In earlier posts, I’ve talked about the advantages for independent publishers of using blog networks. One of the key advantages is that a group of related blogs can provide comprehensive and overlapping (but not duplicate) topic coverage for a given subject area thus potentially capturing a larger audience. Audience paths through the blog network’s content can point to good book publishing candidates.
In the world of baseball statistics, a new understanding of the interrelationship of player and team performance is emerging from the mountains of statistics compiled over nearly 150 years. There are numerous metrics you can employ to measure the growth and impact of a single blog. But when it comes to blog networks, there is considerably less available guidance.
Below are a few analytics I propose as a kind of scorecard for a blog network. (Note: In the metrics below, “in-network” means occurring on one of the blogs in the network and “topic” refers to a category label on any blog in the network. A “referral” is a path taken by a visitor from one point in the blog network to another point in the network.)
Topic strength = (number of topic page views) / (total in-network page views)
This shows the overall percentage of views being captured by posts in a particular category. In a sense it shows which topics are “hot.” A proxy for this could also be visitor comments, but since comments are less frequent, views are more reliable.
Synergy of topic A with topic B = (number of referrals from topic B to topic A) / (total in-network neferrals)
This shows how one topic can refer a visitor to another topic either in the same or a different blog within the network. Two topics which show a highly synergistic relationship are important clues to audience interests. (Note that the synergy of topic A with topic B is not necessarily equally to the syngergy of topic B with topic A.)
Audience momentum = % increase in unique page views
Topic momentum = % increase in topic page views
Audience engagement = Average time in-network per visit
The more time a visitor spends in the network, generally the more they are engaged by the content they find there.
Network efficiency = Average in-network page views per visit
This shows the amount of content being consumed during a visit. It demonstrate the ability of the network to provide the visitor with compelling content and keep them in its member blogs.
These metrics collectively show how good the network is at capturing and building an audience around a given subject. I would welcome other input on blog network analytics.