As you may know, I first did a book blogger stats survey in 2016 (results here) to help get some transparency on the topic, since bloggers tend to not like talking about their own stats. These stats might also shed some light on questions of why book bloggers are not frequently paid (i.e. do they have large enough audiences to make paying them worthwhile for authors or publishers?) Since that survey was two years ago and some bloggers feel that things about the community have changed even in that short amount of time, I decided to do an updated survey.
I kept all of the old questions, for those who would like to compare results, but I also added a couple questions. I asked if people also ran Booktube channels or Bookstagram accounts, since many people feel these channels are more popular with readers and more important for fostering relationships with publishers. (And I asked where THEY follow content, whether on blogs or other sites.) I asked how many comments people get, based on many responses from the last survey that suggested bloggers often value interaction over views. I asked where people’s traffic comes from, to see if this would shed light on avenues people could pursue to get more views on their own blog. And I added two more open-ended questions at the end of the survey.
There were 103 responses (compared to 76 in 2016). A few of the questions were not marked “mandatory,” so a couple of the questions were not answered by everyone, but you should be able to see that information by the pie chart for each question.
I first asked how long people have been blogging, to see if there’s any correlation between how long people have been blogging and how high their stats are. The short answer is that, frequently, there is.
I then asked how many page views people get daily. You can see that 58.3% of respondents have 0-50 page views per day, so that’s basically “average.” 85.5% reported 0-100 page views per day. Anyone higher than that was really an outlier. In fact, only 2 people chose between 201-300, and one person chose 301-400. NO ONE picked an option between 400-999 views. One person chose 1000+ views, and two people chose 1300+. These bloggers are likely anomalies.
But who are these cool people with 1000+ views a day, and how do they do it? I don’t know because the survey was anonymous. 😀 However, I pulled their results to see if there are any obvious answers.
All three have been blogging for over 5 years. Their actual follower numbers vary. One picked in the 1000-3000 followers range. One picked 15,000+. Interestingly, all three said they only get 0-5 comments per day. They reported their traffic as coming from mostly social media (2 of them) or search engines (1), so this could explain this. Their readers may be people who are “just” readers and not necessarily other book bloggers, who tend to be the most frequent commenters on book blogs. They also all filled out the optional open-ended question on advice to increase engagement, and they suggesting being part of the community, being genuine, and posting unique content.
I next asked bloggers how many followers they have. The most popular answer, at around 30%, was 101-300 followers. Only about 8% reported over 2000. (I did tell people to use their best judgement to define followers. For instance, the WordPress count “double counts” someone who follow you both on Facebook and Twitter as two people, but I don’t know if people who responded corrected for that or not.)
Most people get 0-5 comments a day. (I asked people to report the comment count for the day, not comments on a post published that day.) I pulled the response from the person who reported 80+ comments a day, to see how they’re so awesome…and I don’t really know. They report between 101-150 page views a day and advise interacting with the community, being genuine, and boosting other voices. It sounds as if they’re really good at starting and continuing conversations with other readers in their comments.
Most bloggers don’t have a Booktube channel, which is fair. No one who does reported over 800 followers. Many do have Bookstagram accounts. The follower numbers vary widely enough that I’m not sure you can conclude anything important from this. (The big green 39.8% section is people who said that they do not have a Bookstagram.)
Most people get most of their traffic from the WordPress reader. Email subscription was not a big player here, but social media was fairly popular.
I next asked a series of questions about how bloggers thought their stats compared to those of other bloggers. The answers may be skewed if people read the 2016 survey results, but overall 78.6% of bloggers still reported feeling as if other bloggers are more successful than they are. They also suggested that “successful” bloggers have far more followers and page views than most bloggers actually do.
Finally, I asked whether people mostly read book blogs themselves, or if they actually spend more time in other places like Booktube, Book Twitter, and Bookstagram. (Because if book bloggers won’t read book blogs, who will, amirite?) I was heartened to see that many still do give blogs love, however.
Finally, I asked three optional open-ended questions at the end of the survey. It would take A LOT of space to list all the answers, but I will note some trends I saw in the answers and provide some representative quotations.
