Four weeks ago (January 17, 2013), I asked if this blog was making a difference and asked that y’all post specific examples of how it is making that difference–I was/am looking for change, specifically. I said I would summarize the responses and post a periodic update. This is the first update.
I’ve gotten many (more than 50) posts on that blog. They are interesting. No one has offered me a specific example of how this blog is making a difference. Several agree that page views are NOT an adequate measure of effectiveness. Several (again) agreed that length of time of a visit might be a good indicator. A few are reading the blog for marketing tips; a few are using the blog to entice me to go to their blog–I don’t think so, especially when the response is in another language that I have to translate. (I’m sure this sounds elitist–not my intention, to be sure–rather just a time factor in finding a translator.) Most comments are just encouraging me to keep up the writing because it is 1) clear; 2) quickly loaded; 3) they like /love the blog/blog content; or 4) can be applied to their marketing strategy and their blog (that actually may be a change, only I’d have to do a lot of research to know if their site benefited). Some folks just make a comment that seems to be a non-sequitur.
So I really don’t know. Judging from the comments (random though they may be), people seem to be reading it. I am curious how many people regularly go to this blog–regularly like weekly, not once in a while). If I’m representative, I go to other blogs regularly, though not the same blogs each time, so I’m probably one of those once in a while people–even with evaluation blogs. There are so many out there and the number is growing. What I’ve learned is that the title of an individual blog is what captures the folks. Coming up with catchy titles is difficult; coming up with catchy titles which are maximized in search engines is even harder.
I didn’t post a survey this time; maybe I should. I will post another update in about a month.
Hi Molly –
Am pretty new to your blog and, like you, someone who tends to visit different blogs rather than the same ones regularly. But can tell you that this post and your one from Jan 17 spurred some good reflection for me. For about a year, I ran a blog for new members on GovLoop — a govt-related social networking site. Although there were never a lot of comments, the site admins said my posts had consistently high “open rates,” suggesting it was at least being read. That was gratifying but my goal was to help spur useful conversations that I felt were missing. And despite trying a lot of things to encourage those convos, it never felt successful to me from that perspective.
Am sharing this because it may be helpful to revist why you blog here. Your about page says it’s “a place for conversation…for sharing reactions, thoughts, ideas, and questions about program evaluation.” If that’s still spot on, you may want ask readers about making a difference in this context. If appropriate, you may even decide to specify some of the ways you hope that the blog will help make a difference for readers and for you. It might be fun to do and lead in some unexpected directions. Thanks again for posting.
Hi Molly – I agree that maintaining a blog that is valuable to your readers is very time-consuming. Then when you take into account how search engines view content verses how humans view content, it adds a layer of complexity. With that said, I think you’re on the right track – being consistent about adding fresh content and trying to make it meaningful for your audience.
regarding how many people regularly read the blog, maybe you could get figures on how many of us (me for one) have set up an RSS feed for it or subscribe?