09 August, 2007

Tracking blog readership

Yesterday I received an email with "computer nerd" in the subject line. It was from a good friend and fellow blog author, who incidentally is also a minister.

Namecalling is hardly an attribute I would ascribe to the open, collaborative venue that is the read/write web, nor, for that matter, is it a behavior I would associate with someone whose sworn mission in life is Christian outreach. But I digress. . . .

Within my friend's email was this question: Can you tell me how to track my readership, who follows my blog through an RSS feed?

A true "nerd" would have known the answer; I did not. What is totally cool and decidedly un-nerdy is I sort of had an idea how to find the answer. (Just a few months ago I wouldn't have had a clue what she was talking about.)

For privacy reasons, I am not sure you can ever really know exactly who is lurking on your blog. I recently read somewhere that "really simple syndication" got its name because it's easy and unintrusive -- you shouldn't have to forsake personally identifiable information just to tune into someone's blog.

Anyone reading this post who can speak knowledgeably on the issue of blogs and privacy, please chime in!

My advice to my friend is to check out these free services: MyBlogLog, Technorati, and FeedBurner. Membership with these sites is free and once you've registered your blog with them, you can start receiving almost instantaneous data on your blog traffic.

MyBlogLog provides a cool widget that allows you to see who is visiting your page, but it only works with visitors who are themselves registered with the MyBlogLog community.

Technorati is a giant blog search engine and a good way to build traffic on your blog if you tag and ping. I don't believe you can track RSS subscribers with it, but once you claim your blog on Technorati, you will know who is linking to your pages. Technorati tracks links and uses them to assign authority ratings and ranks. I currently have an authority of 3 and am ranked 1,803,855, thankyouverymuch!

FeedBurner is a quick registration process, but it takes a while for the service to generate data about your blog. (On the Internet, "a while" means more than one hour.) Once FeedBurner is done doing its thing, you log in, click the "analyze" tab, and see feed stats. I currently don't have any subscribers, so I can't tell you what these stats look like. Of course, that can all change if you click on the handy little widget I just installed to the left. Do it now! You know you want to. . . .

technorati tags:


Audrey said...

maybe "computer nerd" was a little harsh... Thanks for the info. I AM subscribed to your blog, but i am not sure feedburner gets those subscribers. I have tried feedburner, but I cannot get it to do RSS feeds. thanks for all your help!

ms. whatsit said...

This is good stuff. Thanks.

Another way to track blog traffic is through StatCounter.com. I really like it. Your friend might like it too.

I recently set up a FeedBurner account, but I haven't dones much with it. Perhaps it's time to play with it a bit.

Jennifer K. Lubke said...

Thanks for pointing me to an alternative to FeedBurner!

I am currently conducting an experiment to see if I can stem off my addiction to all things Google (look for a future post on the subject). Since FeedBurner is a recent Google acquisition, I am looking forward to trying StatCounter.

ms. whatsit said...

Seems like abstaining from all things Google might be kind of like swearing off all things Chinese. I'll be interested to know how that experiment goes.