This morning, I woke up to a Twitter DM from the lovely beauty blogger Tsunimee enquiring about how valid Google Friends Connect is as a measurement of your blog readers. A lot of beauty bloggers seem to use it as a guide to how popular their blog is, and to an extent it does prove to visitors how many regular readers you have.

The thing is, there are so many ways for someone to subscribe to a blog that it’s difficult to rely on one tool to showcase how popular your blog is. Visitors to your blog could:

  • Sign up to your RSS feed, or through your Feedburner feed
  • Sign up to a newsletter if you have one
  • Add you on BlogLovin’
  • Add themselves to your Google Friends Connect
  • Follow you on Twitter
  • Follow you on Facebook
  • Follow you on LinkedIn
  • Follow you on Google+

You get the picture…

Some people may use several of these methods, while others may choose just one or two. As long as they’re reading your content, does it really matter how many options you give them to subscribe?

The alternative way to measure your blog success is by looking at your blog stats.

Ah, blog stats…

The thing is, most of them give you completely different figures. Compare your Blogger stats with your Google Analytics and the results can be vastly different. Add Get Clicky into the mix and it all gets very confusing. To add to this, it’s not unknown for some bloggers to stretch the truth a little about their stats, which can create false competition between other bloggers.

So perhaps the key is to focus on quality and not quantity. If you’re creating content that others are happily sharing on their social networks, commenting on and blogging about themselves, then you’re probably doing the right thing. If the stats you have are rising as a result, you’re definitely doing the right thing.

Tsunimee asked if there was one tool for measuring a blog’s success, or one tool she could embed to show other bloggers (and PRs) how she’s doing. Personally, I’d suggest not worrying too much about it. I have a Google Friends Connect gadget on the right (which you can get here) so people can join if they want, but I don’t use it as a measurement as I know many others use RSS. Additionally, as Tsunimee pointed out, Google Friends Connect can be limited to those who use Gmail/Blogger.

How do you measure the success of your blog? Traffic? Google Connect Friends? Comment? Social Sharing? Let me know in the comments!

(Keep an eye out for a post in the future with some methods for increasing traffic)

10 comments on “How do you measure a blog’s success?”

  1. I guess it depends on how you define ‘success’. If on Monday you had 1 visit and that 1 person found a useful bit of info on your blog is that a success? What if 100 people visit on Tuesday but find nothing of interest? Google Analytics will tell you Tuesday was more successful if we define success as traffic.

    There must be a mathematical equation that can be worked out for all of the above… klout/google/facebook/Alexa etc?

    • That’s a really good point actually. The most popular post on this blog is to do with iGoogle, and yet it doesn’t have any comments. Other posts I’ve had have a small hit rate, but seem to get a lot of comments. 

      I think that’s one of the reasons I like using Disqus – visitors can easily see if it’s been shared on social networks as well as if there are comments. 

      Understandably though, PRs will always focus on stats as it gives them something tangible to focus on.

  2. Interesting stuff, I was thinking about this recently. I don’t have a huge amount of ‘google connect’ followers (and don’t tend to use it myself) and I never have a very clear idea of my subscribers but my hits have gone up by so much this year that I know something must be going ok! xx

    • If you’re seeing an increase in one area, I think that would indicate that you’re a success. It’s very tough to tell now because there are so many factors, but traffic is the most tangible. 

      I guess it depends completely on whether you’re blogging for yourself or for others too. To an extent, I do blog for others, but those who blog on a more personal level may say it’s more for themselves than for others. In which case, the idea of success varies!

  3. Success is so subjective. Bloggers run give sways to boost subsribers but how many of them continue to read the content? I have a modest following but my followers contact me and comment regularly which I really value. Quality over quantity I say. I use blogger stats to see what kind of posts are getting more hit, I judge these to the the kind of content my readers want to see.

  4. I used to have a blog, I started it in October time and by Christmas I had 90 followers, I don’t think that’s bad for a blog that had only started two months before.  I had a handful of people who always commented and who I then made “friends” with on Twitter and still talk to now.  

    Were the rest actually reading my blog?  I don’t think so, because when I moved from one URL to the other, only a few followed me, the rest hadn’t seen the announcement I’d made on my blog with a clear link to where I was moving to, you can’t miss that.  It would seem the rest were simply serial Google Friend Connect followers who didn’t actually read my content.  So it just goes t0 show, it’s better to have a handful of quality followers.  Google Friend Connect isn’t always a reliable indicator of your blog’s success.

    Some people I know have sitemeter and I believe that tells you how long the average visitor stays on your site too.  Now that would be more helpful an indicator!

    • 90 is impressive in two months! I guess that’s another point too – if they find one post on your blog they find useful, does that make it any more successful than if they read all your posts?

  5. I mostly judge the success of my blogs by the comments – for me, they’re the one thing that tell me how engaged the readers are: it’s easy enough to click a “follow” button and then forget about it. 

    I also think different things work for different people. For instance, I have no success AT ALL with Google Friends Connect, to the point that I ended up just removing it from my blogs. One of my sites has almost 3000 Facebook followers, but struggled to get out of double figures on GFC. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m on WordPress, and GFC seems to be very much a “Blogger” thing. I really hate the fact that on my sites the widget says “JOIN this site” rather than “follow this site”: I’ve no idea why Google chose to do that, but I think it’s possibly offputting for some people, especially those who don’t blog themselves, and don’t know what “joining” a site entails. If I didn’t *know* what it was, I would probably assume it was something that would involve me having to get a log-in and password, and possibly being spammed, so I probably wouldn’t click it. I’ve also noticed (although this may just be my impression) that GFC followers always seem to be other bloggers, whereas Facebook followers, say, will be more varied. 

    Sorry, I’ve rambled: interesting discussion, though 🙂

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