If you're blogging for business, rather than blogging about your cat, baby, fashion addiction, or crush on Taylor Swift, you need to set some success metrics.
However, even within the business (non cat) blogging arena, there are a wide variety of potential measures to gauge your momentum. It's imperative that you select the most relevant ones that match with your blog's purpose and intent.
What's the Point?
The first step in that process of course is knowing why it is that you're blogging. This sounds simple, but it's shocking how many bloggers aren't clear on the core business rationale behind their blog initiative.
As I see it, there are 3 options here:
1. Blogging for Content
This is the scenario where you are writing a blog with considerable emphasis on search optimization, attempting to drive traffic to the blog via strategic content creation and keyword inclusion.
2. Blogging for Commerce
Related to the first, but commerce-oriented blogs are more interested in conversion events than in traffic generation. Funneling traffic from the blog to some other Web destination (typically a corporate site or lead form) is the prime objective.
3. Blogging for Community
These blogs seek to guild a consistent readership that interact with the blogger(s) and advocate on behalf of the content on other social outposts.
If you are blogging for content, I see these as your key metrics:
- Total visits
- Percentage of new visits (a recent study by my clients at Compendium Blogware to be released soon shows that among 86% of corporate blogs, first-time visitors comprise 60%+ of their total traffic
- Visits from search engines
If you are blogging for commerce, I'd opt for these success measures:
- Average length of stay
- Number of pages viewed per visit (both of these metrics measure depth of engagement, a key consideration when you're trying to educate a potential customer and get them to take action)
- Referrers from other sites (if there are other sites that are driving significant traffic to your blog, you need to know what they are, to try to replicate that success with other sites of similar type)
If you are blogging for community, I'd pay closest attention to these statistics:
- Repeat visits
- RSS subscribers (repeat visits and subscribers both measure stickiness and consistency, blog elements that build community over time)
- Referrers from social outposts like Twitter or Digg
Note that the recommended success metrics are entirely different for each type of blog. Yet, in much of my social media consulting work corporate blog owners are invariably most interested in total visits and RSS subscribers.
This is especially misplaced with group written blogs, where the broad content focus and inconsistent tonality makes RSS subscription less likely. Imagine subscribing to a magazine that was about tennis one month, and about cooking the next month. That's what a lot of multi-author corporate blogs feel like, so is it any wonder that there aren't many subscribers?
Blogging success is a slow march, not a mad dash. If you create consistently good content, and promote it vigorously, your blog should eventually succeed. But, to ensure you aren't disheartened in the meantime, select success metrics that are appropriate for your goals.
For more on advanced blogging, please see my post and slide presentation: 11 Must-Dos for the Serious Blogger.
(photo by Teriyaki Tofu)
Link to original postConvince and Convert. Social media strategy and actionable ideas from Jason Baer.