Is Stress about Stats Holding Your Blog Back?

A few years ago, readers began wondering whether book blogs could be run without any book reviews.  Once the main (and practically only) content on a book blog, the humble review, bloggers found, did not attract as much traffic as other sorts of posts.  Some bloggers scrapped them altogether, others cut back, and others simply turned into blogging advice bloggers since blogging advice seems to get the most traffic of all.  However, all of this raises a simple question: Should stats alone determine the content of your blog?

Obviously, most bloggers would answer no.  And yet I do believe many of us are more influenced by the pursuit of statistics than we might care to admit.  Very few bloggers want to shout into the void–we would not be writing on public platforms if we did.  And very few of us want to spend hours crafting a post no one will read.  However, choosing what types of posts to write and not to write based on traffic patterns alone could actually prevent you from achieving the type of blogging success you want.

First of all, consider that increased traffic does not always mean increased engagement.  You could write a post that 100 people click on and two people comment on.  In this case, your statistics may look good, but you may feel unsatisfied as a blogger.  Any number of scenarios could cause this.  Perhaps you wrote a post that is initially intriguing, but lacks real depth of content.  Perhaps you wrote a post that will get search engine hits, but that will not entice fellow book bloggers to read your blog.  Or, perhaps, in turning to the types of post that you believed would be popular, you inadvertently lost a core group of your audience who followed you specifically because they enjoyed what you were doing before.  You will have to determine what type of blog you want to run.  Are you willing to exchange interaction for clicks?

Secondly, in chasing statistics, you may end up losing your originality–and thus your audience.  Book bloggers often look to other bloggers to determine what kinds of posts are attracting traffic.  They will exchange notes on what works on their blog and what does not (often, I should add, in very vague terms so it’s almost impossible to know what another blogger thinks “low” or “high” stats are).  They may then adjust accordingly, hoping that they can replicate another blogger’s success with their own audience (always a doubtful process). However, if you are writing the same types of posts you see everyone else writing, you are no longer giving other bloggers to read your blog over another.  Faced with ten blogs that look the same, a reader may choose to read only two of them and yours may not make the cut.

Finally, the pursuit of statistics often is emotionally exhausting.  Over seven years of blogging, it is my experience that it is almost impossible to guess which posts will get traffic and which will not.  Most of the time, for instance, our LotR posts will inspire a lot of discussion.  But every now and then a LotR post will get few views and few comments.  This seeming randomness is true of every post I write. If I wrote posts solely based on the expectation that I would get views, I would find myself disappointed and frustrated very quickly, especially if my heart were not in the post in the first place.

A book blog has to be a work of love.  Blogging requires too much time and too much effort for anyone to keep going without real passion.  Most book bloggers know this.  But we also get frustrated when we see that other people do not seem to share our excitement for certain books or types of posts.  And then we feel pressure to change.  But our own tastes, our own writing styles, and our own types of posts are all what ultimately set us apart and make our blogs worth reading.  When we assume that everyone else has more followers and more traffic, it helps to remember that changing our blogs for traffic may be too high a price.

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57 thoughts on “Is Stress about Stats Holding Your Blog Back?

  1. Vanessa (Through Prose Tinted Pages) says:

    I agree with all of this! At this time, I do my blog as a personal hobby and a way to keep up with books to read first. My second reason for book blogging is because I like interacting with other readers. My last reason for doing it is for the numbers. I would love to get those numbers up simply to be able to collaborate more with publishers and get ARCs, but ultimately it’s all for fun for me. I’d love to be a professional reviewer eventually.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Krysta says:

      I think it makes sense to want to get your numbers up. After all, we’re blogging because we want people to read what we wrote! But it seems like you’ve achieved a nice balance on your blog!

      Like

  2. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall says:

    Such a fantastic post, Krysta! I absolutely agree with everything you said! I love book blogging because it’s a wonderful way for me to express my thoughts about books and the community, to an audience who cares and understands. We all want to have pleasant stats, but the primary reason I write is because it’s a passion of mine, and it means the world to me if even one person enjoys what I ramble about! If I didn’t enjoy writing and reviewing, I wouldn’t keep up with my blog! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kester (from LILbooKlovers) says:

    I definitely agree with you! One of my biggest insecurities is that I’m not posting enough discussion/blogging advice posts that larger blogs seem to post constantly. But reading this post has soothed that in a sense, that reviews are still important, and they are. What makes me really happy is an author on Twitter (or an author I know in person) having their day made because of my really positive review, or a reader adding a book I just reviewed on their TBR. Those moments is what makes blogging worth it more than the stats.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Krysta says:

