There are a handful of ways to measure the success of a blog. Depending on who you talk to they’ll give you a different answer, but after some discussion most people will tell you that sales and profit are the ultimate goal of blogging.
Some of the ways you can measure blogging success include:
- Shares (Likes, Tweets, Etc.)
- Direct Profit
Let’s look at each of the metrics and discuss when it’s good to use each for measuring the success of your business blog.
This is the most commonly used metric for determining blogging success. In the world of Pageview Journalism blogs are required to get as many pageviews as possible to feed the advertisements on the site. You’ll see sites that break stories into multiple pages and slideshows and all of these other crazy things. It’s not the best experience for readers, but it makes the business model work.
Traffic is a good basic measurement for the overall success of any blog. It’s a quick way to tell what posts on your site have generated the most interest from various sources of traffic and referral. You can see how much traffic came from social media, search and other sources.
But traffic alone is not a good indicator of overall success. It can be manipulated in ways as you can see with pageview journalism.
However, traffic is a top of the funnel metric for business blogs. If you have a post that gets a ton of traffic you can safely assume you’re getting tons of new people to your blog. This is good exposure and from this you should be able to figure out how well those new people are converting to customers. You can use this to determine how much traffic you need to generate to make a profit from the blog activity.
Be careful with this metric, though. There are layers of success here. You want to break it down into the right kind of traffic.
For example, you could create a funny cat meme with five words and get a million pageviews and maybe get one new customer or you could write a long story about a question your customer has and get a thousand views with 100 new customers.
Shares are an interesting and relatively new metric in blogging. They’ve been around for about 3 or 4 years. You’ll find tweet boxes and like boxes on nearly every blog post around the Web. Now you’ll see LinkedIn boxes and +1 boxes for Google+. You can tell how popular certain posts are by quickly glancing at the numbers for each post. It’s a pretty good gauge of how popular the posts are with those that use social media.
Like traffic, though, just because a post is popular on social media doesn’t mean it’s profitable. You definitely want a post to be shared as many times as possible because you’re getting more exposure, but don’t focus solely on shares. It’s a good surface way to measure the impact of your posts.
Comments are kind of like shares. It actually takes a bit more effort for someone to comment on a post so maybe it’s better than a share. It seems that in the last few years commenting has gone down and given way to social media.
Part of commenting was always about the commenter wanting to get some attention for themselves. They can accomplish the same thing now with a share on Twitter or Facebook so comments don’t seem to be as common.
People also used to comment simply for getting a link back to their site. That seems to be less effective and perhaps not effective at all for SEO purposes anymore.
So all that’s left really are comments that are pretty good. If you can get comments on your blogs it’s a good quick measure of the overall popularity of the post. You want comments, but look at it the same as you would a social share. Look for profit.
Subscriptions are big in the blogging world. You want people to subscribe to your lists including your email list. This is an asset you own and people are giving you the right to market to them.
It’s relatively easy to track sales and profit from an email list, which is what you ultimately want to do with any marketing effort including blogging.
So tracking subscriptions from blog posts makes complete sense.
This is what you ultimately want to measure on your blog. Figure out how to get there for your own blog. It’s not always easy because often times you’ll have multiple campaigns going on at one time.
For Ghost Blog Writers we have an estimate of how many new leads the blog sends us each month. The estimate is somewhere around 25% of all leads come in through the blog. The others come in through basic SEO to the homepage and other pages on the site and word of mouth referrals. The blog can still have an impact on those conversions.
For example, one client called us up and said they found the site through a basic SEO search. They found the homepage, they read the Services page, they read a few posts on the blog and eventually they were convinced to call us up and hire us straight away.
That’s how blogging leads to profit for our team.
It can do the same for your business.
There are different ways to measure the success of your blog. Each blog is different, but for the most part every business is looking for sales and profit. Figure out the best way to measure those two things from your blog activity and you’ll be able to create the kind of blog content that makes your business money.
That’s really the only metric that matters in blogging.