Saturday, January 14, 2006

How to evaluate your blog

How to evaluate your blog is a big mystery.

Try doing an internet search on "blog evaluation", "judging a blog", and similar phrases. If your experience is like mine, you'll get just about nothing worthwhile from the search results.

Even such phrases as "effective blogging" provide little in my searches. I just got back from a visit to Debbie Weil's Blog Write for CEOs article on effective blogging. She focused on 7 aspects of the writing of a blog, starting with "write about something you're passionate about". Good article for beginners and clueless business protons. She explains things in a way that even managers can understand.

But let's roll up our sleeves now, and really get to work on this.

What I will say here will strike many as bizarre, and definitely unconventional. I can't help it. This is how I think, and I think my thinking can benefit everyone, from teenagers with personal blogs to CEOs with professional blogs.

The only true measurements of a blog's value to a specific reader, audience, customer, client, colleague, family, friend, or market will revolve around knowing what they need and providing it.

Do you know what your blog readers want?

Are you providing it?

Then you've got a good blog, an effective blog.

Now, I must qualify, and say as long as that blog is also passionate, well-written, easy to read, full of relevant content, authentically the real you (and not a ghost-writer), honest, candid, enabling readers to post comments, and all the other Core Values and Deeper Principles of New Super Blogging.

"What the hell is he talking about?" some may think. "I'm not investing any time or money in a blog for my organization -- if the only budgetary justification for it is a vague, subjective feeling that I'm probably meeting people's needs."

Why is my simple statement so controversial, contrarian, verging on anarchy? Because this is the one thing businesses need to pay more attention to. And because many blog consultants think they can justify their services by pointing to other benchmarks for blog success.

What criteria are more popular than my humble, simple little: "meet their needs"?

False Evaluation of a Blog

An untrue, or unrealistic, evaluation of a blog occurs when it is judged according to:

1. Increased traffic to commercial site

2. Increased sales at commercial site, attributable to the blog

3. Large number of comments on blog posts

4. Large number of search engine references to the blog

5. Large number of links to the blog

6. Large number of textual citations of the blog

7. Large number of visitors to the blog

These seven (7) criteria are not relevant to the actual, intrinsic, inherent worth of a blog. Now, I must state that these may be worthy goals for a blog, but they are not useful for evaluating a blog.

My back is killing me, so I can't go into the depth I want here, nor will I stupidly hire a "ghost blogger", nor will I dictate my text to my wife, because it's Friday, and she works at a computer all day.

I'll post more on this later. I'll go into details about why each false criterion is invalid.

Just take this thought with you for now: Your blog, personal or business or military, is worth the time and trouble if you are providing benefit to potential or actual readers.

"Now he's saying you can benefit merely potential readers", someone might proclaim ironically. "What madness is this?"

You'll see...later. Stay tuned. I'm going to develop this with some complexity and a higher degree of completeness than you'll find elsewhere, I imagine.

[signed] Steven Edward Streight aka (also known as) Vaspers the Grate


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