We’re bloggers and we grow it

Young bloggers

Oh sure, they look like young bloggers now, but wait until that stats envy hits! Image courtesy of gracey, Morguefile.

After you’ve been blogging for a while, I think you inevitably succumb to that ailment known as “stats envy”. It’s only human. Through the magic of the WordPress dashboard (for you non-bloggers out there, the dashboard is the behind-the-scenes control panel within a blog), it’s very easy to see the number of visits your blog receives and how many blog followers you have. Some bloggers choose to make this information known on their blogs through the use of widgets, while others choose to keep that information to themselves.

As a part of my blogging, I follow other bloggers and read their posts frequently. With bloggers such as Robin Coyle and LouAnn of On The Homefront, we often use our blogs to cyber-sass each other, all in good fun. Through this interaction we bloggers have with each other, our own blogs grow as we attract more and more visitors.

But sometimes I’ll see someone who started their blog about the same time as mine. Some of these bloggers have more followers or more visits than I; others have less.

I often wonder…what IS it that these other bloggers are doing to get more followers or more visits? And I get a tiny bit envious — what magic elixir are they using that I’m not? Are they posting more frequently? Did they just happen to pick a more popular topic among readers? Have they been Freshly Pressed several times? Are they spreading their blog post on Twitter, Facebook or other sites?

It’s hard to predict what’s going to be a hit with readers. About the only thing that is predictable about a certain post becoming a hit is that there IS no way to predict it at times. I was astonished to find that a blog post I once did about proofreading got a large number of views in three days, far in excess of my usual amount. I’ve also had one day where only one person read my blog post. (Well, it was a Sunday, which tends to be a slow day for me.) *sighs*

But I’m philosophical. The main points of my blog are to amuse, inform and entertain (preferably all three at the same time, with or without a supply of chocolate). If even one person learns a tidbit of new knowledge or gets a chuckle from what I’ve said, then the time I spent writing that post was time well spent.

Blog readers, what are your feelings about stats envy? Do you still have it, or are you past that point now?

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83 Comments

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83 responses to “We’re bloggers and we grow it

  1. Nice post. It is interesting to see the numbers go up and down. I was getting good numbers with a lot of referrals from Google images until Google Images changed the way that they presented images. I probably had a good 20-30% reduction from last month because of this :-).

    I also like to see which posts get found on a regular basis and see which ones languish in the dust and never get any notice. Unfortunately, the lost ones are sometimes the posts I worked the hardest on or are near to my heart.

    I am also surprised at which post has gotten the most hits. I wrote a post on Firework Memories on July 3rd. Over the next five months it received a total of 75 views. Then in December and January it got more than 1,500 views. This month it has slowed down, probably because of the Google image search changes and has only 85.

  2. I totally get this as I have a co-worker that followed mine for a while, started her own, and hers just hit right from the beginning. I get so baffled by why, but then I get the same thing within my blog. I’ll spend a ton of time on one and it will be what I think is a super entertaining one and it barely gets seen, but then I’ll do a short one that I think maybe 10 minutes on and it hits like a fresh press. It is just such a baffling thing.

  3. Stats can be misleading. I try to never forget that.

  4. I definitely struggle with stats envy. I see bigger numbers than mine and wonder why I don’t have more followers and visits yet. I just have to focus on the fact that I do have readers and there are people who appreciate what I have to say, so my message is being heard.

  5. I know what you mean. When I started my blog, I had no interest in the stats, but now, I check my number of views several times a day, even when I haven’t posted anything for a few days. I was thrilled last December when I set a personal record for the most views in one month, and I was disappointed when I didn’t beat that record in January. But I don’t really compare my degree of blog fame to others’ very much; it’s more of a matter of trying to keep the numbers on an upward trend.

  6. Often I have no idea why one post gets lots of hits while a better one doesn’t, but other times I can figure it out by a process of deduction. Popularity can be the cyber equivalent of “in the right place at the right time.” When we had our blizzard last week, I’d already written a series about the blizzard of 1978 when Sandy was on the way. So, when the blizzard hit, I got 1000 hits in about 4 hours on posts I’d put up in November. Why? Because my stuff was up before everyone else’s. After others weighed in, the traffic on my site stopped. Luck, pure and simple.

