Evaluating the Library’s Weblog

From an LIS768 Class Discussion:

About a year back, my library department (youth services) decided to maintain a weblog – mainly with the purpose of highlighting the collection, programs, and services, and displaying photos of kids using the library.  We promote the blog by word of mouth (although, to be honest, this has method has fallen off since the blog’s early days), providing a link to the blog on the website, and displaying the addresss on some library materials.

Well, almost a year later, the blog is fairly presentable and is updated somewhat frequently (between 4 and 10 times a month).  The author is usually me or another part-time, associate level staffperson (while the full-time librarians have been supportive of the project, they haven’t contributed to the blog themselves).  Trouble is, we have done virtually no work to evaluate this service. Most importantly, we do not know who – if anyone – reads the entries. Yikes.  Part of me was okay with this at first – we’re still figuring this whole thing out, so maybe it’s OK if no one is reading. At this point, though, I know we need to decide whether the service is relevant, and if so, how to make it good.

Thus, the question – how to evaluate the blog? These are some ways we discussed in class:

  • Find out how people are using your site with free statistic analyzers – Feed Burner (stats on subscribers to your blog), Google Analytics,WordPress.com stats
  • Observing the number of comments you’re getting, and the nature of these comments
  • Asking patrons directly if they know about the blog, how they use it, what could make it better, etc.
  • Conduct a time study – figure out how much time it takes your staff to update patrons on services and announcements on your weblog vs. website

What are some other ways you have been able to evaluate your library’s blog?  What ways have you had success marketing your blogs?