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How to Measure the Success of a Blog

March 1, 2010

I finally reached the chapter in Web Analytics 2.0 about social media measurement. In this chapter, Avinash Kaushik highlights some interesting ways to measure the success of blogs. So to celebrate the 6 month anniversary of SEM Booty (I can’t believe it’s been 6 months already!), I wanted go through the process and apply some of Avinash’s success measures to see what I could learn, and find areas for improvement over the next 6 months.

SEM Booty Scorecard

1. Do I deserve to be successful?
According to Avinash, this is the foundation of all blog metrics. To answer this question, you need to look at something called, “Raw Author Contribution” which is:

  • Posts per Month = Number of posts / Number of months blogging
  • Content Created = Number of words in a post / Number of posts

My Key Takeaways
My frequency of posting (4.6 posts per month) is not bad and my posts are consistently around 600 words which I think is a good balance – not too short, but not huge amounts of detail either. The frequency is definitely in line with my aim of posting at least once a week, on a Monday [My Grade: B].

2. Is anyone reading my content?
It’s great to be able to write down thoughts and experiences, but one of my goals is to share this information with other marketers who may also find this interesting. To help answer this question, we can look at two indicators:

  • Number of Followers/RSS Subscribers
  • Most Read and Least Read Posts

The number of followers/subscribers to your blog are an indicator of those people who have taken an action to say. “Yes, I am interested and the content is relevant to me”. And by looking at the posts that generated the most (and least) views, you can start to understand what content helps you grow, and what does not.

My Key Takeaways
I have 10 Followers right now. The number has been very slowly increasing over time, but I would definitely like to attract more by focusing on the most popular content areas. Looking at the most read posts to date, it looks like emerging social media subjects, as well as content about the intersection between Social Media and Search Marketing consistently drive the most traffic [My Grade: C].

3. Is my blog generating conversations?
As Avinash points out, blogs are a social medium. So it’s not just about pushing out information, but about encouraging dialogue, conversations, and contribution. One way of looking at this is by using a “Conversation Rate” calculation:

  • Conversation Rate = Number of Visitor Comments / Number of Posts

My Key Takeaways
For every post I write, I get 0.62 comments; and for every 597 words I write, my visitors write 20 words. There is definitely room for improvement here. Comments seem so few and far between that every time I do get one, it literally makes my day. Maybe by taking a stronger view on topics will help to encourage more feedback (EG: Twitter is not a strategy post) [My Grade: D].

4. Are people talking about my content?
According to Avinash, this measure of success is about looking at the ripples caused by your blogging efforts, and asking “how viral is my content?”. One way to look at this is through Tweet Citations (how many people tweet about your post):

  • Tweet Citations = Number of Tweets / Number of Posts

My Key Takeaways
From what I was able to track, there’s been a total of 60 tweets related to my posts, which means that for every post, I generate an average of 2 tweets. Again, there is room for improvement here. Focusing down on the popular topics may help. Testing of different titles, and experimenting with the way that they are written, may also have an impact [My Grade: C-].

Summary
This was a useful exercise to go through and I would recommend anyone with a blog to go through the same process; it’s quite an eye-opener. Overall, I gave myself a C, so there’s plenty of room for improvement and best of all, I know where to focus that improvement. Finally, if you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Avinash’s book. It’s been a great read for me so far.

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