Friday, September 09, 2005

Because blogging is basically navel-gazing...

…blogging tools are big on introspection. PubSub SiteStats are awfully pretty, but are they really useful?

PubSub SiteStats graph: LinkRank and Percentage for jameskew.blogspot.comPubSub SiteStats graph: Daily InLinks to
PubSub SiteStats graph: Daily OutLinks from jameskew.blogspot.comPubSub SiteStats graph: Daily Entries from

BlogPulse Profiles tries to pull keywords out of my posts, but doesn’t do a very good job—when did I ever mention Napoleon? (Once, here.) And the fact that it fails to find any of the keywords when I click them doesn’t inspire confidence.

BlogPulse keywords: junction, hummingbird, numbered, specifications, glimpses, silken, hikers, napoleon, journalists, garlic.

It is, however, right about the hummingbirds.

And Technorati now want bloggers to tag their blogs as well as their posts. I tend to lean towards Om Malik’s views on tagging: tags benefit first Technorati; second spammers, who game popular tags just as they game every other system on the web; and last me.

But, despite high-profile grumbles, Technorati is the search engine of choice of bloggers everywhere; so, I’ve dutifully set up a profile.

And look, I’m the only hummingbirds blog:

Technorati blog search: hummingbirds.

Undeservedly so, and probably not for long; check out the hummingbird and hummingbirds tags for more hummingbird activity than you could ever imagine, and for some spectacular photography. This set of hummingbird photographs is amazing; and the furious feeding activity in this photo rather puts our record of five hummingbirds to shame…


You asked: "PubSub SiteStats are awfully pretty, but are they really useful?"

It all depends on why you blog. If you're just keeping a running log of ideas and thoughts for you and your friends to read, then the numbers won't really be terribly "useful" but they might be entertaining. On the other hand, if the reason you're blogging is because you want to build an audience for your writing or you want to communicate something to a broader world, then the numbers we publish can be one of the many metrics you can use to measure and monitor the success of your efforts over time.

We've had quite a number of people who are looking to build an audience tell us that they check their PubSub LinkRanks and SiteStats on a daily basis to try and understand which of their blog posts are most effective, whether they are maintaining or building their audience, and how they compare to "competitive" blogs. For these folk, the numbers are very useful. If nothing else, a daily discipline of trying to understand why your LinkRank went up or down can be a good way to organize your thinking about your blogging efforts. (Don't forget to seek other metrics as well...)

It all depends on what you're trying to accomplish. I hope you find Pubsub's LinkRanks useful. If not, please feel free to send any ideas that you might have on how to make them more useful to you.

bob wyman
For me, the stats are more interesting than useful--which probably gives a good indication of which of Bob's two types of bloggers I am.

LinkRank troubles me a little, as it's such an obvious measure of popularity; that I can be ranked "in the top 5%" based on 2 or 3 incoming links really brings home how long the tail is and how many blogs go entirely unnoticed outside friends and family. (Although maybe, as Bob suggests, most bloggers aren't that interested in building audience or influence?)

It's also startling how much a single link from a high-profile blogger counts: on August 14th I was way down in the 61,000s, but one link from Scobleizer on the 15th bounced me up to 1,693 and "top 3%".