Rabu, 24 Desember 2008

Measuring a Blog Success

If you are building a blog to earn money directly, or if you are hoping to make sales from your blog, then money is your obvious metric to determine how well you are doing toward your goal. What if direct income or sales leads are not part of your plan—how can you measure the success of your blog then?
Every blogger you speak to seems to have a unique preference for what determines a successful blog. For some it could be about traffic, others willprioritize subscribers, and there are bloggers who count comments as the best measure. Each metric means different things to different people. Here are a few measures of success that different bloggers use to evaluate how their blogs are going. Some will be more or less relevant for different blogs and will depend upon the goals and objectives of the blogger.

The most common ways that bloggers seem to evaluate a blog are the different measures of traffic. Different bloggers seem to have their own preferences for different aspects of traffic, plus each tool you use to measure traffic will givea different result due to the differing methodology. It is very rare to find two different tools that agree on any one result, so when measuring traffic it is best to stick to your favorite service and use it to show progress rather than obsessing over the actual numbers.

Unique Visitors
The idea of unique visitors is to count the number of people who visit your blog. The problem in determining this accurately is there is no way to actually know who is visiting with any confidence unless you get each person to log in every time they read.
To get a rough guide of how many unique people visit a blog, techniques such as counting each unique IP address (a number given to each device connected to the Internet) or recording “cookies” (small text entries saved by your web browser for later retrieval) can be used. All methods have propo nents and problems. For example, your IP address today might be different tomorrow, or many different computers could be simultaneously surfing under one number due to differences in how networks can be organized. Cookies have a lot of fans, but, increasingly, they can not be relied upon because so many people delete them manually or automatically via security and privacy software.
A further complication is that if you have readers who choose to take your content in feed form rather than view your blog in their web browser, your audience is actually larger than this statistic represents.
Advertisers, especially, like to know how many unique visitors your blog attracts in a given month, and if you are ever going to sell your blog, this metric will be extremely important also.

An individual visitor could make several visits to a blog. Visits are more reliably measured than unique visitors, but to compare results you have to agree on what constitutes a visit. Visits are also sometimes termed “visitor sessions.” Depending on who you listen to and which software you use to measure, a session could be calculated in several ways. One popular way to determine a session is an unbroken stream of page views after a certain period of inactivity. If someone visits two pages ten minutes apart, is that two page views in one session or two visits? Many website owners take note of average session length as a way to deter mine how long people spend on their site. As websites become less about downloading pages and more interactivity within a page, session length is gaining attraction. The longer visitors spend looking at your content the bet ter, because it means they were more engaged and according to media-types, gaining more affinity with your brand.

Page Views
Page views are the total number of pages read in a web browser. Most bloggers like to know how many page views they attract both on a daily and a monthly basis. As well as the total page views, you also should monitor ratio of pages viewed per visitor. It is best to have both a high number of pages viewed and for the average visitor to read more than one page. Each article you write will receive its own page views, and by comparing individual page counts you can work out which articles are gaining the most attention, giving you an idea what content your audience finds most interesting.

Hits count the number of requests sent for a file to the server. This is a dated and largely unhelpful metric because every request for any file is counted. Though it sounds useful, in actual fact it gives you little information that is actionable. If you have a page containing four images, one request for that page is counted as five hits. To increase your hits you could just add an image to the page! Due to the misleading nature of the metric few people use it seriously, and the phrase “hits” is often erroneously used in conversation and the media when what they actually mean is to describe traffic in general, or specifically visits or page views.

Bloggers can vary from indifferent about subscriber counts through to subscriber-obsessed. Why are subscribers so important? Counting a blog’s subscribers gives a good indication of how popular it really is because these are the people who want to read your content long term and have signed up to receive updates so they never miss one. These are your loyal readers, the people you can hopefully count on to come back again and again. Whereas the metrics mentioned before are important, and they are traditional measures for any website, subscribers are critical to blogs. A visit could be a person arriving, not finding what they need, and going away never to return. A subscriber has made a small commitment to you and demonstrates you are providing something a little more useful and compelling. Subscribers are usually split into RSS subscribers and email subscribers, though as I will explain, the lines are blurring.

