Blog Grade is Not Just One Thing

During my conversation with Jeremiah Owyang at the bloggers dinner last Thursday, he gave me some great insights. When we first met, I mentioned my Technorati score and how I gained the Authority I have in relatively short period of time, he responded back, it doesn’t really matter. I thought I had a major achievement, but he took the wind out of my sales. To help me get past this stumbling block he gave me some valuable advice, the success of your blog is not just measured using a single metric or tool.

Lauryn Hill mentions ‘That Thing’ in her song – gratuitous music video inserted, roughly associated with the point of the blog post, because the song came to mind as I was writing the post.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0_NwbCJvpI]
YouTube – Lauryn Hill Doo Wop (That Thing)

It is not just ‘That Thing’ or any of the following individual metrics:

It is how you are doing on a combination of the above tools or other stat counters. The reason you want a combination of the above tools, is that some of the above systems can be gamed:

Technorati can be gamed by creating a high profile post that everyone links to, commonly called link bait. A blogger will post such an outrageous point of view, that everyone links to the post for purposes of debate. Another way to game Technorati is to associate yourself to a meme, and using link trades to artificially boost your authority. Another method is to set each post of your blog as an individual blog (can only be done on certain systems) and then interlink your own posts.

I think that Alexa is a pretty good tool, but my understanding is that Alexa only counts browser hits that have the Alexa toolbar installed. Consider the following scenario. Two Blogs – blog one has 250 unique visitors a day, blog two has 1,000 visitors a day. Now of the 250 visitors from blog one, let’s say that 200 have the Alexa toolbar installed. Of the 1,000 visitors for blog two, only 150 visitors have the Alexa toolbar installed. My understanding of my scenario is that blog one will actually have a higher Alexa rating than blog two. This does not seem like an accurate form of measurement to me.

Those are just a couple of examples of how the tools can be gamed.

Instead of evaluating your blog using a single tool, you should evaluate your system using a combination of the tools, to get an idea of the overall effectiveness of your blog. While evaluating this snapshot you will also need to compare this information to the goals of your blog to ensure that you are meeting the goals you set for yourself, if any. Another metric you might want to look at is growth over time, or comments. At the end of the day you will be the one who determines the success of your blog.

I was recently introduced to Website Grader, by Opal: Vegan Momma. Website Grader is a tool that evaluates multiple website metrics to come up with a score out of 100% about the marketing effectiveness of a blog. Now this isn’t a perfect identifier either, because it only determines the marketing effectiveness of your blog. At this point I don’t have 3 months blogging under my belt, so I don’t even have a Google Page Rank rating, yet.

So you will need to set goals, and then determine which tools you are going to use to measure your levels of success. I am definitely interested to hear your blogging goals, and what other tools or systems you use to measure the success of your blog.

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16 Responses to “Blog Grade is Not Just One Thing”

  1. Jeremiah Owyang Says:

    You’ll also learn there is no such thing as “A-listers” that work across every community.

    For example, A-listers (according to Technorati) may have little authority or influence to niche groups.

    Many A-listers say bombastic and controversial crap “this is dead, and that is dead” to link bait.

    To me, a good sign of authority would be to look at who’s reading who, and see if they’re being shared on google reader. I’d also look at some blogrolls for patterns.

    In the end, we can never truly measure authority of blogs until we can measure humans in the same way –it’s possible to try, but it will never be perfect.

  2. Opal: Vegan Momma Says:

    Excellent post Thomas this one will be in my weekly recap. I had no clue about Page Rankings until May same thing with Alexa I had no idea what it was.

    You’re correct Alexa is based on people who actually have the toolbar that visit your website I doubt that a lot of people know about Alexa.

    My definition for success on Vegan Momma is creating a positive online environment where people can virtually stop by and interact not only with myself but the other fabulous readers.

    I really don’t care about my PR, technorati, and Alexa Ranking anymore. I did for about a month, lol. I haven’t looked at it in a while. My main concern is what I put on my websites and interacting with others.

    I’ve virtually met several new people over the past few months since I started taking my blog seriously, and they have inspired me which is apparent, maybe not to them, with some of the posts I write and the continued desire to do better. Oh by the way you’re one of those people.

    To me, a good sign of authority would be to look at who’s reading who, and see if they’re being shared on google reader. I’d also look at some blogrolls for patterns.

    How do you see who’s shared on Google reader? I’m still a newbie with RSS Feed.