    I know ways to get more hits. Write about pop stars, TV shows, celebrities. But it’s a trap. Many things that intrigue me are unpopular. Obscure, even dull. I try to post about more than one thing, try to hit a balance. Sometimes I’m successful, other times not so much.

    What to me is the MOST baffling is why people so many people care so much about such silly stuff. If you want a lot of hits, write about television shows. Popular ones. Oh, and weird stuff — monsters and ghosts. That’s also big.

  7. I can’t stand it! I’ve got to say something about kicking up hit numbers. : D One simple thing that can kick it up for most bloggers is to have email of post notices go as summaries instead of the full post. WP.com defaults to full post.

    And since I’ve started this comment, I’m going to finish it with instructions ’cause someone’s going to ask.

    On the Dashboard’s sidebar, select:
    “Settings” –> “Reading” –> “For each article in a feed, show” –>”Summary”

  8. I definitely get stats envy, although embarrassed to admit it because agree with your conclusion!

    “But I’m philosophical. The main points of my blog are to amuse, inform and entertain (preferably all three at the same time, with or without a supply of chocolate). If even one person learns a tidbit of new knowledge or gets a chuckle from what I’ve said, then the time I spent writing that post was time well spent.” – Exactly why I blog too!!

    Great post as I think most bloggers can appreciate this feeling :)

  9. I think I am more competitive with myself than others. Like you, I wonder why some posts attract more attention than others. Some, that I have spent a lot of time on, get little interest and others that I put together in a few minutes are popular….who knows?
    Being Freshly Pressed certainly helps and is a lot of fun. Writing regularly helps, keeping roughly to a theme helps, photographs help, but ultimately I don’t know what makes one blog more popular than another.
    One of my most visited posts is about our Fiat. It continues to collect hits 2 years after I wrote it….who knows why?
    If you don’t enjoy writing your blog, others won’t enjoy reading it.

  10. travelrat

    I usually keep my stats to myself, with the exception that I publish my annual report. However, I do make an exception, when I’m asked for them by someone sponsoring a blogtrip or something. Thing is, I don’t think they’re too reliable, as they make no distinction between someone who visits regularly, and likes what they see, and someone just passing through, who was looking for something else.

  11. I don’t have stats envy, I do very much like the stats feature. In fact I’m kind of amazed by it, especially when I see what people are looking at on my blog and from where they’re looking. Someone in Thailand just recently read my piece comparing Archie Bunker and Troy Maxxon, my piece on Sir Robert Peel (the father of modern policing) gets read about 3 times month by folks all over the world. I had never heard of Roger McGough.before I read 40—love and wrote (later posting) an analysis of that poem and yet every once and while someone, somewhere is looking for information on the piece and clicks the link to my blog. I suppose that what one writes about will influence the traffic on your site. I haven’t been Freshly Pressed yet so if that ever happens I might change my view regarding stats. But for now I’m happy with my humble little blog and those who stop by and visit.

  12. Ha! I wrote a very similar post last week about blog envy, and it generated a lot of comments too, it’s obviously a pertinent subject at the moment! – http://vanessa-chapman.com/2013/02/12/do-you-suffer-from-blog-envy/

    • Drat. How did I miss that? (*rushes over to Vanessa’s blog to read the post and rushes back*)

      I like your five-step program and the remark about “quality over quantity” — so true.

      (And consider yourself added to the cyber-sassing list — I saw the byplay between you and Robin.) *grins*

      • Don’t worry about missing it, we can’t possibly read all the posts on all the blogs that we ever interact with!

        I love the cyber-sassing as you describe it, it’s all part of the fun isn’t it!

      • You betcha! I think it provides all of us cyber-sassers with a great deal of entertainment.

