Performancing Metrics

Are You Hitting The Mark? 4 Ways to Measure Blogging Success

How can we not be obsessed with numbers?
Though blogging “gurus” assure us that statistics are not the only barometer to measure success, they do indeed tell a story.

After all, to not be “stoked” about stats contradicts our very way of life.
Numbers have always had significance in our culture and society.

Think about it.
Everybody knows that a woman who’s rated a “10” is considered pretty hot stuff.
While Friday the “13th” is considered unlucky.
When we want to keep people in the know, we give them the “4-1-1.”

I.Q. numbers are said to reflect our intellect,and we have 9-digit S.S. #s
to uniquely identify us.

Even the number of “tweets” now defines the elite.
Let’s not kid ourselves; numbers count.

I must admit that in my earlier days of blogging, the numbers game had me focused on quantitative factors. As I frequently monitored stats and the number of visitors’ comments, and rankings…oh my!
But, not so much anymore.

Here’s why.
Numbers are not everything.

Here are four other equally important criteria to evaluate your blogging success.

1. Recognition of respected peers—Some time ago, I got a surprise Email from a very talented blogger whose work I admire. In it, she informed me that I had been featured at her site. In this particular post, I was identified as one of five great female bloggers to watch. To be reflected in such distinguished company really made me feel proud. And I appreciated that some one publicly recognized the quality of my work.
2. Span of influence—Are other bloggers talking about you at other sites? Are they building blog posts around yours and perhaps piggy-backing off your ideas? Consider it a compliment. I’ve witnessed this a few times when visiting the sites of fellow bloggers.
3. Growth—Are you adding more “bells and whistles” to your site to excite visitors and make their experience more enjoyable? Is your blogging I.Q. increasing? Are you mastering S.E.O. techniques? Familiar with popular plugins? Keeping up with industry-related news? These are things to consider.
4. Guest Post Requests—Another way to know that you’re on the road to success, is when other bloggers request to have you appear as a guest on their site. Yay!
You can bet your bottom dollar that if your work was not up to par, people would not be seeking you out. It goes without saying that they would want someone whose talent and style reflects positively on their site.

Your turn. What do you think defines blogging success? Do tell.

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Comments

  1. Amy ) says: 4/26/2010

    I think one of the many reasons we look at numbers is because that’s how we are measured by others. When I tell people about my blog, one of the first things I am asked is how many subscribers/followers I have. (not to mention potential advertisers) For me, especially early on, I am only interested in two things – building good content and promoting the site so people who might like it will know about it. While I would be lying if I didn’t say that I check the numbers, I don’t obsess about them. Here’s my theory: focusing on the numbers is like weighing yourself. It’s not a good motivator. If you’ve lost weight, you think you don’t have to work as hard. And, if you haven’t lost weight, you feel defeated and don’t work as hard. A better measure, for me, is how I am feeling about my blog, or something I have written. WE ALL KNOW WHEN OUR PANTS ARE TOO TIGHT. Chances are, if you feel good about your writing, then the numbers will eventually come.

    Thanks as always for your insight.

    Amy

    Reply

    • Jennifer Brown Banks ) says: 4/26/2010

      Amy,

      Thanks for “weighing in” today. You bring up some very relevant points here—particularly the analogy about weight. :-) Most women can relate to that one. I agree that I feel “successful” when I have written something that I feel contributes value to the blogging community and put forth my best effort.
      But we each define success differently, as evidenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words.

      Reply

  2. clara ) says: 4/26/2010

    I suppose it depends upon the blogger’s definition of success. Sure, stats are great! Comments , the bomb! But, as all creativess know, it’s not how others perceive your sucess, but, how you perceive it.
    recently I received a comment from a former tv producer about how she luvs my work @ my blog for women & has become a frequent flyer with promise of telling her friends…Does this spell success? In a networking sense? You bet!
    As I’ve been fond of saying (taking a note from Kelvin Kostner) “if you build it, they will come.” so, ditto to Kelvin…The other aforementioned points are just as valid & becomes a given for any creative trying to obtain their own level of success…

    shine on!

    Clara.

    Reply

    • Jennifer Brown Banks ) says: 4/26/2010

      Clara,

      I value your input. But I’d have to say that I agree, but somewhat disagree.

      Here’s why.
      Sure, how “we” define success for ourselves is relative. But, what I find is that some people can’t be objective about their strengths and weaknesses. I don’t think I’ve ever met a writer who didn’t feel like his or her work was “the bomb” even when they were bombing out with publishers and editors. Sometimes a reality check is needed. :-)

      A good example would be when my blogger buddy friend recently asked me to help her to find a way to reject a guest blogger whose work was really bad due to grammatical and spelling errors, etc.
      Some people have a “blind spot” where they can’t be more successful because they ‘re well…blind. :-)

      Sometimes it’s an ego issue, stubborn ways, etc. that’s why it’s sometimes important to apply outside standards and qualifiers for “success”. Sure blogging is a bit different in nature, but good writing is still good writing.

      That’s just my two cents on it. Thanks for your thoughts.

      Reply

  3. clara ) says: 4/26/2010

    oops, success!

    Reply

    • Jennifer Brown Banks ) says: 4/26/2010

      Oh yeah, congrats on the former TV producer connection. If she hooks you up, you know the script…”have your people call my people.” :-)

      Reply

  4. Franky Branckaute ) says: 4/26/2010

    Awesome post, Jennifer.

