Blogging Insights – Stats and Readers

Salted Caramel is asking further questions about our blogging habits. You can visit her blog here and browse answers to these and additional questions from a number of other bloggers.

1. How often, if at all, do you check your blog statistics?

2. What methods do you use to increase reader engagement, (provided you care about this)?

I think that checking blog statistics is something that we all probably do fairly frequently in the beginning, kind of like our first days and weeks of involvement in any new organisation when we’re wondering how we can get on and with whom.

I started blogging more than seven years ago and in the beginning, I checked a lot. It was pretty amazing to me that anyone was stopping by at all and of course, it was all very exciting. But over the years I’ve wondered why a rather mediocre blog will take off like a rocket and another doesn’t move much, even though the content is interesting and well presented.

I’ve thought about that a lot where my own posts are concerned as well. I’ll check the stats and be blown away by the number of visits on a piece that I was dubious about posting. The opposite happens, too. I’ll think I’ve done a good post, and poof! As my blog-friend Brian would say, sit and watch the tumbleweeds blow through.

So, after all this time, I don’t have any great insights into generally, what types of posts work and what ones don’t, even though I do check stats in an attempt to try to figure this out.

Increasing my readership is not something I’ve worried about. My blog is quite slow moving, probably because I’ve never bothered with that, and this has also been a blog that I’ve done for myself. It helps me to think, sort and organise, and it’s always been a de-stressor, a place to socialise and visit. I limit the number of blogs I follow because I want to read them, and I only have so much time. But when I do have the time, I travel all over the blogosphere and I will like lots of posts without necessarily following the blog. I want the blogger to have the like or likes, but I don’t expect a return visit.

How about you? How often do you check your stats? Do you do much (if anything) to increase your readership?

53 thoughts on “Blogging Insights – Stats and Readers”

  1. Yes I check my stats a fair bit. I find them fascinating. I had a huge shock checking my stats one day as I discovered somebody quite famous was referring to my blog. I was even more shocked, when I realised that they had republished one of my posts practically wholesale and given me credit. I love to check out where people are reading my blog from. I get a real kick out of knowing that somebody is reading my blog in a remote corner of the earth. I try to say I see you and you matter to me. I care passionately about other narcissistic abuse survivors. I remember the relief at finding others had shared my experience. I pray for all my subscribers on and off. I never forget that behind the statistics there are real people, who for whatever reason, have taken the time to read my writing.

    1. That’s exciting. 🙂 It’s always a big compliment when someone likes your post enough to republish it! But I remember well those first few weeks when I got my first likes and follows. It seemed pretty amazing that anyone would want to read my natterings.

      I agree about the narcissism. I felt a bit nuts at first and thought, “Yeah, no one’s going to read this. They’re going to think I’m a fantasist at best and a wingnut at worst.” The truth is that there are lots of us, and talking (or writing) about our experiences is one of the best things for us. 🙂

      1. Thank you for the encouragement. I don’t know what I would have done, had I not been able to research what was happening online. Those first few videos and later blogs set me free.

  2. First, thank you muchly for the shout-out. Very kind of you.

    Second, I will admit that I check my stats far more often than I should. I’m a bit compulsive about doing so, and it’s most likely based on my endless need for validation, having rarely received such during my formative years. At the same time, and as you have pointed out, I realize that what you expect out of a blog post is often not what you get. Some of my favorite posts have withered on the vine, and yet some middling bit of nothingness will spike the stats. And so it goes…

    1. You are very welcome. 🙂

      I find that so strange. After all this time, I still can’t really tell what makes a “good” blog post and what will make the readers want to upchuck. I have gotten a little obsessive with the stats while trying to figure that out. I’ve given up on that now.

      Do you remember Freshly Pressed? I couldn’t figure out why on Earth some of them got that accolade. Some were obvious, but others? I gave that up too when it became Discover. Maybe it’s all just perspective and I should simply stop thinking about it. 😉

  3. My grandmother used to say “A watched pot never boils.” I don’t pay attention to my stats. If WordPress sends me a message saying “You stats are booming” when I have a guest, I’ll check so I can email that guest and let them know.

  4. I don’t pay attention too much, but is fun to check every now and again. I think of bloggers as a kind of community. I’m here to read and see what I can learn from others. I don’t want to like just everything in hopes somebody will like me back. I want mean the words and the likes, and a few people I have written with or developed closer friendships here with. Good to hear your experience. Always nice to hear your thoughts.

    1. Thank you! It’s good to see your posts again. 🙂

      Yes, I agree totally. I have learned a lot from other bloggers; it has been (and continues to be) such a great experience. I mean it when I do a like, as well. I’ve read the post or have enjoyed the photo, and I want the poster to know.

      1. You’re welcome. And thanks. Yes, that is the key: we can learn so much together that we could never learn apart. Wishing you a lovely rest of your week!

