Discussion | Blogging Statistics: More Than Just Followers

discussion

A couple weeks ago, it came to my attention that there was a bit of talk going around Twitter regarding posting habits (what is “too little” and what it “too much”) and I felt really cringey that there’s still a sort of mention of what bloggers “should” and “should not” do (lots of quotes here, I know… Can you tell I don’t approve?) and what the “norms” are. I don’t often tweet out into the abyss about issues or THINGS but I just couldn’t hold my tongue…

I was mostly upset (and maybe a little ranty) because the tweet that I saw was regarding a person who was frustrated someone unfollowed them due to too many social media posts in one day. I know it’s disheartening when you see someone actively make the decision not to follow your account anymore, but it made me upset because it felt like the focus was on the number of followers for this person’s account and not the reason why they were posting in the first place.

I wrote a previous discussion post about how we as bloggers need to give ourselves a break and not worry too much about the so-called expectations of the blogging community. We read for fun. We blog for fun. It’s a hobby and it should always been enhancing our lives and happiness, not causing stress… and this whole posting thing really follows that message as well. This is the ONLY blogging “rule” I think we should abide by and sort of my own personal mantra for my blogging habits. The “blogger advice” posts are great, but to all bloggers — new AND old — remember that advice does not equal rules. I’ve had some bloggers ask me how I come up with ideas, how I schedule, how I write reviews, and even how to gain followers, and I’m always happy to share my experience and advice but the best possible advice I can ever give is to make sure you’re enjoying your time and that there is no wrong way to do something. What works for me may not work for the next person — and that’s a good thing. I think we’ve all created our blogs to have our own little corner of the internet where we can voice our opinions and share some awesome book information with the rest of the world and this is my one “should” — your blog should be that corner of the internet where you’re 100% free to find your own voice and what content works for you and the originality and passion for what you enjoy is what makes your blog successful, in my opinion, and what will attract the most followers to your blog. I think readers are able to see a genuine voice, original content, and something that they connect to and that’s the best way to “get followers”. I know it’s hard not to focus on how many followers your blog has, but trust me, they will come if you just keep doing what you’re doing in your own way.

Recently, I had a lot going on in my personal life and I couldn’t find the time to blog. I generally post every weekday (and that is in no way a “norm” — I just really enjoy posting and generally have enough content to fill a week) and there came a day when I just had nothing to post and no time to write something up even if I could come up with an idea. I find the time to blog because it’s something I enjoy  but in this case, my focus needed to be somewhere else. It was very silly to have that number of page views in the back of my mind and how it might drop if I didn’t post that day but I know that page hits isn’t why I’m blogging. I’m a human being who has a life outside of my blog and that is the most important thing to me ALL of the time. I do work hard on my blog but because it’s something I enjoy dedicating my time to. It was very weird letting go and leaving that day empty but in a way, it was also freeing. I didn’t have to post every day. I know that I like to, but it was kind of a reminder that this isn’t something I need to do. It’s something I like to do. I think we all get into our habits and whether they’re fun or maybe a little stressful, sometimes they’re had habits to break.

The other side of that posting “schedule” involves my social media habits as well. I’m sure we all feel that there are certain “norms” — like spacing out promo tweets between personal interactions or the amount of Instagram photos we post in a day — but honestly, along with your blog, your social media accounts are YOURS. You get to choose how often you post, who you interact with, what exactly you post, and what you deem important. These accounts are yours to do whatever you want (well, hopefully you’re being respectful throughout). Whatever you post and however you post it just shows more of your own personality and who you are. If someone unfollows you or doesn’t follow you because of what you’re posting or how often you post it, then they’re not your target audience anyway. Your followers enjoy your content and that’s why they choose to follow you or interact with you. The right people will follow you.

I know it’s hard when I’m sure a vast amount of us feel like blogging is a numbers game. How many followers does my blog have? How many people follow me on Twitter? On Instagram? How many page views do I get? And sometimes it’s really hard NOT to focus on the numbers. For me? I’ve always been a numbers person, even before blogging. I absolutely LOVE statistics so my blogging stats are something that I’m just naturally drawn to. I also can’t help that I have a somewhat competitive personality (sports, grades, board games — that’s just how it’s always been) so it’s not that I’m trying to beat out other bloggers in the numbers game, but I do tend to notice when my numbers grow and I can’t help that happy feeling that happens when I hit an exciting milestone.