    I agree with the points you raised. Sure stats are great and one element of measuring a site but they certainly should not be the only metric to use. I have found that too much focus on stats will often cramp a blogger’s style and vibe.

    Reply

    • Jennifer Brown Banks ) says: 4/26/2010

      Thanks for your input, Franky. I for one, have been guilty about agonizing too much about figures. Mine and the numerical ones. :-)

      But a while back ago I had the tremendous honor of having someone contact me to do a tribute to one of my favorite poets—Peter McWilliams. Her response to what I created and her level of appreciation (and his family’s) touched me so much it moved me to tears.
      The bottom line is that the true “measure” of our impact with words can’t always be measured in numbers or stats. And I’m honored to have writing as my life’s work. :-)

      Reply

      • Franky Branckaute ) says: 4/26/2010

        The real measure of ‘success’ is when you’re out there in real life, not online and the name of your site rings a bell to people you speak with. And knowing that people respect your content and read it, would even consider subscribing to or buying your work.

        Not numbers, numbers are something we love to look at but they are just a metric. And just like the data provided by services such as PostRank, can help us to improve and know what does work. But they can also get too much of attention and take our attention away from what really matters: ‘creating valuable content’.

        Edit: We’ve all been there and at some time probably focused too much on numbers but reading stats correctly is an art. It’s not just about looking at hopefully always growing numbers.

        Reply

  5. clara ) says: 4/26/2010

    YEP, the business of writing is an ongoing process…one is never too old to learn, however, whether from other professionals or folks not necessarily in the biz of writing:) and for those who want to polish their content- that’s why books are written/classes taught and e courses offered lol.

    Not to digress from the topic at hand… taking advice & learning from what pros in the blogger arena offer is a great step to success. But, again, one defines success differently; Nicholas Cardot’s What Is Success and How do I Get It? is a great blop post to get the varied blogger insight on what determines success…ultimately, for me, I’m in agreement with Eric @ Bluepop 13 that making your own way with what you learn, makes you successful …It’s not rocket science… just saying.

    Reply

    • Jennifer Brown Banks ) says: 4/26/2010

      Clara,

      Interesting perspectives. Books and classes are valuable as resources to all of us. But, a client of mine once made a point that I think has merit. Not everybody can be taught to write well. They can be taught to write better.

      Reply

  6. Jennifer Brown Banks ) says: 4/26/2010

    Franky,

    Good points here. I’ve had a few times when people were familiar with my work “in the real world”, not just the virtual. And I was tickled pink. Influence, recognition and regard are equally as important as stats. And I must admit that I don’t always know exactly how to interpret the numbers just yet. But, I’m learning.:-)

    Reply

  7. John Paul Aguiar ) says: 4/26/2010

    Jennifer.. great post.. I agree that stats are not the only important thing.. I still monitor them :) but less and less.

    Being noticed in blogging world and be asked to GP is huge.. and has left me smiling all day a few times..lol

    This is the same for social media, you can not measure it really, but you know if it is working.

    Reply

    • Jennifer Brown Banks ) says: 4/26/2010

      Excellent points, John Paul.

      I couldn’t have said it better. “You can’t really measure it, but you know when it’s working.” Thanks for your input here today.

      Reply

  8. clara ) says: 4/26/2010

    Jen,

    Your points are valid- ALL!

    Continued Success:)

    Clara.

    Reply

    • Jennifer Brown Banks ) says: 4/26/2010

      Clara,

      You too. Oh yeah, think about pitching a reality show to that former TV producer about writers in the big city! I’m just sayin’… :-)

      Reply

  9. Tia - BizChickBlogs ) says: 4/26/2010

    Hi Jennifer – Thanks for referencing that blog post about great bloggers. :) I thrive on recognition, also. It is an awesome thing to wake up one day and realize that you are no longer writing to a sea of nameless, faceless individuals, but instead to people who have come to respect, appreciate, and learn from your work.

    Reply

  10. Jennifer Brown Banks ) says: 4/26/2010

    Thanks, Tia.
    That is a great feeling isn’t it? Of course, I’ll take either group on most given days. ;-)

    Reply

  11. Robyn from Sam's Web Guide ) says: 4/27/2010

    Hey Jennifer. Awesome post, I can think of a few bloggers who need to read this article.

    Numbers are very important depending on what your goals are. For example, I learn more and more about SEO techniques everyday. As I learn, I implement new strategies. To track my progress here, I will need to see if the number of visitors from search engines for particular keywords increase to define my success in SEO. So the numbers do have their place.

    It all depends on what a blogger’s goals for himself are, whether it be number of visitors or the influence he has built in the community. You may look at a blogger and say he’s not a successful blogger because he is not well known while he may be jumping for joy saying that he is finally able to pay for web hosting, start his blog and have a few readers. That may be his success in his own eyes.

    I could go on and on, but finally I think the standard level of success is determined by having a commanding influence and when a huge percentage of the blogosphere knows your work and would personally recommend you.

    Reply

  12. Jennifer Brown Banks ) says: 4/27/2010

    I like your points here, Robyn.
    True, it’s important to evaluate success as it relates to one’s goals and achieving them.

    A commanding influence and the recommendation of others in the Blog world certainly are qualifiers as well.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Reply

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