How to come up with metrics for quality blog posts versus quantity?

My 2012 goal was a year to dial back. Write more, focus and attend fewer events.

So far, that’s been good, and I am on track to write 100 blog posts for the year.

At the beginning of this year, I thought 100 was a good number. So I focused on that metric and started writing in earnest.

Halfway into the year, I realized the number was meaningless. I mean 100 blog posts of poor quality was still as good as not writing at all.

So I wanted to write 100 quality posts.

How do you measure quality of a blog post though?

Is it the number of people reading it – either visitors or RSS feed readers? Or the number of people commenting on it? Or # of people retweeting on Twitter, or sharing it on Facebook? Or getting the post on Hacker news or techmeme? Or is there some other measurement?

So I decided I should have a few role models. Bloggers I really admire for their quality, consistency and insights.

1.  of asymco tops that list. Sharp, analytical and always thoughtful, he’s such a delight to read. If you dont read his blog posts you should.

2. Jean-Louis Gassée of Monday Note is a close second. I met him a few years ago when he was running Be. He’s also a very astute observer, does deep analysis and his posts always make you think.

3. Chris Dixon was the founder of Hunch (among other things). He writes about startups, entrepreneurship and his simple style of presenting facts in consumable bite-sized chunks is admirable.

4. Jason Cohen of A Smart bear helps put key questions entrepreneurs have in the forefront and his tips are always practical, simple to experiment and usually provides insights after careful consideration of a few possible outcomes.

5. Niel Patel of Kissmetrics writes mostly about marketing techniques. I really like how he dissects a topic which he’s looking to provide some advice on. He’s got a very prescriptive style which helps you understand formulated thoughts in a cohesive easy to read way.

There are others that write more infrequently and long form articles, but these 5 are by far that I consider to be the best in the business. The way I define them to be quality is the amount of effort that goes into their post and the way they frame their arguments.

When I started to focus on writing blog posts in Jan, the average blog post would take me 1 hour to think though and about 30 minutes to write. The new posts from July are taking me 2-3 hours to think though and 1 hour (or longer if you include edits) to write.

I am still unclear about the metrics to measure quality blog posts. I’d love some help from you if you believe you have figured it out.

17 thoughts on “How to come up with metrics for quality blog posts versus quantity?”

  1. Hi Mukund ,

    Yes you are correct Quality always matter and not the Quantity .
    And thank you for sharing the other blog links .

  2. Thanks Mukund for curating this. I haven’t come across these guys. If you are interested in Analytics, I would recommend Avinash Kaushik’s blog Occam Razor. I love the quality of his content related to Web Analytics.

    1. I am aware of Avinash but I dont want to understand analytics. I want to understand the definition of quality in a blog post. I have analytics already telling me things I dont want to know 🙂

      1. Looking at common threads amongst the bloggers you mentioned, I sugggested Avinash. In the case of quality, in a larger sense, I think it boils down to how much collective value is being created in that space..through content which eventually attracts comments…I see Venkatesh Rao as someone who has been able to create super awesome blog posts> Sample The collective value generated through the comments and the sheer breadth of content this post simply breathtaking. As a blogger, it inspires me..

  3. It is necessary to understand exactly why you blog? Once you share the reason, probably, it will be easier to freeze/device quality metric(s) for your blogs.

    I mean there are number of reasons why people blog and ‘quality metrics’ for each reason is different. E.g. Companies blog for their own benefit, some individuals blog as its their bread and butter, some blog to bring in more traffic, some blog as their job profile, some blog for their pleasure, and some blog to identify themselves as thought leaders.

    1. That’s a good point Pallav. I blog so I can get to learn more. Since I spend so much time to put a blog post together, I end up learning a lot during the process.

    2. Rightly mentioned Pallav. For instance, I have a habit of writing down steps in my diary for every task I do… A bit cumbersome but that helps me a lot – in knowing what hurdles I should expect, predicting the man-hours more sensibly, initiating actions (a) that are to be done later (b) dependent on others and (c) hardly takes anytime from my end (for instance, posting assignment related queries on support forums, etc.).

