How do you measure your blog’s progress?

Trail Sherpa WallI spend my days managing the efforts of our web design team and conferring with our social media guidance clients on the progress of their online activities.  It makes sense that I would drink my own Kool Aid don’t you think.

My team is very accustomed to building very detailed analytics reports but often it’s the basic numbers that tell you to keep moving forward.

We bench marked June 1st as the day we starting building Trail Sherpa into a viable outdoor blog and hiking community.  We were preparing to introduce the Trail Sherpa community and wanted to look back and see how the first few months went.  Based on the numbers below, and the growth they represent, I’m pretty happy with our progress.

  • Facebook likes increased from 159 to 247
  • Twitter followers increased from 318 to 687
  • Flickr Contacts increased from 14 to 36
  • YouTube subscribers increased from 6 to 25
  • YouTube upload views increased from 164 to 938

These are all hikers and backpackers with a few outdoor industry people sprinkled in.  That’s who we want to connect with.  Who is the audience you want to reach with your blog?

Perhaps more noteworthy is that we launched the Trail Sherpa Community and have gone from our very first member to more than 100 active members in the first few months which included a lot of testing, breaking things on the site, fixing them, and now actually telling people about it.  We’re not setting any growth records but sheer numbers aren’t our goal.

The goal with the Trail Sherpa Community, and the social outposts like Facebook and Twitter that support it, is to build an engaged group of hikers and backpackers that have a genuine interest in exchanging ideas and experience.  And we’ve done a good job at that so far.

The first social network we built was geared at the real estate industry and we grew it quickly to more than 20,000 members in the first 18 months.  But we learned a few lessons there.  The most important was the difference between quantity and quality of members and their engagement with the group.

The Trail Sherpa Community is different.  I’m getting to know many of the new members and they are all eager to share what they know.  That feels really good and holds promise for being able to do something better than it has been done in the past.

What are you trying to do with your website?  Do you have a goal?  Ours is to give hikers and backpackers a place to connect with each other and tell their stories.

We’ll keep tracking and measuring our progress.  We’ll keep asking questions and looking for answers.  We’ll keep searching for new members to pull into our conversations.  If you haven’t created your profile yet you can click here to get started.

But for now, thank you to all of you that have embraced the idea we are trying to foster here at Trail Sherpa and for sharing so much of yourselves in the beginning of this journey.  It’s appreciated and we look forward to where this might go next.

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I'm the founder of Vestor Logic, the digital strategy and web design firm that created Trail Sherpa, ParksFolio, and Modern Steader. I'm a day hiker, top chef in camp, doting husband, and father to two headlamp wearing boys. My work in digital media brings those experiences to life.

  • “The goal with the Trail Sherpa Community, and the social outposts like Facebook and Twitter that support it, is to build an engaged group of hikers and backpackers that have a genuine interest in exchanging ideas and experience. And we’ve done a good job at that so far.” [quote: How do you measure your blog’s progress?, dated Oct 11,2011 by Tim Miner]

    Count me in to help Trail Sherpa to reach it’s goal. Yes, I agree with “a good job at this so far” – to get better during the upcoming months and thereafter.

    • Thanks for the comment Joe.  It’s funny to see the contrast between how we are moving forward with TS and how we did it with our first community back in 2004.  I guess you do get more patient as you age!  The coming weeks will mark the beginning of a real push to share the story of TS and the members that make it work.  Glad you’re here.

      • You’re welcome. Sustained improvements are mostly because of completing small incremental action items directed toward moving closer to the goal. Easier said then done for most organizations. Age does bring a certain level of wisdom, along with experience and continuous learning. Sort of like a driven surfer who is determined to ride the wave as far as it will go. Difficult but a lot of fun in the process. BTW, how many years did you stay on the east coast?

        • I was born and raised in central PA.  Moved to Las Vegas in 1997 after college.

          • What??!!! – you left Steeler Country? 🙂

          • I did leave.  In fact, left 20 minutes after the PSU Bowl Game ended.  Big win as I remember!

  • Tim

    It’s only just begun but I like what I’m hearing on the stats. I know our blog has grown big time in the year that we’ve totally focused on building it. we went from a few subscribers to over 150, a handful of FB Fans to over 400, over 200 followers on Twitter, and we consistently get 40 unique visitors on a daily basis. Once you push that little snow ball down the hill, it’s amazing how big it can get. 😛

    • Exactly.  And that is the difference for us this time.  TS is about connecting the right people and fostering a great dialogue.  Our previous network, though in a difference industry, was more of a shotgun approach.  And that was reflected in the interaction.  I think we already have better conversations here on TS than we did on the real estate network.  Lessons learned.  Organic growth is a good thing.