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Image of targetAnalyzing blog metrics always gives me a headache!

But as a blogger it’s important to know ‘Is the content you’re providing is fulfilling your readers needs?”

Metrics provide you with insights into how your readers are interacting with your content and the type of content that interests them.

Trouble is there’s numerous metrics you can use,  each provides different insight and its meaning depends on what you’re trying to achieve from your posts.

So lets start by seeing how I use one metric, reader bookmarking, to analyze post performance.

My next post will demonstrate how another metric provides different insights.

Types of Posts

As I said the meaning of a metric really depends on what you’re trying to achieve from your posts.

I think of my posts in terms of three main types:

  1. Informative – ‘how to’ or information packed posts
  2. Conversations – posts that focus on encouraging readers to share their thoughts in comments
  3. Sharing – posts that share helpful links

All three types fulfill different readers needs and are an important part of achieving my goal of helping others using technology.

As a general rule informative posts are longer, more likely to be bookmarked and less likely to have a high comment rate.  While conversations posts are normally shorter with more comments but less likely to bookmarked.

Calculating Reader Bookmarking

Reader bookmarking shows the number of readers bookmarking your posts on social bookmarking sites such as Delicious and Diigo.  It provides an indication of how much they value it as a source of information in terms of storing it for later retrieval and sharing with others.

When using this metric I’m looking to determine:

  1. What type of posts are being bookmarked?
  2. Are specific topics preforming better than others?
  3. Are the informative posts achieving my aim?
  4. What are characteristics of posts that are highly bookmarked compared to those that are less bookmarked?

I use PostRank because it’s an easy method for determining the number of reader bookmarking per post.

Moving your mouse cursor over a PostRank score displays all their metrics associated with that post including bookmarking on Delicious and Diigo.

Check out how easy this is on The Edublogger’s PostRank page.

Image of PostRank Metrics

Read  my Latest Statistics Say My Blogs Are……? post and comments to learn more about how the PostRank score is calculated.

Top Posts Based on Bookmarking

So here’s the top 20 Edublogger posts based on Delicious bookmarking — the numbers after each post is how many times the post has been bookmarked.

  1. 50+ Ways To Create Digital Stories With Students — 117
  2. How I Use RSS To Make My Life Easier — 79
  3. What Everybody Ought To Know About Podcasting: Part I –77
  4. Creating Student Accounts Using One Gmail Account — 73
  5. Here’s My First Five Tips For Writing Better Blog Posts — What Are Yours? –73
  6. Are You Twittering? Here’s How I Use Twitter — 72
  7. Embedding Jing Screencasts Into Blog Posts –71
  8. Quick Start Tips For Student Blogging Part I: Setting Up Your Class Blog –59
  9. Quick Start Tips For New Skype Users — 59
  10. Copyright and Using Images in Blog Posts — 56
  11. What Everybody Ought To Know About Podcasting: Part II — 48
  12. Here’s My Top Five Mistakes Made By New Bloggers — What Are Yours? — 39
  13. Finding and Adding Creative Commons Images To Your Blog Posts — 38
  14. Setting Up iGoogle For Your Personal Learning — 37
  15. Quick Start Tips For New Flickr Users: Part I — 31
  16. Ideas For Student Bloggings From….How Do You Do What You Do! — 29
  17. Adding A Voki Speaking Avatar To A Post or Page of Your Blog — 29
  18. Managing Comments and Posts On Student Blogs Using Google Reader — 28
  19. What Are The Different Roles Of Users? — 27
  20. What’s The Difference Between Tags and Categories, You Ask? — 27

Definitely there are posts in the  list that have ranked considerably higher than I’d expect and others that haven’t done as anticipated.

What does it mean?

Not sure but I know my headache is getting worse 🙁

So I would love to hear your thoughts on:

  1. What topics are readers finding more valuable in terms of bookmarking?
  2. What are characteristics of posts that are highly bookmarked compared to those that are less bookmarked?

Meanwhile I feel the headache may continue as I ponder which metric we should look at next?

What is your thoughts?  Page views?  Linking? Comments rate?  And what tool(s) should I use to obtain the metrics?

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6 Comments

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  1. Hi Sue, me again, I’ve joined Post Rank but (1) don’t seem to be able to see the post rank score for bookmarks when I click your linke to your Post Rank page and (2) I can’t figure out how to monitor the bookmarking at all. When you have time, could you please do a step-by-step walk through of what to do, like you have for IceRank?
    And also, PostRank tells me that I have only one subscriber to my bookblog (http://anzlitlovers.wordpress.com) but I know from the stream of comments I get that there are many people who are reading my posts the day I write them. Does Post Rank know if people are subscribing via Google Reader rather than RSS? I ask this because I have RSS to my favourite blogs that I read whenever there’s a new post, and then there are the ones I monitor using Google Reader but most of the time I don’t actually visit the sites of either type. This is because I reply/comment using email or I just read the post using the preview pane in my email program.
    Lisa

    • @Lisa Hill, I’ve just gone through and quickly checked your data. At the moment your PostRank scores are made up of mostly tweets and comments.

      You will only see values for Bookmarking if people are bookmarking the posts. Most bloggers wouldn’t get high bookmarking — it really depends on the type of post you write. For example, my posts that are bookmarked are generally longer posts that people are more likely to revisit to refer back to information on.

      PostRank subscribers is different from your normal subscribers. It is people who follow you as subscribers on PostRank.

      The best way to monitor your normal subscribers is to use a Feedburner RSS feed and if you can redirect all your blog’s feed through Feedburner. This gives you the most accurate indication of how many people are reading your post by RSS or by email. If you click on the Feedburner tag on my sidebar you will find all my posts on how to set up Feedburner.

  2. I agree that you need to be very careful with interpretation of any metric however high bookmarking is an indication that the reader considered it to be information that they found to some extent useful.

    And some of those posts did surprise me in terms of how bookmarked they were. For example, the podcasting posts. When I did a poll of readers they indicated they weren’t that interested in reading about podcasting and yet based on bookmarking those posts were popular.

  3. I would tend to take care over any assumption based on a single action by a visitor.

  4. Kia ora e Sue!

    You said that as a blogger, it’s important to know the answer to, “Is the content you’re providing fulfilling your readers needs?”

    I’m not so sure about the ‘needs’ part here. I think that this can add an unnecessary confusion to the interpretation of any statistics you may gather. For one thing, it’s well known that the reason behind a choice made by a participant is extremely difficult to ascertain, if not impossible without careful surveying. And hereby lies one of the greatest problems that can face an enquiring blogger while attempting to interpret statistics (metrics).

    As a scientist 🙂 I would tend to take care over any assumption based on a single action by a visitor. I have raised this matter before with Tony Karrer, that without further information, bloggers cannot assume that (say) a visitor bookmarking a site means any more or less than writing a comment against it. In fact, there is more likelihood of getting useful information from the comment than the single action of bookmarking a site. For instance, I often bookmark sites for students’ needs. The contents do not necessarily meet needs that I have.

    In short, we cannot read more into (metrics) information than the information is capable of yielding. I quote Ashleigh Brilliant, “I waited and waited, and when no message came, I knew it must be from you.”

    Catchya later