How do you measure a blog post’s value?

11 May

There are a number of key indicators that help you to understand if the last post you wrote had any value for your readers.

  • Views
  • Shares
  • Likes
  • Tweets
  • Facebook likes
  • Comments

Which one’s the best barometer?

We have some posts that have been read thousands of times. But that data doesn’t always tell the story. It might have been an image search that brought them to the post, or a good ranking on Google. Did those thousands of readers actually like it? That’s the question that doesn’t get answered.

Sometimes a post will hit large numbers because it has been shared. Presumably it was shared because it had value. But sometimes a key influencer can drive traffic to a post that others find less intellectually invigorating.

(That reminds me of those rich-media ads that take over the page you’re reading online. You click desperately on the X to kill it but you end up being swept off to the advertiser’s website. A click-through! Not a victory though.)

Likes, Tweets and Facebook likes are pretty reliable, especially when you see strong support for all 3. But what can you say about a post that generates lots of positive nods but no comments? Only that your post has made a good point.

From my perspective, comments are king. They tell you that you engaged the mind of your reader and that you created dialogue around the issue you’re blogging about.

Here are our top 5 posts in terms of comments.

1. It’s not your parents’ Yellow Pages anymore.

2. Vote for the best Zombie Internship entry.

3. The job application letter you should never write.

4. Why Zombies are important. 

5. Don’t be a social media tattle-tale.

Did they measure up to their numbers?

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15 Responses to “How do you measure a blog post’s value?”

  1. Shane May 11, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    In my view, a “good” blog post is one that converts casual or first-time blog readers into regular readers or subscribers. How to measure that seems tricky. Other than counting new subscribers, you could look at incremental blog traffic for a certain period of time after each post to try to put a value to it.

    • dougbrowncreative May 11, 2011 at 10:20 am #

      I’d agree that is another good indicator Shane.

  2. Amy May 11, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    If I only got 25 views a day, but they all left a comment, that would be enough for me. I agree that comments are king.

  3. Dennis van Lith May 11, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    I guess I should leave comments more then. I think your blog is the only place I comment (even if the comments are useless – like this one).
    I would have to agree with Shane on his comment that the best post is one that creates repeat visits and subscriptions to the blog. Is it not possible to look at the unique ip adresses for a measure on that?
    P.S. Great post today

  4. dougbrowncreative May 11, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    > Thanks for the corroboration Amy. I also find that some bloggers respond only to select comments, which frustrates me as a commenter. It somehow feels worse than if they didn’t respond to any at all.

    > You said it was great post – how on earth could that be a useless comment Dennis! It’s very much appreciated, as are all your comments on our blog.

  5. Amy May 11, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Yeah, what’s up with bloggers replying to some comments but not others? Was my comment not worth a cursory “Thank you”? Are they only replying to their buddies? It’s like high school all over again.

  6. dougbrowncreative May 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    I know one well-known American social media star blogger who only responds to the negative comments! Nuts. Guess what…I stopped leaving comments on his blog.

  7. Shane May 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    If someone reading a blog post is not obligated to post a comment, why should the blog writer feel an obligation to respond to each comment they receive (unless directly asked a question)?

  8. dougbrowncreative May 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    That’s a bit like saying hello to someone and they don’t respond. A blog invites comments by having a comments section. If you choose to ignore the comments, you shouldn’t be surprised when people stop visiting.

  9. Dennis van Lith May 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    I’ve always been impressed with how often and quickly you respond to every comment on your blogs Doug. How the hell do you find the time for it all?

  10. dougbrowncreative May 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Quite frankly I value the comments Dennis, so responding to them is a pleasure, not a chore.

  11. Stef May 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    In my opinion, although comments are a good indicator that you have written an interesting blog post – I find it can also depend on the nature of the blog post – there are blog posts that invite questions, opinions and comments – and then there are blog posts where you sit and there and say to yourself “good point” – and not everyone is going to comment on this type of blog post, yet if a blog asks for a readers opinion or thoughts – it is inviting that two way conversation – giving readers a more participatory role in the blog itself. Does this mean the first blog post is better than the second one? Not necessarily. simply different in nature.

  12. Stef May 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    PS – I loved how you provided a list of Copeland’s blogs with the top comments – it may be interesting to post and compare lists across all mediums (views, shares, likes, tweets and Facebook likes) and get readers to comment – and its a great way for readers to look up past posts that are popular in some of these categories! I had never read the “It’s not your parents’ YellowPages anymore” blog post and found it very interesting.

    • dougbrowncreative May 11, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

      Thanks for your ideas Stefanie. In my opinion, every blog post invites comments by simply having a comment section. Boring posts will not get much response…good ones will, hence my belief that comments are a pretty reliable indicator. Glad you like the Yellow Pages post. It got Freshly Pressed on WordPress which explains its high numbers.

  13. Home Medical Transcription Jobs May 18, 2011 at 3:28 am #

    I also agree comments are the king. But if you want to get more comments, what you have to do is to satisfy the following points in favor of your readers .

    1. The content of the article must me easily readable.
    2. The content must be unique.
    3. The reader must enjoy your content while reading

    If you satisfy these things then surely you will get comments.

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