It's human nature to want to know how we fit in. How we compare to everyone around us.
Bloggers are no different.
I recently found myself wondering, "How many page views is good for a blog?" Just in a general sense, because I'm curious. As my blog continues to grow, I can't help but have an urge to measure myself against others. To get a sense of common benchmarks and milestones.
A lot of you are probably the same way.
What I didn't realize, before I dove into the research, was just how much goes into answering a question like that. Such as:How Many Pageviews Do Popular Sites Get?
What Is a Pageview?
Let's start at the top. What exactly do we mean when say "a pageview"?
Here's the problem: there are a lot of different terms swirling around that all mean similar but different things. There's:
Traffic vs. Hits vs. Pageviews vs. Uniques vs. Impressions
Here's the skinny on each:
A pageview is a standard unit of measure that equates to one single person loading one single web page. If a person were to sit and load the same web page 50 times, that would register in Google Analytics as 50 pageviews.
Unique Pageviews, or Uniques
This is the money metric. A unique pageview discounts repeated loads of the same web page, so that person sitting there loading your page 50 times (what a jerk, by the way) would only count as one unique pageview. However, if that person were to leave your site and then return to that same page again later on (in a new "session" as it's referred to in Analytics), THAT would count as a 2nd unique pageview. For that reason, this is probably the best metric in terms of getting a sense of how many people are interacting with your site.
Traffic is usually a broad term used to describe the total number of "stuff" that occurs on your website. It's usually a combination of the number of visitors along with any individual pageviews they may have accrued while they were there. So a Traffic number of one million could mean a million people visiting one page each, a single person visiting a million pages, or anything in between.
This is another term that's used broadly and, often, incorrectly. A hit is technically a request to a web server for a file, which includes individual pages but also files on that page like images, audio, video, etc. So one person visiting one page does not neccesarily equate to one hit. For example, certain content management systems report internally on hits, which can range in the hundreds even for blog posts that have only received a small handful of visitors.
This one is a bit confusing to me, because impressions tend to be a metric used in advertising and online media (how many people are exposed to a single instance of an ad). Best I can tell, a web page impression is very similar to a pageview -- it's a measure of a single visitor loading a single web page.
How Many Pageviews Do Popular Websites Get?
Okay, so now we're all on the same page about what a pageview is. Great.
Now it's time to take your own blog's traffic and compare it to the big boys.
According to Quantcast, here's how much traffic Google, YouTube, Facebook, and some of America's other top sites get, as measured by the number of people that visit in a month. It's kind of hard to equate "people" to pageviews, but it should give you a rough idea of the scale. These are the best numbers I could find, so please don't count on them for scientific accuracy. But they should be enough to give you a ball park.
So, yeah. Those are some pretty big and daunting numbers.
If you're interested in finding ballpark estimates for your favorite websites, check out the Quantcast link above for the full list.
And check out Alexa.com for some more traffic rankings and other interesting metrics around those same sites; it looks something like this:
How Many Page Views Should My Blog Get?
This is the mother of all questions, right? This is what originally set me out on this path of learning everything I could above pageviews.
Unfortunately, there's no good answer. (Doesn't mean I'm not going to try, though!)
The number of pageviews your blog gets really depends on many things: your topic, your skill and knowledge, how long you've been blogging, how active you are on social media, how good you are at SEO and digital marketing, how competitive your niche is, and what the goals of your site really are.
I know that's a lame thing to read. Unfortunately, it's pretty much the only answer available when you take to Google with this question.
But I figure we'd all at least like a rough ballpark to benchmark ourselves again, right?
It's hard to find concrete pageview stats for blogs because people tend to not want to report those if they're unimpressive. Still, here is a completely random smattering of self-reported pageview numbers from various bloggers around the web:
An anonymous person on a digital marketing forum wrote:
I have 10 - 20 wordpress blogs most of them are 2 - 5 months old at the moment and each of them gets traffic around 150 -1500 UV per day.
Aline from Nouchaline has been writing about fashion since 2009 and gets about 300 pageviews a day.
nycmakeuplover blogs on, well, makeup and gets around 800 pageviews a day. The site has recently gone inactive, though, for what it's worth.
Fashion. Food. Flair. gets 2500 views a month and has been at it for over 2 years.
An informal study done by Blogelina in 2010 (so take it with a grain of salt... I'll explain why later) of 20 bloggers found the average number of monthly page views to be around 4000, which comes to around 130 per day.
And here's a quote from John Saddington, a blogger whose article "How Much Traffic Do You Need to Start Advertising on Your Blog?" ranks highly for relevant searches around this topic:
If you’re not getting at least 250 unique visitors (per day) by the end of the first calendar year then there is something significantly wrong with how you’re executing on your content, strategy, and brand.
Not sure I agree with that, but it's another valuable perspective.
Pretty big variance across the board, right? Like I said, it all depends. There is no normal. There is no true average.
But I will also say this.
There is no bad amount of pageviews, either. Not as long as you're still growing and still trying to improve.
My friend Nate Shivar recently told me:
"A blog about mesothelioma (a notoriously high value topic) that does 250 pageviews a month would be killing it."
How about this...
Instead of trying to hit a specific pageviews benchmark, why not just try to grow your traffic?
If you're getting triple digit pageviews per month, push yourself to break 1000. If you're getting 1000, see if you can crack 2000. Try to get yourself into the next tier. Not by scheming and spamming social media or buying traffic, but by tirelessly improving your blog:
- Create bigger, badder, more epic content
- Explore new avenues of social promotion
- Build authority within a community
Don't worry if you're not stacking up to benchmarks or other self-reported pageview counts from bloggers like yourself. You're not in trouble until you become too lazy to change strategies and you start to see your traffic plateau.
