Sharing Your Success Part Four: Blog ROI

This is the fourth in a series of posts exploring some of the ways you can gather data about your social media presences, make sense of it all, and report your findings. Read parts one through three here; the most recent post is at the top of the page.

So you have a blog…does anyone care? Is anyone reading it? Let’s find out.

Many blogging platforms have built-in metrics dashboards. These will give you basic stats, like how many hits the blog received (lifetime, in the past month, or even a particular day) and the most viewed posts. All of this is valuable quantitative information that will give you a few pieces of the metrics puzzle.

Having numbers is great, but counting the number of times that someone landed on your site doesn’t tell you much about your audience. How did they get there? Did they like what they were reading? How did they interact with the content?

Gathering data from multiple sources will give you a clearer picture of the impact of your blog.

Don’t underestimate the comments. Just like Twitter and Facebook, the things people say about your content can be incredibly valuable. Copy, paste, and save comments and feedback. Take a critical look at the comments and use them to guide your future efforts. What did people like? Not like? What generated the most interaction?

How long did they stay? By using a tool like Google Analytics, you can find out the amount of time people spent on your site. This is a particularly useful stat for blogs. If on average, users spent more than 20-30 seconds on a blog page, they were probably reading. Remember the lurkers: readers who don’t leave comments or otherwise interact. This is a good way to get information about those enigmatic readers.

How did they get there? You can learn a lot about your traffic by taking a look at your other social presences. I call this “data layering.” For example, look at the shortened urls you used to promote blog posts via Twitter. How many people followed those links? How many people RTed those links? And how many people mentioned that post in a tweet?

Search Terms: What search terms brought people to your blog? What did they search for once they reached your site? Frequent search terms can provide valuable insight into your audience’s needs and interests. Make note of them.

Next time…bringing it all together: tips on generating reports.

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