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Blog And Non-blog Traffic Conversion


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#1 iamlost

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 07:32 PM

I have been looking over some interesting log and click track analysis and thought I would share some generalised findings.

Note: For simplicity I refer to 'blog' as blog and 'non-blog' as site. :(

Background:
* The numbers are from sites and blogs within one non-nasty (in the competitive sense) but popular niche whose owners agreed to share.
* Some of the sites are mine.
* The blogs all belong to others.
* None are ecommerce, all are based on some ad/aff revenue model.
* Each are reasonably to extremely well ranked, depending on SE query term, for a majority of their pages.
* The sites average just over twice as old as the blogs.
* Sites have extremely limited RSS and commentary, blogs have extensive RSS and commentary.
* The data was from 01Nov07 to 31Jan08.

Note: Value (range) - traffic conversion per 1000.

Traffic Sources:
1. type-in, bookmark:
* blogs: traffic, 1%-5%; CTR, <1%-3%; Value, 0.1 - 1.5;
* sites: traffic, 4%-14%; CTR, 2.7%-8.3%; Value, 1.08 - 11.62

2. RSS subscription:
* blogs: traffic, 6%-34%; CTR, <1%-4%; Value, 0.6 - 13.6
* sites: traffic, <1%-2%; CTR, <1%-2%; Value, <0.1 - 0.4

3. backlink:
* blogs: traffic, 4%-13%; CTR, <1%-7.25%; Value, 0.4 - 9.4
* sites: traffic, 8%-22%; CTR, 3.2%-18.4%; Value, 2.56 - 40.48

4. SE:
* blogs: traffic, 18%-78%; CTR, 1%-2.5%; Value, 1.8 - 19.5
* sites: traffic, 40%-84%; CTR, 2.2%-14.5%; Value, 8.8 - 121.8

5. Directory:
* blogs: traffic, <1%; CTR, <1%; Value, <0.1
* sites: traffic, 2%-7%; CTR, 1.2%-2.9%; Value, 0.24 - 2.03

6. Social Media 'curiosity' traffic:
* blogs: traffic, 6%-14%; CTR, <1%; Value, 0.6 - 1.4
* sites: traffic, <1%-3%; CTR, <1%; Value, <0.1 - 0.3

7. Social Media 'recommended' traffic:
* blogs: traffic, 4%-16%; CTR, <1%-3.1%; Value, 0.4 - 4.96
* sites: traffic, <1%-12%; CTR, 1.1%-4.5%; Value, 0.1 - 5.4

There were some significant variations between the two styles of domains. Whether those variations are flaws or opportunities will require further exploration. :)

#2 AbleReach

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 02:44 AM

Do you have background on how the blogs are dealing with duplicate content, or how frequently updated the sites are?

What other differences can we come up with to look at?

I see less difference between how blogs and websites "should" be constructed than I used to. Any site that is frequently updated can be enabled with bloggy advantages, and blogs don't have to stop at behaving and looking like blogs.

My personal hunch is that design and function are at a crossroads, for a few reasons.
- Setting up a blog, out of the box, has gotten simple enough and common enough to make having a blog not seem special in itself. There's a lot of crap out there, and a lot of good stuff that doesn't look distinctive.
- Distinctive-looking design is almost unfashionable - and that's something else I think will change. "Clean" and bare are the darlings of lovely CSS. Methinks we're far enough from 1999 kitsch to start enjoying taking some chances again... with just a leetle more cooperation from dueling browsers, perhaps.
- It's still the wild west out there. People are still arguing over PR, and over SEO vs Usability, for goodness sake.
- As we get more skillsets and the general public gets more awareness, design and function will mature. Right now we're in an I-can-do-it glut. Blogging is the hula hoop of the day, but it can be so much more.

#3 A.N.Onym

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 04:27 AM

You see, the data doesn't tell us much without the total profit or number of sales or something equal we can measure on.

How differently were the products priced?

Surely, blogs would have more traffic and thus, lower conversions, but might have more sales.

For example, the traffic and conversion figures were slanted by RSS and social media traffic.

So, I wouldn't drive any conclusions until I have seen specific results. For example, here's a comparison between AdWords and social media ROI (SMO gets you 1,427% more ROI).

#4 AbleReach

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 06:55 AM

I am looking forward to seeing this thread develop!

#5 iamlost

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 11:40 AM

Do you have background on how the blogs are dealing with duplicate content, or how frequently updated the sites are?

I know my competitors better than they know themselves. :)
And no, I do not advise them to correct their failings.

These are committed topic evangelical bloggers, at least so far, and post daily plus and interact with commenters frequently throughout the day. They all seem like nice folks. These are folks who are constantly learning - such as 'out of the box' isn't good enough. The obvious things such as duplicate content were corrected before the study. As said we all rank well with most pages.

