Measuring Sticks for Blogs: Do They Matter?

By Steven Snell

Bloggers who are trying to build a business are always being measured by rankings and statistical calculations of different sorts. These numbers can provide a great deal of information, but should bloggers be concerned with them? If so, which ones?

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Each blog has its own unique goals that can’t necessarily be tracked by any particular ranking system. These measures and rankings are useful, however, especially in a number of situations that we’ll look at later in this article.

As a blogger, what are your goals? Do you want to sell products, make money on advertisements, promote and sell yourself as an expert on the subject, or do you just want to use your blog as an outlet to share your thoughts and opinions?

You don’t necessarily need a top ranked blog to meet your goals. With that in mind, don’t let ranking systems overshadow your goals.

Let’s start by taking a lot at some of the most common methods that are used for measuring the success of a blog.

Technorati Rank

A blog’s Technorati rank is based on how many inbound links are coming from other blogs, and it’s one of the most common ways of measuring a blog’s visibility or success. Some blogs with high Technorati rankings display their rank, or at least communicate it to their readers.

What’s good about it:

  • The Technorati rank gives a good indication of how much buzz a particular blog is creating.
  • It provides bloggers with a way of monitoring their progress in comparison with other blogs in their niche.

What’s not good about it:

  • Newer blogs will of course have the disadvantage of competing for rankings against more established blogs that have had the time to build backlinks.
  • The number of inbound links to a blog is not necessarily representative of the impact of a blog on its readers.
  • Blogs on certain topics (such as technology, Internet marketing, SEO, etc.) will have more potential for getting backlinks than blogs in smaller niches.

Alexa Rank

Alexa rankings include all types of websites, not just blogs. The rankings are based on the number of visitors and page views each site receives. Alexa shows trends that have developed in a site’s traffic history.

What’s good about it:

  • Alexa provides some historical data by showing trends, so you can see if a website/blog is gaining a larger audience or losing popularity.
  • By including all websites, it is possible to compare blogs to other types of sites.

What’s not good about it:

  • The rankings produced by Alexa receive criticism because they only track visitors who have the Alex toolbar installed in their browser.
  • A website can accumulate a lot of page views and visitors without converting into sales, leads, subscribers, or repeat readers.
  • All visitors and page views are given equal weight.

Google PageRank

Google uses its own ranking system, the PageRank (1 — 10 scale), which is based on the amount of quality backlinks to a page. Although many website owners and bloggers are concerned about their PageRank, it’s possible for pages to have high search engine rankings for particular terms without having high PageRanks.

What’s good about it:

  • Google’s PageRank gives you a quick idea of how the largest search engine in the world sees your site.
  • The rank is based on quality of backlinks, not quantity.

What’s not good about it:

  • New websites have a difficult time improving their PageRank.
  • Some established and well-trusted websites still have low PageRank.

Number of Unique Visitors

The number of unique visitors to a site or blog is a measure of how many different people have visited it.

What’s good about it:

  • Any statistical program can provide this data.
  • It’s a simple measure of how many people have been exposed to the website.
  • It’s an actual, real number — unlike a ranking creating by some other type of system.

What’s not good about it:

  • Different stats programs will rarely produce the same result.
  • It relies on the cookies of the Internet browser to determine if a visitor is unique, or if he/she has already visited.

Number of Page Views

A page view calculation simply shows the total number of pages on your website that have been viewed over a given period of time, regardless of how many different people visited the site.

What’s good about it:

  • Unlike the number of unique visitors, page view stats can show you if visitors are sticking around, or if they’re leaving as soon as they arrive on your site.
  • Like the unique visitor stats, the number of page views is a relatively simple measure that can be gathered by any stats program.

What’s not good about it:

  • Different stats programs will rarely produce the same result.
  • Recently, more emphasis has been placed on the length of time visitors are on a site, since pages can be clicked through very quickly. A visitor that reads an entire article may only account for 1 page view, but may be on the page for a considerable length of time.

Number of Subscribers

Subscribers of course are important to any blog, and this is therefore a very common measuring stick in terms of the success of blogs.

What’s good about it:

  • The number of subscribers represents the number of readers who have voluntarily chosen to receive blog posts on a regular basis.
  • It gives bloggers, advertisers, and readers a good idea of the reach and scope of a blog.

What’s not good about it:

  • The quality of subscribers is much more important than the quantity of subscribers.
  • Blogs in certain niches are likely to have higher or lower subscription counts due to the popularity of the subject.

Number of Inbound Links

Inbound links are important for a number of reasons, including click-through traffic and search engine rankings.

What’s good about it:

  • The number of inbound links can give you an idea of how much buzz is surrounding a blog.
  • In most cases a link shows an endorsement from one blog to another, which demonstrates credibility.

What’s not good about it:

  • Each search engine displays a different number of inbound links for a site or blog.
  • A high number of inbound links does not necessarily mean that a page has value.

When Do These Rankings and Measurements Matter?

  1. If you are selling advertising space
  2. If you are doing paid reviews
  3. If you are selling your blog
  4. If you use them for personal motivation and satisfaction
  5. In some cases for drawing inbound links

Outside of these situations, let your goals determine your success.

What measurements and rankings are important to you?

I’d like to hear your feedback on what you check regularly to monitor your blog’s progress. I know each of you has a different opinion on what is important and what is not. Personally, I tend to place the most emphasis on subscribers since they represent loyal readers who are likely to repeatedly visit. What are your thoughts? Do these measuring sticks matter?



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43 Responses to “Measuring Sticks for Blogs: Do They Matter?”

  • Kruno

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  • Arju

    I had page rank 4 for my site. But after I started review inside my blog it reduced my page rank 0.

    Can anybody tell me why this is?

  • Bangkok Library

    In reply to post #33, it’s quality that counts, not what system it’s running on and that’s the way it should be. Who cares if it’s written on WordPress or some bespoke system? So long as it is accessible and contains engaging content, that’s all that really matters. That’s why many of us still read books printed on paper.

  • Measure Page Rank

    PageRank has become an obsession with webmasters and developers. Having a good site does not equate to a higher number in some cases. The frustration of being an actual web site developer is that someone that just writes words and posts it on wordpress can get a higher pagerank than someone that just spent the better part of a year developing a site from scratch using the latest development tools and years of college education. Really quite sad yet the reality of the world. Words translate to dollars.

  • Todd

    I must say I’m pretty frustrated with google’s PR right now. They seem to be using extortion against anyone that wants to make money using something other than Adsense. They recently started reducing PR for bloggers who participate in Pay Per Post.

  • Gigabytes

    Page rank is important as google is one of the major search engine. Also how much time visitors spent on one blog, if longer it may mean they are reading your content, not hopping through.

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