# # Measuring blogging performance
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© February 2008 Anthony Lawrence

I play poker once a week. It's just dime ante, with a limit of 3 raises, so the largest possible bet is eighty cents and even a round of 7-Card Stud is unlikely to involve more than a few dollars from each player. I usually do pretty well, but of course have bad nights now and then. Sometimes that's because I'm playing stupidly due to being over tired, sometimes it's just having an unlucky night of very good but second-best hands. I know how much money I bring to each game and I count it the next morning so I know how much I won or lost.. I just like to keep track.

The other night I was sure I had lost hand over fist. I had been involved in several pots that had been raised to the limit on every card and overall I had won far fewer hands than usual. When I got home I told my wife I had probably lost at least $10.00, maybe more.

Yet when I actually counted the change, I had won. Not much - fifty five cents - but definitely not a loss. My perception of the night was focused on the few hands where I had lost big pots and obviously not on the size of those pots I did win. Measuring (counting my change) gave me the true picture.

Measurement is just as important for your blog, but there is a question you need to ask first: just what are you measuring? One measurement of poker success is winnings, but in reality I play because of how much fun I have. We have a great group of people who are regulars and there is a tremendous amount of joking and clowning around during the games. We all really enjoy poker too, so watching someone else play a great hand is almost as much fun as having it ourselves. I can't quantify the happiness I get from playing, but that definitely is the reason I head out with my box of change once a week.

Frankly, having fun is most of the reason for this website also. Oh, sure, there's a healthy amount of income that comes from the consulting opportunities I get because of it, and the advertising income isn't insignificant either. I do measure things like pageviews, unique visitors, rankings and all that, but I'm no more driven by those than I am by winning fifty five cents at poker. Whether we had 50, 500 or 5,000 visitors today is interesting, but it's not all that important. In fact, I'm more interested in the anomalies than the ordinary: what is the story behind that silly old Pentium Pro Book Review? Why does it get so many page hits? Why does an article I think is really interesting have low stats and another that I think is of far lesser interest attract a lot of attention? Why this, why that.. those questions keep me interested in the stats, but the stats themselves don't mean much to me.

I enjoy the people here too - that's you, if you've ever left a comment. Comments connect us, and I almost always learn from the comments y'all leave. I don't mean the "Nice job!" stuff we get at some articles, I mean the thoughtful or helpful responses that add information or help clarify points made. Those are great (though the "Nice job!" ones are nice too!).

And of course if you have a blog and leave its address in your comment, yes, I'm going to go visit to see what makes you tick. I'll probably put it in my RSS reader too, and if I see something that I can comment on at your site, well, the cycle goes on, doesn't it?

So.. if all you measure is page views or Technorati rank or Adsense income, well, I guess that's OK, but I can't help but feel that you are missing the most important part of blogging, which of course is human interaction. I guess I'd still be interested if we never saw a single comment, but for me, every time one arrives, well, it's like opening a Xmas present.


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