Yesterday I wrote a post discussing how I plan to execute more this year. In the post I mentioned that I want to explore the option of consulting and would like to experiment with this option by providing my services to a friend or two for free in order to get the hands on experience I need. I am pleased to announce that I have discussed this with my good friend Robbie and he has agreed to let me help him grow his poker news blog, Cardplayer Lifestyle. Robbie founded the blog over 3 years ago and has worked very hard in growing it to the size it is today. Robbie thankfully agreed to my request to allow me to publish my findings, strategies and all other aspects related to my work with him and his blog so that all of you can benefit from the process.
Analyzing the blog
The first step in helping Robbie was to understand all that I could about his blog. Once I had a good idea of what was working and what wasn’t I could draw up action items and strategies to help improve the visitor’s experience and grow the blog. I spent a few hours today analyzing his Google Analytics traffic, site structure, Google Webmaster tools account and speaking to him directly. I got quite a good picture of where we stand and will cover this in more detail in the rest of this post.
Most of my insights came from analyzing the last 6 months of traffic (1 July – 31 Dec) to the blog in Google Analytics.
The main statistics for the blog are:
# of visitors: 12,323
# of unique visitors: 10,754
Average monthly visitors: 2053
% of new visitors: 87%
Bounce Rate: 76%
Avr. visitor duration: 01:29 min
0 – 10 sec on site: 78% of visitors
2 or less pages: 92% of visitors (1 page = 80% of visitors)
Traffic sources breakdown
Search: 65% (7,960 visitors) (Bounce rate = 78%, Pages/ visit = 1.35, Avr Visitor duration = 01:15)
Referral: 16% (1,941 visitors) (1,025 from social, 8% of total traffic)
Direct: 19% (2,385)
# of visitors: 3,432
% of total traffic: 28%
Pages per visit: 1.26 (1.4)
Avr visitor duration: 01:19 min (01:29 min)
% of new visitors: 88% (87%)
Bounce rate: 82.26% (76%)
Analyzing Google Webmaster Tools helped me identify some SEO related issues which can be easily fixed. I also noticed that Cardplayer Lifestyle appears in Google search results for a significant number of queries but that the CTR is very low. The main reason is that the blog is still being ranked in 8th, 9th and 10th place in Google results for most of these queries but this is a welcoming insight because it means that with improved SEO and ranking the blog could receive a significant increase in traffic.
Blog is under performing – All major metrics (bounce rate, time on site, pages/visit) indicate the blog is performing poorly and that there is room for improvement.
65% of traffic coming from search – This is a good sign and makes perfect sense considering the blog provides up to date news and information.
Only 11% of incoming traffic is landing on home page – I also consider this a good sign but the problem is that the bounce rate for content pages is very high (over 70%). Also indicates that performance of content pages is even more important then main pages.
Only 8% of traffic coming from social – This probably indicates low shareability of posts or incorrect use of social sharing buttons. Also not sure of power of social in this industry because of stigma of gambling.
92% are looking at 2 or less pages – This might indicate issues with navigation on the site.
% of return users too low – Easy way to improve this is to allow users to subscribe.
Basic SEO issues – A few hours of hard work can improve the overall SEO level of the blog.
The next step in improving the blog is to turn these takeaways into action items. I have started this process and will cover the plans and implementation in future posts. I hope that this post was useful to you and can help you start improving your own blog. Make sure to subscribe to The Great Grind by entering in your email in the subscribe widget in the right column, so that you don’t miss out on future posts covering my plans to turn Cardplayer Lifestyle into a mega blog.