      I’m a little sad that so many bloggers have given up on reviews. I know many bloggers still enjoy reading and writing them and, as evergreen posts, they tend to get more search engine traffic than discussion posts. So they can provide stats for bloggers. Also, frankly, the desire to be on trend means many bloggers are posting discussion posts that are not really interesting or not fleshed out. A five-sentence post isn’t really meaty enough for me to want to discuss. :/ But I still love reading reviews and discovering new books or talking about books I’ve read! Moving to all discussion posts means many book bloggers aren’t talking about books anymore! They’re talking primarily about blogging. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      • Kester (from LILbooKlovers) says:

        I agree, it is a bit saddening. Reviews may be hard to write, but they’re for me very worthwhile for both the reader and the blogger. Reviews definitely help you find other viewpoints on books that could be your read! And another tough thing is that people often review only “popular books” on their blogs for stats rather than indies or smaller-publicized books. Reviews are to help the readers and writers, and it’s not right to select those that will gain more stats versus helping provide recs. (I know it’s tempting not to review indies sometimes, but we need to help them out, too. But it’s okay to be selective.) And yes, I don’t do memes or tags partially for that reason. I’d rather have two posts a week that are fleshed out than one everyday but they’re not (like a tag with one-sentence explanations). I also really don’t like the trend where book blogging is aimed towards fellow book bloggers rather than readers, educators, librarians, etc. The audience should be widened! The more I’ve realized that educators are reading my posts, the more I’ve shifted my blog to be geared to help them out (like organizing my archives based on age group). I find it to be more worth it when I help a fellow reader or educator find a new book (for herself or her class) than giving blogging advice (which is good but shouldn’t be the main focus).

        Like

  4. Dalindcy Koolhoven says:

    I agree with this – especially with your point regarding feeling unsatisfied as a blogger even when your stats look good. I think this is what I pay attention to the most. The reason I created my blog was not to get a ton of views, but to chat with likeminded people and as long as I have that, I think I will keep enjoying blogging.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lori says:

    Such great points! I do pay attention to stats, but I feel like I’d go crazy if I made posts only because I thought they’d bring blog traffic. I’m always surprised by what posts people comment on, which is why I just try to make each post as conversational as possible. I prefer engagement to traffic. I had given up on book reviews in the past, but now they are my favorite things to do and the posts I’m most proud of.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, I look at my stats every day, but I don’t make blogging decisions based on them. If I did, I’d have to give up on middle grade, because no one looks at those posts! But I love MG so I plan to keep reading and reviewing! I love reading other bloggers’ reviews, too. I still find new books to read that way!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    There is so much truth in this and I have preached it so many times when approached about stats. I know they are useful and will not fault anyone who utilizes them regularly, but about a year ago I made the decision to only glance at them about once a month (sometimes I do even do that) and it has really paid off for me in terms of enjoying my time here in the community and posting. I have also found that my content remains consistently engagh(at least it seems, again not basing that on stats). But you really nailed it with discussing originality. I want my blog to reflect me and never be unfluenced by what I “think” it should be. Turning my mind and eye off of stats really liberated me from feeling obligated to create content that I might not normally feel the need to just to hit numbers.

    Wonderful post 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I actually look at the stats every day. (Well, WordPress makes me navigate to that page anyway!) But it’s more a curiosity thing, like, weird, this post only got 20 views? I thought people loved this book! I don’t really change my blogging because of it! (I’d have to stop reviewing MG, which gets NO views!)

      And I love your blog, so whatever you’re doing must be working! 😀

      Like

      • (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

        That is weird, I just access my WP differently as I never see stats unless I choose to. Whether I am on my phone (the app) or pc, insights and stats page is one I have to navigate to of I want to see it. I just always enter my home page and use the drop down menu to add posts, etc 🤣 this way it helps me avoid them. But to be fair, I have a bit of a compulsive disorder so I need to. I do know what you mean though. I have made the mistake of looking for posts I thought did well only to be like.. what!?

        Thank you! And likewise, I live your blog and content 🖤

        Like

        • Krysta says:

          WordPress changed some of their pages a few years ago. For some reason I have half the old format and half the new. I have asked other people what they see in their dashboard and at least at one point people didn’t seem to have a consistent experience. So I don’t know! XD

          Like

          • (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

            Yeah maybe a lot of it has to do with themes and layouts also? I personally access it all from the my blog’s home page so I only see what I want (but again compulsive /obsessive disorder). I avoid my dashboard like the plague unless I need to empty spam or fix sometime hehe.

