Once in awhile, I like to talk about how numbers aren’t what they seem. In a world where people randomly throw numbers at us as proof that their products must be the best, I like to debunk that notion. With that in-mind, I’d like to comment on my blog’s numbers. Yesterday, my blog hit its “best ever” number of views.
This, of course, is my opportunity to do what other businesses do – to shout from the rooftops how popular my blog is, so well-loved, getting better all the time, etc… Unfortunately for me, I can’t be quite that upbeat about it. I’m too practical, for one, and understand that the numbers are seldom that clear, for another.
Let me pick apart the problems with the “I’ve proved I’m great” approach to bragging about the bigger numbers:
- Without knowing the goal of something and how the numbers translate to those goals, it’s hard to know whether the numbers prove that it is moving further toward its goal. For example, my goal for this blog is to get more leads for business. If I make a post that drives high numbers of people to read but of people who aren’t potential customers, then those high numbers aren’t impressive. Most of us now know that we can artificially drive up our readership numbers by writing posts about mud-wrestling, poisonous, vampire toads but that that doesn’t bring in the readers that we really want. Making those types of posts and claiming that those high readership numbers proves anything about my blog or my business is silly, but I still see people make claims like that.
- It doesn’t hurt to make occasional posts that aren’t specific to your desired readership – just don’t include those in your statistics. Back to point (1), It night be fine to occasionally post something that’s fun or off-topic, but if it’s a big hit in the readership numbers, it would be a good idea to exclude that post from your statistics. We all know how to exclude “outliers” from our LIMS and ELN data. Let’s apply that practice when we review anything relating to marketing, as well, such as our blog posts.
- Be careful to include external factors, whenever possible. As it happens, in another place in the electronic world, I just happen to know that, yesterday, I mentioned my blog with relation to something truly related to its goal. I also just happen to know that, on the whole, it’s something that people are interested in reading about. While I was moderately surprised to find that it drove my blog to its day of highest viewership, am not surprised that there was a large jump, overall. I also happen to know that a good number of those people who jumped to read aren’t necessarily potential customers, but that a good number possibly are. So, overall, not a bad day for driving business leads. I happen to know this based on what I said and where I said it
Now that I’ve said all this, I suppose it’s too late to claim that the high number means that practically everyone in the industry must be now reading my blog, that it’s the de facto standard for our industry reading, and that my phone and e-mail will now be so busy that I will need to start consuming nothing but Power bars to keep up with it. Still, it’s not too shabby, either. 🙂