      • Glad I skimmed the comments before chiming in — “quality over quantity” . . . (but I have to repeat that several times when a post I was particularly proud of gets relatively little attention from fellow bloggers!).

      • I hear ya. It’s a let-down after you’ve crafted what you think is a really good post, but hardly anybody reads it. And thanks to the WordPress changes last December, now we have a better handle on the exact number of people reading our blog.

  13. I never look at other people’s blog stats. I dislike feeling envious or trying to match up to someone else. I’d prefer just to keep doing my thing and be happy with whatever hits or followers I get, with no comparisons to others. I think the most important thing is finding the loyal followers, not the quantity thereof. Some people actually read the posts, others simply click “like” and move on. The stats might grow but is there any point?

    • I wish that WordPress could tell us how long somebody stays on a blog. I get amused when it says ‘views per visitor” for that day is something like 1.8 or 2.4, for example. How do you read one-eighth or four-tenths of a blog??!!

      • On blizzard day, I had 950 views, but only 169 visitors. Apparently everyone who dropped by stayed awhile. That’s the only times I’ve gotten numbers like that. I’ve had other “big” days, but none where each visitor looked at 5 or 6 posts. Usually, it’s 1 or 2.

  14. I kept waiting for the word “obsessed” to pop up in your post. That’s how I feel sometime as I watch stats wax and wane. My ultimate goal with the stats is to understand who is reading and why, and stats don’t tell me that necessarily. For instance, why does a post about communication I wrote more than a year ago suddenly garner tons of hits? It’s a little like looking for gingko leaves in a forest: I don’t know where to find them, but I know when I do. The more I blog, however, I’m beginning to believe that the best stat is the number of comments. That means engagement. So I have to confess “comment envy.”

  15. As much as numbers, hits, and followers stoke the ego, I’m more into comments and likes. I call this the Sally Field Syndrome (they like me, they really like me!). I write to connect with others and if I get too hung up on my stats I will get oh so discouraged. But, yeah, I wonder about why some blogs are more traffic-heavy and why OH why I’m not pressed yet. Eh, maybe I’ll always be blogmaid, never a blog.

    • *sends a hug and chocolate*

      I wonder how WordPress finds anybody at all for Freshly Pressed when you consider all the gazillion blogs out there.

      • I think quality of post is one ingredient (*wink and defer*). Thanks for the hug and always appreciate chocolate. I just discovered Haagen Daaz makes gelato now. I consumed a whole pint of their amaretto cherry. I shudder at the caloric catastrophe. It went well with watching Persuasion. The gelato was much better than the movie–oops I’m giving away my blog post…

      • Chocolate and Persuasion. Is there anything better? I’ll have to come visit and find out which version you saw.

  16. I rarely look at my own stats, never at those of other bloggers. My goal is to say what I have to say (like most writers, I just need to write), and if others are interested in what I have to say, perfect. Do I care how many are interested? Probably. But not enough to give stats the potential power to take the fun and meaning out of writing, and not enough to work at growing readership. We have real lives to live too, after all!

  17. My hits continue to be mostly from people looking for pictures of orange kittens.

  18. My answer is “It Depends.” When I am mired in a lousy mood, my stat numbers can either improve said mood or darken it further.

    But stats are so wishy-washy. One morning I was astounded to discover a huge spike in my daily viewings — only to discover that 183 of those views came from Malaysia over the course of a single hour. And all of those views were of the homepage. So some guy halfway around the world felt the need to incessantly click on my blog 183 times without really reading it. Sure my stats graph looked incredible that day, but it meant nothing.

    As for me, I tend to be more comment driven. I like hearing from people and am eager to reply to their witticisms. That’s the true test of who is really reading your blog.

  19. I read this same idea of blog envy on so many other blogs that I think a majority of us feel this way (at least at some point in our blogging). I used to hit my stats bar every day to see how many people read my post. It depressed me many days, surprised me with joy on others. I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t checked it for weeks, and that has been nice (a lot less stressful). I do what I can, but have stopped wondering if Freshly Pressed will ever find me. They won’t. Pressure gone. Sigh. (Not to say the ‘need to know’ won’t overwhelm me again in the future and I’ll be back to stressing over my stats. It probably will. But I will enjoy this busy period where I don’t have a chance to worry about it…and eat chocolate. That helps too.)

