How do you measure the success of a blog post?
As we drift into the last few weeks of the year, I find the world of blogging gradually becomes a quieter place. Like thousands of others, I’ll be taking a seasonal blogging break as we head deeper into December.
However, one of the most popular posts I see appearing every December and early January is the traditional ‘My Top 10 Blog Posts Of The Year’ post. It won’t be long before these annual posts drop into your email box and WordPress Reader.
But how do bloggers measure the success of those top 10 posts? What is it that helps make those posts appear in their ‘top 10’ lists?
The more hits, the more successful?
Most bloggers who will publish their ‘Top 10 Blog Posts of 2021’ blog post will base their list on the number of hits each blog post achieved. But that always has me questioning if that is the right way to compile a top 10 list.
A blog post may have thousands of hits, but how many actually read the content? Does not reading a post make it successful? Should the number of hits count towards success when we’ve no idea how many times the post was read?
Does landing on a blog post by mistake make a post more successful when some of those landing there don’t stay and read the content?
Search engines are significant when looking for something in particular on the web. However, how often have I clicked on a link and then moved on quickly after realising the page I’ve landed on is not what I was looking for? I’ll be honest and say that I’ve lost count!
It’s made me question whether that click I made should count towards making the post more successful when I haven’t read the content.
Volume V’s Sales
Let’s have a look at it another way. Take these two identical shops:
Shop ‘A’ gets hundreds of customers a day because of its location or large advertising budget. However, it gets few sales a day.
Shop ‘B” gets a much smaller number of customers because of its location or smaller advertising budget but gets a high sales volume.
Which of the shops is the most successful? A or B?
When should comments count towards success?
If I compiled my ‘Top 10 Posts of 2021’ post based on the number of comments every post got, my top 10 list would look very different from the list I compiled for the number of hits or ‘likes’ a post got.
For example, one of my posts that received the most hits did not get any new comments or ‘likes’ left in the last 12 months. Yet the post that was number 21 on my most hits list got three new comments and six further ‘likes.’ Which one should be considered to have been the most successful in the last 12 months?
Then there are some bloggers (like me) who may not count specific comments. Comments that add value or prove the post was read, count. Whereas lazy comments such as ‘Great Post’ or comments that only included a line of emojis may not count.
When measuring success, should we include all comments or just the ones that add value or prove the post was read?
When is a ‘like’ not a ‘like’?
I’ve never been a fan of the ‘like’ button on blogs since I discovered that some bloggers and readers misuse it. However, I see many bloggers basing the success of posts on the number of times the ‘like’ button has been clicked.
Should clicking ‘like’ without reading a post count towards making a post successful? How many times have you had the same person press the ‘like’ button on lots of your blog posts within seconds of each other?
How many times has somebody clicked the ‘like’ button within seconds of you publishing a post?
Surely Sandra read my 900-word post if she clicked ‘like’ within ten seconds of me publishing it, didn’t she? Otherwise, why would she have clicked the ‘like’ button?
How do we know if somebody who clicks ‘like’ actually read the post?
Unfortunately, unless somebody clicks ‘like’ a reasonable time after publication, and leaves a genuine comment that proves they’ve read the post, we don’t know.
Misuse of the ‘like’ button seems to be quite widespread in the blogging world, with some readers even pressing it to take away the feeling of guilt for not having the time to read and comment on a post. Some click ‘like’ as a sign of support but may not read the post. Should those ‘likes’ count towards the success of a post?
Some see the ‘like’ button as nothing but a free promotional tool for their blog without reading a post. Leave a ‘like’ and, fingers crossed, it will bring in some new visitors.
The only success we should be discussing for these types of ‘likes’ is that the person clicking the ‘like’ button feels the post and blog are successful. All they’re doing is jumping on the success bandwagon of somebody else’s hard work.
If you’re wondering why I still have the ‘like’ button at the bottom of all my posts, allow me to enlighten you. I discovered (and was told by WordPress) that it is connected to the ‘reblog’ button. Remove it, and the ‘reblog’ button also disappears from your blog posts.
That’s something I was not willing to allow.
And removing the ‘like’ button from your blog doesn’t mean it will be removed from posts when they appear on the WordPress Reader. If you’ve removed the ‘like’ button from your blog, are you aware that people can still click on a ‘like’ button when reading your posts on the WP Reader?
