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How do you measure a blog's success
Posted on 19 June, 2009 at 16:50 PM There are already 18 Comments

About the Show

We ask you the question... how do you measure the success of a/your blog post?

Things to consider before you answer:


People taking the time to drop you a comment is incredibly satisfying... but does 500 comments of 'Great Post' mean anything to you? Would you prefer 10 quality comments which start a conversation or an argument?


There is also something awesome about being retweeted a zillion times but a retweet doesn't necessarily mean a visit or a view. It just means that they are spreading the word, if you get retweeted 150 times but only one person clicks on it then is there any value?


Digg is well known for sending huuuuuge amounts of traffic. If you get dugg there is the potential of up to 50,000 unique visitors to your site but the chances of a return visit are not so great and a visit can last a few seconds.

Here are the links mentioned in our post:

User Comments

Aaron Irizarry's Gravatar

Aaron Irizarry    19 Jun, 2009 16:37:52 PM

haha i love stats also... you guys should check out woopra, so much fun with real time analytics.

Aside from all of the typical benchmarks for gauging a sites success, personally I look for the interaction that I get from the design community. Reply's that the article was helpful or inspiring are the most gratifying.

~ Aaron I

David Perel's Gravatar

David Perel    19 Jun, 2009 16:46:26 PM

@Aaron - I also love the interaction, I never used to be a peoples person but since entering the design space I enjoy every second of it. I will check out woopra as well, thanks dude.

Hey Peeps, check out this interview that Aaron did with us earlier this week:


Its a long one but Aaron asks some cool questions ;)

Matthew Simo's Gravatar

Matthew Simo    19 Jun, 2009 17:07:02 PM

Great post guys! ~

Ha, sorry couldn't help myself...

*All of the following is only my opinion and I'm not nearly as experienced as many of your other followers/viewer/participants. So, take it with a grain of salt, it makes sense to me though...*

Measuring the success for your blog I think really depends on the purpose of the blog. Web designers aren't just making cool stuff for cool stuff's sake anymore (some are but I feel the web is getting smarter; i.e. designing with purpose). Hopefully, we are designing with a specific goal in mind. It is my opinion that your blog/website's purpose decides how you should best measure its success.

For instance, the guys over at mashable.com/ might gauge their success by retweets because they are more of an authority. They, whether they intend to or not, are educators. And they don't necessarily need 'beneficial' comments or commentators that are really contributing as they are the ones providing the large majority of the beneficial information. They need to spread the sphere of their influence as wide as possible, which retweets do wonderfully.

For me, I'm trying to convert traffic or project leads. That is the purpose of my blog/portfolio. And once it is launched I'll be deciding which stats give the best indication of lead conversion.

Now, which stats to measure for which purpose is a whole other discussion that I think will be decided more by trial and error than anything else.

The 'phase' of your blog also helps with determining the 'important' stats. Like starting out, are you really looking for a massive number of retweets? I think this would just devastate morale and for the initial blog it might be better if they are just tracking pageviews, and trying to keep bounce rates down.

Anyways, to sum up, I think the gauge and metrics you need to pay attention to in regards to the success of your blog really depends on the purpose of your blog and its end goals.

Thanks for providing a place for great discussion, ~ Simo

Craig Farrall's Gravatar

Craig Farrall    19 Jun, 2009 17:10:17 PM

Again another great vid lads.

I haven't been a blogger now for months, and things have drastically changed, so I can't comment to much about this, but when I was a blogger, my main 2 things I looked for to see how my blog was doing, was comments and Statistics, such as page views and so on.

But thinking about things now, I think I agree with Aaron about the interaction with people would be pretty high up there, if not the highest, knowing that the same people are always returning.

Also, Let Marc go see a film :P he is due a break after all the hours he has put in ;)

Matthew Simo's Gravatar

Matthew Simo    19 Jun, 2009 17:10:44 PM

Holy cow, that was a long comment. =x

Feel free to edit it down as you like!

