8 Reasons Why You’re Not Getting ROI From Your Blog Posts

Last updated
min read

After all the hard work that goes into publishing a blog post, it can be disheartening to see a lower return on investment (ROI) than you were expecting.

And it’s not always obvious what the problem is—especially if your blog is getting lots of traffic but relatively few people are signing up to be customers, clients, or subscribers.

So, what exactly should you do in this situation?

Well, it turns out there’s a systematic approach you can take to understanding why certain posts are underperforming and get those conversions back up where they should be.

In this guide, we share eight common issues that contribute to poor performance and the solutions you need to improve conversions, increase your reach, and grow your brand.

Let’s get started! 

1. You haven’t set up conversion tracking correctly

The first thing to check is that you have conversion tracking set up properly. If not, it’s going to be difficult to calculate — and improve — your return on investment.

It might also be the case that your blog is performing well but some conversions are not being accurately recorded.

Conversion tracking allows you to identify the best and worst performing pages, so you can improve underperforming blog articles and focus future efforts on proven, revenue-generation formats.

It also lets you know which pages you should actively promote to maximize conversions and get the most from your investment.

How to set up conversion tracking:

1. Set clearly defined conversion goals
First, determine what counts as a conversion for your blog. This could be a free trial, paid service, newsletter sign-up, or something similar.

2. Set up “Key Events” in Google Analytics
Google has recently changed the nomenclature around conversions and events to “Key Events”. This lets you monitor your conversion goals and get live reports on a page-by-page basis in the “Search Console” section of GA4.

Google Analytics Engagement Report showing key events

This Google tutorial shows how you can set up Key Events for your website.They can be further segmented to show your chosen parameters such as free trial conversions, newsletter signups, or appointments booked.

3. Use a Data Layer for more granular tracking

A data layer is a Javascript object that passes information from your website to Google Tag Manager. Essentially, it’s a bit of code that you place at the top of certain pages to capture information about the page and the user.

Google Tag Manager tracks a number of events by default, like starting and completing a form, but there are dozens of additional events you may want to track—all unique and specific to your user journey.

Developers can find detailed information about the data layer here.

4. Turn data into visualizations for insights

All the data in the world is useless to you if it can’t help you make decisions.

Google Analytics mostly serves raw data, which is fine for certain purposes. For example, you should be able to quickly see which articles are underperforming and which are doing well.

But you can take things one step further with more advanced data processing and visualizations. For this, you will need something like Google Sheets or, even better, Looker Studio to turn that data into meaningful visualizations.

This is how you can really start digging into the data behind your performance and identify trends by comparing conversions to any number of factors, like publish date and time, CTA position, article length, vertical, author, etc. (You’ll need a Data Layer—see above—in place for most of this, but the rewards are well worth the effort!)

Finally, visualizations offer a “high-level” view of blog performance. For example, you could visualize performance per month or per week to identify trends in conversions related to seasons or events.

Cyclic performance for articles on “lawn care” based on seasonality

5. Hire a conversion tracking consultant

A specialist in conversion tracking can help ensure everything is set up quickly and correctly. This is super useful if you don’t have the skills to do so in-house or just want to be sure it’s done right.

Pro Tip

Need help setting up conversion tracking and attribution? You’re not alone!


A recent LinkedIn survey found that attribution is the #1 problem content marketers struggle with. 


At Eleven, we’ve helped clients large and small get their analytics in tip-top shape.


If you’re still wrangling with Google Tags, not sure how to set up your Data Layer, or need help turning your data into charts and graphs for clear insights, we can help.

Click here to get started with a friendly, no-commitment chat.

2. You don’t have an effective content funnel

Visitors to your blog may not realize that your products and services offer solutions for the problem they are trying to solve.

This can happen when readers face too many top-of-funnel (TOFU) articles that don’t lead them on to the next step in their journey or if too much of your bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) content feels overly salesy and they need more information before committing.

In both cases, conversions and ROI will suffer.

That’s why you need an effective mix of top, middle, and bottom-of-funnel content that educates, informs, and ultimately guides readers to your products and services.

It’s also important that all the stages of the funnel have clear internal links and calls-to-action (CTAs).

Understanding the content funnel

In 1966, Eugene Shwartz published Breakthrough Advertising and his concept of the five stages of customer awareness.

Here’s how you can use it to improve your blog’s content funnel and conversions.

1. Unaware

Funnel Position: Top of the Funnel (ToFu)

Content Examples: Educational blog posts, infographics, and general interest videos.

