My Obsession With Site Stats

Did you know that I know how many people read my blog? Or, at least, I have a pretty good idea of the number. To say the least, I’m pretty obsessive about my visitor statistics.

I think I have a few reasons for being so.

I’ll start by giving you some of the stats that I’m working with.

  • Facebook friends: 164
  • Facebook page likes: 18 (I need 30 before Facebook will give me insights)
  • Twitter followers: 23
  • Blog subscribers: 4 (I’m one of them)
  • Here are some reader stats for this blog:

newBlogStats021314

  • Here are some reader stats for my old blog:

oldBlogStats021314


Who cares? I kind of do.

I care because I think that my stats are a reflection of how engaging the content I create actually is, but they are also a reflection of how well I’m marketing my blog. As you can see, my reach (internet-speak for “how many people engage with your content”) is fairly small, but it’s slowly gaining momentum.

One important thing about blogging is creating interesting content. People have enough to read, so you have to make sure that your blog is worth their time and energy. But, you also need to let people know that you are creating content that they might be interested in looking at (the marketing bit).

Another important thing about blogging is a focus. People tend to like dependability, and like knowing what they’re getting themselves into. If your blog bounces around, like mine often does, people tend to shy away. Having a blog that addresses one issue, or only a few at most, will attract those people who are interested in that topic. If you’re so inclined, you can always create different blogs that address different issues.

Finally, I think that good writing attracts people. Most people don’t worry too much about their writing. They just write to communicate, and getting the point across is the one-and-only purpose. These people, however, are aware of the conventions of the written language, even if that knowledge is tucked in the deep recesses of their brains. So, when you’re writing for an audience, it’s probably best to keep this in mind.

My stats, I think, reflect whether or not I’m hitting these benchmarks. I try to analyze the posts with the most views to determine why the content was most interesting. I also try to determine whether alerting people of new posts through my Facebook timeline, Facebook page, Twitter feed, or subscriptions, is effective.

Here’s what I’ve come to learn, at the six-month juncture of this blog:

  • posting to my Facebook timeline is most effective, probably because it has the most reach
  • Twitter doesn’t generate many viewers, maybe because a Twitter feed is a busy place
  • the Facebook page might be working, but they’re aren’t enough people liking it to really know
  • people aren’t really subscribing to my blog, and I imagine it’s because they don’t want any more email
  • my old blog turned up more often in Google searches, likely because I was using my real name (which is rather unique) and it had a lot more content

The only thing I’m really going to do with this information is write this post about it, hoping that someone might find it useful.

I’ll try to write content more regularly, just so the blog is as fresh as it can be (and turn up in more Google searches). Ultimately, the main reason that I keep a blog is that I enjoy it.

I had been thinking about abandoning my blog, in favour of other literary pursuits, but I thought I should seek some advice first. So, I solicited some feedback from a friend of my mine, asking her if she read my blog and, if so, what she thought about it. Here’s what she wrote back to me:

I do read your blog – and I do think you should keep doing it.  First and foremost because you enjoy doing it but because it’s also good for other people to see someone working through their thoughts and emotions so openly and honestly.  I think even if you don’t see a lot of responses there are probably more people reading it than you think.

I like her response because it captures the impetus for me starting and maintaining this blog. Stats be damned.

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