I made the switch from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress with Bluehost on February 22, 2015, and to be honest, I had no clue what to expect from WordPress in terms of helping my blog grow. I knew it was a more SEO friendly platform, and I purchased the Genesis Framework to boost that even more, so I figured my views would increase at least a bit. But then, after a month of using my new self-hosted blog, my views had doubled. And now, less than a month later, they’ve tripled. And I haven’t noticed any evidence of that trend stopping.
“Views” may not be the right term to use here. I’m actually referring to “sessions”, which is the term Google Analytics defines as
…a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame. For example a single session can contain multiple screen or page views, events, social interactions, and ecommerce transactions.
The other two statistics I’m considering are “users” and “pageviews”, but I’ll get more into those in a Google Analytics 101 post! To make this comparison a little easier, let me give you some backstory on my statistics before I made the switch to WordPress.
Before Switching To WordPress
For the sake of simplicity, I’m comparing the period of time that I’ve been on WordPress (February 22 – April 4) to the period directly before that (January 11 – February 21).
As you can see, my session counts were all over the place. There was an increasing trend, but I’m chalking that up to the fact that I was posting a bit more during this period in an attempt to hype up my switch. My sessions in periods before this were all about the same, with no noticeable increasing trend. Here are a few notable numbers:
Average number of sessions per day: 70 sessions
Minimum sessions for a day: 23
Maximum sessions for a day: 125 (the day before my launch)
Basically, my stats were pretty dang low. I had the occasional spike on days that I posted, but even those weren’t too high. And based on my earlier assumption, had I not been posting more often and hyping up my blog’s switch, they would’ve been a lot lower. You could say I was pretty happy when those numbers skyrocketed after my switch.
After Switching To WordPress
So I’m not quite famous yet (ha), but those numbers still excite me. For the first few weeks of being on WordPress, my sessions averaged out at about 200 a day, which was still above every session count from the previous period. Then, almost exactly a month later, those numbers started increasing, even though I was posting the same amount each week. Here are some extra statistics:
Average number of sessions per day: 370
Minimum sessions for a day: 160
Maximum sessions for a day: 715
Overall, the number of sessions from the previous period increased by a whopping 430%. There are a lot of factors that go into these statistics, so it’s hard to tell what exactly caused this increase. Could social media platforms be sending more readers to my blog? Could my content just be more relevant than before? Basically, I can’t say with 100% confidence that switching to WordPress was the main cause for this increase. I have noticed a big increase in the number of sessions referred by a search engine though, which is a good sign.
The numbers are pretty easy to interpret. They’re real, and they’re right there. But there are a few other points this comparison left me with:
Keeping track of your statistics is extremely important if your goal is to grow your blog
It’s hard to start looking at your blog’s growth when you don’t have any history to look at, and that made it hard for me to judge whether switching to WordPress was really what caused my increased views. Had I kept track of exactly how often I was posting before and after, and how my social media followers grew, it would’ve been easier to narrow down the influences.
Watching your statistics can help you grow your blog
I’ve been doing some experimenting with post times recently, and it’s interesting to see how the time I publish a post increases the number of views that post gets. I always thought there wouldn’t be enough of a difference, but I was definitely wrong. Now, every time I make a post, I try to publish it at a time I haven’t before, and take note of the number of views that post gets and when it receives the most. I’m hoping this will eventually help me find a “perfect time” for posting and continue to increase my views.
Never trust Blogger statistics
Seriously. Just don’t. I knew this was a bad idea after hearing these words of advice from many other bloggers, but when I finally checked out my Google Analytics statistics, I was still disappointed to see that my actual number of views was almost a quarter of what Blogger had been telling me. So if you haven’t yet, go install Google Analytics on your blog. It’s totally worth it.
If you’re thinking about making the switch to WordPress, I wrote a step-by-step guide for setting it up along with some super helpful tips to get you going!