How do I measure the success of a blog post?
Simple. If I was motivated or inspired to write and publish a post, then it’s a success. Therefore, you won’t find a ‘Top 10 Blog Posts Of 2021’ post on my blog.
At the end of the day, I guess it’s entirely up to the blogger concerned about how they measure the success of their blog posts. What I do question, though, is should bloggers be publishing results that are not necessarily accurate?
Allow me to run a final thought past you
Suppose a blog post only gets a few hundred hits yet gets over 50 genuine comments and likes. Does it make it more successful than a post with thousands of hits yet very few comments and likes?
What do you think? How would you measure the success of a blog post?
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150 thoughts on “How Do You Measure The Success Of Your Blog Posts?”
That “like” button problem has to be stopped it’s like forever. Nice and very helpful post Hugh
Thank you. I’m glad this and my other blogging tips posts are helpful to so many.
That’s great to hear. I’m delighted when people are inspired after reading my blog posts.
I find the “time on page” stat very useful in figuring out if a post is strong or not. I definitely use a lot of qualitative metrics in ranking my blog posts for sure, and as you pointed out, hits are not the be-all end all of success – it’s if people stick around and are willing to add their own value to them that makes them truly successful. Great discussion!
That’s a great way of measuring success. I defiantly agree that the number of valuable comments (rather than lazy comments that add no value or discussion) is also a great way to measure success. If a post gets people talking and discussing, it’s a success.
I’ve come to believe that if I can get the energy these days to do an original post then I’ve been successful. But as far as the post itself… it’s really up to the reader. Did they enjoy it or get something from it. Of course I may never know if any if that happens and it’s been years since I used likes as a measure. I was planning to do an end of year post about. blogging and directing them here for advice. Very strange I saw your tweet on this subject not half an hour later.—Ronovan
I’ve seen your haiku challenge posts weekly, so I’d say you’re doing a great job.
Your blogging tips posts were among the first ones I saw when I started my blog. They were always very helpful, and you’ve written and published a few on my blog, too, which always go down very well with my readers.
Glad you saw my tweet, but what a coincidence about seeing it shortly after thinking about an end of year post about blogging.
Merry Christmas, Ronovan.
Congratulations, you will be featured on the upcoming Senior Salon Pit Stop post, Monday, Dec 13th, as one of the top three bloggers.
Thank you for your support and participation. Please invite your fellow bloggers to also come and participate, thanks in advance.
That’s excellent news; thank you so much, Esmé.
In the past I have used ‘likes’ and ‘number of views’ to measure the success of my blog posts. But over time, I have realised that it’s better for me to use the latter.
So if I ever do a top 5 or top 10 post for the outgoing year, I will definitely base it on the ones with the most views.
Thank you for joining the discussion, Victor. The problem with basing the success of blog posts on the number of views is that there is no way of knowing how many of those views were genuine in that the post was read or how long the visitor stayed on our blog. A post with fewer views but more genuine comments is, in my opinion, more successful because those comments prove the post was read and readers have engaged with the author. However, I think a better idea given by some of those who have left comments on this post is to base our Top 10 posts on those we believe had the most influence on our audience. But, it’s all down to personal choice, so use the one you feel most comfortable with.
Your post I always read from top to bottom as I always always find something to take away with me and help me to better something along the line. Unfortunately as you rightfully stated, it’s so easy to hit the like button, so for that reason I do not even have a like button on my blog. If someone does read and like it a post enough, and they do not find the like button, they will leave me a comment to tell me what they liked or something to let me know they read my post.
Thank you very much for sharing, visiting, and commenting on posts at the Senior Salon Pit Stop. Pinned to Senior Salon Pit Stop InLinkz Linkup Shares board and tweeted @EsmeSalon #SeniorSalonPitStop
You’re welcome, Esmé.
I found your comment in my WordPress spam folder. Not sure why WordPress marked it as spam, but I thought I’d let you know because there have been problems in the past with all comments by certain bloggers going to spam regardless of where they are left. It may be worth checking that comments you’re leaving on other blogs aren’t also going straight to spam.
Thanks for letting me know Hugh. I will ask other bloggers about it
You always come up with something very interesting to discuss, Hugh.
I mainly check the view count in my stats. I haven’t compared which post is performing better. It makes me happy when I get more views. The count is always more on the days I publish a new post or on the day I interact with other bloggers 🙂.
