Embed links. Include graphics. Entertain your readers with quality content. And don’t forget to ask relevant questions at the end of your posts. Do all of this, and your readers should be pounding at your blog’s front door, screaming, “More, more, more!”
Right? Well, you can only know for sure if you’re measuring engagement.
With tools that are already embedded in a blog’s design or that you can plug in (called plugins), you can measure if – and how well – your readers are engaged in all of this great content you’re giving them. Once you discover what attracts your audience, you’ll be able to provide more of it.
Count the averages
Joost de Valk, a web developer who created the Blog Metrics plugin and runs a weekly podcast for WordPress users, suggests using a plugin like his to track the following metrics so you can count the average number of:
- comments per post (a good reason to ask those relevant questions).
- new inbound links per post (to see who’s talking about you).
- tweets per post (how many people are sharing your content).
You also may want to look at the length of a post to see if certain lengths work better with readers than others. And pay attention to reader requests.
Measure it regularly
Brandon Wick, who works for McClenahan Bruer Communications, a technology B2B agency in Portland, Ore., says his company sets aside time once a month to track engagement using Google Analytics. He measures visitor loyalty by looking at the relationship ratio, considering 70:30 (new to returning) a good number to maintain.
Don’t forget your offsite traffic
With subscription services like Google’s FeedBurner, de Valk says you’ll want to track the number of blog subscribers you have, including those who sign up for your RSS. The online report lists both the number of subscribers as well as your reach.
Add “contact us” prompts
If you’re using your blog as a sales and marketing tool, you can determine its effectiveness by prompting your readers to contact you. For instance, add a “contact us” prompt for your email newsletter or white papers. Social Media Manager Jessica Carlson of Off Madison Ave in Phoenix, Ariz., says, with direct “contact us” prompts, you can easily determine a return on investment.
More to consider
- Time spent: How much time readers spend on your blog may or may not be important. That depends on
whether they return and what they do while they’re there. Are they taking your polls, signing up for your webinars, reading the case studies, or requesting your newsletter? If so, those are signs of engagement.
- Bounce rate: This is important to a certain degree but can be deceiving. For example, if a reader
shows up, spends a few minutes looking around and scrolls down the page, but never clicks on anything, that can count as a bounce. Does that mean this person wasn’t engaged?
- Outside referrals: You definitely want to know who’s talking about your blog in cyberspace, and this is where pingbacks can be valuable. As long as other bloggers are linking back to the post they reference, you can easily track who’s talking about you with the pingbacks on your page.
- URL shorteners: Try this new URL shortener called Bizo Switchboard. In the beta stage, this free web-based toolkit not only shortens a link but also grabs data that allows you to follow and interact with whomever’s sending your link around the World Wide Web.
Do you have any other tools you use to measure engagement? Let us know in the comments!
- 5 Basic Metrics to Measure If You Care About the ROI of Your Content (contently.com)
- 15 Must-Have Tools For Better Blogging (contently.com)