How Do We Know What Our Return On Investment Is As Bloggers?

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blogging-roiYou have a great blog, and you know how to run it. You commit to posting up on it regularly, and people are giving you positive feedback.

The problem is, you have no way of knowing if all the time, initial spend and ongoing maintenance of your blog is worthwhile. Like marketing of any sort, ROI for blogging can be nigh on impossible to keep track of in many ways, as the value it brings cannot always be measured in dollars against time.

As a business and brand, you need to know exactly what effect your blog is having on your business, and understand both the plus and minus sides of the blogging mix.

Measuring social media ROI isn’t impossible, but it can be difficult because many of the pieces that need to be evaluated are difficult to track.

What is ROI?

Here’s the complicated bit!

As a standard formula, ROI is basically, ROI = (X – Y) / Y, where X is your final value and Y is your starting value. In other words, if you invest $5 and get back $20, your ROI is (20 – 5) / 5 = 3 times your initial investment. In the financial sense, ROI is measured purely in the context of dollars and cents, however, the principles can really apply to any type of investment, whether financial or otherwise.

Having set milestones and goals, and strong baselines is crucial to calculating your return on investment. Before you set out to measure and monitor your social media returns, you need to have a clear idea of what it is exactly you want to achieve. Is it sales? Comments? Hits on your blog?

Once you have your goals defined, you need to gauge the baseline for your levels before starting or changing your social media strategy. For example, if your goal is to increase social media mentions of your company, in order to measure the ROI of any actions taken toward that goal, you need to know where you stand at this moment. When all that’s in place, you’re ready to start measuring your success. These are the best tools out there for monitoring how well you are getting on:

Google Analytics

This is a free tool that can provide a really powerful baseline for a variety of different factors. You can track incoming links and then the activities of the users they send, which can be helpful.


Omniture lets you use a wealth of services to measure your business, including components that track Facebook and Twitter metrics.

TweetMeme Analytics

If you use TweetMeme’s retweet buttons on your sites, this tool lets you measure how often they are clicked. It’s like Google Analytics, but specifically for the Twitter site.

PostRank Analytics

This suite of tools measures social engagement on other platforms and services. Instead of just a raw number, you can actually see the messages and comments from other sites that contribute to your stats.


HootSuite is a great Twitter manager but also offers impressive analytics. The nice thing about the click data you get from an application like HootSuite is by looking deeper, you can more easily see if those clicks translate into transactions or impressions on your other sites.

How do you measure your blog’s ROI?

Please share your views in the comments below.


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32 Responses to How Do We Know What Our Return On Investment Is As Bloggers?

  1. Inge September 27, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    When calculating ROI for your blog it is important to determine how valuable your time is. In other words what can you earn investing an hour maintaining your blog or investing an hour in some other money making activity (like a your daytime job).

    • Andrew September 28, 2010 at 8:03 am #


      That’s a hard one, isn’t it? Would you rather be blogging, working from home earning, say, $20 an hour or working for someone else and earning $30 an hour.

      I know what I’d prefer.


  2. John Soares September 27, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    Andrew, I mostly use Google Analytics now, but I certainly see the value of these other sites and tools. Thanks for sharing them.

    And thanks for mentioning the Tweetmeme button. I gotta get my web guy to install that for me.

    • Andrew September 28, 2010 at 8:04 am #


      Tweetmeme can make a lot of difference.

      Are you into stats?

      I’m working on a stats WordPress plugin.


  3. Ryan Biddulph September 27, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    Hi Andrew,

    A super list of tools here. I’m not a big metrics guy but as my readership increases I check out my stats more. It’s good to know where you’re at because it lets you know where you’re going.

    Thanks for sharing your ROI insight and have a wonderful day.


    • Andrew September 28, 2010 at 7:59 am #


      What stats do you check?

      I’m interested as I am currently working on a new WordPress plugin that shows stats.


  4. Jason September 27, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    I’ve seen a lot of posts about Omniture and PostRank lately, since I’m trying to learn more about social media conversions. It’s quite complicated at first, their metrics, but I’m still willing to learn more about it (yeah I’m obsessed with expanding my knowledge about the industry). But with ROI, measuring the current conditions and how the flow of traffic comes to a website is somehow tricky, it does take a lot of effort/updates to sustain it in the long run. As for me, my startup was just small, but I’m starting to earn little step at a time.


    • Andrew September 28, 2010 at 8:01 am #


      It can be overwhelming but the fact that you have an open mind to learning is crucial.


