I’ll make more I can imagine when the time’s right. For now, I’ll focus on growing the blog and continuing to provide value.
Over to you…
What other lessons did you learn from my findings other than the 10 I listed? Do you disagree with any point I raised in the article? Do you have any question or contribution? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
And don’t forget to share this post on Facebook and Twitter. I’ll greatly appreciate.
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