The best approach to improvement is to measure and question everything.
I checked my blog statistics last week. In December my blog had 12,179 unique visitors, while it had only 10,365 readers in November. That’s a 17% increase in one month.
For more than a year, slowly but steadily, the readership on my blog had been going down. How can it be that I suddenly have 17% more viewers on my blog? Is it because of the brand new design? Is it because of the new 15 Minutes on Air videos? Is it because of the new theme of creative networking? Has my writing become better, sharper, funnier? Is it my lovely new scarf?
It’s easy to get lost in statistics and it’s tempting to jump to conclusions with numbers. Like any other creative project a blog is a complex thing. There are so many things happening at the same time, it is often impossible to correlate activities with outcomes.
How about the Christmas holidays, which always lead to significantly lower traffic on blogs? How about all my SlideShare presentations, where I improved the hyperlinks to my blog and websites? How about the lack of new Top 100 book lists, which usually have the most traffic on my blog? How about the increased frequency of news items I have posted on my Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+ streams?
With all these changes, both positive and negative, should readership go up or down?
I’ve no idea. I’m as clueless as Miss Marple in an open office space.
Correlating a specific activity with the readership on a busy blog is like measuring the effect of one new traffic light on the traffic jams in a whole city. If you don’t have a team of researchers with deep knowledge of statistical analysis, any conclusion will probably be naïve and shortsighted.
Am I against measuring? Absolutely not!
Am I against conclusions? Definitely yes!
As a creative networker the best approach to improvement is to measure and question everything. Measure your blog, your followers, your mailings, your writing, your design, anything you can… I started measuring my steps, food and sleep with a Fitbit activity tracker. But I’m not drawing conclusions.