June 19, 2011

Evaluating Empire Avenue for Blog Promotion

Empire AvenueIf you missed my previous post, Introducing EmpireAvenue, start there. It will get you up to speed on the basics about this service and how it works. Now that I've been using EmpireAvenue (EAv) for a bit, I'm ready to come back to the question I know some of you have: Should I be using EAv to promote by blog?

How I Evaluated EmpireAvenue

My period of evaluation ran from May 28 to June 18. I figured that this would provide an adequate glimpse into EAv's potential, especially given how much time I have spend using it during this time frame.

In order to evaluate the direct effects of EAv on my blog traffic (i.e., the added traffic to my blog coming directly from EAv), I was able to find what I needed relatively easily by examining the traffic sources through Google Analytics.

However, as I learned more about EAv by using it, it soon became clear that looking only at direct effects was going to tell me almost nothing. To get an accurate sense of how EAv was impacting traffic to my blog, I would need to focus on its indirect effects. The reason for this is that EAv is designed to integrate social media (i.e., Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn).

To understand what I mean by indirect effects, consider Facebook. If EAv brings me more fans on my Facebook page, traffic generated by those fans is not going to show up in Google Analytics as coming from EAv but from Facebook. Same with all the other social media services.

Unfortunately, this made evaluating the indirect effects of EAv quite challenging and much more subjective. Essentially, I had to look at every form of social media I've integrated into the site and attempt to assess the increase in fans, followers, subscribers, etc. In the end, I had to do more estimation than I had planned.


Direct Traffic

With regard to direct traffic, as defined above, EAv was a miserable failure. During the evaluation period, my blog received a whopping total of 8 visits directly from EAv. To put that in context for you, this was approximately 0.01% of my traffic during this period of time.

Indirect Traffic

Subjectively, there is no question that EAv had a positive impact in the form of indirect traffic. People whose names I recognized from EAv showed up on my blog, in my Twitter timeline, and on Facebook. My Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and YouTube subscribers - the areas where I have been most active in EAv - all increased at a much higher rate during the evaluation period than the period before I started using EAv. Trying to put numbers on it is tricky, but it appears that I gained at least 100 Facebook fans during the evaluation period and roughly the same number of Twitter followers.

Of course, there is no way to know with certainty how many were the product of EAv; however, I recognize many names so I am content to assume that most of these numbers were due to EAv. I should point out that I have also discovered atheist blogs through EAv I didn't previously know about, new people to follow on Twitter, etc.

Should You Use EmpireAvenue to Promote Your Blog?

My answer is that it depends on two things:

  1. Are you currently using Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and/or LinkedIn to their full potential to promote your blog? If not, focus on doing that and forget about EAv, at least for now. If you are someone who is actively using at least two of these services (i.e., you are doing something more than just automatically sending your blog posts there), then read on.
  2. Are you someone who has extra time to spend on the Internet and who finds the idea of buying and selling shares of assorted people in a virtual stock market appealing? If not, forget EAv. It will not do much for you unless you are reasonably active (i.e., spending some time there at least every couple days). If so, check out EAv.

Personally, I've had fun with EAv and met some interesting new folks. For me, that's been sufficiently worthwhile apart from blog promotion. But that wasn't the question.