In a previous post we looked at how to promote blog posts in the first six months.
The context there is starting a new blog for your business website and ways to get traffic in the short-term because organic search traffic comes in the long-term in almost all cases.
Especially for a small business with little brand recognition, it’s just going to take time for organic traffic to come to posts and consequently to other pages on the site.
And that’s what this post is about – how to measure the success of your business blog in the first six months.
Obviously the big way to measure the success of a business blog is traffic. There are other ways to do it. A wise person once told me that everything is ultimately measured in dollars. In that case, you look at the dollars you made before you started a blog versus the dollars you made after. That can be tricky if you’re doing other things, but usually you can tell.
The big thing, though, with a blog is the organic search traffic. Again, you won’t have any for the first six months. It’s right around that six month mark that things start happening and even then it can be slower than you expect depending on what your expectations are.
If you have a pretty good social following and a good email list then you can get traffic that way. That’s a good measure for success.
I heard a great tip from Seth Godin on a podcast once. He has one of the most popular blogs on the planet. He said that he checks his traffic once a year. Overall traffic and then looks at the popular posts.
That’s a great way to approach analytics and traffic. Focus on the long-term. The more you focus on short-term the more likely you are to get frustrated and the more likely you are to write things that don’t get short-term or long-term traffic.
For example, I see businesses all the time writing for timely things like holidays and such. Those posts may get a minute spike for a day or two, but then it’s dead. No more long-term traffic.
2. Traffic Sources
Building on traffic is traffic sources. This is a little more important to pay attention to and you can pay attention to it in the first six months especially if you have a good social following. You can see where people like to consume your content or more importantly you can see where people like to click on links to view blog posts.
You will probably find, though, that people like viewing content natively on social media. So that might mean taking snippets from your blog posts and sharing them entirely on social media so that people don’t need to click links. Then you can measure the success of your blog content by watching the engagement on social media with the content.
Social will be the big source in the first six months. The other might be email. Not a lot, if any, organic. Maybe some paid if you’re doing that to promote the posts. Maybe some referral if you’re doing things like guesting on other blogs or podcasts. Also some direct that could be happening or traffic from other internal pages.
3. 1-on-1 Feedback from Colleagues
I like this one and the next one. Ultimately, business happens 1-on-1. We’ve had a lot of clients over the years say that one of their colleagues has emailed them about a post or written them a direct message on social media. Just to say “good post”, but also to ask a question or even to say “hello” after not talking to the person in a few years.
That’s a real impact that a blog post can have. We’ve had clients say that they’ve posted their first blog post on LinkedIn and as a result they’ve had a former vendor reach out. The vendor switched jobs and now they are interested in the services the client is selling. The blog post sparked renewed interest in the relationship.
So that kind of thing can definitely happen especially on LinkedIn. And it can happen right away and it happens over time if you keep posting.
4. 1-on-1 Feedback from Customers
You can also get feedback from current customers. This happens more if you have an email list that you send to your customers. Even if you just have 10-20 customers this type of thing can work. We’ve had our clients tell us that a customer has commented or emailed to them about a post or that it has led to a question about an additional service or things like that.
5. Social Media Engagement
I mentioned this briefly above, but let’s talk about it more.
Say you share a title and link on Twitter. Give it a few hours. Then reshare it and this time ask for feedback. Say it’s one of your first posts and you’re looking to see what people think.
You can do the same on LinkedIn.
You could also do the snippet thing and share natively on social and see how many likes and comments it gets. Obviously the more followers you have the more engagement you will likely get, but you can also use hashtags to boost the audience.
The takeaway is that social media provides more instant feedback than you’ll get from organic search traffic.
One thing that isn’t on the list is blog commenting. I’m not a huge fan of that. Over the years I’ve just found that most blog comments are pretty shallow and for the few good ones that you do you get it’s north worth the effort to moderate the entire thing. And if you have a new blog it’s more difficult to receive comments. I just don’t see that much blog commenting anymore now that social media is mature. But it can be a way to measure success.
The final takeaway here is that early measurement should be done on a small scale. You can still tell if your posts are having an impact by asking people on social media and also asking people 1-on-1 in your network. It can provide great feedback and be reassuring that you’re setting yourself up for long-term blogging success.