As a blog for a library, I think the sort of statistics that will matter most in making it more palatable to users will be those on new vs. returning visitors, linking traffic, and most popular posts.
The problem with a library having a blog is that, unless the blog can stand on its own, the library may make it superfluous or unnecessary. The blog needs to be built up in such a way that it provides content the library does not, and content that goes beyond library information. We don’t want people coming to the blog just once and never returning because the blog is insubstantial, so new vs. returning visitors is a statistic to watch.
First, all surrounding school websites should have links to our library blog. But how many people – that is, students at those schools – really go their school’s website? It sounds like a good idea, but we need to watch it: it could be that, even though there are links there, they don’t get us anywhere. And if they don’t, we need to be linked from other places – like other reading blogs, or bookstores – and see if that ups the stats.
When we have developed a core visitor-ship, it matters where they’re clicking to consistently and often. My guess would be that the posts for Top Ten Tuesday lists would be much more visited than most of the other ones, simply because the idea is quick, opinionated, and very interactive. Once that is proven, it opens the door to starting other such gimmicky, repeating posts that mix individualization with reading or books in general
As I said in the beginning, the trouble will come in making a library blog stand on its own even as it supports, and is a part of, the library. The greatest fear is that people find the blog only to check when the library opens and then leave, or that they think the blog is underdeveloped or unattended and don’t bother to click through it.
This is the dreaded ‘bouncing,’ and at first this stat could be high. But I would try not to be discouraged by it. If we can just provide content that is interesting and independent of the library in a regular way, it will go down. The blog can definitely be more than an information double-checker for the library.
Google Analytics allows you to monitor the numbers of visitors who ‘bounce,’ so that is handy. It’s also good for statistics on specific page views and figuring out whence your traffic comes. With that, we’ve got monitoring everything under control.
As for improvement, I am a firm believer in user-guided content. Why not use Survey Monkey to ask library patrons – and nearby students – what it is they like to read about, or do, or see, that has to do with books, reading, etcetera? Blog content and focus can follow from there. Also, as I said above, a strict monitoring of how much traffic comes from linking will guide as to whether or not we need to find better referrals than schools (We probably do.).
Odds are, the numbers will be harsh, to begin with. Accepting this, the course of action is to plow forward rather than give up. Perseverance, and resourceful redirection of resources (Holy alliteration, Batman.), is key.