I was reading Matt’s post today about stats and it reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to write about. What are the goals you have for your blog, if it’s a commercial blog and not a personal one where is your ROI.
Is it making a sale (direct or affiliate)?
Is it clicking on ads?
Is it getting links?
Is it building your brand or growing your exposure?
Is it building a conversation with your audience through comments?
Is it building your subscribers?
Measuring sales, ad CTR and counting links is a pretty straight forward process, so no need to cover that. Building your brand and measuring exposure is a fuzzy non exact process, and not something I can speak to with any level authority. However the last two are more quantifiable.
It’s pretty easy with a CMS like wordpress to figure out which posts are getting the most comments, but what if you have a multi author blog, especially one with lots of posts, measurement gets much trickier. My buddy Joost de Valk has an excellent plugin that helps you measure blog metrics (screen shot below).
You still have to put the data in the right context, but it can help you understand what’s occurring. For more on blog metrics read Six Recommendations For Measuring Your Success by Avinash Kaushik.
Another metric that IMHO is not used to it’s full potential is blog subscribers. As long as the trend line is high and to the right, people assume things are good, but what if you want a better idea of which posts are generating the most subscribers. The logic being if more people subscribe when you write about apples instead of oranges, you should write more about apples. Here’s a post explaining how to use Google analytics to track clicks on your feed buttons (screen shot below).
Using this data I can see a direct correlation between posts where I am critical of Google and the number of comments and subscribers. At the end of the day being able to quantify what your customers want and giving it to them, goes a long way to making your project more successful.