We are surrounded by tools to measure almost everything we do in life. We have clocks to measure time, thermometers to record temperature and odometers to see how far we have traveled.
We are obsessed with measurement. The Olympics are the pinnacle of measurement; we measure runners’ and swimmers’ times down to 1,000th of a second!
We have never lived in such an age as this, in which almost everything can be measured by computers on autopilot.
We measure so many facts and figures that we are as confused as a dog amid four trees.
Measuring your social media success
Following are tools—free and paid—to measure most elements of your blog, Twitter and Facebook traffic and statistics.
For blog measurement …
Everyone should measure website traffic, but there are other important numbers to keep your eye on:
- Top posts
- Top referrers
- What your visitors clicking on
- Top search engine terms that bring people in
Tool 1: WordPress Statistics
This free, simple plug-in helps you measure and compare your topline statistics against a specified benchmark. If I take July 2010 as my benchmark, then I can see in July 2011 what progress has been made.
Tool 2: Google Analytics
This is another free tool that provides an array of statistics. You will need to get the code from Google; just Google “Google Analytics” and apply. Then, embed it in your blog. It is generally available only to self-hosted blogs—and not if your blog is hosted by WordPress.com, for example.
If you don’t feel comfortable embedding the code, ask your developer or a more tech-savvy friend to do it.
You can measure elements such as:
- Visits by country
- Bounce rate (how many people come to read one blog post/page and then leave)
- Visits from mobiles
- Even what browsers are being used to view your blog
The two tools I have mentioned above can measure traffic sources such as Twitter, but there are two other simple tools that are fun and useful, as well.
For Twitter …
Tool 3: Bit.ly
This tools measures statistics for your Twitter bit.ly shortened links and displays elements such as:
- Which countries are clicking on your shortened links on Twitter and the percentage
- Which links on Twitter are getting the most clicks
Tool 4: TwitterCounter.com
This simple tool can provide basic statistics on your Twitter follower growth and even more statistics to view and chew up your time if you want to buy the paid version.
For Facebook …
Facebook and Google don’t get along—Google+ isn’t helping, either—so if you want to track statistics from Facebook, you must use Facebook Insights. This is available only to people or brands that have set up a Facebook “page,” not a personal Facebook profile.
Tool 5: Facebook Insights
Facebook Insights provides Facebook page owners and Facebook platform developers with metrics for their content by analyzing trends within:
- User growth
- User demographics
- Consumption of content
- Creation of content
Page owners and platform developers are better equipped to improve their business with Facebook.
There are many tools to measure your success online for your blog and social media channels, and this article touches on just a few basics. The Google Analytics tool is one of the most comprehensive tools available—and it’s free. It should be mandatory for every blogger or website owner.
What tools do you use to measure your social media success?
Jeff Bullas is a digital media coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. He blogs at JeffBullas.com, where a version of this article originally ran.