Page views are important; every blogger, journalist and content creator with a web presence knows that. In fact, every blogging coach will probably try to hook you and sell you on the idea that the more page views you have the better it is.
As a coach myself, I’d be lying if I said that page views don’t matter at all. They do matter, of course. Without page views you don’t have traffic and without consistent traffic you don’t have an engaged audience.
But how far do they matter? And why do so many bloggers get caught up in the obsession that is page views?
To be very frank, one of the biggest reasons page views matter is that the more you have, the greater your potential for ad revenue.
I’ve actually explained this in more detail in this post, when I crossed the threshold of 10,000 page views and got into a premium ad network, Monumetric.
However, over the following months, my approach to page views shifted significantly. More precisely, it was interesting to see how many other things mattered instead of pure page views.
A while ago, in a Facebook group for bloggers, an SEO expert that I genuinely look up to and appreciate,mentioned this:
Traffic and Page views are not a goal.
I’ve been thinking this over ever since I heard the statement and I kept wondering how it could be true, especially from a blogger who teaches people how they can improve their traffic.
Have you ever considered that there’s more to your brand and your work than page views?
It was only in mid-September that the answer came to me and there was one major reason for that to happen:
Thanks to the new algorithm changes from Pinterest and my site being marked as spam, my traffic from Pinterest began to plummet like a stone. Yes, that’s what it looks like as of today. Brutal, right?
While losing traffic is terrible (ask me how I know) and your ad revenue takes a colossal hit, it also brought me to a stunning realisation.
If traffic and page views are your only measure of success or growth, you’re going to crash and burn when this kind of a drop happens.
And while falling traffic sounds like the end of the world, the truth is it doesn’t have to be that way.
In this article I am going to explain the many reasons that I stopped focusing on page views as a measure of success and how I started focusing on the things that actually matter.
Page views alone do not equal conversions.
What is a conversion and why does it matter? As a blogger, a conversion is any kind of action that a reader takes on your website. If you’re a coach like me, for instance, a conversion can be counted as the number of people who sign up for a newsletter. Perhaps they then sign up for a coaching call, set up a group coaching session, buy a product that I recommend or purchase one of my e-books.
If you’re a blogger (and not a coach like me), a conversion is anything that counts as being useful to both you and the reader. The reader learns something from your content, leaves a comment, shares your content with other people, follows you on your preferred social media channel, downloads a freebie or a checklist that you’re offering or signs up for your newsletter.
Now, if my focus were purely page views, I’d run the risk of ignoring the more crucial element: conversions.
Page views are a vanity metric; conversions are the practical outcome. Focus on the practical.
Your True Audience
Your true audience will find you anyway, irrespective of your page views.
Even though I’ve been blogging for over a decade, my social media follower numbers are nothing to write home about. Truly.
Even my newsletter subscribers don’t cross into the 2k mark. Yet.
But do you know the absolute truth despite all of these ‘shortcomings? Every single one of my target audience- be they readers, clients, subscribers or my community- are the kind who will stick around and stay with me and my content.
Go where your audience is active. Talk to them, listen to their challenges, offer solutions to their problems and most important of all, let them know how they can reach you if they have more questions.
Average Dwell Time
Focus more on how long people stay on your blog instead of watching your Google Analytics real time views on an hourly basis.
For one thing, the real time views are a notorious time suck. You’d be surprised how often you spend looking at that particular metric and either find your heart soaring or sinking thanks to fluctuations.
Remember that drop in Pinterest traffic you saw earlier? Well, the good news is I gained sustained traffic from other sources, namely, Google/my e-mail list in the same time frame.
Granted, it’s not phenomenal, but it’s not zero. That’s the important point.
However, more than the number of page views in a 30-day period, if you focus on the average dwell time on the top 10 posts in your Google Analytics, it will tell you a very different and more relevant story.
Take the example of my top 10 posts from that same time frame below:
The top 10 posts average between 10 to 30 minutes of total dwell time on the page. Not bad, eh?
That’s the content that people enjoyed the most. That’s what they keep coming back to, over and over again.
Want more conversions? Set up a sign up form on those posts or offer a freebie to your readers.
Stay in the space of consistent content creation. Of late, I’ve actually found a certain set of engaged readers on Medium, where I try and write everyday or at least every working day.
There is no major monetary goal with Medium, to be honest. I use it to flex my writing muscles and the best part is that I can write a 2-minute to 6-minute article in under 30 minutes.
The good news is that Medium has readers, especially in my niche. So finding readers isn’t as challenging as writing into the search engine void.
The better news? The more you write, the more people tend to notice.
That’s what happened to me on Medium in just the last one week. Two more publications reached out to get me on board and my Medium followers grew by over a 140 people in the same time frame.
Honestly, I haven’t done anything other than post content everyday and share it on Twitter and Linkedin. Don’t ask me for the secret, because I don’t know it myself.
What consistent content creation helps with, as George Kao says, is the art of staying connected with your thoughts as a writer. You’ll find that it gets easier, the more often you do it.
Most days, I don’t even have to think about what I want to write. Comments from my readers or subscribers keeps my brain buzzing. I can write multiple post drafts and have them ready to go over the course of a week.
You’ll start enjoying the process of content creation for its own sake, if you stick with it. Give it a try.
Right Traffic Sources
Choose the right sources of traffic (SEO/Direct/Referral) and double down on them.
Social media is great for connecting with people. But traffic from Google is what will bring people to your site with the intention of staying there. That’s why I keep going back to emphasizing SEO and its relevance.
My SEO e-books that cover keyword research with a free tool, 10 SEO secrets to grow your blog’s visibility and how to use Pinterest SEO to increase organic traffic will all help you get there.
Sources of Income
Diversify your sources of income. Page views are directly related to ad revenue, if that’s one of your sources of income.
If they aren’t, then start focusing on other more stable forms of income.
Try and diversify into product creation- physical or digital. Offer workshops or coaching services in your niche. Sign up to become an affiliate for a product that you use and recommend it to your audience.
All of these are more valuable metrics than just page views, since they will directly impact your bottom line.
Growth & Value
Page views are not a measure of your growth, the value you provide through your content or your success as a creator.
It took me a long time to truly embrace this philosophy, but it’s what I believe from the bottom of my heart now. That’s why I don’t mind when people stop following me on social media or unsubscribe from my newsletter or cease interacting with me on other channels.
We each have a limited span of attention and as we grow on our journey as writers and bloggers, we learn a lesson. People who come into our sphere of influence do so at different stages.
Some of them will find what they need and then gently dis-engage. Others will stick around for a much longer part of the journey. Yet others will never know more about us except as a passing reference through our work online, read it and move on.
As a content creator, you’ll realise that while page views are gratifying, they aren’t the reason you started blogging. Look deep into your heart and you’ll find the truth for yourself.
I’m a blog, social media and content coach with over 13 years of writing, blogging and social media experience.
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