Pillar content is created and published over a period of time. When you think about the massive amount of content you need to create, a pillar can fill the content calendar for months if not an entire year. This is great for bloggers who worry about finding topics to write about; having the pillar map helps guide you every week with the content you need to focus on that will get your results. 

However, with it taking so long to get the entire pillar published, how do you know you are succeeding?

Pillar analysis and updates fall into every other marketing category when it comes to measuring success. First, you need to be measuring things, and second, you need to update your plan if the results are not what you hope or expect. Knowing what metrics to follow and how to interpret them will help you make the right decisions with your future content and any updates to existing content.

New and Young Blog Growth Expectations

It can be hard to feel like you are making progress if you simply watch the search engine results (SERPs) or look for top keywords rankings. You need tangible ways to break down S.M.A.R.T. goals to measure success. The great news is you don’t need a lot of fancy analytics to see what is working with most of these metrics. 

Here are five metrics to use to make content adjustments for new or unestablished blogs: 

1. Top Viewed Posts

This is really easy to see from your analytics connection and can often be done with the right plugin within your back office engine on your blog. We use Monster Analytics connected to Google Console. It gives us current data when logging into our blog admin in an easy-to-view snapshot. 

You can see up to 50 of the top posts. By looking at what posts are getting the most views, I can infer what titles are grabbing the most attention. I’ll look to see if they are part of a cluster or have any real relationship to other things in the content library. Keep in mind this analytic is for all pages, not just blogs. But what we can see is that content around Google Updates was the most popular.

top blog posts listed in wordpress dash
Other popular content revolved around the idea of building content that converts to sales. As the blog owner of this particular blog, I can also infer something else. This website is approximately four months old at the time of publication with a Facebook Group of 185 people being the ONLY place I market this blog at. It gives me insights into the ratio of my user engagement.

(If you’re one of the 10 regularly reading this, thanks and I know you’re excelling with new blog skills.) Beyond thanking you, my readers, it helps me identify areas where I might get more engagement. These will be where I focus my numbers. The idea is to increase the number per my marketing; if I want to double these numbers, I need to think about where and how I am marketing this information.

2. Average Comments Per Post

The top pages viewed is not the only thing you should look at that is readily available in your blog admin panel. Comments will give you an idea of engagement. When readers are getting engaged in your content, you know they are getting questions answered and it sparks bigger conversations. 

average comments per post wordpress dash

From the same blog library, this title didn’t show up on the top viewed results, but you can see that it had 5 comments. It got people reading to the end and posting something which is good and Google loves this. 

Two things to note with comments: 

  1. If you are using Facebook comment building groups, this becomes a false positive. While you may be getting some Google juice from the comments, it won’t tell you what posts were really hitting the mark. 
  2. If you forget to click, “turn on comments” when publishing as I seem to do in this particular platform that I can’t automate it, you’ll have posts that don’t get comments because they are turned off. 

Truly engaging content tells you where your readers are staying. If you read through the comments, real comments often have valuable insights that you can use for future content ideas. 

3. Social Shares Per Post

The next thing to look at is whether or not anyone who reads your posts is sharing it. Again, if you are creating content that answers people’s questions and is engaging, you should have people willing to share it with friends or groups where similar questions arise. Creating content that gets shared is the social proof way of building brand recognition that Google loves. 

An article in the Digital Footprint Media blog library had pretty good readership considering the overall participation and was shared six times. Think about that: 10 readers with six shares. Let’s remove the one share I submitted to my own social media channel but again, if you were to scale that number (50% of readers shared the post), think about the value of this post. 

average shares per post wordpress dash

When you think about the scalability of this, you have to think about the pillar around to develop more content that people want to read and share. You also need to set this for an update in six months as you build a bigger audience to revise it and re-publish it. As your traffic grows, 50% might be high, but it’s a good baseline to set the metric for this blog. 

4. New Subscribers

Good writing should grow your audience. It’s that simple. Whether it is a subscription to follow the blog, new subscribers to your Facebook Group, Instagram followers, or other social media channels, growth is the key. (As I go to correct my 184 number above to the 185 seen here – we grow as I write, which is a great feeling.)

subscriber growth chart

Remember, when you are starting, things are not always going to be huge. For those wondering why a digital marketer isn’t concerned or afraid to show small numbers, keep a couple things in mind:

  1. This is a new site that hasn’t been marketed at all
  2. There were major issues with the infrastructure of the site due to a Cpanel issue, bad initial web developer, and getting hit with malware. 
  3. This site was created as an experiment by me to focus things primarily on content creation. In other words, I wanted to show the slow and steady race of good content and use all the other tools available for marketing in other ways. 

I feel there are so many people out there trying to preach fast growth and miracle solutions. The approach that works for me and my clients is smart content. When you understand how to create smart content, you are able to use all the other growth tools (ads, social media, backlinks) to accelerate growth. But you need the right content first.  

5. Ranking Keywords

When you first start, you won’t really see keywords rank at all. Most of the time, you won’t see huge jumps in keyword numbers. As you build the pillar, you will see Google pick up on phrases and themes. Look at these to see where you are getting success. 

ranking keywords chart

By looking at this chart, I can tell that my content is going in the right direction to start to rank. But I’m still on page three to five with these results. That’s okay. I’ll take a look at the words that are doing well and take a look at my pillar map. From there, I will boost content with the words that are working and make sure I start to link to the blogs that have winning content. It also gives me a chance to consider the best backlink opportunities for pages that are seeing success.

Curious about your keyword ranking? We can help. We’ll run a website audit that includes your ranking keywords and help you identify where to go next.

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