Measuring your effectiveness or converting viewers to readers

Earlier today I was asked what I use measure my effectiveness online.

@franksting so (being careful NOT to use said hashtag…) … what monitoring/measuring tools do you use, and why? 🙂Tue Aug 31 00:46:03 via TweetDeck

While I initially dismissed the questions as applying to me I realised that despite my amateur status it something I do without even considering it.

Examples include checking how many times my tweets are being retweeted and by who. Despite my reservation of the “new” retweet method I find it’s something useful to check once in a while.

I spend a bit of time twittering, too much actually, but it’s right here actually where I leave my mark. Twitter is real time after all.

Because we don’t write to read our own articles I want to know if any one is reading. While the lovely graphs which WordPress give me tell me one stat: visits, it doesn’t actually show me if people are reading. If you write the actual readership is the only measurement which matters.

In the daytime I need to measure many things but I have two key metrics: Revenue and Customer Satisfaction. Revenue is reasonably straightforward but customer satisfaction can be made up by a number of things. This might include Support Calls and cancellation rates.

If I substitute readers for revenue and customer satisfaction with returning regulars who share and comment on my articles then I might have a real metric to work with. But how do I measure this? Time to find out.

In general I’ve focused on a number of channels to get increased readership but I’m going to use September to work on some more. Even though it is still August today I started focusing on one simple method. Commenting on others posts preferably including a link back to here. I hear that works. Lets see what I find out.

Still that will probably just drive views and I’m at a loss on how to guarantee a high level of conversion to active readers.

I believe the challenge is to continue to write engaging content which people want to read. Driving views is all very well if you aren’t delivering quality regularly. As a starting point I propose to take the advice of Bill Bennett on that one from his blog post on writing styles.

One way you can sabotage your communication is by laying traps for readers. They stop a reader’s flow as their eye scans over text.

His is an excellent blog on the topic and heartily recommended.

The way I’m going to use to measure readership is to ask you to comment below if you’ve at least read this far. (Thanks to Frances Jones for the tip in the comments!)

6 thoughts on “Measuring your effectiveness or converting viewers to readers

  1. If, towards the end of this article, you’d asked people reading it to write a brief comment, even just to leave their name, you might get some idea.

  2. Pingback: How much do you really know about your site visitors? | Darryl King’s blog ireckon

  3. And… comment left. A day after initially reading the post – something to consider in itself..

    Here’s a couple of thoughts to throw on top of the issue of readership.

    1: Even if you could accurately ascertain the ‘read’ component, how does that measure up to the ‘understood’ component? One quip I’ve come to detest is ‘it’s just semantics’ – No, no, and no again. When it comes to any kind of communication, written, verbal or other – it’s ALL semantics; and we’re not particularly good at it.

    2: Bill’s post is interesting. While avoiding ‘traps’ for your readers might help in maintaining a certain continuity, one of the things I find most appealing about any kind of online content is it’s ability to offer context via links – which (although not mentioned) surely fall into the ‘trap’ category, more so given that they often direct a reader away from your own content. And besides. He uses Sidewiki. Eww. (Ok Google, I didn’t mean that – I love Sidewiki.)

    3: Both points 1 & 2 above become (usually) entirely redundant if what you’re communicating is only a hook for brand/product awareness, ie. corporate blogs etc. In which case, you can probably ignore me – “Me no speaka bizness.”

    Here’s an idea; could you break down the likely depth of readership by tracking particular links within the article?

    I mean, if you have a reader who checks every link, you’re more than likely doing OK in keeping their interest – enough for them to have come back to you and click the links anyway.
    If a reader clicks through via a link early in the piece, but not one toward the end – you’ve more than likely lost them, perhaps because they didn’t like your article, the info you linked to was more interesting and/or provided it’s own merry rabbit hole to wander down.
    To be completely fair though, there are any number of reasons why readers don’t/won’t/can’t read through a full piece. (“Ohai Boss!”)

    At the end of the day, measurability of reader attention can’t be realistically measured by numbers. There is some solace perhaps keeping track of online engagement related to the post though.
    Someone asks you about your Blog post or the topic thereof via Twitter? – Awesome, you know they read it.
    A trackback to your post from someone else’s Blog? Consider yourself read. If you want to then establish if they GOT you? You then have to go read the stuff of theirs that references the stuff of yours and find out how it relates.

  4. Read +1. I like visits, but comments are where it is at. I find the more comments I leave on other similar topic blogs (your blog is not on a similar topic to mine though) the more comments I get on my own blog. It’s a I scratch your back, you scratch mine word.

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