Measuring Your Blog's Purpose with the Right KPI
"KPI" is one of those fun business acronyms that we like to throw around so much that we almost forget what it stands for. KPI stands for the key performance indicator. It's the one stat that you can point to and say, "See, this is what actually matters." So how does that apply to your blog?
Maybe your KPI is your number of email subscribers. After all, these are the "true" readers who are more likely to buy your products, comment on your posts, and promote you to other readers.
Maybe it's the actual number of affiliate sales you generate in a month. Readers are nice and all, but sales actually pay the bills.
Maybe it's the number of clients you land after successfully demonstrating your knowledge through the blog.
Depending on your business plan and your desired outcome, you may have a different KPI than another blogger in your space. The important thing is to measure the result that matters most to your staying in business or getting the most reward for your efforts.
Surprisingly enough, your KPI doesn't have to be tied to a monetary value. You might take an altruistic approach and look for some way to measure the number of people you helped. This might be measured by perhaps the number of people who respond positively to your newsletter or the people who indicate through comments on the site that they found your blog post helpful. These aren't exactly stats you can track in Google Analytics, but they can still be helpful.
What's Your KPI?
Not to get too intense, but this is probably the most important question you could ask yourself if you're a blogger. What's it all for? Why are you blogging? And, can you measure a successful result of your website's purpose? Or, how can you tell if your audience is responding in a way that fulfills your main purpose for blogging.
If you can't find a KPI - if it's not immediately obvious, then you really need to think about why you're blogging. You can spend a lot of time jabbering about ideas that don't really go anywhere, or you can create a focused experience that will help readers achieve their goals.
Once you know your goals, then you can start focusing on the nitty gritty of how to actually track that data in Analytics or Clicky or whatever system you may use. Trust me, you can play around with reporting tools for days on end without actually generating the data you need to make your blog a successful venture. Seth Godin talks about businesses with poorly selected KPI's over at his blog all the time. After all, a reduced bounce rate doesn't automatically mean you're making money or helping people to achieve their ultimate goal.
This week, focus on the main question of determining your "key performance indicator" for your blog. How do you know when your blogging efforts (or your business as a whole) are going well? Don't worry about specifying a particular report. From a broad level, simply determine how to know when you're heading in the right direction?
(Or, what are your key performance indicators? You can see positive signs from your site from more than one result.)