Friday, May 18, 2007

Evaluating Educational Blogs

It's hard to know the impact of your blog. If you're lucky, 1% of the readers leave a comment - maybe more if you are wrong or writing about things based on opinions. How many of my readers actually learn from what I write? How many people read what I write? I can't count page hits or user sessions - they can give me trends and who knows how many bots and spider hits are there as opposed to real eyeballs. Or how many of the real eyeballs landed here and said 'this isn't what I wanted' and left. Another problem is that they don't count the people who read the posts in their RSS reader or have it emailed to them via a service like FeedBurner.

One tool I recently came across (still in beta) is RateItAll. You can get a widget to put on your blog that lets readers (assuming they come to your blog page) rate your blog. Come to this blog's page and rate it. Ideally, something like this would be on every article - so I can get some feedback on each article. But still, I miss all the people who don't come to the blog's site to read the blog.

So, I'm left to judge the effectiveness of this blog by the comments I get from personal conversations with the people I'm writing this for (like Anne Adrian said - "Write to a particular person or a small group with similar interest"). Do I see references to my writings in other's (those for whom I'm writing) blogs? Questions I get related to things I've written about are also another indication of its success.

Based on these measures, it is successful. But, are these measures quantifiable? I guess, theoretically, you could keep count of all those comments and questions, but not realistically. How can you justify to the bean counters that posting to a blog is beneficial to the company?

If your measure of success is the number of widgets sold, then you could use Google Analytics to count how many clicked through to the "Purchase" page. But, if your objective is to change people's behavior through education, how do you measure that?

I'm still searching for answers to these questions. If you have any, PLEASE share them!


morgamv said...

This is quite interesting. I was with a group of agents last week, one of whom shared that she had conducted a very unscientific survey with her 4-Hers. The question: how many of you have a computer at home? Her survey said...less than 25%. So, for the time being and depending on the target audience, it seems to me that hard copy will still be a valuable tool. -- Virginia

John Dorner said...

I'm sure that there are some audience groups that don't lend themselves to moving entirely away from hard copy - but, even 25% is a significant number to ignore. And I'm sure that number is increasing.

I wonder how many of the 75% who don't have a computer at home still get on the internet - from friends, relatives, library, school, etc. How many of them have MySpace accounts or FaceBook accounts?

I'm also sure there are some of our audiences that would have 99% indicate that they have a computer at home.

John Dorner said...

Anne Adrian posted an excellent response to my question at:


barbara said...

Its really shocking that only 25% people has computer at home thanks its very interesting

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