David Perel's Gravatar

David Perel    19 Jun, 2009 17:11:38 PM

"For instance, the guys over at mashable.com/ might gauge their success by retweets because they are more of an authority. They, whether they intend to or not, are educators. And they don't necessarily need 'beneficial' comments or commentators that are really contributing as they are the ones providing the large majority of the beneficial information. They need to spread the sphere of their influence as wide as possible, which retweets do wonderfully."

Awesome point, I think that is the key thing with large popular blogs which help you out. If they have covered everything then what is there that is left to say?

Thanks for the long comment Simo, you are up there with @svgrob for the longest comment competition!!

kyle steed's Gravatar

kyle steed    19 Jun, 2009 17:25:29 PM

I think it comes down to what we define as success

I know for me when I started out blogging 2 years ago I was ecstatic to have 1 or 2 people comment on my blog. Granted this was before the twitterevolution when you had to actually go through people's blog links to find new people to interact with. But now as I am growing as a blogger and my network is growing, I am overwhelmed at the amount of response I get, both on twitter and in comments on my blog.

So maybe the lesson here is that we shouldn't start out blogging with expectation to get 1,000 comments and RTs on our first post. That's just highly unlikely. But that we should gradually elevate our expectations over time.

Thanks guys.

Sean Hodge's Gravatar

Sean Hodge    19 Jun, 2009 17:53:10 PM

Hey guys on the couch,

You touched on the common ways to measure success on a blog. I think a good way to look at it tough is through the lens of your goals. Not every blog is set up to get massive traffic, big ad revenue, etc. If it is, then you're likely looking at everything to an extent.

For me personally, I pay attention to RSS subscribers as a way to measure growth. Also, overall traffic, but I don't get wrapped up too much in these things, it's more looking at long-term growth. On the Tuts site though, my role is more focused on content generation, so I don't need to track these things super close, as someone else works on that.

Nice video and keep it up. Thx.

Angelique's Gravatar

Angelique    19 Jun, 2009 20:04:36 PM

I'm quite interested in this issue, particularly as it breaks out in different niche markets, not just major blogs (eg, Mashable, Lifehacker) and not just those that are tech oriented. I've been active in the design and building of three blogs: a personal art blog, a local news site, and a fundraising counsel blog for nonprofits. None of these are really Digg candidates, so it's important to measure a variety of success indicators and explore which are consistent and which can be indicators for growth. The first two blogs allow comments and have a presence on Twitter, so I track comments and retweets for those, as well as visitors, length and depth of visit, and subscribers for all three blogs.

Brad C's Gravatar

Brad C    19 Jun, 2009 23:00:28 PM

It's funny you guys bring this topic up now. I always look at traffic (although it is fun to see how many retweets and subscribers I have).

The days I post a new comic I can expect a certain amount of traffic, when I'm below that I get a little bummed out. Since I'm only posting once a week I see some really wild swings in traffic, especially if one gets reposted on a site like Reedit or gets some serious Stumbleupon action.

I have to put it all in perspective. At the beginning of the year only a handful of people saw it but now thousands see it ever week. I have to look at traffic monthly, not day by day or week by week.

Manda Szewczyk's Gravatar

Manda Szewczyk    19 Jun, 2009 23:22:28 PM

Love your videos, guys! Always informative and super-entertaining.

As a new blogger, I'm also totally addicted to checking my stats. I thought the thrill might die down after a few months, but I'm still looking at them constantly. After you've put a lot of time and work into a post, it feels really good to know that others are reading it, and liking it.

Unlike you, though, I have to develop a thicker skin. The negative posts are hard to take sometimes. I'm doing my best to see it as a debate, and not get defensive. I'll look forward to the day I celebrate a negative comment!

