As blogging and social media begin to enter into the business and marketing mainstream, we inevitably seek ways to measure their performance.

When a company launches a blog, it wants to know all it can about the traffic coming to the site, particularly the amount of traffic.

But is traffic volume in and of itself the best way to measure the performance of your blog? Here are areas of your blog's traffic that might be more important.

1. Where Is Your Traffic Coming from?

Web site traffic sources are also known as referral sources. If I could study only one area of my blog's traffic, I would choose to study referrals. Why does referral traffic carry so much weight? Because it tells me which sites are sending traffic to my blog.

Let's say you daily check your blog's traffic and know that you usually get 50 visitors on an average Tuesday. But this Tuesday you got 256. Why? Obviously, you had a traffic spurt that came from somewhere... but what caused it? Was it one blog link? Or did one blog link to your blog, then three other blogs saw the first link and added a link on their sites? Or did a prominent Twitter user send a link to followers on Twitter? Without monitoring your referral traffic, you really have no idea what happened.

Why is it important to know? Because once you start closely monitoring your referral traffic, the information you gather gives you a great idea of where you should be spending your social media time! And the best way to grow traffic to your blog is to spend time off your blog. It could be commenting on other blogs, it could be on Twitter, it could be on Facebook.

And if you spend time off your blog, and also monitor your referrals, you can begin to determine where (which sites) you should be devoting more time.

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier