My post wasa riff on evaluating the effectiveness of blogs, and in particular, a set of metrics from Avinash Kaushik:
- "Raw Author Contribution (posts and words in post)
- Unique Blog Readers (content consumption - Unique Visitors and Feed Subscribers)
- Conversation Rate (measuring success in a social medium)
- Technorati "Authority" (measuring your impact on the world!)
- Cost (what!)
- Return on Investment (what's in it for you/your business)"
Stephen offers a snarky comment that I actually agree with:
Would this newsletter be twice as good if I wrote twice as many posts or wroite them twice as long? If I wrote about a more popular topic - educational policy, say - I would have more readers. Would that be better? Is Will Richardson better than me because he gets more comments? Am I better than you because I have a higher Technorati rank? Would it be better if I made money and spent less on my website?
I agree with you that it is meaningless to use the numbers to get into "mine is bigger than yours" comparisons to measure quality or popularity. Some pr professionals agree.
Stephen goes on to say:
Measuring "your blog's outcome" is ridiculous. It's like measuring 'friendship'. measuring 'reflective moments'. As Beth Kanter says, "numbers and data alone are almost meaningless." I don't think they get a lot more meaningful even if you add them to qualitative data.
Yes, you can't measure friendship or reflective moments, just like in the nonprofit sector we can't measure world peace.
With all due respect, I think you really missed the point about the usefulness of combining numbers with qualitative reflection on how to improve your blog. Whether you want to make money or educate people or just deepened your own learning -- setting some realistic benchmarks or goals, figuring out a way to determine if you reached them, and reflecting on why or why not - can lead to continuous improvements in the quality of your blog writing.
AND, if that leads to more readers, higher ranking, more subscribers, more comments - that's the icing on the cake!
Kathy Paine left an interesting comment on Kaushik's blog "you’re trying to engage employees or customers in a conversation, and improve your relationships, these metrics fall short." I hope she will unpack that a bit more.
Stephen responds to this post here.
My post yesterday on measuring your blog's success had generated some reaction, from the comments to Tony Karrer to Beth Kanter, who says I "missed the point' - "Whether you want to make money or educate people or just deepened your own learning -- setting some realistic benchmarks or goals, figuring out a way to determine if you reached them, and reflecting on why or why not - can lead to continuous improvements in the quality of your blog writing." One of my posts from earlier today constitutes part of a response - but also I want to point to Karrer's reasons for blogging - personal learning and network building. My point is that there is no quantitative indicator of successful personal learning or of a valuable network contact, and that any attempt at such will misrepresent what it is we actually value in learning or network contacts.