This content should focus on the broader issues or desires that your product or service addresses, without directly selling. For example, a cloud-based HR company could use an infographic to show how automated solutions save time compared to manual employment management processes.

2. Problem-Aware

Funnel Position: Top of the Funnel (ToFu)

Content Examples: How-to guides, eBooks, and blog posts that address common problems or needs your audience faces.
This stage acknowledges your audience’s pain points and empathizes with them. Using the previous HR example, this could be a blog post about managing employee leave over the summer and subtly introducing the automated solution.

3. Solution-Aware

Funnel Position: Middle of the Funnel (MoFu)

Content Examples: Product webinars, comparison guides, and case studies.

Here, the audience knows that solutions exist and is starting to explore options. Your content should help them understand what solutions are available and how they differ. 

4. Product-Aware

Funnel Position: Middle to Bottom of the Funnel (MoFu to BoFu)

Content Examples: Product demos, customer testimonials, and detailed product guides. The audience is now aware of your product but needs to understand why it's the best choice for them.

Content that showcases the benefits and features of your product, as well as how it stacks up against competitors, is key. 

5. Most Aware

Funnel Position: Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu)

Content Examples: Detailed case studies, FAQ posts, and comparisons. The audience is ready to make a purchase decision but might need a final nudge.

Mastering the content funnel

How much content should you create for each stage?

This depends on a few factors, like where your blog traffic is coming from (e.g. paid ads, social media, or organic search) and your industry. Some products or services might need more educational content than others.

For example, traffic from paid ads is already “warmed up” and can be sent to BoFu content whereas social media traffic might need more informational content. However, creating content for all stages of the funnel can bring more organic traffic and help grow your brand's authority in your niche.

You can get a good idea of how much content is needed for each stage by looking at a successful competitor's website. A great way to do this quickly is to grab their page titles (a tool like Screaming Frog can do this quickly) and feed them into ChatGPT. You can prompt it to assign pages to each stage of the funnel and calculate the distribution ratio across the different stages, too.There are also tools like Impact Hero from Semrush. This analyzes your blog and identifies weak spots in the content funnel.

Screenshot from Impact Hero showing content distribution

3. You’re writing for the wrong audience

In the world of direct response copywriting, they say to maximize conversions you only need two things to be in sync:

  1. The right audience
  2. The right offer

To illustrate the subtle nuances behind this, imagine you have a SAAS blog that provides tools for HR professionals. The top-performing article in Google for your blog is:

10 Things Not To Say In Your Final Interview

Savvy marketers will have already identified a big problem here. The article is targeted at the person being interviewed—and not our target audience, HR professionals. As a result, the chance of a conversion is going to be slim to none.

It’s not wrong per se to have articles that target additional audiences related to your target audience, especially to demonstrate topical authority. But if your top-performing blog articles are attracting the wrong audience, that’s a major issue. 

How audience personas can help

The more you can hone in on your target audience, the better. For example, rather than writing for the “HR Professional'', you could be more specific and target “Talent Acquisition Specialists.” In the example above, this would match our offer much better.

With this in mind, it’s a great idea to create audience personas before you start producing content. However, if you do have articles that are underperforming, you can still go through them and make changes to help them be as specific as possible for your target audience.

In addition to increasing conversions, putting the audience first also lines up with Google’s recommendations for content creation.

Creating the right offer is a little beyond the scope of this article, but this SEMrush guide is an excellent resource to get started.

4. The writing is not engaging enough

Conversions only happen when our content resonates with our target audience.

Research shows that up to 90% of all our decisions are based on emotions. Therefore, getting people to feel things like empathy, interest, intrigue, desire, and the fear of missing out (FOMO) while reading content is a great way to increase conversions.

Here are three ways to make your writing more engaging.

1. Capture their attention - and keep it!

You only have a few sections to capture a reader’s attention. The title brings them into the article but a lot of heavy lifting is done by the introduction. This can be thought of as a bridge to the main body - and your CTAs.

Ensure your introduction has a good hook, tells the reader what they can expect to find further down the page, and delivers on this promise.

Another great way to capture attention is to call out your readers by name (eg. talent acquisition managers) or reference a situation they can relate too (eg. failed hires).

Pro Tip

Readers should see themselves in your copy. Imagine you are trying to get them to nod their head or raise their hand when writing the introduction.

2. Avoid Fluff and Complex Writing

Anything that gets in the way of communicating your message quickly and clearly should be removed. That includes fluff, which is anything that is off-topic, makes the piece harder to understand, or bores readers. The same can be said for using complex words when a simpler alternative exists.