It’s not a bad thing to keep track of your statistics and I don’t think anyone should feel ashamed for being proud of seeing those numbers grow. If you work hard on your blog, you deserve all of the followers and recognition and rewards for the work you’re putting into it. I WILL say that may be a harmful thing if you’re blogging IN ORDER to increase your stats. (This is speaking for the majority of us who are doing this as a hobby that we enjoy.) I enjoy blogging. I enjoy watching my follower-base grow. But really, more important than the numbers are the people behind them. I created my blog over three years ago with one idea in mind: I was reading some really good books and I wanted to share my reviews with people so they might be able to enjoy them as well. To this day, that’s still my number one goal. I started writing reviews to share that joy with other people and although the some formatting and content have changed over the years, that’s still my main goal — the reviews, the fun posts, the interviews, the giveaways, the discussions — it’s all because I like voicing my opinions in the hopes that it reaches someone else and enriches their life. I hope that each new follower I get is someone who appreciates the content of my blog and maybe one of my posts brightens their day or they find a new book that they’ll enjoy. I don’t have many extraordinary talents but knowing that this blog might bring a tiny bit of joy or excitement into someone’s life makes it worth it every day and that’s what really matters when I see those numbers grow.

It’s another one of those things where there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to blog. I enjoy keeping track of my stats because statistics are just something I always enjoy. Other people couldn’t care less about followers or statistics… But when it comes down to it, the people are always the most important part of this blogging experience and my blogging life. I’ve made life-long friends, received amazing opportunities, traveled to book conferences to meet even MORE bookish people, and have met wonderful authors. I enjoy talking books to people on Twitter every day and I’m so thankful for the community that I’ve gotten to know. I keep on hoping that my blog and my posts connect with someone out there and they’re enjoying what I write because book blogging is very much about the community and what are all of those numbers anyway? They’re the people behind the stats. And I value those individuals and the way they’ve enriched my life more than the statistics they might provide my blog any day!


So weigh in with what you think! Are you a person who follows stats? What are the reasons YOU  blog?

 

32 thoughts on “Discussion | Blogging Statistics: More Than Just Followers

  1. Nicole @ Nicole's Novel Reads

    Great post Brittany. I know some people get caught up with all of the stats but everyone needs to remember why they made a blog in the first place. I like to blog when I feel like blogging and I don’t like to overwhelm myself with the obligation to blog often and to read more books than I can handle. I like to go at my own pace because I do have a life outside of blogging. Just as you mentioned, sometime stepping away from the blog at times is “freeing.”

    I totally agree with you that the right people will follow your blog because they want to connect with you and are interested in what you have to say. Sometimes quality is better than quantity. And in this case, I would rather have followers who appreciate what I have to say than a bunch of people who just follow me for the sake of following me.

    1. Brittany Post author

      Thanks, Nicole! It’s so true. I think stepping back and letting myself be “free” is the hardest part for me! I think part of it is that it’s such a draw! I love spending time with my blogging buddies so it’s hard to pry myself away from that awesome group and the fact that these great people tie into this hobby makes me anxious to always keep updating!
      Thanks so much for commenting! 🙂

  2. Kristin

    Such a well said post! It’s definitely hard to ignore numbers but it’s SO freeing when you do. I used to be ADDICTED to Twitter and when I went to LA and I wasn’t allowed to use my phone for a month, I got so used to being disconnected that I still don’t feel like I’ve fully connected since I’ve been back. But, it feels great! I really enjoy being present IRL instead of glued to a phone. I still love Twitter interactions and meeting new people online but I feel like I have much more balance these days. And as for making your internet corner your own, I can absolutely speak to that! I felt pigeonholed into a “geek” niche because of my interests and it would be disheartening when people would unfollow me just because I was tweeting about YA books instead of comics but I came to the point where I realized that I didn’t care and I wrote a post last fall about how I was going to be posting only the things I wanted from then on (http://superspacechick.com/2015/01/19/ive-upgrading-kristin-2-0-general-life-overhauls/). Since then, I’ve found the book blogging community and started a YouTube channel and I even post about makeup and stuff and I am so much happier for it<3 Sorry, I left you a novella!

    1. Brittany Post author

      Thanks for the novella!
      I think pulling away from social media is one of the hardest things for me! I just love interacting with this community and can’t lie — it’s always so rewarding to see people excited about what you write!
      I’ve thought about expanding my blog into other interests but I don’t have TOO much else that I’m that passionate about to write up a blog post… but I have combined some things WITH books to give them a spotlight! It’s hard to see those posts not get as much interest BUT I’m doing it because it’s something that I love, not for the post hits. I know there are people out there who appreciate seeing the mash-ups even more!

