Do You Have a Post View Problem?

I just commented on a thread over at Threadwatch but I thought I would more fully answer the question over here where I can waffle on a bit more. The question was why are Nick Dentons visitor figures and page view figures so close?

The simple fact is most blogs have page view figures that almost match the visitor sessions. This is because

  • Homepage-centric navigation where all the action is on the first page you visit. Browsing the homepage lets you see all the new stuff. If you return every day then there is no need to click any deeper.
  • Defaulting to full post rather than snippets. If you switch to partial content as teasers you force the reader to click through to see the rest of the post, only you can decide if it is worth it as some visitors might not like the change.
  • Success of RSS. If your readers tend to read the RSS rather than visit the blog you will only get post views on those posts where the RSS user has to click through.

So first of all is this a problem?

I would say it’s not a massive problem but it is good to have high page views as it is a metric used to gain advertising (or just as bragging rights). Google Adsense in particular is interested in page views and more and more advertising is going back to CPM (per thousand impressions).

Despite this I do find visits, return and unique visitors far more interesting personally. To me a loyal readership is far far more powerful than search engine visitors that suck up all your archived content and never return. Perhaps this is my old marketing personality asserting itself but unique visitors are potential subscribers and therefore customers. Thing is the two go hand in hand, you need individuals to view many pages. You want to focus on human beings but get them more involved. By creating more stickiness you can get visitors up the loyalty ladder towards creating advocates who spread word of mouth.

It is still worthwhile keeping your visitor involved in your blog for longer. You want your blog to be satisfying and a great resource. This is a primary reason for them to visit again or recommend you. Rarely do people recommend a whole blog on the basis of one good post. How do you get them to dig down further? The way to do this is to show off!

Some bloggers do this by having a “best of” in the page navigation, on one of my blogs I have a “most popular” list. This will serve to catch the eye of readers who arrive at a particular post and wonder what else is good to see.

The best way of achieving more clicks is to inter-link your posts. Talk about other posts that are relevant to the current discussion or have a “related” list at the end of the post. You will get more clicks by embedding the links in the content though, especially if you really sell them. To sell another post lead into it showing some sort of pay-off without giving the whole game away, for example “.. where I discuss ten guaranteed killer post ideas you won’t want to miss”.

Another way of “selling” older posts is to build in this chain of posts by design by creating a series. You will see I do this occasionally here on Performancing with “part 1”, “part 2”, etc. Anyone arriving at part three will more than likely want to read the older posts, especially if you say “you need to know about X which we described in part 1”.

What many people don’t realise is the more interactive your blog is the more page views you will get. Every time a visitor clicks that’s another page view. You could have a directory or host tools for example, we get quite of use out of our private message system between performancing members. Encourage visitors to comment, that is absolutely critical. A commented blog is often a healthy blog. They will return to see if there are any replies too, increasing your visits as well as page views. Polls and surveys too work for increasing page views and can even serve to produce content to blog about.

Having said all of this, page view numbers are not something to get into a knot about, the most important thing is your readership and if it is increasing. The best way to get a good readership is great content well publicised, if you concern yourself with anything that would be it.

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