When trying to judge the health of our blogs, there are a few common variables that most of us like to use, such as:
1 - Traffic
2 - Links
3 - Feed readers
4 - Comments
5 - Alexa ranking
Now I think traffic is probably the most popular measurement tool that most of us use, or have been told to use.
But is it the most accurate? Or does it matter at all?
I ask because I started doing some digging the other day as I realized that The Viral Garden had passed the 10-month mark. After 10 months of blogging, I found that for the past 9 months or so, traffic here has been in a fairly steady range, anywhere from 125-250 visitors a day on average. January is going to be the best month ever for traffic here, but it barely edges out last July for the top spot.
This seemed odd to me, because the blog appears to be growing at a fairly steady pace.
So I started checking out the other above listed variables. Here's what I found:
1 - Traffic, up about 20% over the past 9 months
2 - Links, up approximately 300% over the past 9 months
3 - Feed readers, up approximately 650% over the past 9 months
4 - Comments, up approximately 50% over the past 9 months
5 - Alexa ranking, from 81K in July, to 70K now
Notice that Alexa, which measures traffic, is also up only slightly. But feed readers, links, and comments, are all up sharply over the past 9 months.
The feed readers are interesting to me, because logic dictates that anyone that wants to subscribe to a blog's feed, does so to read its content regularly. So the blog's traffic only growing slightly, while number of feed readers us growing much quicker, suggests to me that many of the people that are discovering The Viral Garden for the first time, are subscribing to the feed. So they aren't showing up in the traffic numbers anymore, and shift to the 'feed readers' section. Case in point, on Sunday, I had 152 visitors, and 155 feed readers. I think that's a good thing.
Also, comments are increasing. Last summer, there were around 4.5 comments per post. Now there are just over 7 comments per post. That, coupled with the increase in feed readers, suggests that there are more regular readers here, and that they are commenting more frequently. I also think this is a very good thing.
So I guess it's up for each of us to decide why we blog and how we judge the success of our efforts. And we also must each decide what value, if any, we place on our blog's traffic. I think extra traffic is very valuable, as long as it leads to extra readers and more involvement from those readers. But I continue to think that focusing on traffic isn't the answer for most of us, it's focusing on readers and how we can each find a way to contribute to the larger community.
The Viral Garden, Marketing, Blogging