How to *really* know your blog is successful (or not)

Hey! How’ya doin’!
There are many ways to define your blog’s success; Hits, Links, Trackbacks, Comments, PageRank, Subscribers, etc.

These are all good indicators of activity. Your blog is busy. You’re getting a lot of pageviews. People are hitting and reading and crawling the pages and posts of your blog. All is good, according to the numbers.

But those are only numbers, not people with goals and needs — your visitors and their reason for visiting your blog. How do you measure up in the Visitor Experience metric? I bet you won’t find that one in many web analysis textbooks.

Did you find what you’re looking for?
Good question! Because short of receiving email or comment posts telling you about a problem or concern, you have no idea if the 30 unique visitors to your blog today managed to achieve their goal for visiting! You just know that they visited.

Current web analytics platforms like StatCounter, Google Analytics, Microsoft AdCentre Analytics, or even the cool new live analytics application Woopra (more on that in another post), can’t really tell you if any visitor actually read and learned something from your latest post. They can only tell you what that visitor did while they were on your blog. Period.

Ask the question.
Google’s Analytics Evangelist Avinash Kaushik recently launched a free, cool little web application (4Q) that will allow you better understand your visitor behaviour by presenting them with a friendly and polite ‘exit survey’ when they leave your blog.

The way it works.

4Q employs a two-stage invitation process. When visitors arrive at your site, they will be presented an invitation to participate in a survey after their session. If they accept, a second, minimized window, which contains the survey itself, will be launched and will wait in the background for the visitor to complete his or her session. 4Q surveys are designed to be collaborative brand building exercises, not annoying browsing interruptions.

(from the FAQ)

What’s in it for me?
Knowledge. Direct feedback. 4Q survey results enable you to know that the sampled visitors said they’re happy, or unhappy. You know that they’ve said they’ve achieved their task or goal. And you’ve asked them for specific feedback so you can improve. All benefits for anyone who cares about improving the visitor’s experience.

So, to really know if your visitor was satisfied, you need to ask them. Nicely, politely, but ask them. It shows you care about your visitor’s experience.

Now you know, and you’re much better off that simply guessing based on the numbers. Oh happy day!

*** Update ***
Apologies for the images not showing up. Bad formatting for Brad.

As well: as I noticed when replying to Margaret in the SocialMediaToday version:

…Also, one thing I neglected to mention in the post, the survey doesn’t
appear for every visitor. You can scale the sample rate in the
application. The default sample rate is 10% of the unique visitors, so
one in ten will be asked to participate…

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