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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Published by Brad Grier geek.hack