  5. Jennifer Brown Banks September 28, 2010 at 2:16 am #


    …Very interesting and informative post!

    For me it’s all about the “quality” of my blogging relationships and building a successful community.
    Numbers are not the only important metric by which to measure my R.O.I., rather the level of interaction and repeat visitors. Thanks for sharing…

    • Andrew September 28, 2010 at 8:06 am #


      How do you measure the “quality of your blogging relationships”?


  6. Robena September 28, 2010 at 3:02 am #

    Hi! I love your form of method on how to effectively work on my baseline and ROI thank for giving me a great understanding.

    • Andrew September 28, 2010 at 8:06 am #


      You are welcome – I hope it helps.


  7. Dennis Edell September 28, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    This is the kinda stuff you’re attempting with the plugin, yes?

    • Andrew September 29, 2010 at 7:53 am #

      Some of it, yes.


  8. Dan Lew September 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    Hey Andrew, there are a good list of resources there, Analytics is one of the by far most helpful web stats tools around!

    • Andrew September 30, 2010 at 9:16 am #

      Hi Dan,

      Nice to see you here.

      I agree – analytics is very useful.


  9. Sagar Gholap October 2, 2010 at 4:45 am #

    I’ve just started my blog and it’ll take some time for me to measure the overall ROI. I’m using Google Analytics and Sitemeter to get to know the traffic load and it’ll be only in the next month that I will be able to find out the results.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Sagar Gholap

    • Andrew October 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm #


      Good luck.

      What are your targets for the first moneth?


      • Sagar Gholap October 3, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

        For the first month my target is to get 300 visits and 700 pageviews. In the first 3 days of the month I’ve got 83 visits so the target seems to be easily achievable and that will be the reason for me to reset my target again.

        Thanks & Regards,
        Sagar Gholap

        • Andrew October 4, 2010 at 8:28 am #


          After my first month’s stats, what I did was to set my target to increase my traffic by 10% every month for the first year.

          So if I got 300 visits in month one, I targeted 330 in the second month and 363 in month 2 and so on.

          At the end of the year, I achieved a growth of 14% each month.


  10. Mike October 2, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    Thanks Andrew for this great post. Besides your point, I also think if you plus with your income, you can have better insight about the ROI of your blog. In addition, what’s about email list since I think it’s an important part of how much you make from blog as well.

    • Andrew October 3, 2010 at 2:55 pm #


      The size of your email list is crucial.

      The bigger the better…size does matter when it’s about the list!


      • Dennis Edell October 5, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

        I must disagree, strongly.

        As with anything else, if not more so…it’s quality over quantity.

        Example: A lady friend of mine was bragging once about a special mailing she did.

        She made $8000 from her list of over 100,000 recipients.

        Could i use a quick 8K from a mailing or two? Absolutely!

        Knowing what I know about list building and the numbers game; after doing the math; is that something to brag about?

        Umm no.

        • Andrew October 5, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

          But would she have made $8000 with a list of 50,000?

          Perhaps…perhaps not!


          • Dennis Edell October 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm #


            OK Would she have made the same with 200 300 400 thousand different people?

            Perhaps, perhaps not.

            My point is valid, and to be perfectly honest, I’m a little disappointed in the response.

            Saying size matters in such a way, is close to saying, those CD’s with 10 million names and email addresses is a valid way to do business.


            If I didn’t know you already, I’d really consider it s bit newbie-ish.

            Just sayin’. 😉

          • Andrew October 6, 2010 at 2:34 pm #


            Perhaps I missed one word from my original response to Mike…quality.

            The size of a quality email list is crucial.


  11. Dennis Edell October 7, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Ah, I knew it was something simple. 😉

  12. Richard October 8, 2010 at 4:43 am #

    Thanks for the great list. Roi is a good idea for making sure that you are being efficient with your time working on your blog. But I wouldn’t track that until my blog is mature. The first month or two I’m making pennies on the hour with the time I put in but I know that will change over time.

    • Andrew October 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm #


      Sounds like you are taking a sensible approach and managing your own expectations.


  13. Linda October 11, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    As of the moment i’m only using Google Analytics and Market Samurai. Market Samurai is quite pricey but it’s really worth it. There are a lot of features just like Rank Tracker, Keyword research tool and finding content.

  14. Daniel June 14, 2012 at 4:41 am #

    Considerable! I think it depends on many clues though it’s tough to know or judge various types of responses of different kinds of readers. But as far I know every blogger has a specific scheme of getting feedback from her/his followers so blogger can get an idea about the panorama of blogging. Thanks for the discussion.


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