      @ Mukund – Taking a cue from what Pallav has mentioned, I think then the metric has to be what Eric Ries says, “Validated Learning”… Impact of your learning on your projects and tasks..

      The metrics that I mentioned in my earlier comment are more on the lines of measuring the quality of posts from the point of view of readers.. And ones that inevitably transform themselves in to popularity as you say….

  4. Hi Mukund.. IMO, the quality of blog posts should not be adjudged by no. of RSS subscribers. That’s a bland metric. Why? Because readers subscribe to a blog (a) to avoid the pain of keeping a tab on whether the blog has been updated or not (after regularly reading a couple of quality posts) (b) with a hope that that they will “periodically” gain some insights from that blog. Now, if you see, both these are related more to the blog as a whole rather each of the individual posts… Now, let me think of it as a blog author. A reader subscribes to my blog reading the posts I have already written. But how can I ascertain whether my new posts are of high quality or not. The reader might not unsubscribe from my blog just because of a couple of crappy posts, but the fact is, yes, the quality of those new blog posts was not good. So, just looking at RSS/Email subscriptions is not a good option. Ideal thing would be to see the no. of people leaving the blog within X amount of time. But that would be too granular.

    I think you’ve already mentioned the answer in your question..
    1. Tweets, FB and mentions in other blog posts (and not just plain nos., but actually looking in to what people are saying about it). You can use then figure out how people are associating to your blog posts. Refer this:
    2. Bookmarking (this too would be difficult to know except the public ones)

    What do you think about this?

    1. I think these are metrics of popularity not necessarily “quality”. I am still unsure. I am not clear why more facebook likes necessarily translates to better quality.

      1. I think ‘popularity’ and ‘quality’ is highly relevant. Considering all the other factors consistent e.g. number of followers, subject, relevancy, etc. if A blog is more popular as compared to B blog, it means more people are liking it and thereby sharing it. Thereby, we can, probably, safely say that popularity is quite close to quality.

        A point to reiterate: if a blog post is not relevant to readers; it will not gain popularity. It doesn’t mean the post was not of a good quality. As a blogger, it is our responsibility to set the expectations right – as mentioned earlier, need to ensure that all ‘other’ are consistent.

  5. >Some already used methods “star ratings”.Number of ‘shares’
    >Page rank(its more quantitative though) but suppose the blogger pre-defines a parameter(to test weather the traffic is coming from the intended gender/age group/country/number of seconds page was viewed) for his post and then the analytics is done on those ‘intended parameters’
    >Comparison of previous blog post results on the parameters of number of shares,comments,frequency of posts et al

  6. % people opening it: It tells how many people wanted to read your article. It definitely gives an indication of how people perceive your content. Ideally the number of people opening it should be higher if your earlier blog post was a hit. Please know that opening the article is not the same as reading it – these are two different numbers.

    % people liking it: There are people who likes/loves a post but don’t share. There is actually no way to know this but a simple ‘like’ button can actually tell you, partially, how many people liked your article.

    % people sharing/saving it: These are serious lovers. They not only liked it but they further shared so that rest of the world can also benefit from it.

    % people who joins: This I think should be given a good amount of importance. If people likes your blog post, they tend to read other posts. If they really like those as well, there should be a reasonable increase in the number of followers.

    Btw, all the above factors are highly dependent on blog subject. I mean, if you post your experience at Mysore, not many people can relate or enjoy it and thereby you will have less likes, shares, etc. So if you want an optimum output from the above metrics, it is necessary to set readers expectations. If they know what to expect from your blog posts and if you keep meeting their expectations; above metrics makes sense.

  7. A good blog post would be one that is focused (does not talk about 10 things at the same time), is useful for me (because you said something new or said the same thing in a new perspective) and was fun/engaging/interesting to read. Adding a personal experience always helps. Also restricting them to 350-500 words retains reader interest.

  8. A blog is eventually a way to build 2 way conversations. If that leads to a relationship, the blog has contributed. Relationships should further “non commercial” causes over the longer term. There are too many social problems still to be solved to allow relationships to only be “commercial” in nature. And so a blog is only one of the ways one goes out to build these conversations & then relationships.

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