Thank you. I’m glad you like the discussions I come up with on some of my posts.
I’m not a big fan of counting how many views each post has got because there is no way of me knowing how many of those who visited the post actually stayed and read it. Of course, if they leave a comment that proves they’ve read the contents of the post, then that does help.
Interacting with other bloggers is an excellent way of getting more views and comments.
Yes, that is so true that the number of views or likes is not a reliable source on that matter 😀.
I have no idea how to measure the success of a post. I agree that the only real way is by the number of content-driven comments.
Comments are probably the closest factor we can measure the success of a post on. Especially the comments included details of the contents of the post.
Agreed – otherwise there is no way to know they actually read it! I appreciate people wanting to “support” bloggers with their likes, but I’d rather have relevant comments.
Yes, I agree. Some readers say they don’t have time to leave comments, but I always go and say, ‘one relevant comment every once in a while is worth thousands of ‘likes.’
Why would a person click the “like” button if they didn’t read the post?
Exactly. But they do. Some have told me that it’s a way to support the blogger. I go back and say, ‘…but without reading the post?’ They remain silent.
That’s ridiculous. Simply read the post and like it if you enjoyed it and/or comment on it.
Exactly, but it seems the ‘like’ button is misused in many ways.
A thought-provoking post as usual Hugh.
You could get super sophisticated on this and use Google Analytics to examine all sorts of data like and screen the abandon rate (how long did someone spend on your site befoer they gave up and went in search of something more interesting/relevant).
But I prefer to keep it simple so my answer: it depends on what you are trying to achieve.
If it’s “brand awareness”, in other words, just getting your name out there, then you could use hits as your measure of success since it means xx number of people saw your blog name
If it’s “brand engagement” you’re going after, then the number of comments would be a better guage since that indicates people did interact with your content.
Great answers, Karen. Although I will question how many of those ‘hits’ do remember the name of a blog, especially if they don’t stay long, read any of the content, and never intend to come back. It may be my age, but it took me some time to remember the name of just a few of the blogs I follow. However, I guess if your blog has oner-million hits, and just a tiny percentage buy your book or subscribe, then that’s a big number.
Great advice Hugh, thank you for writing this. As for me my successful blog was my Mens Fashion blog, I have over 300 views since it took off last year May! 🙌
That’s great, Mthobisi. Well done on those views, but I hope some of those were accompanied by some comments. That’s the only way we know for sure that those landing at our blog have read some of the content.
To me, a successful post gets decent views and a good conversation, with comments that indicate that people found the post interesting. I’ve always seen comments as the most important indicator for success because I’ve mostly blogged for the social aspect of it, and if people take the time to leave comments it usually shows the post interested them. Comments like “great post!” don’t count for me either. But what exactly is “adding value” in a comment? To me, it’s any comment that shows the person read the post and enjoyed it, and we can have a good conversation around it. I don’t mind chit-chat, because usually, the chit-chat starts around the blog post. But I also think it depends on the niche – I have a whiskey blog too and it doesn’t get many comments but instead, the conversation happens on Twitter because that’s where whiskey folks hang out. I also sometimes get e-mails about different things about the blog or its content, and I’m often surprised that so many people find it, read it, and enjoy it. This, along with my pageviews and stats, shows that the blog is found when people search for something regarding a whiskey I’ve written about, so that’s an indicator for success for that particular blog.
Thank you for adding your voice and joining the conversation on this post, Susanne.
I agree with what you say about good quality comments that prove the post has been read. Those are the best comments any blogger can get. After all, if the post’s contents have interested a reader, they’re likely to want to leave a comment. Even better if the post has inspired them to leave a comment. Some readers complain that they don’t have the time to leave comments, but I think that’s a time-management issue. I believe it is far better to leave one valuable comment a week than lots of ‘dead-end’ comments that don’t prove the post has been read.
Chit-chat to me are discussions that have nothing to do with the contents of the post they’ve been left on. Those types of conversations are better off being taken off-line or done on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. They don’t belong on blogs unless the blog itself is a general chit-chat blog – e.g. bloggers who tell the world everything about their lives.
It’s excellent being contacted by a reader by email who tells you how much they’ve enjoyed reading your post. I generally believe that those sending those emails have read the post but didn’t want to leave a comment.
