By What Measures?

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In the old days, circa Web 1.0, most online marketers measured the success of a Web site with a few different metrics.

Many of these yardsticks are centered on site traffic and opt-in subscribers. (Others track online leads, time spent on the site, and of course, sales.) However, when it comes to a blog marketing campaign, I am not convinced that these same statistics are the best measures of a blog’s success.

As most bloggers can attest, for even the most successful sites, traffic figures are low by the standards most are accustomed to. Let’s sample some of the sites in the Technorati Top 100 that leave their stats open.

My blog (#67) gets around 4300 daily uniques – many of them from Google. Gizmodo, number seven on the Technorati list, gets 237,000 visitors per day, while Andrew Sullivan (#42) sees around 32,000 daily passerby’s. Head outside the Technorati Top 100, where all corporate blogs besides Google’s reside, and I bet the numbers are even lower.

Does that mean they’re not working? Heck no. That’s because traffic is not the primary way to measure a blog’s impact. Like PR, the return on investment is more soft, not hard. This needs to be taken into account. For example, if your goal is to promote thought leadership, I would track mentions on Google, media references to the blog, PubSub counts and more. If search engine optimization is your blogs purpose, traffic is surely important but then again so are the kinds of keywords that searchers are using to arrive at your blog site. Are they the right keywords?

Somewhere between the Web 1.0 way of measuring sites and the emerging Web 2.0 yardsticks (links, Google Juice, mindshare, relationships generated, etc.) there’s a happy medium when it comes to benchmarking your blog. This is a market of niches that together have mass influence. Why do you think I called the blog Micro Persuasion? Let’s not lose sight of that as we try to measure it.

Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.

By What Measures?
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