  3. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    I agree a million times over! It’s funny, because when I first started blogging I was checking out the numbers all the time. But over the last year and a half, I really stopped caring about them. I love that I’ve formed relationships with other book lovers and that we can talk about the books and anything else that we love.

    And I used to try to have a new post 5-6 times a week at first. But then I dropped down to about 4-5 posts a week. And this summer, it’s been mostly 4 posts a week. Monday-Friday. I dropped a lot of the memes because I realized that I didn’t enjoy reading them on other blogs, and I didn’t particularly enjoy putting those posts together so I stopped. And having the weekend free is really great. I feel like it gives me a little break so I can jump back in every week.

    1. Brittany Post author

      I admit that I still look at my numbers but that’s definitely not WHY I blog and it’s important for me to always have fun!
      I still post about every week day but I’m not super pushed if for some reason I don’t have anything to post. Lately I’ve been scheduling ahead because I’ve got a few things going on so that’s been a nice thing!

  4. Alexa S.

    I agree 100% about ENJOYING what you’re doing, particularly as a book blogger. It’s the philosophy I personally live by as well, since blogging, to me, was always meant to be something fun. My blog is an extension of my own creativity and my unique take on my interests. So, producing quality content that I’m proud of is more important to me than any numerical stats (though I’m grateful for each and every person who follows my blog/Twitter/etc). If I’m feeling happy with what I’m doing, then I’m doing great!

    1. Brittany Post author

      YES, definitely. I think if you’re not enjoying it, you’re doing work and doing it for free so what’s the point? I blog because it’s fun and because I just LOVE sending my bookish thoughts out there into the blogoverse!
      I also think it’s really great to see how much I’ve grown over the years — as a person, as a blogger, as a writer, as a friend. My blog has really helped all of that too!

  5. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    I try to not follow any real ‘blogging rules’ I’m with you…I think it’s all about each individual person and what they enjoy and want their blog to be like. I do the best I can but sometimes I don’t feel like reviewing and have zero ideas for a creative post so I sort of take a semi-break and continue to read (feeling like this right now actually). I dont’ think I’ve lost followers from ever taking a break. Seems pretty harsh to stop following someone because they weren’t posting all the time though. I don’t really go by any schedule or guidelines…I just sort of do what I feel like when I feel like it. Like you said…it’s a hobby. We aren’t paid to do this so it’s a work of love.

    I do look at my stats and I don’t enjoy seeing them fall but at the same time I always ask myself…WHY DO I CARE? I’ve been too addicted to Twitter lately so I’ve been taking a bit of a break and WHOA. It’s an amazing feeling to not feel like I’m staring at my feed all the time. I hope to continue to not be so entranced with every little thing that pops up on there.

    Sorry my comment is all over the place! haha.

    1. Brittany Post author

      It’s so true. We all have periods of not wanting to write anything or reading slumps… and you just go with it! I can’t ever force blogging and I can’t force reading either (one of the reasons I tend to have a higher DNF rate than others). If it ever feels like work, something is wrong. So I usually take a break or switch it up!
      I agree — I do look at my stats and I’m curious to see how things progress and how my blog has grown… but it’s also not something I obsess over! I thought it was SO important when I was first starting and I guess it is important if you’re looking to make connections with publishers and review ARCs… but it was great to pull that focus back and remind myself that while those kinds of opportunities are exciting and fun, that’s not WHY I’m doing this. It’s simply something that has come with all of the work I’ve put into my blog.
      I definitely think social media is the hardest thing! I can’t pull away sometimes!! And partially it’s actually because of the awesome community. Yes, I’m blogging there but half the time I’m just chatting with the friends that I’ve made and I think THAT’S the thing that draws me back in the most 😀

    1. Brittany Post author

      Thanks so much for commenting! I’m totally with you — I think it’s much more rewarding to know that I have viewers who appreciate what I’m writing as well but I do still enjoy it for just writing and expressing myself too 🙂

  6. Cynthia @ Bingeing On Books

    This is a GREAT topic. Yes, I keep track of my stats and sure, I like followers. But I make it a habit to try not to change my blog or posting habits based on what will give me the most followers. I remember a few months ago, I discovered I had lost two Bloglovin followers. Now, I have no idea who unfollowed me or why. It did bother me . . . for about five minutes. Then I had to remind myself that the blog is for me and is supposed to be for fun. And I shouldn’t take it personally when someone just doesn’t feel like reading my blog on a regular basis.

