Book Related

The Blog Stats Dilemma

The thing you’ll hear a lot around the book blogging community is that no one gets going on here because they wanted a million followers and hits and ARCs and all the lovely benefits that come with talking about books online.

And for the most part, I believe this (though there are totally people around who get into this because of the ARCs and review copies, but this isn’t about that).

But the one thing I’ve found the longer I’m running this blog is that I do look at the stats. I check my page views religiously, and keep charts of how much my stats increase, how my followers increase. At first, it was because it was cool to see how it was growing. My reviews and posts were getting attention, and that was really cool.

But then I had a month that fell short of the last. I’d been busy with life and gotten up less posts, read a bit less than the month before. And my stats reflected it.

When it comes down to it, I’m not reviewing and posting for the stats. I enjoy talking about books, and I like writing reviews. But I’m also not going to say that the stats don’t matter to me.

And the longer I do this, the more I find myself comparing my blog to others, especially those who started around the same time I did. And especially especially the ones who are so clearly doing better than me, if follower numbers and ARCs are anything to go by.

I know I’m not the only one, because I’ve seen mention of this before, on blogs and on Twitter. Which is nice. To know I’m not alone.

But it’s funny how the approval and acknowledgement of others is so important to us as bloggers. How we measure our success in the number of books we’ve received for review or the number of people who subscribe to our page.

This article talks about approval on a more basic level than our blogging, but it still makes a good point. We’re conditioned to seek approval from when we’re really young, and we just change the definition to suit our needs as bloggers. I’ve also read an article (forgive me for not linking it – I can’t find it again) that says that every ping to our phone with a comment or a like from our blog page or social media causes the release of dopamine in our brains. We feel good when we see that someone likes our stuff or wants to follow us.

Book bloggers also take this a step further, because we are rewarded for larger followings and more hits with books. Granted, we owe work for this book we receive, but if you’re going to be reading and reviewing anyway, it’s a pretty sweet deal. And it makes sense. Publishers and authors aren’t going to send books to people who only have a couple people reading their posts, when they have the option of sending it to someone who may get dozens of hits on a review.

So basically, book bloggers are trained to watch their stats and to care about their stats because it’s indicative of our success as book bloggers, and we’re predisposed to crave the approval of others, especially those we deem important.

Which kind of sucks. But that’s the reality of what we do.

And maybe you’re sitting there, thinking to yourself, ‘I don’t care how many followers I have’. Good for you.

But for the rest of us, how do we deal with the doubt that comes along with seeing blogs and bloggers that are far more successful than we are?

I can only make suggestions, but this is what I’ve found helpful:

1. Track your own stats to watch your growth. I especially track the number of followers I gain each month, because this number typically goes up, rather than fluctuating.

2. Acknowledge your real life. Sometimes, I have lousy stats for a month, but a lot of great things were happening outside of my reading and blogging life. And that’s worth the trade for me.

3. Use it as motivation. Quality over quantity is a good rule for blogging (among many other things), so use those feelings when you see someone outstripping you on the stats front and get better at what you do. What could you improve on? What could you do to make your blog unique? If you’re going to have those feelings anyway, might as well put them to good use.

4. Decide whether you’re happy with how your blog is going, and go from there. This is a big one for me, because I know I could be doing more and better with my blog if I had more free time. But I don’t. So I note the fact that I got three review copies this month, I had a good month for my blog, and I am pleased with the posts I published, and decide to be happy with it.

Do you experience this too? Got some thoughts? Got some suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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29 thoughts on “The Blog Stats Dilemma

  1. Reblogged this on SJ Lang and commented:
    This is a really good article for book reviewers as well as bloggers in general. Don’t judge your growth by other people’s actions. Focus on the growth as it effects you. The internet’s vast and takes a lot of time to find an audience. Network with other bloggers because you appreciate what they say and how they review. Look at the overall growth, not just the random bumps.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think so many people focus on gaining some attention, of getting a following so fast. It’s not like it was in 2004-2005. It’s a wider field and it’s okay to not be a huge name. Just enjoy what you do.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a really great discussion post! I remember when my blog was a bit newer I was super obsessed with followers and stats and while I tried to convince myself that I didn’t care at all I definitely did!
    However over the last couple of months and after I’d had the blog for a sufficient amount of time, I found myself caring a bit less about all of that as well as being less worried about posting ALL the time.
    I really loved reading about how others feel about the issue though 🙂
    ~ A

    Like

  3. I could say “I don’t care about my stats” but I would be lying hehe. I always check my stats, and it also helps to know which of your posts are more popular. I might be the only book blogger who doesn’t do ARC’s. I was going to do it through NG but then decided that I didn’t want to. So maybe that won’t make me as popular as other book blogs…but I have too many books in my TBR pile as it is. I don’t really have any desire to obtain ARC copies of books (I see a lot of people on twitter trying to get them for part of their collection). I love when people like and comment on my posts, it makes me happy that someone has read what I have written and liked it enough to comment on it.

    This is a great post! For the record, I think you have a great blog and you put up great posts 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you’re the only person I’ve heard of who doesn’t do ARCs. I do publisher/author ones, but I don’t do the Netgalley thing like everyone else, because I want to read the books I have on my shelf already. Good for you for not getting caught up in the hype of ARCs.

      Thank you! That makes me smile 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you’re so honest! I definitely care about stats. I don’t care much about page views, but likes, comments, and followers definitely affect me.
    Unfortunately the posts I love writing are the ones that get the least love. Book reviews, LGBT+ movie reviews, posts about uni events, etc. I usually tell myself that it’s fine that they don’t get lots of comments, because it’s balanced out by my enjoyment in making them! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Followers is definitely the one I watch the most. The rest are nice, but followers are the ones most easily viewed on my and other’s blogs.

