It's Just Data, Darling! Using data to improve my business
Now that is a start-up-y title! Well, as some of you know, before I started freelancing full-time, I worked for over 4 years as an in-house web and brand designer at three different tech companies. So lets just say - I have picked up a little something along the way :) Most likely in the next two weeks I am going to be re-working my website, blog, and branding. Over these past 4 months that I have had my current design up I have been collecting stats from Squarespace, Google Analytics, and Pinterest - and I plan to use this knowledge to design my new site and help guide me in creating content for this blog.
I absolutely do not intend to let the numbers wholly dictate how I run this blog - I still plan to write about things I am passionate about even if the numbers don't correlate. This is after all, my platform for expressing myself. However this is also my platform for running my business, and so I need to make sure I am setting myself up for success!
I am not a numbers person (without tutors I would have failed out of math), but I am trying my best! In order to track my progress I need to set goals for myself, here is what I have come up with -
Over the next 4 months I want to:
Increase Design Inquiry Submissions by 50%
Double Traffic to my site
Increase my social following by 30%
Here is an overview of how people interact with my site:
- My numbers have steadily been growing since April when I started posting to this blog daily. Each month I have been increasing audience size by about 20% month over month.
- About 70% of my traffic is from people on a desktop, and 30% on mobile.
- 30% of my traffic is return, and 70% are new users
- 56% of my readers are in the United States, the rest are spread between the UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Europe.
- My average duration on my site is 2:06, with a 67% bounce rate
- I don't have stats yet on demographics - but based on my Pinterest stats, I would say an overwhelming number of my visitors are female.
- My subscription numbers have increased about 25% month over month
- 43% of my traffic comes from Pinterest!
- 30% is direct traffic
- The remainder comes from social (facebook + dribbble), blog mentions, and subscribers
- This blog is my most popular page, it is also my homepage and where Pinterest mostly links to so this makes a lot of sense.
- The second most popular page is the general Portfolio page
- After that are individual blog posts that did very well on Pinterest (Watering Guide, Free Fonts etc)
- Within the Portfolio group - Assorted Logos and Assorted Lettering are by far the most clicked
- Say Hello (my contact page) is pretty far down the list of popular pages
- There is not a significant amount of traffic coming from search
- My average site load time is 6 seconds (ouch!)
- The most common user flow is to move from the blog to my portfolio, but most people never leave the blog
Now that I have really taken a detailed look at my sites data, I can start to create take-aways and then action steps. Here are some of my take-aways:
- My increase in traffic is pretty steady and it is necessary that I continue to increase 20-30% month over month in order to meet my goal
- Most of my traffic comes from desktop users - since so many people use mobile now - it seems like there is a missed opportunity for more readers/users.
- There seems to be a great opportunity to bring in more readers from the UK, Europe, and Australia
- My site duration is pretty standard, but my bounce rate is really high. There is definitely an opportunity to increase engagement, and decrease people from bouncing.
- Would love to get my subscription rates up, since they are a great way to bring in return readers.
- Pinterest is clearly my best channel for bringing in readers
- Lots of opportunity in social channels and especially with blog mentions - I have had some significant spikes in traffic from when other bloggers link to my site.
- This blog is clearly the winner, but there is still a significant amount of traffic viewing my portfolio. However, not many people viewing my "say hello" page which has my contact form.
- I definitely get upswings of traffic/interaction on my more personal posts and very Pinterest-friendly posts promoting free fonts or helpful instructions.
- Wow, so much opportunity for search - I really need to up my SEO game!
- The site load time is a problem and could be what increases my bounce rate. Nobody likes a slow-loading website!
- Read up on Squarespace forums to help reduce load time for my website
- Change the name of "Say Hello", perhaps separating out into about and contact pages
- Add a Services page so that people can get a sense of what I can provide
- Start a mailing list and send weekly emails to help engage current readers
- Think about changing homepage from my blog to a more general landing page
- Make my portfolio more digestible, editing down and maybe combining into a one-page style. I think right now it is just too much to go through.
- Research more about SEO and start being more mindful of key terms when writing and describing my work
- Continue creating personal posts - as well as more Pinterest friendly (but also on-brand) posts that bring in significant traffic
- Post more about my work in progress and continue to promote my services (in a non-annoying way!)
- Start link round-ups to engage other bloggers and hopefully get mentions from them as well.
Wow, that was a lot of information thrown your way! Maybe too much. But I am hoping my transparency into my process is somewhat of a help to you and others! Look forward to reporting back on my progress, and hopefully meeting my goals :)