How Do You Judge A Blog Post’s Success?

For Lorelle VanFossen’s blog challenge, at one time, she asked: How do you judge a blog post as a success?

The question is a good one, and her community has offered a combination of different answers, citing metrics like traffic spikes, an increased number of blog subscribers, a number of quality comments, links coming into the entry, etc. They’re all valuable metrics to consider, but is that really how you determine whether you’ve succeeded? By if your traffic goes up? I hope not.

What Makes a Blog Post Successful?

I was asked in an interview how many unique visitors we get to the Bruce Clay blog each week. To be honest, I didn’t have the slightest idea. I had to trot myself down over to IT and bug them to find out. It doesn’t change anything since I know I don’t feel any better or worse about myself. I’m still going to write about optimization, branding, and sometimes puppies and how much I hate Susan. In fact, I told my kitties how much traffic the blog gets, and I’m pretty sure they feel the same level of indifference towards me as they did yesterday. (Swat did mention, however, that she’s jealous that younger Jack Jack gets all the blog attention.)

For me, numbers have nothing to do with declaring a blog post successful or not. A blog post is successful when it evokes a response.

If a reader heard and understood the message I was trying to get out and felt something, then I have done Bruce proud and earned my cookie for the day. It has nothing to do with how many new Newsletter or YouTube subscribers we have or if we got 20 comments compared to our normal zero. At the end of the day, I just want to know you heard me and that you felt something. You don’t even have to agree with me; Susan rarely does.

If you’re a site owner with a corporate blog, I hope it’s the response and the connection you’re looking for, too, not the numbers. You want to be writing posts that people will respond to. That should be your goal. That’s how you build your brand.

You can argue that comments and new subscribers and traffic and all that good stuff are signs that you have evoked a response, and there’s truth to that. Those are all signals that you’re doing something, but that shouldn’t be your goal. The purpose of your blog should not be to become famous.

It’s possible you’re now looking at me like I’m crazy (stop it), saying if evoking a response leads to all those good metrics, then what does it matter which one you focus on?

Well, there’s actually a huge difference. If all you want is for your blog to be famous, then you’re likely to do anything to achieve that and collect the high traffic. To hell with your company’s reputation, the integrity of your blog, or acknowledging the intelligence of your audience; you’re just trying to bait users into visiting. It’s the difference between creating link-worthy content and linkbait-able content.

The problem with a lot of the blogs out there is that their sole goal is to become famous. They want to satisfy their own ego or reach a certain number of unique visitors so they can sell more ad space; they don’t care about their readers. The trick to writing a successful blog is to make the blog about your audience, not about yourself. Write for them. Make them think, make them laugh, make them angry. That’s what makes a blog or a blog post successful.

Interested in learning more about how to judge your blog post’s success and make sure that your blog works for you? Talk to us.

FAQ: How can I determine the success of my blog post beyond just looking at numbers?

Understanding the success of your blog post goes beyond mere numbers. Though page views, shares, and likes are valuable indicators of blog post performance, they do not accurately account for its effectiveness. Here is some advice from a content marketing and SEO specialist for measuring blog post success accurately.

  1. Content Engagement:

Beyond raw numbers, it’s essential to delve into how your audience engages with your content. Look at metrics like time on the page, scroll depth, and the number of comments. Engagement levels increase when your content strikes a chord with readers and keeps them interested. A successful post can be determined by how many comments and discussions arise from its publication.

  1. Quality over Quantity:

While high traffic numbers are enticing, it’s crucial to focus on the quality of your audience. Are your visitors staying on your site and exploring more content? Are they returning for future articles? Success isn’t just about reaching a large audience; it’s about creating a loyal readership.

  1. Conversion Rate:

An often overlooked metric is the conversion rate. Are your blog posts leading readers to take desired actions, such as signing up for a newsletter, purchasing, or filling out a contact form? Measuring the conversion rate helps determine if your content drives the intended results.

  1. Social Proof and Backlinks:

An expertly crafted blog post will generate social proof, evident in the form of social media shares and backlinks from other authoritative websites. This reflects your content’s influence and trustworthiness in your niche, factors often more valuable than raw numbers.

  1. Brand Reputation and Authority:

Success can also be assessed by the growth of your brand’s reputation and authority in your industry. Have you become a go-to source of information? Are you seen as an industry expert? Tracking mentions of your brand and your content’s influence on your reputation is critical.

  1. Evergreen Content:

A successful blog post will stand the test of time. Creating evergreen content that remains relevant and continues to attract an audience over months and even years is a testament to your content’s success.

  1. User Intent:

Understanding user intent is crucial. Are your blog posts aligning with what your audience is looking for? Tailoring your content to address your readers’ specific needs, questions, and concerns can result in increased success.

  1. Experimentation and Feedback:

Continuously testing different content formats, headlines, and strategies allows you to refine your approach. Seeking feedback from your audience and implementing changes accordingly are signs of an expert content creator.

Step-by-Step Guide to Determining Blog Post Success Beyond Numbers:

  1. Start by analyzing your content engagement metrics, including time on page and scroll depth.
  2. Assess the quality of your audience and their loyalty to your brand.
  3. Measure the conversion rate to see if your content is driving desired actions.
  4. Track social proof and backlinks as indicators of your content’s influence.
  5. Monitor your brand’s reputation and authority in your industry.
  6. Create evergreen content that stands the test of time.
  7. Align your content with user intent to meet your audience’s needs.
  8. Continuously experiment with content formats and strategies, seeking feedback for improvement.

This article was updated on December 5, 2023. 

Lisa Barone is a writer, content marketer & VP of strategy at Overit Media. She's also a very active Twitterer, much to the dismay of the rest of the world.

See Lisa's author page for links to connect on social media.

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3 Replies to “How Do You Judge A Blog Post’s Success?”

Interesting discussion. There can be so many different ways to measure the success of a blog post. Some might be successful because they pick up search traffic. Another because it gathers links. And another because it builds your subscriber base.

One success that might not seem as obvious right away is a post that gets people to click to your services page. I’d consider any post that generates a discussion around it a success, whether that discussion is in the comments to the post or on another blog or forum.

And sometimes a successful post is simply the one I was able to express what I wanted to say regardless of who reads it.

If you have access to site stats, info about returning visitors would be one clue to some measure of blogging success. I read this blog several times a week. I visit blogs that have absolutely no comments for any posts for the life of the blog. Obviously, there is no returning audience for those commentators.

Good points. Also important is the fact that a post that is important but controversial and about a not very popular topic that people like to discuss in the open does not get very much (if any) comments or links from other blogs.

I get more personal responses or emails regarding posts that have virtually no comments and is not linked to by any other blogger. I sometimes thought that nobody read it (because I posted it on a weekend etc.)

The fact that people mentioned those posts to me much later when we talk in person tells me that the post had a lot more impact than a post with a lot of (more or less good and relevant) comments.


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