I don’t look into page stats so much, as there is no way of me knowing that all those hits were from people who read my blog unless they left a comment. Like ‘likes’, I’m afraid I’m somewhat sceptical about hits. If they’ve left comments, it’s a success, but if they just landed, realise it’s not what they’re looking for and leave within a few seconds, I don’t class them as successful as I don’t know how many of them actually read my blog.
When it comes to page stats, I mainly look at where visitors come from. The number of visitors is quite irrelevant, but I’m interested in seeing whether they came to my blog from search engines, other blogs, or something else (social media for example). I’ve been surprised to see how many people come to my whiskey blog from search engines, since I don’t put much work into SEO, only the basic things.
My experience is that people who are not bloggers themselves do not (usually) leave comments. And if someone says they don’t have the time – then what I hear is they don’t have enough interest in having a conversation.
I don’t like “like” buttons at all and think they should be eliminated. To me, “like” buttons make people lazy – I want to have a conversation instead of people just clicking a button. There is a “like” button option in my blog theme but I have disabled it because I’ believe it could make people click that instead of leaving a comment, and the number of likes doesn’t really matter to me.
By far, my biggest refers to my blog are the WordPress Reader, search engines, and Twitter.
I wrote another blog post about the ‘like’ button and why I thought it should be removed from social media platforms and blogs. Unfortunately, when I removed it from my blog, it also disabled the ‘Reblg’ button. After discussing the issue with WordPress, they informed me that if I removed the ‘like’ button, my blog also lost the ‘reblog’ button. As I get a lot of reblogs, I wasn’t prepared for that to happen; hence I put it back on my blog. However, I completely agree that the ‘like’ button should be eliminated from the web.
Hi Hugh, I’ve just been polishing off my ‘top’ post in anticipation of the Christmas break (though I focused on quality rather than quantity by limiting this to three).
My approach to picking favourites hasn’t been based on pages views or likes. In 2021 I’ve become jaded with the likes I’ve received because I’m finding they don’t correspond with page views – one of my most liked posts has more people clicking that button than clicking on to read the words!
With page views I often find my most popular search engine posts are often the ones that take less time to write, and I would as such never consider them a top post. My most popular post was a ‘response’ puff piece that I wrote in my lunch break and far exceeds the views received to my top ten, ‘home’ and ‘about me’ page combined! (This has always been galling when the stuff you spend weeks over crafting barely gets any attention).
In choosing my list I’ve based it on two criteria:
1) Personal preference – although subject to bias I have personal favourite posts that I feel are high quality to keep sharing and draw more attention to things I want to see.
2) Any posts that receive high quality comments, particularly ones where I can see how my work has had an impact on the reader.
Because I receive so many great comments, it’s been hard to filter down to a top 3, and therefore my personal preference has been the deciding factor of what to share!
In terms of success you can see 1) is more about personal achievement 2) is more around the wider ‘social impact’ it has to make an impression on my readers.
Thanks for the great post and your continued inspiration to the blogging community.
Hi James, the whole ‘like’ button issue is rather a bit of a fiasco. It’s such a shame, but I think more people misuse that button than those who use it for the right reasons. I wrote a post about it a few years ago and was astounded to be told in the post’s comments section that people pressed ‘like’ just to support a blogger, yet they didn’t read the post. That was a whole ‘head-scratcher for me.
The same goes for the bloggers who press the ‘like’ button on lots of my posts within seconds of each other and those who do the same with pressing ‘like’ on lots of my comments. I have at least two regular bloggers who press ‘like’ against all the comments I leave in response to others on my posts. If I left a reply announcing that I was a mass murderer, I’m sure they’d press ‘like’ on that comment too.
I like that you are basing your Top 3 posts on ‘favourites rather than how many likes or views a post has had. From the comments left here, quite a few bloggers are taking that approach, which makes sense to me. I also like your approach to basing them on high-quality comments.
Thanks so much for adding your voice here.
I’ve used like to support the blogger but only when I’ve read the post. As I’ve been longer in the blog game I’ve come to realise how useless it is. I never visit someone else’s blog based on being left a like because of this.
As a result I am being more selective how I apply my own likes!
Maybe people are doing this with good intent but spamming the like button across postswithin seconds just comes across as fake and desperate attempt to get your attention.
Your welcome Hugh!
Yes, I agree entirely with what you’ve said, James.