Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social Media Measurement, Blogging and Content Creation, Social Media ROI

How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy

If you’re blogging for business, rather than blogging about your cat, baby, fashion addiction, or crush on Taylor Swift, you need to set some success metrics.

blogging metrics How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging StrategyWithout a statistical measure of your blogging progress, adding content to your blog on a regular basis can be an incredibly lonely proposition. Is anyone out there? Does anyone care?

However, even within the business (non cat) blogging arena, there are a wide variety of potential measures to gauge your momentum. It’s imperative that you select the most relevant ones that match with your blog’s purpose and intent.

What’s the Point?

The first step in that process of course is knowing why it is that you’re blogging. This sounds simple, but it’s shocking how many bloggers aren’t clear on the core business rationale behind their blog initiative.

As I see it, there are 3 options here:

1. Blogging for Content
This is the scenario where you are writing a blog with considerable emphasis on search optimization, attempting to drive traffic to the blog via strategic content creation and keyword inclusion.

2. Blogging for Commerce
Related to the first, but commerce-oriented blogs are more interested in conversion events than in traffic generation. Funneling traffic from the blog to some other Web destination (typically a corporate site or lead form) is the prime objective.

3. Blogging for Community
These blogs seek to guild a consistent readership that interact with the blogger(s) and advocate on behalf of the content on other social outposts.

If you are blogging for content, I see these as your key metrics:

  • Total visits
  • Percentage of new visits (a recent study by my clients at Compendium Blogware to be released soon shows that among 86% of corporate blogs, first-time visitors comprise 60%+ of their total traffic
  • Visits from search engines

If you are blogging for commerce, I’d opt for these success measures:

  • Average length of stay
  • Number of pages viewed per visit (both of these metrics measure depth of engagement, a key consideration when you’re trying to educate a potential customer and get them to take action)
  • Referrers from other sites (if there are other sites that are driving significant traffic to your blog, you need to know what they are, to try to replicate that success with other sites of similar type)

If you are blogging for community, I’d pay closest attention to these statistics:

  • Repeat visits
  • RSS subscribers (repeat visits and subscribers both measure stickiness and consistency, blog elements that build community over time)
  • Comments
  • Referrers from social outposts like Twitter or Digg

Note that the recommended success metrics are entirely different for each type of blog. Yet, in much of my social media consulting work corporate blog owners are invariably most interested in total visits and RSS subscribers.

This is especially misplaced with group written blogs, where the broad content focus and inconsistent tonality makes RSS subscription less likely. Imagine subscribing to a magazine that was about tennis one month, and about cooking the next month. That’s what a lot of multi-author corporate blogs feel like, so is it any wonder that there aren’t many subscribers?

Blogging success is a slow march, not a mad dash. If you create consistently good content, and promote it vigorously, your blog should eventually succeed. But, to ensure you aren’t disheartened in the meantime, select success metrics that are appropriate for your goals.

For more on advanced blogging, please see my post and slide presentation: 11 Must-Dos for the Serious Blogger.

(photo by Teriyaki Tofu)

  • markwilliamschaefer

    I would add that for commerce-oriented blogs, it would also be possible to track clicks back to a commerce-related part of a website for product information, registration, etc. In the well-documented Marriott case study, they tracked $500 mm in bookings from links on the corporate blog.

    Also, I think another viable category for blogging for reputation, or to establish a voice of authority. I believe this idea is mutually-exclusive from what you're offered here? What do you think? Metrics would include the number of times a post is mentioned in other blogs or media, references, RT's, etc.

    Very helpful post, Jay.

  • markwilliamschaefer

    I would add that for commerce-oriented blogs, it would also be possible to track clicks back to a commerce-related part of a website for product information, registration, etc. In the well-documented Marriott case study, they tracked $500 mm in bookings from links on the corporate blog.

    Also, I think another viable category for blogging for reputation, or to establish a voice of authority. I believe this idea is mutually-exclusive from what you're offered here? What do you think? Metrics would include the number of times a post is mentioned in other blogs or media, references, RT's, etc.

    Very helpful post, Jay.

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  • http://twitter.com/indie_preneur/status/9972534736 Jeff Doan

    Business blogger? What kind of metrics are you watchings? Some good points based on what you want to get out of it — http://bit.ly/cdosxL

  • http://twitter.com/indie_preneur/status/9972534736 Jeff Doan

    Business blogger? What kind of metrics are you watchings? Some good points based on what you want to get out of it — http://bit.ly/cdosxL

  • http://twitter.com/indie_preneur/status/9972534736 Jeff Doan

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  • http://www.jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

    This is great, Jay. It's important to educate businesses about the different permutations of business blogging, and measurement is going to part of that.

    @Mark, you're spot on! Blogging for authority is important for businesses like consultants :)

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  • http://www.scoutlabs.com/ Laura Khalil

    Hey Jay, this is awesome.

    One question for you though — are these categories mutually exclusive? We see blogging both as community building and as a function of being a web based business.

    Thanks!

  • JG

    You know that tattoo says Leslie from the person's perspective right? Cool ink!

