So you have been reading over the past few tips I’ve been talking about and you’ve even implemented some of them. Now it is time for you to track whether or not they are working for you.  You might be wondering which tracking program is best for your blog.  Well that is exactly what we are going to be tackling in this post.

What tracking program should I use?

The easiest and cheapest program to use is Google Analytics. I have not found a better comprehensive tracking program out there that compares with it, and best of all it is FREE. If you don’t know much about tracking and/or you are a beginner in this dimension I highly recommend Google Analytics and I recommend reading Aaron’s on Google Analytics How-To as well.

How do I measure my success?

Depending how you have your blog set up, there are a few different ways to measure the success of your blog.

  • How much money you make via your ads
    • If you are running either affiliate ads or Google Adsense, seeing clicks and sales is a good indication as to how well you are doing. Watch the number go up and down from the different things you are doing to your blog to find out what is and what isn’t working.
  • How much traffic your blog received
    • This should be a top indicator as far as how well your blog is doing. Monitor large increases as well as large drops. Utilize the Google annotations after you make a big change to your blog so you can almost exactly pinpoint what caused the increase/decrease.
  • How many ReTweets/Diggs/Stumbles/Facebook etc.
    • Measuring how well you are doing in the social world is a very good indicator of your blog’s success. The best way to be known on the Internet these days is through these social sites. Don’t get distraught, however, when you don’t see huge numbers right away. Keep building that awesome content and watch these numbers go up. This is also a great way to find out what is working and what isn’t. If your post on the BP Oil spill only brought in 200 visitors but your post on the next Twilight movie brought in 2000 visitors you can better pinpoint the demographic that is coming to your blog and you can build on it.
  • How many comments you received on your post
    • Some of you might say… how is this an indicator as to how well my blog is doing? Well the more comments you have the more popular your blog is. You could probably estimate that for every 1000 visitors you get you MAY get one comment. This of course is an estimate. If you have a hot topic you might estimate that 90% of the people reading will post a comment or more. But seeing your posts get more and more comments is a good way of gauging your communities’ involvement in your blog. The more comments the better, just remember to read the comments and moderate them. There are a lot of spammers out there.
  • How many leads you received
    • If you run some kind of lead generation site/blog, you can measure how many leads you got over the following month/year. Find out what posts/pages have generated the most leads and make your adjustments to improve future pages/posts.

Don’t forget to set up goals for yourself as well. With Google Analytics it is very easy to set up a goal. Goals are great when running a site that requires some sort of action to be taken. You can measure exactly where you lose a visitor as well what their exact path was when they took the action.

What should I track when measuring my success?

Umm… measure everything you can… there is really no limit to what you should track. Track anything and everything you possibly can. Being able to track multiple things on your blog will help narrow down what works and what does not work. It will also tell you that, hey, maybe this post brought in tons of social traffic but it didn’t do too well at making me any money, but this post yield a lot of money for me but I didn’t see nearly the amount of traffic as I did on this other post. So you will be able to sit back and decide what matters to your blog the most.

How often should I check my traffic?

This all depends on you, at a minimum I’d check once a month. I like to check once a week unless I am launching a new site or trying something new on my blog then I check almost daily… sometimes multiple times a day. Keep spread sheets going to help you monitor your month to month improvements/decreases. Also remember depending on what your blog is about you might have to look at it from a Year to Year over a Month to Month due to seasonality. If your blog is about camping it is a pretty safe assumption that during the fall/winter months your traffic might be lower than say in the spring/summer months when people are going camping.

Well I hope some of this helped and like always I’d love to hear how some of you measure your success when it comes to your blogs. I’d also love to find out what other tracking programs are out there and if you think they are better than Google Analytics. I’m always willing to try new things so throw some my way. Keep a look out for the next installment when I go back and do a overview of everything we have talked about with the running a successful blog.