But how does this help conversions?

Making readers think too much creates a cognitive overload. If they struggle to understand your message or the meaning behind some arcane phrase, their course is deviated from the straight line down your page and to your CTAs.

Recommended Reading: Eleven’s guide on eliminating fluff in your writing.

3. Answer the question: What’s in it for me?

A great way to keep your reader engaged is to put yourself in their shoes.

What’s in it for them?

Why should your audience care enough to keep reading, to sign up to your newsletter, and consider using your products and services?

The best way to answer these questions is to refer back to your audience personas and hone in on their pain points and desired outcomes.

Another way is to use a “tried and tested” storytelling framework that places your reader as the hero or central character. 

Some great examples of these are:

5. CTAs are not set up correctly

In his book, “Great Leads: The Six Easiest Ways to Start Any Sales Message”, Michael Masterson equates getting a conversion with starting a relationship. 

Asking for a sale too quickly, he says, is like introducing yourself to someone and then asking them to marry you. It may be successful in very rare cases, but I think it would be pretty unusual!

Relating this to blog posts, we can not realistically expect CTAs placed in the first few sentences to convert. Yet you’d be surprised how many times I have seen in-content links for products and services placed in the first few sentences.

Alternatively, some blogs only have one CTA placed at the very end. But most readers only scroll down 60% of the page, so the majority will never see it. That’s why it’s a good idea to place them after the introduction, in the middle of the article, and at the end.

Of course, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. The most important thing is that they appear at the right time (think candle-lit dinner!) and not shoehorned in two-thirds down the page. It’s even better if they can appear naturally after you’ve made a logical (and emotional!) argument.

Click Mechanisms

How you phrase the CTAs you include in your blog posts will also affect conversions. Here are three alternatives to the direct “Sign up today”.

1. Benefit-driven → A benefit-driven click mechanism will appeal to your target audience. For example, “Make every hire the right hire with this tool”.

2. Curiosity/Intrigue → A curiosity-based click mechanism is like an itch the reader has to scratch. For example, “Discover the quick, easy way to reduce bad hires by 67%”. 

3. Social Proof/Authority → A social proof or authority click mechanism prompts the reader to follow the crowd. For example, “See why nine-out-of-ten website owners prefer WordPress”.

You can also mix and match click mechanisms, as the above example shows with a hint of curiosity.

Other click mechanisms you may have seen include Urgency and Scarcity, but these are mostly found on sales/service pages or widgets and pop-ups.

A/B Testing 

If you haven’t set up A/B testing then it’s likely you're leaving money on the table.

Some things that you can test are the CTA´s appearance, position, and wording. You might be surprised at how very small changes can increase conversions.

In a study by unbounce, they found that changing the text of a CTA from “Get your 30-day trial” to “Get my free 30-day trial” increased the click-through-rate by an incredible 90%.

A/B and multivariate (for high-traffic pages) tests are now a lot quicker, easier, and cheaper to use than in the past. Some good services to consider are Nelio and Optimizely for WordPress and Optibase for Webflow users.

6. On-page metrics are not being measure

On-page metrics offer a quantitative method to gauge the engagement level of your blog posts. They can reveal how long your visitors stick around, how much of an article they scroll, and where they click on the screen.

It’s eye-opening when using heatmapping tools like Hotjar and watching users click things without links. And completely ignoring the links you want them to click…!

Three on-page metrics that can help you increase ROI are:

1. Average engagement time

Average engagement time replaces the “Average Time On Page” metric used in previous versions of Google Analytics. It measures the time that the page was in focus on the user’s browser. Time is not recorded if they keep the page open but flip to another tab.

The longer a user spends engaged with a page, the more likely they are to convert. There’s also a potential SEO benefit as a longer dwell time sends good user signals to Google.

Google Analytics Engagement Report showing Average engagement time

So what is a good average engagement time?

This can be a bit tricky to quantify as what is “good” will vary between industry, traffic source (e.g. social traffic engages less than organic traffic), and content type.

What you can do is identify blog posts that are lower than your website’s average and look for ways to make them more sticky.

This could include:

  • Ensuring the content is aimed at the right audience
  • Checking if it matches user intent
  • Making the copy more engaging (as previously covered)
  • Making it easier to read (blog themes, font size, no walls of text, etc)
  • Adding images

If you’re having trouble finding the engagement reports in GA4, Google has this guide.