  • JG

    You know that tattoo says Leslie from the person's perspective right? Cool ink!

  • http://twitter.com/sclbits/status/9984273200 Social Bits

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  • http://www.kherize5.com Suzanne Vara

    Jay

    It is a march and not a mad dash. We hear how twitter and the other SM tools will help to get you on top, blah, blah but that only happens so few times. Blogging is a commitment to yourself and anyone reading. Corporate blogs tend to want or need to show results faster to justify the time, as time is expensive. That is still old school measurements we know but getting that mindset to be changed is never easy.

    This does put blogging into perspective and how all blogs are not equal in direction and measurement.

    @SuzanneVara

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  • edalexander

    Nice post, Jay. Thanks for the perspecttive.

    I'd rank the goals of blogging – or any communication – thusly, in order of priority.

    1. Content

    Blogging is and always be about content first, no matter what your goal. If you don't have remarkable content, you have not differentiated yourself and therefore is no reason for people to pay attention.

    2. Community

    If people are paying attention, and connecting with one another around your content, you have attained success. With every such success, however, you must feed the beast or it will get hungry and wander off.

    3. Commerce

    If you have done steps 1 and 2, in the Consideration phase of the Buyer's Journey, you will continue to be relevant i.e. short-listed among candidates to solve the buyer's problem. You're almost to the point of sale.

    Just my $.02.

    All the best,
    Ed
    twitter: @fanfoundry

  • http://twitter.com/make_money/status/10024633269 Deepak Dutta

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  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com davinabrewer

    Like ed ranked them below, I don't think they are exclusive. A blog can serve many functions, depending on whether or not the blog is the business (revenue stream) or a tool (for commerce, community, etc.).

    If you're blogging for community, I'd also pay close attention to the Content, that it's targeting the right communities and audiences for the business. If you're going after local small businesses, your content should reflect that, as should your participation within those communities.

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com davinabrewer

    Like ed ranked them below, I don't think they are exclusive. A blog can serve many functions, depending on whether or not the blog is the business (revenue stream) or a tool (for commerce, community, etc.).

    If you're blogging for community, I'd also pay close attention to the Content, that it's targeting the right communities and audiences for the business. If you're going after local small businesses, your content should reflect that, as should your participation within those communities.

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  • http://blog.pinnaclepromotions.com/ Acree Graham

    Thanks for the post. I'm not sure you can separate content from community anymore, as Google seems to be looking more and more at engagement (comments, linkbacks, time on site) to determine the value of content.

    After your webinar yesterday my department spent an hour or so asking ourselves, “What IS the goal of our blog?” Jury's still out. I'd love to see a follow-up post that asked some pointed questions to help people like us focus our blogging efforts.

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  • RoxanaT

    Very useful post Jay. Measurement has become such a key element of the digital environment and every initiative to educate individuals and businesses on it is a winner in my book. For more information on social media metrics, and not only, this blog might be interesting: http://contemporarypr.blogspot.com/

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  • jsohayda

    Dear Jay, thank you for the detailed commentary regarding blog metrics. In PR, measurement has always been a finger in the wind exercise. It's hard enough trying to convince people that blogging is necessary, but by showing not only that metrics are possible but also how the metrics should be segmented opens yet another window on this world. Thank you.

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    @MarrRob might be of interest – social media marketing blog… http://bit.ly/cueeoF

  • http://twitter.com/dfwbizlink/status/10343667518 Patty Farmer

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://bit.ly/c4Thb9

  • http://twitter.com/bohlepr/status/10384442419 The Bohle Company

    Treat business cards with more tender loving care: http://ow.ly/1ik37 by @chrisbrogan

  • http://twitter.com/j_maluenda/status/10384442851 Janelle Maluenda

    Treat business cards with more tender loving care: http://ow.ly/1ikkv by @chrisbrogan

  • http://twitter.com/nolandhoshino/status/10471994943 Noland Hoshino

    [Reading] How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://dlvr.it/CfFY

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    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://ow.ly/1loAI

  • http://twitter.com/ginidietrich/status/10575973281 Gini Dietrich

    Some blogging metrics ideas from @jaybaer http://bit.ly/aBP88T

  • http://twitter.com/grabbingtoast/status/10576028127 grabbingtoast

    RT @ginidietrich: Some blogging metrics ideas from @jaybaer http://bit.ly/aBP88T

  • http://twitter.com/txgrandpa/status/10578651057 TXGrandpa

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://ow.ly/1loB8

  • http://twitter.com/billhurlbut/status/10585419667 Bill Hurlbut

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://ow.ly/1loBg

  • http://twitter.com/magnushaga/status/10885276841 Magnus Haga

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://bit.ly/bzzLHk

  • http://twitter.com/newmediaangels/status/10890554896 Cemanthe Harries

    RT @MagnusHaga: How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://bit.ly/bzzLHk

  • http://twitter.com/businesstopics/status/10890555144 Cemanthe Harries

    RT @MagnusHaga: How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://bit.ly/bzzLHk

