Who's Reading Your Blog? PostRank Tracks Reader Engagement in Real Time

BlogHer Original Post

PostRank is the third look at web analytics tools in this series. In the past couple of weeks, we've also had a look at Google Analytics and Woopra. PostRank offers more services than just analytics, but this post will only examine the web metrics aspect of what they do.

The service isn't free, but you can get a 30-day free trial before you make a lasting commitment to it. PostRank can be integrated with Google Analytics to give you an overall look at all your metrics. On its own, PostRank measures what the site calls "social engagement." Because of that, PostRank is considered especially useful for bloggers.

A few of the engagement sources PostRank follows

Social engagement includes just about everything that happens around your blog posts. A comment, a tweet, a trackback, a mention on Blip or Jaiku -— that sort of activity is what gets tracked. You see a few of the sites PostRank watches in the graphic. (There are more.) All that data is put into an "engagement score" based on engagement points and shown to you in a graphic that charts your site's engagement. PostRank tracks what it calls "the best blogs" based on reader engagement.

You don't have to install anything on your site. You simply sign up with PostRank and they start tracking. In fact, you can enter your URL in a form to get a preview of your site's PostRank information. You can follow more than one site. Each day, you get an e-mail report on each site but, of course, you can look at what's happening at any time during the day and see real time results.

Reviewer Comments

Christina Warren at Mashable in PostRank Combines Google Analytics With Social Media Stats said,

The really cool part about PostRank Analytics comes when you evaluate individual blog entries. Not only can you see your total page views, unique visitors, bounce rate and average time on the post for each entry — you can also see how many people have tweeted about the post, how many comments it received, if there are any FriendFeed or Reddit reactions, was it re-posted on Tumblr, etc.

Sarah Worsham at Sazbean wrote Review: PostRank Analytics and concluded,

I’ve had the PostRank plug-in [ed: info on the Wordpress plug-in below] installed for awhile and use it to see how individual posts are doing as well as see what the top posts are. PostRank Analytics is a paid service ($9/mo or $99/year) which integrates with Google Analytics to provide an overall picture of how well your audience is engaging with your content. I decided to give it a try to see what type information it was able to provide that I wasn’t getting through the plug-in. . . .

I’m simply not impressed enough with the available information to be worth $9/mo (and I was really willing to shell that out if the data was useful). My main issue is the inconsistency in interactions/engagement. If that’s not accurate, then most of the information is available to me for free through the plug-in and Google Analytics. If they’re able to fix the problem, I may give it a try again – there really isn’t single place to measure engagement otherwise.

On the other hand, at SheGeeks, where the reviewer admits that she's received some support from PageRank, Tracking Social Engagements Like a Pro with PostRank Analyics says,

All in all, you’d be a fool not to take advantage of their 30-day free trail, after which the services is going for an underrated $9.

At Who's the Mummy? in PostRank for the rest of us the conclusion is,

For the vast majority of bloggers, no blog stats truly 'matter'. But if you're interesting in maximising your audience or audience participation, it's always useful to understand what content really strikes a chord with your readers. With PostRank you can easily see by looking at scores, which posts are most likely to resonate. But also, if you can see you are getting all your engagement points from Twitter but nothing from Facebook, is there a way to make it easier for people to share your content on Facebook? Do you need to make it easier for people to add content to Digg? Is your engagement generally increasing or decreasing over time?

This is information that many, many bloggers won’t care about – and there’s no particular reason to worry. But if you are looking to monetize a blog (and Lord knows, there’s nothing wrong with that even if we are officially no longer in a recession) then understanding your audience better is generally a good thing.

Simon Mackie at Web Worker Daily wrote an early review of PostRank in Track Engagement With PostRank Analytics. This article gives some useful step by step directions for using the tool. He said,

I’m adding PostRank Analytics to my toolbox, because it provides data that’s not available elsewhere.

PostRank Resources

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Virginia DeBolt
BlogHer Contributing Editor|Web Teacher|First 50 Words

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