Successful travel blogging has become increasingly difficult over the last year thanks to Google crackdowns, Facebook algorithm changes, and of course the overwhelming extend of so many amazing new travel blogs. While the latter only affects, well, other new travel bloggers, all except the few big bloggers whom don’t mind paying for Facebook advertising can relate to these overwhelming feelings that many of our fellow travel bloggers struggle with.
There is no shortage of social media platforms out there but the core topic today is understanding how to evaluate them and determining which provides the best ROI. After all what works best for one person might not for another. Once that is done it becomes easier to focus attention in the most rewarding places and maximize you (and your blog’s) potential.
Evaluating Your Reach
While most of us bloggers are used to keeping an eye on our Google Analytics and Alexa stats, how does one properly track their reach via social media? Sure, there are several expensive paid services — which again only help the fat cats, not the less profitable and lesser known travel blogs — but free is always better.
SumAll literally does what the name suggests: summarizes it all. It allows you to connect all of your traditional social media profiles as well as additional services such as MailChimp, PayPal, bit.ly, Google Analytics, and yes even Bing Ads, among others — but whom am I kidding, no one uses Bing, much less Bing Ads 😉 The fact that this service is free is mind-boggling.
|New New Subscribers
|Track By Hashtag
Track By URL
All data can be graphed against all other data sources in thousands of combinations to highlight things that before were impossible to track. They can also send you weekly emails detailing all of your stats for the most recent week in comparison to the week prior to that.
After all, the number of Twitter followers or Facebook likes you have means practically nothing. It’s a vanity number. However the number and frequency of interactions is what really counts. SumAll allows you to easily track, analyze and compare this.For Example…
These two graphs display @the_HoliDaze stats from the last two months on a weekly basis. However, as both screenshots were taken on April 24th, the newest stats for “Week of Monday, April 21st” only reflect three days: April 21st-24th.
Analyzing These Graphs
Immediately the two dips in the graph are evident. I like seeing this because then I can evaluate them and determine what happened. Obviously there was a dip last week, the week starting April 14th, because I was severely sick and didn’t tweet for four days — my longest Twitter absence since I joined nearly three years ago. And the dip the week of March 3rd? Well March 4th was my birthday and I was busy celebrating all week instead of tweeting and blogging.
The second graph is easier to read. Once you remove retweet/mention reach from the graph the numbers are scaled down considerably and easier to digest. From this we can determine a lot:
The number of mentions loosely follows my number of tweets. When I tweet less, fewer people tweet me. Proof positive that being active on Twitter generates better engagement.
The ratio of my tweets to retweets is 3:1. However I chat a lot on Twitter and if I didn’t this number would be much higher as I frequently have tweets that are RT’d a dozen times or more.
My mentions never exceed my tweets. Why? Because I don’t treat Twitter like a “one-way” street, as some bloggers do. I respond to everyone. This is a tactic I recommend for all travel bloggers. Regardless of which country you are in buy a local SIM card and tweet when you are in a taxi/bus/train or waiting on a taxi/bus/train. This engagement will do wonders to increase your followers and readership, which is worth far more than the SIM cost.
| Tweets to Google Analytics traffic / unique visitors
Google+ publishing activity to site traffic
The list goes on and on…
| MailChimp newsletters to site traffic
Facebook engagement to site traffic
Twitter hashtag activity to site traffic
Now that I have provided a few examples of just how versatile SumAll is and the useful information you can extrapolate from it, the challenge is on you to see what all you can learn from it. Visit the SumAll web site to get started.
Know how when you hover over images and the Pinterest button appears? Well this one line of code does that and much more. For starters it offers not just the Pin It option but also the ability to post the image directly to Twitter or Facebook.
It also works with highlighted text. Try it right now, highlight a sentence in this article, any sentence. Whatever is selected can be shared on Twitter or Facebook, even emailed to a friend — especially usefully when you read an article that has a really good quote or excellent information in it.
Every week I receive an email detailing:
- Popular Content Phrases that have been highlighted, whether or not they were shared.
- Popular Images Top images and the total number of times they were shared.
- Trending Pages Popular posts/pages and their ‘engagement score’ — although to be perfectly honest I never bothered to look into how this number is calculated.
To try Markerly for yourself just hover over the image above and click the red Markerly logo on the left side of the overlay.
With SumAll it is very easy to see which social media platform drives the most traffic to your blog. After knowing that it’s much easier to invest your time more wisely and achieve the best results. However Markerly is also an interesting tool for determining which sentences and photos have the biggest impact with readers, not to mention how they most prefer to share your content: via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or email.
More Advice: WordPress Plugins Every Travel Blogger Should Use
Coming Tomorrow: How To Understand, Embrace And Maximize Google+