A few months ago, I had written a post titled ‘The all-important 10 seconds to fame or shame‘ that talked about a few things that you need to take care of to make your blog sticky. One of the ’sticky’ tips there in was the blog stats which, if advertised judiciously, could boost your subscription and patronage.
What are blog statistics?
Blog statistics of a blog are mainly the numbers related to one or the other popularity parameters (e.g. traffic, subscription, ranks) of a blog. The following list summarizes the categories into which the blog stats fall :
- Subscription statistics: This includes feed/RSS subscription count, number of followers on your primary social networking profile (e.g. twitter), your blog directory (e.g. BlogCatalog) profile fans etc.
- Traffic statistics: This refers to the analytics on your traffic. For example, your Google Analytics or SiteMeter reports. While the subscription statistis indicates the established patronage, the traffic statistics shows the totality of the visits (including stray hits) received
- Blog ranks: These are KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) of your blog measured in terms of one or more popularity parameters such as search engine visibility, social media presence, page rank or traffic rank. While there’s no proven method of measuring the popularity of a blog, these numbers mean a lot to many readers and advertisers. Examples of blog ranks include alexa traffic rank, technorati rank etc
- Income reports: The revenue generated by a blog is what’s referred here. I am not sure who was the first to start this concept, but definitely it was the MMO bloggers who popularized it. Income reports are more like those result announcements (of companies) which in a way makes sense when you think about a blog as an online business
- Local ratings: This refers to the content rating (such as stars or 1 to 10 scale) that the readers give to posts and articles written on a blog. These are probably the real acceptance indicators though not many bloggers/blogs still use them
Further, there are statistics such as number of posts written, comments per post etc which are good overall indicators of a blog’s acceptance level. Other potential indicators are the number of natural backlinks to a blog, reviews and coverage received etc though not all of them can be realistically measured and/or published.
When to make your blog stats public?
While publishing impressive blog stats will bring in more fame, one should decide when to make them public. The readers always have a tendency to stick to what is already popular and hence if your blog ranks are not that great, you better not disclose the same.
It is always recommended that an upcoming blog stay away from publishing any of them. An established blog may choose to publish some of the ranks (or whichever are good enough to be disclosed). For example, one could start showing the feed count once it crosses something like 50, Alexa when it comes below 100K etc. You could provide further statistics to your potential online partners (e.g. advertisers) on request. When it comes to a massively popular professional blog, it is better not to boast about all your blog stats but stick to the most important one or two (e.g. Feed count, # of twitter followers).
As a thumb rule, one should never publish fake blog ranks nor display unimportant ones. I have seen some people publishing their awstats reports (instead of Google Analytics) which will almost always be looked at with distrust. Also, I am not sure if one should display proof of payment as part of a make money recommendation.
Basically fake, unimportant or unimpressive stats can create more damage to your blog than not displaying them at all.
Where to display your stats?
The location of your rank numbers, widgets and badges plays a very important role in attracting further readership to your blog. For example, your ‘Advertise here’ page may be an ideal place to show off your page ranks and Google Analytics traffic statistics where as your feed subscription or twitter followers count has to be there in one of the prime areas of almost all pages. Unimportant badges and widgets may be pushed down to the footer area or even taken out for that matter. You can be innovative with your blog stats by cross-selling them across channels. For example, you could customize your twitter profile background with your blog stats, use your RSS footer area to boast your twitter followers count etc.