Here are five tools (via Stephan Becker) to measure the success of a corporate blog. A measurable ROI is a key driver for the launch of any corporate (or CEO) blog, so these are useful - if not definitive. The comments are mine:
1. Google Analytics
I love Google Analytics (it's free, BTW). Great for looking at visitor stats (unique visits, time on site, etc.), geography (what countries are your visitors coming from) and - perhaps most useful - sites that are referring traffic to your blog. These referring links give you a heads-up on where your blog is being mentioned in mainstream media or by other bloggers.
2. RSS Analytics
He cites FeedBurner. Use it to find out how many folks have signed up for the email updates for your blog (note: you can see the actual email addresses) as well as how many have subscribed to your RSS feed.
3. Number of podcast and videocast downloads
Useful only if you are posting videos and/or podcasts to your blog.
4. Links pointing to your corporate blog
Type this into Google's search box: link:mycorporateblog.com
Stephan doesn't mention Technorati rankings but for what it's worth, GM's Fastlane blog ranks (as of today) #10,781 on Technorati and Jonathan Schwartz's CEO blog ranks #766 - out of over 100 million blogs. (This blog currently has a Technorati rank of #7,823.)
5. Number of Comments
This metric is always tricky as it's somewhat unpredictable. Remember that the ratio of lurkers vs. readers can be as high as 90:10 (only 10 percent leave Comments). So there is no exact science to evaluating your number of Comments.
Stephan makes a good point: "Controversial or ‘hot’ topics are more likely to generate feedback just as much as well thought through and professionally written blogs." In other words, you often don't know what will ignite commentary from your readers. In addition, it depends how tech or blog savvy your readers are.
Yes, I know that sounds impossible to some... who is *not* blog savvy these days?? You'd be surprised. It's often necessary to educate your readers on how and why to leave a Comment. A well-written Comments Policy (links to policy for Sony's new Electronics Blog) can do just that.
Top 5 sources to measure the success of your corporate blog by Stefan Becker
Blog Writing Tips from Lorelle VanFossen
5 Tips to Run a Corporate Blog from Steve Rubel (on Wired's Wiki)