5 key metrics to measure physician blog success

September 16, 2014

Physicians who blog have probably realized that it’s difficult to quantify and measure a blog's success. With so many different metrics available, how do you figure out which ones to focus on? Here are five key metrics that every blogging physician should pay attention to.

Are you dermatologist who blogs? Are you wondering how to measure your blog’s performance or success?

Many physicians have discovered that blogging is a great way to build a community, target a specific audience, share professional opinions about health and healthcare and establish thought leadership in a specific area within healthcare.

However, those who blog have probably realized that it’s difficult to quantify and measure the success of a business blog. With so many different blog metrics out there, how do you figure out which ones to focus on?

Here are five key metrics that every blogging physician should pay attention to:

1. Repeat visits

A good way to measure the loyalty of your readers is to check your repeat visits. This tells you how “sticky” your blog is (i.e. prospects find your content interesting and they keep coming back for more).

If you see that your repeat visit rate (on Google Analytics) is in the single digits, your blog might not be offering enough content to keep readers coming back.

If your repeat visit rate is above 30 percent it could be that you’re not growing your audience base enough to generate new readership. According to Hubspot, the sweet spot for repeat visits is about 15 percent.

2. Average length of stay

How long do readers stay on your blog before leaving? The answer is almost the same for everyone - not very long. On average, page visits last just a little less than a minute according to research by Nielsen Group.

But don’t feel bad - while it depends to some extent on the quality of your content, it’s also influenced by industry type. Some industries just aren’t “sexy” and there’s nothing you can do about that.

Here’s what you can do. As readers rush through a massive amount of content on the web, it’ll take some pretty compelling articles to keep their eyeballs glued on yours. Try these tips to help your readers linger on your blog:

  • Include lots of images or visual content on your blog;

  • Make sure your writing is clear, concise and very informative;

  • Make sure your website does not take too long (i.e. more than three seconds) to load;

  • Add video content every now and then;

  • Enable comments on your blog so that readers can have a reason to linger and converse.

3. RSS or email subscribers

First of all, you should give readers an opportunity to subscribe to your blog via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) or email subscription. That’s because it takes multiple encounters with your content for readers to develop a connection with your ideas, expertise and credibility.

So take a look at how many people are subscribing to your blog on a weekly or monthly basis, as this is a direct indicator of the quality of your content. Remember too that existing subscribers can share your content with their friends and thus help to boost your subscriber base and your community.

4. Comments

When you see a successful blog, one of the first things you’ll notice is the number of comments it receives. The more comments you get, the more popular your blog is.

A large number of comments show that your content is compelling and that readers are engaged. A blog post with 50 comments “looks better” than a blog with two comments.

Since most dermatologists are trying to build a community around their blog, more comments indicate that more prospects are reading your content and that interesting conversations are taking place.

5. Referrals from social media outposts such as Facebook or Twitter

Monitoring the sources of your blog traffic can give you valuable insights about your community. For example if you notice that Facebook sends you more traffic than other social media sites, you can focus on boosting your Facebook posts rather wasting too much time on less valuable platforms.

Google Analytics has a built-in feature that allows you to see where your traffic is coming from (including the volume coming from desktop vs. mobile devices).

For a step-by-step walkthrough on how to do this, check out this post Liz Lockard of Social Media Examiner.

If you’re a dermatologist who has just started blogging, remember that blogging is a slow march to success. As long as you’re constantly updating your blog with fresh, interesting content for your readers, your blog will eventually do well.

In the meantime, the best way to stay on course is to keep an eye on these success metrics to ensure that you finally meet your goals.

What do you think? Which of these metrics have you been focusing on? Please share what your experience has been like so far.