How do you benchmark the quality of your own blog postings?

This is a question that each blogger should be able to answer without hesitation ... yet few of us can. After all, how do we know if the quality of our posts is improving or getting worse over time. Are we continually improving our post quality, or are bad habits creeping into our writing and causing us to loose valuable readers? Its well understood and even intuitive, that the better the quality of blog posts, the more likely we can achieve virtually any objectives.

Small Business Blogging Map

Can we count on friends to give us an honest assessment? I would argue probably not given the number of applicants who try out for "American Idol" and are utterly horrible, having been told by friends and family they have the voice of an angel (shutter and shake). In that case, we need a more objective means of post assessment.

Need proof?

So, how can we benchmark individual blog post quality, and the quality trend, to strive for continuous improvement? After all, we need to continually improve our posts if we hope to become a defacto feed in everyone's RSS reader right? Also, how can we experiment, and interpret the effects of our experiments.

Lets look at some of the possible metrics (see below), and consider how they may be utilized. To begin, recognize that the competition is against yourself and not others. At least in the beginning. The goal is to generate feedback that will help you as an individual become a better blogger.

That said, start setting goals for yourself using the metrics below ... and do it for each posting. If you find that tracking each post becomes too tedious, then at the very least tally your post scores weekly or monthly ... to ensure that everything is growing in the right direction.

Here are the possible Measurement Tools:
a) Delicious Saves
b) Stumbles
c) # Inbound Links
d) Votes in Appropriate Social Media (Digg, Reddit, etc.)
e) Comments
f) Increase in RSS Subscribers
g) Reader Scoring of the Post Itself
h) Post UVs (unique visitors)

In reality, I think we all use a combination of the above metrics ... though few of us track it over time, nor set related objectives. Maybe this is a goal for 2008 ...

In next Monday's post, I'll go into a great deal more detail about how and why you might want to use certain of these metrics versus others. Believe it or not, each of these metrics can reveal something different about your post, in terms of its strengths and weaknesses. So ideally, you'll want to track the elements that best support your own vision for your blog, and not be distracted by others.

I'd be really interested to hear from all our readers ... which metrics do you consider most important in tracking your own blog posts, and why?