A challenge for you: Take a step back and think – on a scale from one to ten, how would you rate your blog’s ‘success’? As you’re thinking, what statistics do you factor in to determine the success of a blog? Is it about page views? Unique visitors? Average number of comments? Does it all come down to the numbers – the analytic and statistical information that ‘proves’ you’re on the right path?
Realistically, it’s hard to argue that the stats don’t come into play. If someone asks me what my most successful post has been on Life Without Pants, I immediately point them to the 147 comment wonder from a few months ago, my ‘one hit wonder’ that brought many new faces through my neck of the woods – some if whom have remained and become regular readers. It was one of the highlights of my blogging career thus far, without a doubt.
That being said, it is not, and should not be all about the numbers. Measuring success in numbers, studying the statistics and neglecting the real value of content and community is flawed in practice.
Here are three things you should be thinking about when measuring your blog’s success:
You’ve probably heard it preached time and time again: The most effective bloggers post regularly and routinely. Ask yourself this: Have you established a posting schedule? Do people know when to expect a new post from your blog? Are you ritualistic in your publishing? You would be surprised at the effectiveness of being ‘predictable’. I’m more likely to be a regular if I know that every Wednesday morning I can type in the URL to your blog and expect to see a new post.
Another factor to consider: Is your content consistently ‘good’? I use the term good loosely as there is no clear definition of what makes an article ‘good’. Think about it this way: Is your traffic steady throughout the week or are you seeing peaks and valleys? Are you generating good interactive discussion on most of your posts, or do many of your articles draw very little to no interest? If you’re struggling to maintain consistent interest, you may need to rethink the focus and direction of your blog to determine your blog’s target niche.
Links and trackbacks are the bread and butter of any web-site’s SEO and Google Rank. It’s a pretty simple formula: The more people who are linking to your blog, the better. In short, if people are talking about you and sharing links to your content, you must be doing something right. In this day and age, it requires far less effort to share content, but it still takes effort. We typically aren’t sharing something unless it is/was of some value to us. The most successful blogs are able to focus on content while relying on their community to market content and spread (good) awareness.
When thinking about our blog’s success, one of the first factors that comes to mind is the number of comments we receive on average. Comments let us know that our content compelled readers (for better or worse) to share there insight and spark discussion. But simply racking up an abundance of comments isn’t what’s important. Quality beats quantity, every time. At first pass, a blog with 200 comments may look ‘better’ – but if you have an interactive and engaging conversation taking place on an article with 20 comments, isn’t that more successful? I think so.
Success isn’t measured in numbers – it’s measured in consistent quality content that inspires conversation and keeps people coming back for more.
(Image courtesy mac steve)