If you are using blogging as part of your business, you will be as interested in knowing how to measure the success or otherwise of your blogging as you will of, say, your paid advertisements or other marketing activities. The question is, how?

There is no shortage of tools and services to measure such things as how many people visit your site, how long they stay, which pages they visit and so on.

And there are experts who will help you design your site so that anyone using a search engine to look for the services or products you have on offer will be more likely to find you. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM) experts.

I make no claim to be an SEO or SEM expert. And frankly I get a bit bamboozled by SEO experts – I’m more of your word man and I think I might subconsciously worry that I won’t understand statistics.

There is a handful of people to whom I pay close attention on these matters, because they know their field and they make a serious effort to translate the more geeky SEO stuff into language for the rest of us. I’m not going to do a list of them here because I would almost certainly give offence by forgetting to include someone.

But I do want to introduce some of these wizards as I go along. For example, Lee Odden, CEO of the TopRank online marketing agency. As well as being recognized and respected by his peers as someone seriously expert in SEO and SEM, as well as being a generally very nice person to know and with whom to collaborate.

A couple of weeks ago, on his excellent Online Marketing Blog (do yourself a favor and get the RSS feed if you haven’t got it), Lee ran a poll, asking participants to choose three out of fifteen categories to best describe what measures of success they would use for their business blog. I gave it a whirl and checked the boxes that said, respectively:

  • Build thought leadership
  • Improved brand recognition
  • Better communicate with customers

What I was interested and somewhat surprised to see, after I had voted, was that those three categories scored quite high overall. I won’t spoil the exercise for you (or Lee) by being more specific, but encourage you to take the poll and see for yourself.

Why was I surprised that those three key measures for me ranked quite highly? I suppose because while for me the first two and then the third are very important for me, I’d been starting to wonder about the pulling power of the idea of establishing thought leadership as a motive for business blogging.

I’d also been wondering about how impressed or otherwise potential clients might be with the idea of blogging as a way of improving their brand recognition.

I assumed that the only people willing to articulate an argument about the usefulness of communicating better with customers would also be inclined to argue that motherhood is overrated.

How am I doing on those chosen measures? My frank assessment is that the first two are working and the third needs work.

Whether you do Lee’s poll or not, I welcome your sharing what measures you have to determine the success of your blog, or you may want to point to a client’s blog and share the measure or measures used there.

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).