      That’s definitely true. I love writing reviews, but they get the least views by far. But if you enjoy them, that’s the most important thing, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh you are SO not alone! I went through a really rough first month or two where I was doing nothing but watching the rollercoaster of views and stressing that I wasn’t getting the views/likes/followers that others were. I spent so much time comparing myself to others and it only dragged me down further. I was talking to a publisher when things suddenly changed. I felt awful that I didn’t have the followers on twitter or the blog that I hoped and she told me to calm down. Seriously, in those words. I’ve only been at this a few months and she said that what I need to focus on is consistency and quality. Nothing happens overnight and everything is increasing, and that’s what they look for. I do keep track of followers, views and everything else and yes, things are increasing, but sometimes not quickly enough and you sit there wondering what you’re doing wrong that others are doing right.
    I personally love reading your posts and think you’re doing a FANTASTIC job! Keep it up!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ugh, it’s so hard when other people are so open about their stats. I generally just don’t read them these days, if I can help it.

      It’s definitely a balance thing if watching them, and working on just doing the best you can when it comes to quality of your work. I find, when you actually do just do the quality work, that’s when the stats come anyway.

      Thank you! That means a lot 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think most bloggers look at stats, and I’m not sure how much I believe people who say they don’t care at all. (Though that probably is actually true of some people.)

    But, as the first comment mentions, I think it’s less of a self-absorbed question of “Am I popular?” and more of a question of “Are people interested in what I’m reading?’ I’ve gotten some pushback from saying this before, but I think MOST people are here for the community aspect. Who runs a blog thinking that no one is going to read it? Of course you want to see that your writing is interesting enough that people are opening the posts. Now, personally I think this could manifest itself in a lot of ways. Having a core group of active commenters is “good” to me, just as having 10,000 followers would be “good.”

    I also really relate to the self-improvement aspect. I compete with myself over everything, and for me it’s often just a question of “How can I make my blog even better than it was last year?” and not just an obsession with numbers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Self-improvement is definitely something I try to focus on. And I think self-improvement comes back around because if your material’s getting tired, then your blog won’t last in terms of readers. Not to mention, it would get boring for you to write posts without improvement.

      Like

  7. I totally have to agree with you on this! i feel like the number of followers, like, and comments a post gets me reflects on the hard work I did to put out the post. It theoretically shows how well I did at making a relatable post and how good the post actually is. But this shouldn’t be the case! At least for me, I started to interact with others who feel similarly to me about books and have fun doing it!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. All great points. I love doing this and I’m always shocked to see that people even care enough to read my blog. I thought I would have MAYBE 50 followers and I would have been thrilled. I knew so little but I wanted to talk books and find people that liked to talk books too.
    Maybe it’s because I have never been popular, but I’m amazed when I look at my followers and I’m thrilled bc I never thought I would have any. Twitter surprises me more bc I have like FB friends that are family and coworkers, so the numbers there were a big surprise. I’ll never be able to be a Booktuber bc I’m too shy, but I feel like my blogger friends are my real friends. And that’s the whole reason why I did it. And it’s great. Don’t you love that too?? Or is that bc I’m an old person who is socially awkward?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s so true. I always thought that I’d just be in my own corner doing my own thing, and that not many people would bother reading my stuff. It’s so cool, eh?

      I totally agree. Books were always part of the reason I didn’t hang around with many poeple in school, and now it’s the reason I can do stuff like this online? Crazy. I’m not nearly at the same level as you on that front (to be fair, you seem to work a lot harder at it than me, and your style is fantastic, so no surprises from my end), but it’s been a great journey for sure.

      Older people who are socially awkward for life! 😛 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have literally JUST been thinking and reading about this! 😀

    I also check my stats religiously lol and I still get excited about every single like, comment and new follower I get! It makes me so happy to know people out there like what they read and give feedback! And at the same time do I love commenting on other people’s blogs and exchange thoughts about books!

    I have to admit that I do compare myself to other blogs sometimes but then I take a step back and remind myself why I started blogging! It’s not all about stats and followers as long as you enjoy doing what you do and putting out content. Sure, it’s extremely (!) nice to be rewarded with ARCs and whatnot but for me it’s more about communicating and interacting with other fellow book bloggers and sharing my thoughts on books!

    I really loved reading this post!!! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s definitely hard not to compare our own stats to those we see with others. But I totally agree with reminding yourself of why we blog and why we got into it in the first place. There are lots of great perks to this sort of thing, but talking about books and interacting with others is definitely great.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Following stats I think also falls into another category: is the work I’m doing here having any impact on others?

    I say this because marketing companies also obsess over this very same thing. What they’re looking at is whether their product/insight/ad/report/etc a value to others. If yes, they search for ways to keep going or improve. If there’s no impact, is the product/idea worth maintaining?

    Hands down, this is one of my favorite places to read reviews. If everyone in the world reviewed books the way you do, there’d be a lot more constructive feedback to help authors improve their craft vs. the 1-star, this was shitty, who the heck would read this type feedback.

    Don’t ever stop doing what you do. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It comes back to the whole ‘do I have a purpose’ thing we all desperately desire in life, I suppose. We want to find purpose in our lives and in our tasks, and blogging or writing or whatever your thing is ends up being no different.

      It makes me smile that you enjoy my reviews. 🙂 I’ll never understand why people do the 1-star-this-is-shitty reviews, when there is no purpose to them.

      Liked by 1 person

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