[CONTEXT] How to not freak out when web traffic is down

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

In just four months in 2016, my content marketing blog here has seen almost as  much traffic as all of 2015 had as a whole. Leads are coming in, too. Books are being sold. Speaking engagements are being booked. The blog and its role in my life is humming along.

But wait, traffic in April was down from the previous three months – which continuously beat the last month. Oh no! Things are going downhill.

When I saw the monthly numbers first and without other context I wondered why things were trending down. Of course, in reality, they weren’t trending down at all. It was just one month that saw less traffic than other recent and record months. It’s easy to forget that those records didn’t use to be the norm.

And April beat 11 out of 12 months last year. And when I look at last year’s first four months and compare them to this year, things are trending way ahead – even with one “down” month. Revenue and other success metrics also are ahead – some just slightly – than last year. OK. Time to relax!

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Metrics can be addictive to look at and can cause us heartburn when we don’t think about the bigger picture.

Looking at metrics, I try to remember these things:

  • What can I learn here?
  • Why is it up or down?
  • How can I adjust my content and/or distribution going forward?

  • How does this small slice compare to the bigger picture of growth?

And remember that not everything can be tracked perfectly anyway. I’ve had speaking engagements worth thousands come in through social media and not even the official “Book Christoph” button on my blog. They were influenced by the blog but reached out through another channel. That can be hard to track – especially in larger organizations.

Use metrics to help you understand what content resonates, how your community is growing but don’t overthink it.