RSS Subscribers
RSS subscribers are the people who use your feed to read articles. They use a feed reader (service or software application) to pull down updates to your feed and might never actually visit your blog at all. The most popular feed-measurement service is FeedBurner.com, and because of this most bloggers rely on that service to compare progress against each other. Both Bloglines and Google provide a count of readers using their feed-reader services, but only FeedBurner provides a count across all of them. Even though nearly all bloggers rely on FeedBurner, even the company would admit that counting feed readers is not an exact science. Numbers fluctuate every day, and glitches can make it seem like you have lost or gained readers almost randomly. The best idea is to use the count as a progress guide and not an exact count of individuals.

Email Subscribers
In addition to RSS readers, many bloggers publish their content over email. There are services available to allow you to take your RSS feed and deliver email updates automatically, and then there are specialist email-newsletter publishing services such as AWeber.com that allow you to create messages or import your content. An advantage that email lists have over RSS is that when a visitor subscribes you get his email address. Valuable on its own, a list of email addresses is also a far more reliable indicator of how many individuals you have subscribed.

Comments, Feedback, and Interaction
Much as we all want readers, when a blog is truly engaging you will hopefully attract comments. Comments show that your visitors want to interact with you. They allow you to build a sense of community, further encouraging readers to return time and again.

You can begin by counting the number of comments you receive after remov ing junk and spam comments. If on average each article attracts ten comments, you know you have made an improvement over when your blog gained only one or two.
There are two types of posts you might particularly want to receive: good feedback and considered posts. If the only comment you ever receive is, “You suck,” you might not be quite as happy about those ten comments as back when you received two “nice post” comments per article!
Many bloggers also judge quality equally as important as quantity because it is so easy to just post any old rubbish into the comment area, and people do just to get a mention of their own website, but when someone takes time and care to craft a thoughtful comment it can be much more satisfying.

Obviously, as well as comments, people will use your contact form and email to get in touch with you. Many of my best articles have been inspired by reader questions, and it is important to all of us to receive feedback, good and bad, so we know where we are going wrong and what we are doing right.

There are many ways that readers can participate on a blog that go beyond comments and emails. Taking part in your blog might include responses to polls, competition entries, and other calls to action. In general, if people do in large numbers what you ask, then you have an engaged audience!

Links are the currency of the World Wide Web. The levels of incoming links to your blog can be an indicator of how well you are engaging other bloggers. Incoming links are good for a blog in most cases because of the incoming traffic that follows them, but also because they are a major factor in climbing the rankings in search engines. They can be monitored in a number of ways.

If another blogger links to your article you can be notified using a special comment called a Trackback, which appears linking back to the original blogger with a small quote of the text used. Though some bloggers hate them due to spammers taking advantage of the free link back, blogs utilize them to further conversations and as notification of what others are writing about you.

Search Engines
To find out who is linking to you, type link:domainname into Google. You can get a good quick picture of the incoming links that that search engine has indexed for your blog. There are also browser plugins and easy-to-use web services that will show you the same thing.

Another popular service that has become a bit of a competition among bloggers is the Technorati ranking. Technorati counts how many references to your blog have been made by other bloggers; currently they call this “authority.” The more authority you get in any six-month period, the higher your ranking. Technorati’s Top 100 List has become the defacto A-list, the holy grail of blogging for many.

Referral Stats
Most statistics packages offer the ability to track where your readers come from to get to your blog. This shows you the things they are searching search engines for but, also the sites that are linking up.

6 komentar:

alone mengatakan...

yeah. there's a lot of ways to measure a successful blog.

i love frequent readers rather than the unique one ;)

xitalho ( berbagi itu indah ) mengatakan...

Comments are the most significant indicator of all the models of traffics measurement.

The real interaction among the bloggers

dadut mengatakan...

good!! jd mentor mau ga?

alifahru mengatakan...

itu semua harus diraih supaya bisa dikatakan succes ngeblog...waduh berat nian nich :)

pakde mengatakan...

nice summarized thoughts . . .

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