This blog has been going for nearly a year now. What started as a tentative dip of the toe has now become part of what I do and integral to my business.
Ultimately though, if I want my blog to achieve something for my business then I need to be able to measure its impact. The question is what to measure?
The numbers game
Blogging tools are great at cranking out basic statistics but a lot of what I see is based solely on number of visits or views. The implied ambition seems to be having an increasingly large number of readers…
For this blog, December was an amazing month reaching an all time high of 1245 views :-
But what was being read? Was December a better or worse month than say September when I had 485 views? Or August when I only blogged once? How do I compare month on month? How do I gauge engagement?
On their own, absolute views are in my opinion limiting and tend to lead us to view quantity as the objective rather than quality. So what else should we measure?
Some Alternative Blog Measures
I’m at an early stage with this but I‘ve been using a set of monthly measures to keep an eye on what seems to be most important. Here are some alternative blog measures & personal observations that I hope you find interesting.
New Blog Reading vs. Exploration
What I’ve found is that increasingly my blogs readers are taking time to read posts from previous months. This is wonderful and I want to take account of this in my blog stats.
Looking at December, it’s important that I had 1245 views but perhaps more interesting is that nearly half were views of older blogs :-
For me, this starts to indicate something interesting and different is happening with my blog readers. I would have missed this if I'd not taken time to track these statistics!
Average Views per Post
The number of views an individual post receives is relevant, but we all know that some posts are more of a hit than others.
Measuring the average views per post each month helps take in an overall picture and smooth out the impact of for instance when you blog more or less often than usual :-
My blog is still developing but it’s great to see a steady and continuous trend upwards. It also helps combat those fears and insecurities of a single post that didn’t attract the usual interest!
Comments per 100 views
I write my blog both for reflection and for engagement. So to receive feedback in either the form of a twitter reaction or a comment is wonderful. Sometimes, a blog post sparks a fire and the comments rush in. Sometimes there’s a deathly silence or silent appreciation – you choose!
I now measure the number of comments and the number of reactions per 100 views each month. This helps give me a sense of proportion and gives me a different benchmark for engagement other than blog views :-
There's something here about the expected response rate for blogs which I'm still pondering...
Analysis of the blog statistics is useful but it is just a monthly gauge I use to check in on progress. Perhaps more fundamental are the other perspectives I'm becoming aware of.
On a qualitative level, I’m noticing that the posts that generate the most interest are typically edgy/challenging or community focussed. They also generate more thought and dialogue. Expect more of this from me!
In terms of audience, perhaps unsurprisingly 2/3rds of readers are in the UK and Ireland and seem to be the most actively engaged (i.e. ready to comment or react). Unexpectedly, a quarter of readers are US based and there is a growing following across Europe, Russia & Asia. This is making think about how UK centric my writing focus is and whether it needs to change.
I’ve also realised that there is an unnecessary separation between this blog and my company website. This is manifest in the web statistics. I’m still exploring options but I might end up embedding the blog in the website. There's something to be said for having everything in one place!
Perhaps I’m learning the hard way but thought I share these experiences with you. I hope you've found these interesting or even useful. Would love to hear your thoughts!
What are you planning for your blog in 2012?
What measures are you using to gauge impact & engagement?