Is syndication and responses a measure of blogging success?

Given that today marks the 5th year of (or just “bsc” to us Sun bloggers), and that it was this month two years ago that I published my first blog article (entitled “And finally“, an opinion piece on Gartner’s top ten predictions from 2007), I thought it would be nice to explore what “success” was in terms of blogging.

The most obvious indicator is large and regular readership, but I can’t imagine that that is all there is to it. The next most obvious criteria might be opinion setting, but measuring this seems troublesome and unscientific at that moment (until at least further semantic web infrastructure is in place to better relate meme flow across the Internet, although saying that Autonomy have an excellent visual analysis tool which is an early leading example in this field, the problem with this current non-semantic web model is that you have to generate meta-data by supposition, some of which is irregular at best).

Inward and outbound links are a major contributing factor in the calculation of Google’s “PageRank” algorithm, but I expect this to change significantly in the next few years as two things occur, increasingly effective “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) techniques which will require modification to Google’s rating criteria, and the rise of the semantic web as increasing amounts of meta-data is included with unstructured data across the Internet, driving up implicit relationships between information.

And that leaves me with syndication and pieces written in response to your articles. Frankly I’m not sure that you can qualify syndication as a measure of success of your blog, but I do think it’s a good indicator of how far your message is being spread. I’m still uncomfortable with this, as I would prefer something more Empirical, however I think it may be about the best ‘soft’ indicator we have at the moment.

So using syndication of, and responses to, my articles, as a potential leading indicator, I correlated the following list. Historically I would have used Technorati to generate this information, but Technorati is suffering from some real issues lately, it’s page layout has become befuddled, and worst of all it’s not capturing (even remotely) the responses to my articles, subsequently I used Google Analytics’ “Referring Sites” breakdown instead (the list below isn’t remotely exhaustive, so if there is anything missing you’d like me to add let me know).