  5. Too true. You never knows what resonates with your readers. I can post what I think is a brilliant post and get the lowest amount of traffic ever and then I post a piece of fluff and the whole thing blows up. I learned early on that the Follower stat does not mean anything. It is only the views and likes that count. There are the spammers out there that click follow hoping you will follow them, but never click your post to view or like it. There are others who like 17 of your posts, all with the same time stamp, yeah, I know you are not really looking or reading. I will continue to blog for a while longer, but expect it will come to an end one day, as life’s obligations get in the way. In the meantime, I am having fun. Have a great week Lynette. Allan

    1. Right? I don’t think I’ll ever figure out what makes a “good” post.

      I agree – followers don’t mean a lot, except for the ones who have followed because they want to see your stuff in their reader. The spammers are mildly irritating, but I tend to ignore them. Yes, one day my blogging will end too, but I don’t know when that will be.

  6. Like you, I used to check my stats in the beginning–and I also tried to increase my readership in the beginning, but not anymore. I just blog for fun. Cheers!

  7. I do occasionally check my stats out of curiosity. I don’t think that the ‘likes’ are very reliable as a way to tell how popular a blog is, as I’ve noticed some of them are from advertising sites. The same with some ‘follows’. I seem to have my regular band of friendly, genuine bloggers, which suits me perfectly. 🙂

    1. Yes, some of the likes and followers are just spammers. I don’t ever look at someone who has followed without liking any of my posts – they’re just looking for a return follow.

      Agreed, I like my little band of bloggers. 🙂

  8. Interesting question, Lynette. I check mine about once a year–for my year-end roundup. It seems most of your readers have the same approach. I do know it’s fairly static in its reach and popularity. Good enough.

    1. Thank you. 🙂

      I’ve noticed that the number of views has gone down a lot over the last year or so, but I understand that WP has changed how they promote blogs.

      Yes mine is fairly static as well.

  9. I started my blog in 2012 and I have around twenty posts. I have about the same number of followers. Most of my content here takes the form of comments on the posts of other people. That’s where most of my army of devoted minions comes from. Now go read a few of my posts and sign up. I need the validation.

  10. I think I glance at mine everyday, but it is more of a “just checking in” kind of thing and I don’t really do anything with it. I don’t normally work to increase those numbers, though I have in the past for specific purposes, but it is rare. I think it really depends on the type of blog you have and why you are blogging. It figures that a blog like mine that is a mixed bag of posts would also have a mixed bag of a need to pay attention to and be concerned about those numbers.

  11. Good questions!
    I’m more about building relationships, sparking conversations or insight and having a positive impact over anything else. Those things cant be measured by stats so I don’t give mine a thought.

  12. I glance over stats every time I connect to WordPress – because that’s the page they start me on. That doesn’t mean I take the time to really investigate what’s going on, unless I have time on my hands.

    I started the blog to have a way to post lots of photos about my travels, where family and friends could easily find them and keep track of me, more or less. It’s definitely not usually real time! I’m currently a trip behind.

    The people I’ve not met who clearly follow my blog because it is of interest to them are mostly people who like person powered small boats, as I’m an avid kayaker, are into photography, as my blog is more photos than words, or are crafters, as I post all finished knitting projects.

    I really don’t care about increasing readership – lookership?? – that’s not why I do this! If people trip over it, and like what they see, that’s fine.

    Lynette has the kind of eclectic blog, with good photos, that I enjoy and try to emulate.

    1. Thank you for the lovely compliment. 🙂 I tripped over your blog and loved your photos. 🙂

      I love how wide and eclectic the likes and follows can be. Connecting with so many different others is wonderful. 🙂

  13. I like to look at the search terms that show up on your stats page (mostly for humor). I do look at the stats enough to know in general how many “readers” I have… though I’ve learned over the years at those stats are very misleading. Especially in regards to our most and least popular posts…

  14. I do check the stats on my blog but mostly because I find it extremely interesting to see that people from all over the world have visited and that is so awesome to me. Like you I blog primarily because it helps me gain clarity. Blogging is a way to express my ideas about life, love, and all things mysterious and wonderful. I do not actively seek more readers and it is always a joy when something I write resonates with somebody or helps another human being in some way. That is very humbling. I love WordPress because it allows me to connect with people from a wide variety of countries and walks of life. I have learned a lot by reading other writers and viewing beautiful photographs of places I will likely never be able to visit. Stats are not something I worry much about.

    1. That’s so true – getting new readers because they like your post (as opposed to spammers or people who only do a like because they want you to like them back) is a pretty amazing thing. I enjoy the connections too. Being able to do that is really pretty amazing. 🙂

      1. It really is so amazing – I love how I can exchange thoughts and ideas with people from all over the world (providing they speak English, my one and only language LOL)

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