They still look like blogs. What difference that makes I am not sure.

You see, the data doesn't tell us much without the total profit or number of sales or something equal we can measure on.

No, I am not breaking out (for public consumption) likely ad or aff rates and the clicks on each (each domain knows exactly and can guess competitors rather well). ROI remains private.

What I was interested in sharing was the difference - and it is apparent - between the traffic levels from various sources and associated CTR and conversion range. I was surprised to see such a striking difference between blog and standard site layout formats.

Surely, blogs would have more traffic and thus, lower conversions, but might have more sales.

For example, the traffic and conversion figures were slanted by RSS and social media traffic.

You can infer the relative sales by the conversion range.

That RSS and SM traffic was really interesting. I will be looking further at how best to increase RSS on my non-blog sites. It performed quite well for the blogs.

If you combine all the direct traffic: type-in, bookmark, RSS, the top blogs and sites are basically dead even at just over 15 conversions per 1000. And they are also quite similar with the 'recommended' SM traffic.

RSS and SM are a fact of web life. For non-blog domains to ignore testing ways to best convert that traffic is to remain a SE supplicant.

For the blogs to be missing so drastically on converting backlinks and SE traffic is something for them to seriously investigate.

This is a limited sample in one niche.
That said it provides a starting benchmark against which to compare your domain (site/blog) in your niche. There are rather few of those out there.

#6 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 01:11 PM

[Edit - re-write for the sake of clarity and sanity]

So what are the actual differences between the Blog and Site?

I'm asking, as to my mind, and commented on by ...AbleReach... , there doesn't have to be any real technical difference.
You can have a blog with any one of the numerous "out of the box" dynamic systems, through using a CMS with an ARticles module/plugin, through a CMS that permits editing of "static" pages, or through good old fashioned hand coding and editing an existing file with updates.

The real difference seems to be in the "Name" and thats about it as far as I can tell "technically".


To my mind, the real difference is the "perception" of the site that makes it seem as a Site or a Blog.
The layout, styling , tone of the content etc... these are the things that seem to literally state "I'm a blog"... (that and the big bold text, the url and title that say "blog" :)).


So how different "perceptually" are the Site and Blog?
Is that the reason for the difference?


Are things in the same location, using the same wording etc...?
(Or would that make them both blogs/sites?)

Edited by Autocrat, 11 February 2008 - 01:24 PM.


#7 iamlost

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 02:37 PM

It is amusing to read the various definitions of 'blog'. Most refer to the original concept of an online journal, with many links, especially to other blogs, often displayed in reverse chronological order. Some mention interactive comments. A few mention the power of the underlying CMS.

With regard to the blogs I reference they are mostly Movable Type or WordPress powered. But so are a couple that we classified as 'sites'. Basically if it looked like a blog, it was classed as a blog, i.e. calls itself a blog, has a blogroll, archives by date, comments follow post, etc.

Is that at least somewhat subjective? Yes. :)

To my mind, the real difference is the "perception" of the site that makes it seem as a Site or a Blog.
The layout, styling , tone of the content etc... these are the things that seem to literally state "I'm a blog"... (that and the big bold text, the url and title that say "blog").

I think he gets it!!!

So how different "perceptually" are the Site and Blog?
Is that the reason for the difference?

Apparently.
Waiting on further data - feel free to contribute. :)

Our classification was on 'perception' and according to the results a similar visitor perception may cause different results. I ran several filters including for IP or other identifier, where available, to judge visitor/domain overlap and what if any behaviours can be determined from that sub-group. There may or may not be additional public information - release approval must be unanimous. :) :(

Off Topic offtopic

[Edit - re-write for the sake of clarity and sanity]

:band: :bounce: :) :stretcher:



#8 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 03:45 PM

ROFLMAO

Yes, by jove, I believe I have got it...
:break for music from my fair lady:
... and it really does seem to be a perception case... or how things are presented to be perceived (is there a difference?).

It would be interesting to see those stats over several more months (fancy keeping one running for several months with Weeklies?).
Then, just for the sake of "science" (read as "for a laugh"), if some of the involved are willing, shift the presentation from "Blog" to "Site" and vice-versa, and see if it makes a difference.


Another interesting aspect would be to analyse the actual visitors, as there is most likely to be personality traits/trends associated with visitor types... do those visiting sites spend more than those visiting blogs, do those visiting blogs expect to see items for sale, do sites present a more "reliable" image than blogs etc.???

{{And if you thought the previous post was bad, you should have seen the original :)}}

Edited by Autocrat, 11 February 2008 - 03:47 PM.




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