  • http://twitter.com/cemanthe/status/10890555231 Cemanthe Harries

    RT @MagnusHaga: How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://bit.ly/bzzLHk

  • http://twitter.com/bni_sherlock/status/10890555589 BNI Sherlock Members

    RT @MagnusHaga: How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://bit.ly/bzzLHk

  • http://twitter.com/xtraordinaryw/status/10919957853 Gwen Kloppers

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy – http://bit.ly/99IqCr (via @jaybaer)

  • http://twitter.com/needmoneyblogg/status/10920569118 NeedMoneyLearntoBlog

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy – http://bit.ly/99IqCr (via @jaybaer) http://ow.ly/16RI83

  • http://www.KarensPerspective.com/ karen rittenhouse

    I really liked your post. My blog just had its one year anniversary. According to your definitions, I am “blogging for community” and very interested in increasing my traffic.

    Thanks for your help and your guidance.

  • http://twitter.com/franswaa/status/11795176684 frank barry

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://ff.im/-iGPCs

  • http://twitter.com/marketingfltr/status/11795396749 Marketing Filter

    RT @franswaa How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://ff.im/-iGPCs

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    RT @jaybaer: How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://bit.ly/99IqCr

  • http://twitter.com/uhgnetworkjobs/status/13933434364 UHG Provider Reltns

    Do you Blog? Do you track and leverage these 10 key metrics? http://bit.ly/9b0DHF

  • http://twitter.com/rnrfromtheburgh/status/13989514029 Robin N. Richardson

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your #Blogging Strategy: http://ow.ly/1LdG5 via @UHGNetworkJobs

  • http://twitter.com/simonguilliard/status/14934927241 Simon Guilliard

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://bit.ly/bzzLHk

  • http://twitter.com/simonguilliard/status/14934927241 Simon Guilliard

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://bit.ly/bzzLHk

  • http://twitter.com/simonguilliard/status/14934927241 Simon Guilliard

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://bit.ly/bzzLHk

  • http://twitter.com/simonguilliard/status/14934927241 Simon Guilliard

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://bit.ly/bzzLHk

  • http://twitter.com/simonguilliard/status/14934927241 Simon Guilliard

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://bit.ly/bzzLHk

  • http://hubpages.com/hub/800-Calorie-Diet 800 calorie diet

    Golden. Great, useful info.

  • http://twitter.com/socialdj/status/19386367682 Social DJ

    RT @jaybaer: How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://om.ly/pEDY #socialDJ

  • http://twitter.com/smartcookiemktg/status/19387689168 OneSmartCookieMktg

    extremely helpful! RT @jaybaer: How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://om.ly/pEDY

  • http://twitter.com/rlplearning/status/19389581904 RLP Learning Svcs

    RT @jaybaer: How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://om.ly/pEDY

  • http://twitter.com/adamcooke12/status/19396285140 Adam Cooke

    RT @jaybaer: How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://om.ly/pEDY

  • http://twitter.com/haroldhenn/status/19411550389 Harold Henn

    RT @jaybaer: How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://om.ly/pEDY

  • http://twitter.com/haroldhenn/status/19411550389 Harold Henn

    RT @jaybaer: How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://om.ly/pEDY

  • http://twitter.com/sweta_s_patel/status/19524541465 Sweta Patel

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://om.ly/pEDY #blog #strategy

  • http://twitter.com/foodsho/status/19524590099 Mark Moreno

    RT @sweta_s_patel: How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy http://om.ly/pEDY #blog #strategy

  • http://twitter.com/djc1805/status/19644588264 David J Carr

    How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy | Blogging and Content Creation | Social Media Consu… http://bit.ly/ajpPA6

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  • Chauncey Morris

    I disagree. No metrics can tell you how many quality visitors you’ll have over the next five years, visitors who aren’t researching the topic *this week* but *will be* researching it *200 weeks* from now. Metrics are for Machiavellian folks trying to deceitfully justify their jobs in the short term by lying with useless statistics (e.g., I visit lots of blogs that I leave almost immediately due to disinterest, and my visits are surely judged by bloggers as credits to the their blogs’ popularity, which they’re not), not folks interested in the long-term success of the company.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Actually, no. Most smart reports filter out very short visits – like those you describe – allowing a focus upon growing “legitimate” visits of 1+ minutes.

      And based on an examination of visitor paths, I can absolutely tell the number of quality visits, as defined by people viewing key pages within the site that indicate intent to purchase.

      Is your plan to just invest countless hours in something, but not track if it’s working? That seems fanciful.

  • letstalkandchat

    I just found a great company that builds websites for info products. To keep your costs low, they’ll mentor you on how to create your site, design a marketing funnel (one of the guys works in Hollywood and makes really slick videos), and the other guy programmed Myspace. If you’re looking to have professional web design for your small business and not waste any time or money then check their site out. Check them out: http://www.mikelmurphy.com/easy-info-product-site-system/

  • http://adamlehman.us/ AdamLehman

    Great post here. Our company was just looking for some KPIs that would make sense revolving around our blog. Great list!