            Like

  7. Annemieke says:

    I’ve said a few times that I’d prefer to get a good amount of interaction with a lower amount of followers, than a huge amount of followers but no or not a lot of interaction.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Fawn & Fern Books says:

    This is super interesting! Sometimes I get frustrated because I’ll post a discussion post that I think is fantastic,
    And it ends up with like 6 views 😂 but I’ve noticed that other people posted similar discussions after I posted a few of mine, so I think I’m definitely on the right track. Twitter is definitely becoming more and more fun as a book blogger. It’s such a fun community ☺️

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, I can see people who post similar discussions to ours after we do them and they have more comments. Do they just have a more active follower base? I don’t know!

      I don’t run the Twitter account so I don’t know. But I admit all the Twitter drama makes me want to stay away. :/

      Liked by 1 person

    • Katie Lou Create says:

      I feel the same! I’m really getting into Instagram though, not twitter. Still have yet to venture into the world of twitter properly 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Grab the Lapels says:

    I do know that longevity and genuine attempts to reach out make a big difference. I’ve been around 5 years. If I make 2-3 genuine new blog friends a year, that is 10-15 people I know will write a lengthy comment that includes questions.

    Now, the LIKE button did bother me, especially since so many randos looking for “a like for a like” would click it. I turned off my LIKE button and feel 100% better. If people read my post in the WordPress app, they can still click LIKE, but it doesn’t appear on my site or show up to me. Blogging has become loads less stressful thanks to taking away that button.

    Also, with stats? Lately, I’ve been get 100+ views a day in the early AM when the clock rolls over, but 2 visitors. Really odd.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, I don’t pay attention to likes. What if I get 20-30 likes? I’m not going to look to see who it was! Commenting means I more likely to notice repeat visitors. But if people simply want to indicate they read a post, that’s fine with me. (Though I do get amused when five likes pop up in two min from the same person. I’m sure they really read all five posts in those two min!)

      Those are strange stats! I have no idea what’s happening there!

      Like

  10. Tammy says:

    Yeah, I’m over the stress:-) I’ve been blogging nearly seven years and I’ve given up trying to actively increase my stats. I post what I like and I’m more interested in keeping loyal readers than worrying about catering to those people who just aren’t interested in my posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      That makes sense to me! I have no idea what’s behind the stats anyway. Everyone took vacation the same weekend? Bad weather? Good weather so everyone is outside? It’s hard to know!

      Like

  11. Birdie says:

    This is a spectacular article! I used to be stat obsessed, and then slowly I realized I checked those numbers less and less, and just wrote whatever I wanted to. Sometimes I do 3 reviews a week and get less stats, and that’s okay. I like writing reviews. I also like writing whatever randomness pops into my head. I also like an occasional meme. I guess my subconcious decided I was happier when I just did what I wanted and didn’t worry about who reads what. I’d rather have comments than views anyway. 🙂

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I look at my stats every day, but I can’t say I see any particular meaning behind them! So it doens’t make sense to me to try to get the same result all the time. For all I know, some storm across the country prevented half my followers from accessing the Internet and the traffic has nothing to do with me! I think your strategy makes a lot of sense!

      Like

  12. Olga Polomoshnova says:

    It’s incredibly important to remember these simple things. Originality, passion, love must prevail over the desire to get more hits. It’s vital to remember we’re writing for content, to engage readers and out of passion. Thank you for reminding about this!

    Like

  13. CJR The Brit says:

    Fab post. I don’t really look at stats (well sometimes I do!) But I use my blog as a platform for my book ramblings and that for me is mostly reviews and book updates.

    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care about stats but for me it’s not the be all and end all of my site.

    But I wouldn’t say no to a few more followers and comments 😂

    Like

  14. Jeanette says:

    This is something I need to work on. To write about books are something I love and enjoy, but still I look at the numbers and hate how it stressing me out.
    But I know that when I’ve worked up a better engagement (doesn’t have to be numbers of followers), I know that it will help me to be motivated to keep blogging. Cause the main thing for me is to build a nice engagement in the book blogging community 🙂

    https://latteandabook.blogspot.se

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Our first year of blogging, we had about eight views per day! I understand wanting to get more traffic! However, I agree that engagement is also one of the best things about blogging!

