Note from Leo: The below is an email Belle sent to the whole Buffer team on the 1st of October. It features our latest thoughts, ideas and questions about content and the Buffer blog. Since we default to transparency with our culture, we thought making this public could be useful for others too.

Quick Summary

In September we published 15 posts on the Buffer blog, 3 of which were guest posts. Our total uniques were 24% lower than last month, and our email subscribers jumped up 7%. Our three best-performing posts (in terms of traffic) were all published before this month.

How did the blog do overall

  • Total uniques: 562,361 (compared to 745,811 in August = 24% decrease)
  • Email subscribers: 11,934 (compared to 11,135 in August = 7% increase)
  • Total posts: 15 (3 less than August)
  • Total posts republished: 4 (Lifehacker, FastCompany, TheNextWeb, Women 2.0)
  • Total in-house posts: 12 (same as August)
  • Total guest posts: 3 (3 less than August)
  • Top 3 referring sites: Facebook (167,789 visits), A CUP OF JO – joannagoddard.blogspot.com (15,912), Twitter (14,184)
  • Top 3 keywords: “how to make yourself happy,” “things that make you happy,” “body language

Which 3 posts performed the best?

10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science

256,951 uniques, published in August

A scientific guide to saying “no”: How to avoid temptation and distraction

42,825 uniques, published in March

A scientific guide to posting Tweets, Facebook posts, Emails and Blog posts at the best time

31,251 uniques, published in August

 

Experiments from September

  • Brian whipped up some excellent author bio boxes for the blog:

Top of blog post:

 

 Bottom of blog post:

 

  • And we stopped using the text-based CTAs with email and Twitter links at the bottom of posts:

 

  • We started suggesting similar posts at the bottom of each one for further reading:

 

 

Questions and ideas that came up in September

  • Rather than pushing for higher volume of content, Leo and I decided focusing on 3 x high quality posts per week is the most sustainable plan for now.

 

Looking ahead to October

  • Our goals for the end of October are still a fair way off (25,000 subscribers and 1 million uniques/month). We need to keep these in mind as we plan and execute on content this month.
  • Starting to plan out the first Buffer ebook with Social Media tips and insights

 

Note from Leo: Let us know any more stats that we could share with you guys in the comments below!

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Written by Belle Beth Cooper

Belle Beth Cooper was the first Content Crafter at Buffer. She’s the co-founder of Melbourne startup Hello Code, an iOS developer, and a writer.

  • I think the eBook is a good move for you guys, a LARGE majority of our email sign-ups (34,000+ at the moment) have all come from eBook downloads. I’d hazard a guess that nearly 60%+ people initially signed up this way.

    Yet, these folks also open our emails as our open and clickthrough rates are very high, so you’re truly getting readers when you do this, not fly by night people as you might expect.

    Also Belle you are killing it!

    • Belle

      Thanks Gregory! That’s really great to hear about the eBook—I definitely wondered whether email-gated content leads to engaged readers or not.

  • Interesting post Belle, would definitely like to see this as a continued series :)

    • Belle

      Thanks, Tom! It’s really interesting for me to comb through the blog each month and see what worked. I definitely want to keep it up.

  • Pieter-Paul Walraven

    Some interesting learnings, thanks for sharing!
    Question: the most popular post ’10 Simple Things You Can Do Today…’ with 256,951 uniques.
    Any idea why – besides the content – this post was so much more popular compared to the rest? Thanks again for sharing these findings, much appreciated!

    • Belle

      That’s a tricky one! I think it was a combination of a good topic for our audience and luck, to be honest.

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