The three statistics most important to growing my blog audience:

  1. Referrals.  I want to know which sites link to mine, and specifically to which pages.  Do they link to a blog post that was particularly interesting or helpful to them, and are other people clicking on their link to get to my site?  And when I post a link to various social media sites, which ones are generating more traffic? Do I have more followers who will see my link and click it on Twitter, or on Facebook?
  2. Most visited page.   I can make assumptions about which topics readers are interested in or which of my interests the majority of my readers share, but I don’t know.  At least, not by just guessing.  By measuring this stat, I’ll be able to see which posts are actually my most popular, without having to guess based on number of comments.
  3. Keywords used to get to my blog.  This is a particularly useful stat because it tells me how random readers are finding my blog and if they’re finding what they’re looking for when they get there.  If they’re getting what they’re looking for, then chances are they’ll want to read more posts from me.

The tools and statistics I will use to track these numbers:

Google Analytics.  Google Analytics provides free tracking information once you set it up on your blog or website.  It can be a little overwhelming to try and parse at first, since there are so many stats to look at, but it’s easy to get the hang of it and it really does provide a lot of useful information.

One statistic I see as a problem:

The stat I see as the biggest roadblock for blog growth is engagement.  Even if readers click on a link and visit my site, are they staying long enough to read a whole post?  Are they exploring the site and reading more of what I have to say?  Or are they just blipping in and out of the page, glancing at the first few sentences and then moving on to someone else’s site?

My solution to this is to monitor engagement stats, paying attention to how long each person stays on the site and how many pages they look at.  Once I have a feel for which posts are holding their attention, and which ones are sending them packing, then I’ll know how to better tailor my posts to hold my audience’s attention.