I've written about social media measurement -- and specifically the key measures of blog success - before, but I thought it would be interesting to share a blog analytics framework I've been playing around with. My goal was to create a simple info-graphic that captures all of the key metrics for gauging blog success and put those metrics in context (show how they work together) to help new bloggers, corporate clients considering blogging as a communications channel and anyone else looking for an easy way to understand what to look for and what it means.
So what I came up with is a simple infinity symbol-like set of conjoined rings. It looks like this (read on though, before you flip through the slide set, if you'd like an idea of what I am trying to show.)
[Feed and email readers click through to the blog to see the embedded slideshow.]
The first ring represents Participation. These are measures of the activities that happen at your blog and directly between a blogger and his/her readership -- the quantitative counts of traffic, subscriptions, time spent and the relative popularity of various posts, among other things. At their most basic, these are measures of your ability to attract and retain an audience. I call this "Outside In" engagement -- or measures of a blog's ability to get members of the outside community to come (and stay) in and join the blogger's own community.
The second ring represents Conversation. These are measures of your ability to influence the world around you -- a set of external metrics that provide some indication of the level of influence your blog (and you, as a blogger, of course) have beyond the confines of your own pages. Here, we see commonly used currencies and metrics like authority, inbound links and search engine prominence, among other things. I call this "Inside Out" engagement -- the ability of the blog to make an impact on the outside community (and even the internet) at large.
Comments, in some ways the ultimate measure of whether your audience is truly engaged and finds value in (or takes issue with) the content you offer, bridge the dual worlds of Participation and Conversation. Comments are a measure of your community's participation but also the basic building block of dialogue (conversation) between you and your audience and directly among audience members as well.
The initial framework slide is the money shot, but I've included some back-up slides that (1) provide a bit more info about what each of the metrics presented in the graphic means, and (2) examples of some (mostly) free tools that beginning bloggers can use to start tracking their success. The examples aren't meant to be a comprehensive list - they are representative of the kinds of tools that are readily available and that provide the data necessary to measure each of the key metrics.
These are my thoughts - and now I'd love yours. Does the framework itself work for you? Where did I go wrong and what did I miss? Chime in.