Just keep going. Most bloggers give up sooner rather than later. If you don't, you'll eventually surpass them.
How Much Blog Traffic Do I Need to Make Ad Money?
For some reason, the first thing a lot of people want to do once they launch a blog is figure out how to make money off of it.
Unfortunately, it's not 1999. So slow down, there, buckaroo.
In my opinion, making significant money from blogging just isn't all that feasible anymore. At least, not in the way most people think.
Here's what I mean.
The easiest and most common way to sell ads on your blog is through Google's AdSense, where you earn 68% of the revenue generated through ads on your site. Revenue here is usually calculated on a CPM basis, or Cost Per Thousand Impressions. Meaning, advertisers pay a certain amount every time 1000 people see their ad. Got it?
According to Monetize Pros, CPMs vary depending on industry, competition, and some other things. The post behind that link has some really interesting benchmark info about CPM benchmarks. But, generally, CPM should be somewhere between $1 and $3, excluding some super high value verticals.
All those numbers and mumbo-jumbo just to say that even if you got 1000 unique pageviews per day (which is a lot), you'd still probably earn less than $2000 per year from your blog
$2000 might sound pretty good ($160 a month or so), but there are costs. Time spent optimizing your ad placement. Negative impact on your content and the user experience of your site.
Not to mention, you've just turned your blog into a job -- where a lapse in fresh content could mean a big dip in your ad revenue.
And beyond that, it takes a long time, and a LOT of work to get to the 1000 pageview per day level. Oh, sure, a lot of prominent bloggers will make it sound easy ("Just write 100 blog posts that each get 100 uniques a day!").
But it's not easy.
What you see more of today -- and I mean a LOT more -- is people using their blog to market a product or service, like a book or a consulting business.
That way, when you have something to sell beyond just your pageviews, your blog works as the content marketing arm of your business. You can keep it stripped down, focus on creating great content that provides proof points for your expertise, and sell something a little more high margin than CPM ads.
Also, if you put in the work to establish authority in your niche, you may be able to start doing paid freelance writing around your topic for other publishers. Chelsea Fagan touches on this in her post, "A Brutally Honest Breakdown of How I Make Money as a Blogger".
And finally, a lot of bloggers have a ton of success with affiliate links and programs. Again, these allow you to keep your website clean and free of ads while you focus on building a loyal audience that trusts your opinion.
TL;DR -- If you want to make money from your blog, you'll need to either compile a crap ton of pageviews (and I mean a CRAP ton), or you'll need to really dig deep and figure out how you can turn your brand and expertise into a valuable product, with your blog serving as your content marketing department.
Further Reading: Why Blog Ads Are a Silly Monetization Strategy
Starter Ideas for Getting More Blog Traffic
Getting more blog traffic is an extremely touchy topic. It can be very easy to fall into the land of snake oil and spam when researching tactics and techniques.
That said, there are a lot of great places that can teach you how to do this better than I can.
Some of my favorite places to start:
Backlinko - For tips on creating epic content & conducting outreach that leads to links and more blog traffic
Boost Blog Traffic - For content tips along with writing, editing & blogging advice
Moz Blog - For help with SEO & content marketing
What you want to look for when seeking advice is people who are going to stress exactly how hard it is to grow a blog and how much work it takes. Don't listen to anyone who makes it sound like it'll be easy , or that there's a simple 1-2-3 process to getting a million pageviews. And certainly look around someone's site before you take any of their advice -- see if they're truly someone you want to emulate.
With that said, here are a few key ideas when it comes to growing your blog and earning more traffic. Like I said, explore the resources above if you really want to dive into this.
Better Content > More Content
It was really interesting doing research for this article; I stumbled across a lot of Wordpress.org forum discussions from many years ago where bloggers were openly discussing their traffic. Many of them were amateurs with less than a few months of posting under their belts, effortlessly getting hundreds of pageviews a day with no real strategy or marketing in place.
That doesn't fly anymore.
We live in an age where the web is literally flooded with content on every topic imaginable. Your 600 word article about how to exercise more efficiently is going to get blown out of the water by someone with expertise, research, data, and visuals to back up the same ideas.
Start to embrace the idea of epic content if you want to compete.
If You Build It, They Won't Come
Again, the days of holing yourself away and churning out blog posts that rack up pageviews have come and gone. Sure, you can do a lot just by creating amazing content that's well optimized for search. But to really get over that hump and into the next tier of bloggers, you're going to have to start investing in promotion.
There are a million places to learn about this, and million different facets to explore. There's link building, there's building social authority, there's even paid promotion.
Check out the Skyscraper Technique for some starter ideas on tying great content together with a solid outreach and promotion plan.
Think About What Your Audience Wants & Needs
Gotta tell ya, the days of the "Hey, so it's been a while since I've posted, here's what I've been up to" blog posts are WAY over (this is becoming a theme, the days of certain old methods being over). Writing whatever happens to be on your mind isn't a strategy that's going to work unless you're freakishly funny or insightful.
Start actually planning your content out, doing research to pre-qualify ideas and come up with things you know for a fact people would want to read and share.
Start here with this podcast episode, Building Better Content for SEO: Planning, which will help you develop this process for your own site.
Now you know what a pageview is, how you stack up to the biggest sites on the planet, and why the only thing that really matters is that you keep pushing yourself to improve your content and site.
I hope this guide helped. If you have any other awesome resources regarding traffic benchmarking or growing a blog audience, please let me know in the comments.
Best of luck to you!