    1. Brittany Post author

      Exactly! Who doesn’t like followers? But it’s really hard not to let those opinions affect how you blog sometimes. I know in the beginning I was trying to get feedback on “What do you like more? What should I do less of?” But then I stopped myself because while I do want my readers to enjoy the content, I’m still always writing about things that I LOVE. Not every reader will enjoy EVERY post but chances are every post will be loved at someone 🙂 And when it comes down to it, I’m always doing it because it’s something I love, not to please someone else! (Although I do hope my content is pleasing. It’s such a circle haha!)

  7. Elizabeth

    I go through periods where I follow my stats and others where I just don’t care, but obsessing over stats has never gotten me anywhere. So I have just decided to post when I feel like it and that, really, I keep my blog for me, not so much for other people (though, the interaction is always nice). I have a couple loyal readers and that’s cool, but I kind of think if everyone stopped reading my blog, I’d still probably post every now and then because I like to write about what I read and I like having that record to go back and look at.

    1. Brittany Post author

      Definitely! This is why I don’t mind watching my stats but I try not to obsess! It’s nice to know that there are people out there reading and that they are excited for what I write but I’m writing no matter what!

  8. Amanda @ Nellie and Co.

    I follow my stats avidly – I go on my GA almost every 3-4 days. I check on my page views, on my visitors, my bounce rate, the time sessions get, I monitor which posts are liked more by others, and I make sure that what I’m doing works, because I really want to feel like I’m pushing myself further to do better things. I care that my followers are people, and I work to interact with them more, I’m building relationships with people more, I want to get to know them as people and not numbers, but it doesn’t stop me working hard on my stats, and I think deep down, I’m a stats person more than a social being. BUT, you ask what keeps me blogging? In a way, it’s a mixture of having a hobby, having a lot to say and no-one around locally to listen, wanting to share my knowledge and thoughts, and wanting to create good, healthy relationships with people like me. It’s a complicated fine line, and I think I’m right on it, but I’m happy with my flow, and you are happy with yours, so it’s great. Thanks for sharing though Brittany! 🙂

    1. Brittany Post author

      I love EVERYTHING that you said! I do the same thing — I check my stats a lot and see what’s working, what’s not, and I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! some people might see that as catering to readers but I think it’s making my writing and my blog grow. I like to improve on what I’m doing. Something might really just not be interesting content and sure, I can write it for myself and sometimes I do — but I also do want to grow as a writer and essentially a marketer in some ways. I know everyone wants their blog to be appreciated and it’s always nice to be able to see that appreciation through stats!
      And absolutely — I ALWAYS appreciate the relationships I form because of my blog. I’ve met so many amazing people — online and IRL — and I have my blog to thank for it! It’s a great way to meet new people, introduce myself, and have them hear my “voice” before we even meet in person.

  9. Tanya

    Really enjoyed your post, Brittany! I’m still a beginner blogger (started 5-6 months ago) but even in these few months I’ve seen so much about number of subscribers, and how to get more followers… it seems to be a huge deal for some. And here I am, trucking along… LOL… with so few subscribers but happy as a clam because I like what I’m doing. And isn’t that the whole point? Sure it would be nice to have hundreds of subscribers but maybe, in time, that will come. (It sure doesn’t happen overnight!) But in the meantime, I like what I do. I post when I can (a couple times a week), I learn as I go, I share books that I love, I follow others and comment when I have something to say… and that’s enough. I guess it’s all about what you’re looking for and what you’re trying to get out of it, but it seems to me if it’s nothing but a numbers game… where’s the enjoyment?

    1. Brittany Post author

      Thanks, Tanya! Woo hoo! The first few months of blogging are so exciting! Well, it’s really always exciting for me, but I remember how new and fun it was to go explore everything I could do with my blog and within the community.
      I think everyone wants to gain a following and some great readers for their blog and hey, isn’t that part of why we do it? In all seriousness, I DO blog for myself and I continue the hobby because it’s something I love but we put it on the internet to reach an audience and hopefully to interact with them. I’ve met some close and even best friends through my blog and I can’t imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t followed them or if I had never publicized my voice!
      I think the important thing is not to blog FOR followers. I think it’s perfectly okay to get feedback or switch things up if you feel like they just aren’t working but no shame in wanting people to read what you write! It’s about sharing and it’s rewarding to see that people enjoy your content! And yes, definitely! If you’re blogging ONLY for the numbers, then it’s a job and it’s not fun (nor does that sit well with other bloggers/readers either)! I always enjoy working on my blog and making it better, making myself better as a writer and as a reader, and I do put a lot of work into it! Followers will come with time and they’ll notice how hard you work and appreciate that. It’s the personal connection that draws readers in and I always value personal connections so much!