In the end, even though I love to see high page view numbers and RT's, the comments are really what make it all worth it for me. I started my blog as a replacement for my teaching job. I missed helping new designers. So, I write mostly for beginning designers and design students. And, I can't tell you how good it feels to have a design student or someone just starting out leave a comment about how my blog has helped them, or about how they've learned something from a post. Even though I want my blog to be successful and have many visitors, it's all about those comments for me.

divinefusion's Gravatar

divinefusion    20 Jun, 2009 03:47:21 AM

I agree about giving specific feedback. On one hand its great to know that people are watching/reading and like your posts, but knowing specifically what people find useful or dislike, can help you grow as a writer/blogger. I personally RT and comment on posts I find interesting and useful to my sphere of influence. I have noticed an increase in (my) twitter followers and site analytics after certain tweets. I also check google search for my name and business name, and have found posts and articles/mentions about my work, that I was not previously aware of. Some of these sites have high rankings, which is great exposure fore me and just leeds to more visibility and more work. Hurray!

Rob MacKay's Gravatar

Rob MacKay    20 Jun, 2009 14:17:46 PM

I dunno.

As everyone doesn't know, because I don't really blog, I'm not really a bloggy person. I do make posts when things interest me - and I suppose I'm now blogging regularly for another site... I dunno.

What is success? I suppose that is the real question. Each person is 100% unique, obviously we all know David wants his F1 car and Marc probably wants an RS4 to start off... I suppose I'm not that way inclined.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a gadget head, I love technology and would love a fat motorbike, a fast car and the latest stuff - but I don't see them as success, I see it as, i dunno, stuff I suppose...

Hits wise, I'm always over the moon when I see my posts have hits, especially when they are some kind of tutorial. I actually get a kick out of page rank and if anyone has found my stuff via google....

Success for me is being able to work at home, to be coding a site one min and turn round and play with my son the next. Its spending more time with my amazing wife, and being here when the girls get home from school. Its having the time to go out on day trips if the weather is nice.

Its also friends, and getting to know everyone on twitter. Meeting awesome people across the world and being able to work with them - we live in such a privileged time of unlimited communication.

Success for me is that I am here next month, and the month after - watching my family grow more than I am watching my client list...

divinefusion's Gravatar

divinefusion    20 Jun, 2009 15:31:22 PM

Rob, I'm still in tears. That is in essence what defines personal success for me too.

kyle steed's Gravatar

kyle steed    20 Jun, 2009 23:09:26 PM

@Rob - well put man. I think with that kind of focus on life you will succeed in your career.

Marc Perel's Gravatar

Marc Perel    20 Jun, 2009 23:18:03 PM

Rob is 100% right, we talk about succeeding with our blogs; but beyond that there's more important success, and that's success in life beyond material things.

Rob you sound pretty sorted, that's awesome dude!

Elena's Gravatar

Elena    22 Jun, 2009 00:37:36 AM

I have found that bounce rate in Analytics and checking Feedburner is the most effective for my blog.

I thik your production is fine. The purpose of the material is more important than how the videos look.

I agree about retweets. I had one article retweeted and it was one of the most popular posts of the month. As for comments, I think that has to do with numbers. If you have a lower amount of visitors, comments aren't going to be as popular. Also, you guys have an uncanny resemblence. Are you guys identical twins or just brothers?

Richard Darell's Gravatar

Richard Darell    22 Jun, 2009 00:43:53 AM

This is a tricky one for me to answer actually. Being a statistic fanatic (obvious if you check out the Minervity site at the top) I am using Woopra just like Aaron Izisarry for all my sites.

However, the are so different from each other that I have different measurements for all of them. For my new startup Bit Rebels, it's all pageviews and comments. We strive to get a community going and we are going to push more for it in the future. But, for Minervity it's all about re-tweets as it is educational (tutorials, freelancer articles etc.) based and has another angle on things. Bit Rebels is more fun and humor oriented which leads to more focus on interaction really to measure the sites success.

So, my point would be more in the direction of what kind of site you "want" to run and how you see it grow. Do you want it to grow by the comments or by the number of pageviews, they aren't neccessarily the same thing in my opinion.

Great show again! Keep it up, it's getting addicting! :)