      Like

  15. Arvenig says:

    I agree with everything! I usually post what I want to, but I’m always influenced by the stats (I pay more attention to engagement though). It’s just really hard not being influenced by them!

    Like

  16. Alexia Cambaling says:

    Thank you for this post! I do pay attention to my stats and sometimes it does make me want to do more discussion posts but if I let my stats affect my blogging, I probably wouldn’t review a lot of self-published books. It can be hard not to get influenced by the views and engagement but I also think that my reviews can be helpful for people who want to try out indie works so I don’t mind reviewing so many. I’m just happy I can talk about the books I like.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Exactly! I love middle grade books, but the reviews get NO views! But I don’t want to stop reading or writing about books I enjoy, so I keep on!

      And I know there are bloggers out there who are particularly interested in indie authors, so hopefully they will find you!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Puput @ Sparkling Letters says:

    Loved this post Krysta!! ❤ I'm gonna be really blunt and say that obviously, I care about stats. However, it's not the main reasons for deciding what to post, how to write, etc because there's always satisfaction from doing what I love doing. We all know book reviews don't generate that much traffic, but I would still publish it even if that's the book I'm reviewing on my own (not ARC, not review request). Last year I have achieved a steady and satisfying statistics regardless of types of the post. But now… after a year of hiatus, it's a little disheartening to see my posts don't perform as well as they did, so I guess yeah, stats are definitely important even if it's not 100% everything.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Our first year we had about eight views a day, so I know what it’s like to want more traffic, haha! I think most bloggers do care about stats to some extent. We don’t want to be talking to ourselves! But I think it is nice to feel free to blog about what we love! My middle grade reviews hardly get any views, but I love MG books so I’m not going to stop!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. tomesandteablog says:

    This post is great! I feel like a part of the reason I haven’t posted since the beginning of the year is because I’ve been trying to come up with some ideas for my blog that aren’t just reviews. At first is was pretty discouraging seeing so many people saying that most people don’t read reviews and they don’t get much traffic, but reviews are what I love to write the most and I want to continue on with them. I started my blog just to keep my reading and book thoughts organized and in one place and, even if I am just screaming into the void, I don’t want to get bogged down by stats.

    I also do not in any way feel like I’m in a place to be giving blogging advice even to myself, let alone anyone else. I’m operating in the most basic of ways or in my little corner 🙂 Thanks for the great post!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I think people mean they don’t read EVERY review. I read reviews, but reviews of books that look interesting to me or that I have already read. I wouldn’t likely read a review of a thriller or a volume of poetry, for instance, because I don’t read those genres, but that doesn’t mean I read no reviews at all. And that seems to happen on the blog where we have certain readers who comment on mainly classic reviews, certain readers who comment mainly on YA reviews, etc. So, yeah, the stats are lower on reviews because all those people will comment on a discussion post but only some on a review, but that doesn’t mean no one appreciates the reviews.

      Like

  19. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction says:

    I’ve found that the longer I’ve been blogging, the less I care about stats. Don’t get me wrong, I want people to visit the blog and engage with me, but I don’t stress about it anymore. I agree that too much focus on stats can ruin your enjoyment of blogging and end up sending you in the wrong direction!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, I don’t see the point of changing one’s blogging style for more stats because I find stats somewhat indecipherable. Sometimes I think they dip because it’s nice weather or sometimes because it’s bad weather. That has nothing to do with my content, so I don’t think there’s much good in stressing over it.

      Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, I think commenting around is the best way to get traffic. That’s no secret, but it is admittedly difficult to find the time to do it all! Some days I can barely answer the comments on my blog, much less write a post, and then comment around. Phew!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. La La in the Library says:

    I had a blogging buddy when I first started out that told me my blog was never going to go anywhere because I posted mainly about indie books, but that was why I started blogging. Ha ha. Now four years later I’m still here and she hasn’t blogged in almost two years. 😂

    The only reasons I think about stats are: for one, I have to figure out what pulls in more views because I want more people seeing the indie books, and I do kind of like getting high profile eARCs because then I don’t have to buy the books. I see it as a perk I deserve for all my hard work. Ha ha. I still buy the ones I like when they go on ebook special, and I buy the titles I love in hardcover. 📚

    And you are right, I cringe when I see the “your reviews need to look like this and your blog needs to look like that to be popular” posts. There is a blogger who hadn’t blogged for a couple of years and when she came back she immediately started doing the “popular look and format” advice posts , and they are so outdated. People should do their own thing. 💻

    Like

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