    What type of blogging patterns? I’m curious. :-)

  3. Opal: Vegan Momma Says:

    I love Lauryn and I love this song. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thomas Says:

    Jeremiah – Blogrolls and readers are another great way to measure overall effectiveness of a blog. A single link is a blip for a single post, but a link in the blogroll is a better demonstration of quality content over time.

    Is there a method to measure articles being shared on Google reader?

    Opal – For blogroll patterns, I think Jeremiah is referring to which blogs have links on their blogroll. Are blogs that are established or have authority in their niche linking to you?

    I am concerned about my PR numbers in the fact that I am trying to build community and gain name recognition, not for the sake of fame, but to help me as a Technical Evangelist. Gaining interactive members of my community like you and Jeremiah are definite contributors to my success.

  5. Opal: The Raw & The Cooked Says:

    Ok I see what you mean. I would say yes.

    After I started taking my personal websites seriously I started receiving links from others on a weekly basis. I average about four new website links per week.

    I think you can game the system with Google PR also. I’ve seen sites that were obviously spam sites with no original content rank higher than websites that wrote everything themselves.

  6. Thomas Says:

    Opal – I agree with you about gaming Google PR. It appears there is a method for gaming almost any of these systems.

    The best thing is to just focus on your goals, and use the tools to help you measure your success, just don’t use them as the final metric.

  7. Opal: The Raw & The Cooked Says:

    That’s a good point and I don’t I have seen some people that do this, and they will not link to others if they have a low PR. I think that is silly since.

    About a month ago I moved my blogroll to another page although I did that to eliminate some of the clutter I’m moving my favorites back to the main page. The PR is four (down from a five) and should go up with this next update. I want to recognize the people I visit often.

    I wrote about copying content earlier today, and a reader mentioned that Google can lower your rank because of that. I heard about this before, but I completely forgot about it until he mentioned it.

    That along with my name change might explain why my OR went from a five to a four but I don’t get too wrapped up in the PR although I should especially with the duplicate content.

  8. Opal: Vegan Momma Says:

    Whoops, I put the wrong info above sorry about that, lol.

  9. Thomas Says:

    Opal – Being a content developer I am all about sharing knowledge. I will happily link to anyone that links to me with pertinent content.

    I don’t copy content, but I will use quotes from other blogs to initiate or further a discussion. I did not realize that Google would lower your rank because of copied content either – if that is true, how is it that so many Splogs rate higher than the original posts?

  10. Opal: Vegan Momma Says:

    From what I’ve been reading their site can count them higher and view your website as copycat. I don’t know how common that is, but I know a few people that have run into that problem.

    I imagine it’s also based on the traffic and maybe paid links from a high ranking directory which causes them to rank higher. I’m pretty sure there are other things that factor in this also. I know Google has been trying to crack down on spam that is on the internet.

    I can see why so many web owners are upset about splogs. A commenter on my blog said that he had a few websites that were eliminated because of splogging. I’ve heard that story before.

    I don’t have a problem linking to an individual or someone linking to me. It’s a great way to meet new people, but someone taking my work and pretending they wrote it yes I have serious problems with that.

    When I’ve seen it happen on my website I’ll email the splogger and ask them to remove the content from their website if that does not work I’ll follow up with Google. Lorelle/Wordpress has a fabulous series called What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content. I linked to it in my post, Help, Someone’s Stolen My Web Content.

  11. Thomas Says:

    Opal – I can see how it would be upsetting for someone to be copying your content, trying to take credit of it and have them rank higher than you. At least Google has a system of checks and balances to help you resolve your issue.

    I will have to check out the article by Lorelle, I don’t know how I missed that.

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  13. Finding My Voice | The Mac Diva Says:

    [...] I haven’t been actively submitting my website to directories however that will change over the next few weeks. My Alexa ranking went from not ranking to dropping down to 696,480.  I’m not paying too much attention.  Thomas – Technical Blogger has written a good review on why this isn’t the only thing we should focus on read his post Blog Grade Is Not Just One Thing. [...]

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    [...] I haven’t been actively submitting my website to directories however that will change over the next few weeks. My Alexa ranking went from not ranking to dropping down to 696,480. I’m not paying too much attention. Thomas – Technical Blogger has written a good review on why this isn’t the only thing we should focus on read his post Blog Grade Is Not Just One Thing. [...]


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