  20. Although I write all the time (mainly for Sunday sermons), I wanted a place to just write what I wanted, so I mainly started my blog just for me. But when I saw that people actually read them, it was kind of exciting. I admit I fantasize about huge numbers from time to time, but when it comes down to it I am just thrilled that people even read it and, good grief, I actually have followers! Which sort of makes me feel a little pressure –will they continue to follow, will they like this blog or the next? In the end, though, I love to write, to express thoughts and ideas and so I’ll keep it up anyway.

    Having said that, of course I check my stats after each entry…

  21. cyber-sass–I love it. Yes I have stats envy. And Freshly Pressed envy–but I do not sulk about it (much). And I love, love, love my blog family–especially you and Robin and a ton of others — but don’t think I have forgotten your contributions to our New Year’s Eve party – posts and snacks and all kinds of support–we are throwing another party to celebrate Canada Day and July 4th–so you are our first invitee.

  22. Oh dear! This totally strikes a chord……. As a blogger who writes in 3 different voices, (a business background that stressed diversification of portfolio!!) it would not be unreasonable to expect to reach a larger audience than current readership.

    Quite clearly, whatever elixir exists has so far eluded this blogger. :(

  23. I am cyber-sassing you right now.

  24. I still have it….I still haven’t figured out if people get annoyed when I get a bit silly…if they just want to see pictures of squirrels..if I should post twenty times a day…and back to the silly…just go with it…or banish it completely..which I have done pretty much lately…I have no idea why people follow my blog and as you’ve stated, why some other blogs just blow me out of the water…it all makes me tired..:)

  25. It’s a great mystery.
    Some say blogging constantly (everyday/multiple short posts each day) will get hits – but others say so many posts irritate readers and eventually they stop following the annoying frequent ones.
    Some say only blog on the ‘hot” controversial topics and use tags search engines will pick up.
    For every “answer” there’s someone who feels exactly the opposite.
    All I can say is just write and read/comment other blogs you enjoy.
    The numbers game will suck the life out of it otherwise.
    (but darn it’s nice when people read a post you really worked hard on!)

  26. Any reason why you haven’t moderated my comment? Did I say something wrong?

  27. Still got the stats blues…

  28. Ya, I have follower envy. And did have Freshly Pressed envy, but the more I read them, the more arbitrary and useless it seems. So I kind of hope I never get Freshly Pressed. My most popular post is about washing dishes. It gets hit through search engine for clip art. Bizarre! Great post.

  29. Haha I came across this post of yours, and gave a huge sigh of relief, ‘Thank God I am not the only one!’ So in answer to your question, yes I have indeed grown green with blogger envy! Great Post :)

  30. Patti

    Hmm, I’m a reader, that’s it. I will never have a blog, write a story or take that awe-struck photo. Never ever happen. That is what all you wonderful blog owners do.
    I have been emotionally lifted out of horrible funks by writers, their humorous words, sarcastic phrases, insightful stories. I’ve escaped into their stories and hated to leave at the final word.
    I love the journeys photographers have taken me on. The places, animals and landscapes I’ve had the privilege to view. Wow!
    I think of Mike in the UK from Mike’s Film …. when I walk, hoping his walks are as joyful. He also accepts my iPhone typos with humor.
    Marilyn/Teepee12 really helped me over personal slump I had last week. I was not so alone, she really did help.
    Going to Google, “hanging participle” that YOU wrote about. I’ve a vague memory but that’s it. So I learn from you folks.
    I don’t recall hitting the “like” button ever but I will now. I don’t follow anyone but I will sign up to WordPress and begin.
    What I do doesn’t matter. It’s all about what so many of you do for me. I know I’m not alone in saying Thank You and your family of bloggers.

  31. Patti

    Thank you, both.

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