  10. Audrey Greathouse

    Big rant, big truth! There’s no one way to do it and the internet ensures that everyone has a platform. What the marketing world is seeing more and more is that it is beter to have a small, dedicated niche audience that genuinely loves what you do than a bunch of people only interested enough to give you their email and let you ping them your content. Different viewers are looking for different things, and there is quite simply no pleasing everyone. You have to do what makes you happy, because until you’re having fun with it, no one else will either! I don’t keep up a book blog, but I’ve found that my author blog does best when I’m posting about 2x a week. I can’t always keep up with that, so I just make sure I get one post done every week and then know that if the spirit strikes me, I can put something else up too. It isn’t that hard to figure out what will make it easy on you and fun for the bulk of your readers 🙂

    1. Brittany Post author

      Thanks for commenting, Audrey! I think you’re absolutely right. You can tell when someone’s not enjoying what they’re doing or their writing is forced. I think it’s not worth it to shovel out posts if you can’t come up with quality. It will hurt a blog in the long run instead of help! If someone CAN do that many posts, go for it but no point in forcing something that just isn’t natural!

  11. Desert Sage

    Thank you for this.
    For a number of reasons.
    Just starting to actively work on utilizing our blog and twitter and…. reading this helped assuage some of the weird worry and paranoia lurking in the back of my mind.

    1. Brittany Post author

      It’s hard not to think about those things sometimes but I say hey, all perfectly normal!

  12. Emily

    I really needed this post this week. Thank you. With all the posts about newbie mistakes and learning to be a better blogger, I’ve been feeling a little like a failure. Unlike a lot of ya bloggers, I’m an adult. I work a full time job, I run a small business and I volunteer with organizations, on top of blogging. Don’t get me wrong, I would never have started blogging or I would quit if I didn’t love it. However sometimes I feel like I’m not a real blogger cause my post goal is twice a week.

    It’s good to be reminded that my blog is for me cause I love it, not for anyone else. Obviously I want to share my love of books with as many people as possible but on my terms in a way that works for me.

    1. Brittany Post author

      I always feel like those types of posts can be helpful if your goal is to really improve your blog. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to grow your audience, improve your content, or make your blog more aesthetically pleasing — they’re all things to be proud of! — but you DEFINITELY have to make sure you’re not stressing yourself out or feel like you need to compete or live up to anyone else I think posting twice a week is fantastic!! You have quality posts and aren’t rushing to post more just to have content out there.
      I actually think the majority of the YA bloggers I know are adults with full time jobs! Some are stay-at-home moms and maybe have more free time (or less depending on the ages of the kids!) and I actually only know a few teen bloggers, honestly. We are all different and that’s why our blogs are so special! Everyone’s content and style and voice is unique. I’d rather read occasional posts from someone who clearly loves what they’re doing than a post every day from someone who’s rushing to get content out there. And no matter how often you post, you ARE a real blogger! You are doing absolutely fab and just keep doing what makes YOU happy! 🙂

  13. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I love how you give both sides to this issue. How it’s OKAY to want more followers and to pay attention to stats, but that we shouldn’t obsess over it. Sometimes that balance is hard to find. Let’s face it – we’re all human, and we all want our blogs to be the best they can be, and sometimes we’ll even make mistakes. We just can’t drive ourselves crazy over it!!

  14. Olivia Roach

    At the end of reading all that I can only say that I agree with you completely. I more so blog because it’s something I just LOVE doing. Yes, sometimes I wish I could post more but I have other hobbies and things to be doing so I have come to terms with that. I blog my way, and although I do read about advice all the time and all, I do try to keep my blog the way I would want to read it. It’s my little space, as you said <3 I used to look at my statistics a lot more, but now that I have gotten into a rhythm of blogging it happens a lot less. But when I do reach a milestone – I can't help it, I get excited and love to share that excitement and love for those who bother to read about all the random things I post in a giveaway.

    But at the end of the day, followers aren't the most important thing. You, yourself and the way you handle things is.

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