The traditional methods of analyzing a web site's performance and growth are slowly being replaced by new and better ways that stress more on audience engagement than simple crunching of page impressions. These smart metrics are in development stages and still no credible solution is available that can accurately capture visitor's behavior and engagement in his visit to a web site or blog. Are you limited to page views and unique visitors when it comes to analyzing your blog's reach and growth?
The following five trends that are often ignored by newbies can give you ample data about your blog's expanded reach and visibility. Almost all of these trends rely on readers' engagement (direct or indirect) that can help you in identifying the honey pots and weak zones in your blog.
Feed Subscription Growth Rate (Per Month)
One of the most important metrics that convincingly represent the quality of any blog is the number of feed subscribers. While approaching direct advertisers, subscriber count is one of the important stats present in almost every media kit. If your blog is relatively new with no presence in SERP's, this metric is not so relevant unless you develop a decent readership and enough traffic. Growth in subscribers depends on several variable factors like your blog's niche, audience size, quality of your content and how aggressively you approach to potential subscribers. Keep an eye on the number of subscribers you are gaining each month. Once you have accumulated data for at least 6 months, you will be able to analyze the growth in subscriptions in a better way and will be able to take necessary steps to increase the subscribers.
Comments Per Post (Avg.)
High number of comments per post is a strong indication of highly engaged community. The total number of active commentators for any blog is relatively far less than the number of daily visitors. A blog getting higher number of comments but less traffic is in much better position in terms of growth and reach than the blog getting tons of traffic but no comments. Regular commentators represent your core-readership that helps you in making your blog a hub of active like-minded community by initiating constructive discussions and at times confronting trolls without the need of your intervention. Rewarding commentators is an excellent strategy to attract more comments and building a lively community around your blog.
Social Media Boost (Retweets, Discussions, Bookmarking)
Since social media has gone mainstream, blog promotion strategies has changed drastically. Nowadays, a large chunk of daily traffic comes through social media channels. Make sure you keep track of all major traffic pulling sources through this medium. Whether you are using stumbleupon to pull traffic or using twitter to market your blog, social media referral is one of the important metrics that plays a big role in expanding your blog's reach. There are many ways to analyze social media traffic that can help you divert your energy in the right direction to get maximum benefit from this powerful medium.
References (Linkbacks Growth Rate)
Quality blogs attract backlinks naturally, which are vital for good rankings in SERP's. As your archive inflates, so does the probability of someone referring your content. It's not just about the number of new backlinks you acquire per month, but the quality of those links matters the most. You can try various methods to get backlinks that will give you the required boost in search result rankings. Keep track of the number of backlinks you are acquiring each month and do not forget to thank whoever links to your blog.
Similar to comments on posts, emails from readers are vital for your blog's growth. If you getting regular emails from your readers, it's an indication of trust in you and an acknowledgment of your authority on a subject. Readers often mail to ask for advice, to get a solution to their problem, to send a guest post or to suggest an idea. Entertaining each and every mail received from your audience helps develop a strong bonding with them, that lays the foundation of building a core-readership that helps spread the word about your blog through word of mouth.
For example, my fellow blogger regularly receive mails from bloggers on blogger platform asking for help related to blogger templates. A friendly mail with all the assistance helps him in gaining a new subscriber and a fan. Remember, building core-readership is more important than just counting page impressions you are receiving per day. Whether it's through commenting or through mail communication, if you are adding regular readers to your kitty month-after-month, it's going to benefit you significantly in the long run.