Question: Are there tools available to track my blog metrics to help me see how many people are reading my legal blog? Are there standards to judge its success?
Lindsay Griffiths: What will be most important to you in gauging your blog’s level of success is how engaged your audience is, and this is a difficult thing to measure.
In terms of measurement, either your blog host should be able to provide you with tracking statistics, or you can use Google Analytics. It is an excellent tool to give you a look at the data that you need to see how people are interacting with your content. The number of clicks that you get on any post is a measure of your “reach” — basically, how many eyeballs are seeing your posts. You can look at the “time spent” on your blog, but that can be misleading. We’ve all navigated to a website, only to be distracted by a call or an email coming in, and left the browser window open — instances like that will artificially inflate those numbers.
So the best metric, as per the Content Marketing Institute, is what they call “scroll depth.” This tells you how far down a page a reader has scrolled — if they scrolled all the way to the bottom, they presumably read your content all the way through. Google Analytics doesn’t measure this, but WordPress does offer a free plugin that will tie in with your analytics.
You can also take into account how often your blog posts are shared, but there is quite a lot of data to suggest that there is actually little correlation between what people read and what they share.
Ultimately, you’ll also need to tie those numbers in with other data, depending on the goals you’ve set. For example, if you’d like to be known as a thought leader, and being quoted in certain niche magazines and asked to speak at conferences is your goal, then connecting with people who can make that happen and getting those placements/opportunities will be a reflection of your success.
Other blog metrics goals can be harder to track because the data is more subjective, but you can use a combination of metrics to review your content, see what’s working and what isn’t, and refine your strategy to continue in pursuit of your goals.
Lindsay Griffiths (@LindsayGriffith) is the director of relationship management at International Lawyers Network with experience in branding and identity development, as well as supporting an international legal network of more than 90 firms. She is also the co-chair of the Legal Marketing Association’s Technology Committee.
Jabez LeBret: We use the standby: Google Analytics. You can track all the important blog metrics there. These include time on page, bounce rate, exit page, unique traffic versus returning traffic, and traffic source. You should note that “bounce rate” is now counted as any time a user visits only one page on your website.
The more challenging issue is figuring out what the data is telling you. For blogs, you should expect a higher bounce rate because many users will search for the answer to a legal question on Google, find your blog post, then leave after receiving the information they need. What you are looking for is a steady increase in traffic over time and for the time on-page to be as long as it takes to read the blog post. If your post has a time on page of 1:32 and it takes 3:40 to read your post, you have a content problem.
Jabez LeBret (@jabezlebret) is a business writer for Forbes CMO Network, author of a No. 1 best-selling Amazon book on technology and marketing for lawyers, founding partner of a tech company for the legal profession, advisor to SUBWAY, a board member of the San Francisco Entrepreneurs’ Organization, co-chair of the LMA’s annual Your Honor Awards, and a keynote speaker on managing millennials.
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