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Strategic insights
Measuring Success

Written by on October 25, 2008

One of the big "issues" for a lot of people on the internet is how do I become a success? How do I become the best? How do I beat the competition? But, you know, it is not that hard, unless your definition of success is to be "bigger than Google".

Success is an elusive thing. No matter how big you are, you will always feel that you are not as successful as you could have been. For instance, do you think Microsoft, the king of the software world, see them as a success? Do you think Google think they are as successful as they could be?

Recently one of Google's founders (I cannot remember which one) said "we have a long way to go". Here we have one of the fastest growing and biggest companies in the world. They want to be bigger, to be better and to grow even further. To them, success is still something they have not yet achieved.

And you know what? I bet that is exactly how you feel about your blog. You don't see yourself as a success - yet.

Google is not more successful than you

Focusing on being successful is probably the quickest way to become unhappy. Because being successful is always being bigger than what you are now. And even when you reach your success criteria most people rarely even recognize it.

The worst thing you can do is to compare yourself to the top blogs or sites on the planet. I will bet that most of you occasionally go to Alexa or Technorati to see the top 100 sites in the world. I have done that many times and I have always felt miserable afterwards.

Comparing yourself to the top sites of the world is completely irrelevant. It is like comparing yourself to the top 10 richest people on the planet.

Your site is probably already a much bigger success than what you might think. My bet is that your site is already in the top 1000 of the biggest sites. Not of all the sites in the world, but of all the sites in your market - your niche.

Imagine you are running a site about plane spotting, in Swedish, and you got 130 unique visitors per day and about 600 per month. If you compare yourself with the biggest sites on the planet this would mean that you have a tiny site, with almost no traffic at all. You have much less traffic in a month than what Google has per second. It is an Itsy-weenie-tiny site compared to the top 1000.

But, your market is not the total population of the planet. It is a very small group of Swedish amateur plane spotters. And since you got 600 visitors per month, your site is actually the biggest and most successful plane spotting site in Sweden. Your site is a huge success. You totally dominate your niche of the market. You are the king of your world - and yet, because so many people compare their site with the top 1000 blogs, they never even realize it.

Your failure to feel successful comes not from the results that you are making, but instead that you measure yourself against an irrelevant competition.

If you want to feel successful, make sure that you look at how you are doing in YOUR world - not in other people's worlds.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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