Positioning our blogs as valuable

Chris Cree created a wonderful post to wake us to our use of the words "blog", "blogging" and "blogger". He suggests that we are plagued by "that goofy word thing" among people who don't blog. That's too much fun for me to resist -- as I imagine talking with people I know who don't comprehend what blogging is:
"Tom, I didn't know you were into some kind of medieval torture? Do you take turns blogging each other or does one person get blogged by everyone? How long have you been folk dancing? I've never seen you in wooden shoes or hear you mention you're a blogger before now. Isn't a blogsphere that big round thing the plumber brings to the house every time somebody blogs the drain pipe? Did you read where foods high in transfats blog the arteries with little bloggers that increase the chances of a heart attack?"
When we want to be understood or positioned as valuable in other's eyes, we need to consider the customers' frames of reference. Chris suggests other ways to describe what we are doing without using those "B" words. Of course his recommendations tie into this ongoing taxonomy of blogs I'm developing.

Technorati rankings: Quantity is crucial when quality is superficial. When we have no close friends, we impress others (and ourselves) with how many so-called friends we have. Technorati counts the number of links to a blog and the number of bloggers who "Favorite" that blog.

Archive size and search stats: Quality products and services segment the market and serve a smaller niche. The quantity metrics mislead the buyer who is searching for expertise. Google analytics (and other) stats that measure archive searches reveal the value of a blog's expertise.

Comment and Trackback Stats: Our customers, subscribers and fan base don't care how much we know until they know how much we care. That show of concern comes through comments we give/get and trackbacks from links and quotes we give/get.

Google page ranking: When our impact extends beyond the blogosphere, our presence while show up in more places. Google searches will find where else we get mentioned and are making a difference. How high our links rank on a particular search page measures our contribution to changes in the world.

With these different metrics in mind, we can discern how we have positioned our own blogs to be valuable. We can change our approach to be more valuable by rethinking which ways we measure our success and count our blessings.

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  1. If you have to "position your blog as valuable" - it isn't.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Stephen.

    I agree that any blogger that intends her/his blog to be valuable will be to her/himself. Yet that may be worthless to others if the intention to be valuable considers no one else.


  3. I value comments: sometimes I get a lot (for me) and sometimes not very many. I've never quite figured out what the Trackback thing is all about. Can you enlighten me please. (The only time I've really noticed the Trackback function is when I've been Trackback-linked to a porn site and then have to delete it as spam.)

    Could you explain to me how to get my Google page ranking number? Is it a big deal?

    Two other metrics: I like checking to see how many subscribers I get. I know a lot of them don't read my stuff every day (or even semi-regularly), but at least they're not lurking and it's noice to know they went to the trouble to subscribe.

    Also, there is the Alexa rating — which totally confuses me. Some call it the Great Satan. And some people swear by them (for example Mack Collier, the man who started the Z-list, and who does the marketing blog rankings:

  4. Hi Tom,
    Nice post. Adding my 2 cents to the matter....

    I like the way you have categorized the type. some blogger have no idea as to why they have what they have in their blogs sometimes. I mean they go with the flow etc

    Enhance Life

  5. Sham: Thanks for your insights!

    Roger: Thanks for all your questions! Wikipedia has some great explanations for trackbacks, spings (spam trackbacks) to give you a full picture of all that. Briefly, you can see who has quoted your blog posting or included a link to your posting from their blog. It's an indication that you're not only being read -- you're getting valued, used, even thought about deeply -- by other bloggers.

    The number of actual subscribers is unknown since the adoption of that orange button. Previously, subscribing was done through those many "chicklets" in the side bar and each "publisher" (Feedster, Feedblitz, etc) could count the number of subscribers in their database. That can be bypassed now. There are now different protocols for publishing blogs (Atom, RSS) and buttons in the browsers (Firefox, IE, Safari) to subscribe automatically to the blog page being viewed. Some blogs also support subscribing to a particular comment stream, but that defies getting counted too.

    "Google Page Rank" is usually deals with the URL of a website and compares how many other websites show up ahead of it. Alexa is similar to Google. (Wikipedia explains some of this at

    I'm using "Google page rank" somewhat differently. If you search Google for your name, your blog's name, particular topics or blogpost titles of yours, you can then see if you show up on the first page, even the first entry of the first page. My Clues to the College Blues gets searched a lot for "College Dropout Rate". I know that by subscribing to Google Analytics reports for both my blogs. When I put "College Dropout Rate". into Google, my blog shows up 3 times on the first page of Google's search.

    eCommerce sites are very concerned about showing up on the first page when they search for what they are selling or the name of their company. Marketing blogs are equally crazy about rankings since that's the business they are in. I'm suggesting that page ranking of a blogger's issues, concepts and buzzwords -- will become more important to bloggers who are monitoring their impact on changes or decisions beyond the blogosphere. That's different from marketers and retailers in terms of the kind of impact and people getting "sold", but it's similar in concerns about getting noticed and considered seriously.

  6. Hi Tom,

    Ah, takes me right into the forever discussion on 'learning evaluation' ... Kirkpatrick's model and such. Page hits and (to a bit lesser extent comments), are measuring Activity versus Impact.

    And, not that I'm any fan of 'smile sheets'; however, I've wondered why there appears to be more frequent voting and rating emphasis with podcasts than in text blogs. For example and contrast to technorati where only a link model is used. Perhaps the explanation is as simple as linking being at (or should be) the core for blogs and only secondary, and limited to inbound, for podcasts?

    Be well,

  7. Thanks for these insights, Ray. Now that you point it out, I do see the parallels with Kirkpatrick's model for training evaluation. Both seem like gradients from small scope/ superficial to broad scope/ significant. Your thoughts about the differences between podcasts and blogs are great.