Statsinsanity

It’s a made up word. I am sure that you were able to work it out.

My recent post ‘Delving into the stats’ was very well-received. It generated a lot of views, and a good few comments too. It had been intended to be humourous, a look at how delving into the stats of such a tiny blog can begin to consume the blogger, and take on a meaning beyond all relevance of what he/she is actually doing with their blog, or even why they started blogging in the first place. I missed the irony though, and it came out reading as if I was lamenting poor stats, or becoming unduly worried about them.

Lesson 1) Posts about blogging are very popular indeed. They will get you readers you never had before, and attract a completely new audience, as long as you remember to tag the post ‘Blogging.’

As some commented, looking at the countries that stats show have readers of your blog is always fascinating. I have regular visitors from Bhutan, and have concluded that there is probably a CIA monitoring station there. The Ivory Coast has appeared, as has Western Samoa, and Tonga. Amazing to think that my ramblings and musings have some interest to at least one person on those far-flung shores. But the biggest numbers come from the UK, and the USA.

Lesson 2) Few bloggers ever bother to translate. You will always get your biggest readership in your own language.

I also took a short break from blogging. Only a few days, for various reasons, but I bothered to publish a post about the fact that I was not going to be around. People do miss you. They really do. When I finally posted again, I noticed that during my absence I had been fortunate to have one of the biggest days of readership on my blog this year.

Lesson 3) Not posting does not necessarily mean no readers.

As you can guess from the title of this post, obsessive investigation into your stats can drive you crazy. Not only can you see your daily views, you can also watch trend graphs, (top left of the dashboard, next to the word Reader) and examine the performance of individual posts by the day, month, or year. One chart you won’t see, is that the newer the blogger, the more worried they are about stats. When you start out, the poor daily views and lack of any response via comments can make you wonder whether it is at all worth it. You have forgotten why you did it to start with, and those stats can make you feel as if you have failed at the first hurdle.

Lesson 4) It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t.

Think back to what you wanted from blogging. If you are trying to promote your work, sell a book, sell lifestyle choices, or Internet skills, then perhaps it matters. No readers = no sales. But for 90% of bloggers, those who just want to write, to voice an opinion, or express thoughts and ideas, it is irrelevant. Nobody was listening anyway, so if they don’t read your blog, you will at least have a record of all you had to say, or lots of your photos to look back on.

Lesson 5) Unless you are selling something, ignore the stats.

Many new bloggers avidly ‘follow back’ everyone who ever follows them, even the religious maniacs, and strange bloggers who want to tell you why they are right, and you are wrong. They are then disappointed when those same bloggers fail to ever ‘like’ or comment on their latest post about what their cat did, or whether or not it was raining when they took their dog out for a walk. By the time someone actually bothers to add a relevant comment, they hardly notice, and might just click a ‘like’ on the comment. They also tend to stop commenting on other blogs, if they haven’t received comments back in return.

Lesson 6) By all means thank other bloggers for following you, but DO NOT feel obliged to follow back in return. Unless their blog has a subject that interests you, and looks like it could be part of a community you might want to be involved with, just let them go on their way. But if someone takes the trouble to comment, be polite. Thank them for that comment, and answer anything relevant. If they are rude, or deliberately argumentative, just don’t allow the comment, or delete it, using the edit facility. They will soon get the message.

Above all, do not let the stats get into your head. Pretty soon, you will be wondering why you bothered to blog at all, and probably stop altogether.

Statsinsanity will have prevailed.

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29 thoughts on “Statsinsanity

  1. I had a visitor from Botswana for the first time and it always makes me smile when a new flag pops up on the stats page. I’m okay with the numbers I get because I never had any expectations of getting anyone following me. I didn’t even expect the fruitcakes! Good post Pete.

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  2. Thanks, Pete. A great reminder. I started blogging when I published my first book, as somebody suggested it was a good way to try and sell books. Four years later (near enough), I enjoy blogging (although I don’t have as much time to read blogs as I’d like) but I sell hardly any books. I don’t look at the stats other than if somebody asks me for some reason. (The two posts I’ve had more comments on and more reads was the one about being fed up with marketing books and the one about my father’s death). I enjoy interaction with what I consider my friends/family of bloggers.

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  3. Solid advice Pete especially 5 and 6 for a rookie like me. I had 2 new followers late last year who I really enjoyed reading and regularly liked my work. When the traffic became one way I wondered if it was something I said. I still check out their stuff, it’s pretty good but you move on. I do not like everything posted by everybody and don’t expect the same but cannot understand people who follow you but don’t “follow” you. πŸ™‚ I think Cindy put it well, reciprocity is the key otherwise move on.

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    1. It doesn’t take too long to work out how to use the blogosphere in the best way for your own situation, Lloyd. From what you say, it seems like you have picked it up nicely.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Stat-a-boy, Pete! I think you have a pretty solid fan base here at beetleypete. It is sort of ironic that you get more views when you’re AWAY from the blog, or when talking exclusively about stats. I’m sort of in-between the “something to sell” and “just want to write” blog motivations. Obviously, I promote my book a little, and my lyrics a wee bit as well, but since those do not provide much fodder for a blog, I mostly write limericks. In any event, I don’t worry about stats. People have risen to my low expectations, and that’s fine.

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  5. Ah finally Pete, I am here again. It was not easy to have two stressful weeks of campaigning online. It was supposed to be my 7th year of blogging yesterday, not the one that WordPress celebrates but the actual posting to my blog. It took me almost a year to write a blog entry since I opened an acct. on WordPress.

    I love this πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks, Arlene. You are a very accomplished blogger, with a large fan base, and huge numbers of views. You have pitched it just right to cater for what you want to express, and to attract a loyal audience at the same time.
      Nice to see you back!
      Best wishes as always, Pete.

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  6. Sound advice, Pete. I get a kick out of the fact I supposedly have almost 800 followers. Of those 800, I can count on the solid 30 who read, like, and comment. I do think reciprocity is important. If you like getting comments, you better give them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m in the same ball park as you regarding followers and comments. To be honest, I generally take most new followers with a pinch of salt, and have the same 20-30 people who are a solid part of my blogging world. Yourself included, naturally.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

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