How To Measure the Success of a Blog

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I often wonder about how to measure the success of this blog. While there are many tools to measure page views and visitors, the absolute number of readers is probably the worst measure because it’s a false idol. Feedburner subscribers, retweets, time on site aren’t much better because they don’t measure the true performance of a blog - what fraction of an audience the blog reaches.

In order for content marketing and blogs to be effective, the writing must have a target audience in mind. By focusing on that audience, bloggers build a brand in a scalable and cost-effective way. So engaging the very highest fractions of that audience possible is the best metric of success.

For example, this blog targets startup founders, managers and employees. I journal my education and thoughts in the hopes that others benefit from these learnings. In exchange, I’m trying to build recognition within the startup ecosystem.

Each morning, I’d like to log into an analytics dashboard that showed me the fraction of entrepreneurs and startup employees I reached the day before. Alas, there is no such tool.

But there should be because this need is common across all commercial blogs. Expensify and Stripe use blogs to recruit engineers and others to work for them. OkCupid and Mint used wit and data to attract singles and penny-pinchers. Axial leverages data and financial market trends to engage bankers . None of these companies can measure their reach within their target audience.

At this point, identity systems have become sophisticated enough to uniquely identify visitors. LinkedIn, with a real identity platform and a content distribution system, is best positioned to provide these kinds of insights. Elsewhere, privacy concerns abound and until publishers and users can resolve this problem in some way, blogging measurement remains in the dark.

What tools do you use to measure the success of your blog? Tell me on Branch

08 March 2013

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