2. Bounce rates

The bounce rate is a very similar metric to the average engagement time. A good bounce rate can vary by industry, content type, and monetization method. For example, if you monetize through affiliate links a high bounce rate might not be a problem as users arrive from Google and then immediately leave to purchase the offer.That said, I recommend monitoring the average bounce rate for your blog and investigating any pages that is under average. Edit the pages to make them more engaging (as previously covered) and check there are ample internal links to keep your visitors on the blog for longer.

Pro Tip

You can add Bounce Rate to your GA4 engagement reports which makes things easier.

To do this, click on customize in the top right corner.

Google Analytics screenshot showing how to customize a report

Click the metrics tab and add “bounce rate”.

Google Analytics screenshot showing how to add the bounce rate

Make sure to click the apply button for the changes to take effect.

3. Scroll Depth

Scroll depth is another metric that can help you see how users are engaging with your content. It can also help troubleshoot low ROI pages to see if most users are scrolling down to all your CTAs. By default, GA4 only shows a report for visitors who scroll more than 90% of a page. You can add a custom report by using Google Tag Manager triggers. This is a great guide by SEMrush which shows how to do that.As you would expect, user engagement tails off the further they move down a page.

Google Analytics screenshot showing scroll depth

A bit of manual calculation is required to make this date comparable across blog posts. What you can do is to convert the user data into ratios to calculate a benchmark.

For example, if you find that an average of 50% of all users are making it beyond the 75% parameter, a page with only 35% warrants further investigation.

7. Content decay is eroding your ROI

A trap many blogs fall into is publishing a piece of content—and then forgetting about it.

This can be hazardous for ROI because of content decay - the slow decline in relevance, visibility, and effectiveness of online content over time.

To understand how to fix it, we have to understand why it happens.

The main reasons are:

  • Better search results: Your content may no longer be the best answer for the search query.
  • Increased competition: You might have been the first blog to publish on a topic but now others have expanded on your original content
  • Search intent changes: Google now prioritizes different types of content like product pages instead of reviews.
  • Outdated content: For example, your article might have ranked highly for “Chat GPT” but only mentions version 3.5 and not 4.0.
  • Link decay: Some backlinks to your blog post may now be offline.

How can we find and fix content decay?

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to spot blog posts that have been affected by content decay. To learn how to do this and regain your traffic in seven easy steps, take a look at our guide.

How To Find And Fix Content Decay

8. Your blog isn’t getting enough traffic, period

Getting more of the right kind of traffic can increase your blog’s ROI in a variety of different ways.

Of course, a larger audience base can bring more conversions by directly impacting the number of interesting individuals who see your post. It also allows for more A/B and multivariate testing to help improve the percentage of traffic that converts.

You might also find that the new people coming to your blog are slightly different from your original audience and offer new opportunities in the form of different products and services.

More traffic is also great for increasing brand awareness. This opens more doors like partnership opportunities, advertising revenue, and the potential for viral content spread, helping your brand to be seen as an authority in your niche.

How to get more traffic to your blog

Everyone with a blog would love more traffic - but how can we actually get it? And how do we know how much is available?

A great way to answer this question is to take five or ten competitors and look at the blog traffic they are getting. How does it compare to yours? Where is it coming from? What traffic-generating topics do they cover but you do not?

Tools like SimilarWeb can give you a quick breakdown of where traffic is coming from. This might prompt you to focus more on a certain social media channel or up your paid ads game.

The granular data that SEO tools Ahrefs and SEMrush provide can also help increase organic traffic. You can analyze your competitors and quickly find the top-performing pages and keywords that are driving their traffic. Both these tools have a content gap analysis that you can use to quickly spot gaps in your content and opportunities to increase traffic.

You don’t necessarily need to create new content to gain traffic, either.

First, I would recommend performing a content audit to check how well your existing blog posts are performing. There might be other channels where you could also share this content to quickly increase traffic.

For how to do that, check out our guide: How To Maximize ROI From Your Existing Blog Content


If you feel your blog could be making a higher ROI the first thing you should do is check that conversion tracking is correctly set up. This will help you identify underperforming pages so you can make incremental changes and track their effectiveness with A/B tests.

Calls-to-action (CTAs) are important for increasing conversions but the best CTA in the world will not help if it’s the wrong audience. Therefore, it’s equally important to check if your content targets your ideal audience and their different stages of awareness, is well-written, and discusses topics that they care about.

Finally, perhaps your blog has some pages that used to convert like crazy but have now gone off the boil. To remedy this, check for content decay and investigate ways of bringing new sources of traffic and engagement.

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