Do you think there’s a difference between a “successful” book blogger and a “big” book blogger? What is it?
This is the only open-ended question I asked in 2016, and the results are similar here. Several people did say there was no difference. Many people, however, think that “big” means high stat numbers, while “successful” either means having engagement (comments instead of just page views), or it just means blogging in a way that is meaningful to you.
“Big” book bloggers have a lot of content and mostly a lot of followers and traffic. “Successful” book bloggers are happy with what they’re reading, the content they’re putting out, and the level of engagement they get on the blog.
I would say a successful book blogger is anyone who creates content that they enjoy and others find useful and enjoy as well. We determine our own “success”. If someone is looking to make money or gain recognition than perhaps success looks different from someone who is just looking to share their book thoughts and partake in the community. A “big” book blogger would be someone that get a fair bit of traffic.
I think success is just being happy with what you do. Having tons of views but hating every second you spend writing posts isn’t worth it to me. I’d much rather get fewer views so I can read and respond to every comment and truly LOVE the content on my blog.
My view of “success” has always been that I’m having fun and interacting with others.
However, some people also suggested that it’s possible to have “big” numbers but not write engaging posts, not have people actually read what you’re writing, or otherwise not have what one might call “quality” content:
The former is one who’s successful in conveying thoughts and ideas (as intended) to the readers, and one who gets a good response from the viewers, whereas the latter is one who posts content frequently, but unlike the former, is unable to convey thoughts effectively.
What do you think the most challenging thing about book blogging today is, in terms of followers, engagement, etc.?
Responses varied here. A lot of people answered that finding enough time to blog was their greatest challenge. However, getting engagement/discussion, getting people to actually read their content, standing out from the crowd, and writing unique content were also popular answers.
It’s challenging to stand out apart from everyone else. With so many bloggers reviewing so many similar books, how can I make my blog stand out and keep readers engaged and returning to my blog?
Just the fact that there are so many blogs around! I think everyone should be proud, even if they only have one follower, that someone follows their blog because the internet is a massive place.
I think it’s time – I could increase my visibility via promoting my blog on social media platforms but I don’t want to addd time commitment to this hobby.
People don’t really read reviews. Yes, other book lovers do, but I mean the general population. I think they are much more interested in book lists and giveaways then reading your opinion on a book that you read. It’s hard to pull people in from the world outside book blogging.
Reviews are very polarizing – it’s what my primary content is but so many people don’t read reviews or only read reviews for books they want to read or have already ready or something. I struggle to come up with actual original content that doesn’t seem like the same topic everyone else is writing. So I just keep reviewing.
People also cited the competition with social media outlets:
The challenging thing is is the term “blogging”, because I feel like social media is more predominant these days and considered more important and valuable than good “old” written blog posts on blog platforms.
I feel as though blogs aren’t as popular as bookstagram and other social media sites. Its definitely been difficult to start and maintain a blog when I know the majority of people just go to my instagram.
I think book blogging isn’t viewed as a really important platform on social media platforms, generally people look more up to booktubers or even bookstagrammers because they get more engagement easily.
Answers to this and the previous question also touched on ideas of privilege and inclusivity in the community:
Inequality of resources and support between privileged bloggers (particularly US or UK based) and international bloggers with less privileges.
What advice would you give to someone looking to increase followers, engagement, etc.?
A lot of people didn’t know, but that’s what this question is for! Commenting and participating in the community was the top answer, but posting unique content and being genuine are also recommended.
Find a way to post as often as possible in a way that is sustainable. Don’t publish a post if you don’t think it’s the best it can be. Don’t copy others expecting the same results. Blog hop and only comment meaningfully on others content. Respond to comments in a way that invites dialogue.
Be your authentic self, enjoy connecting with others and don’t worry about numbers. Creating meaningful connections is what this is all about.
Networking! Go out ontio the wilds and find other bloggers, comment and start conversations. The best way to grow is to form community.
Blog about what you love.
Interaction is key. Talking to other bloggers, leaving genuine comments, taking time to boost their voices and share their content. Be in the community. ❤
Blog hop, engage with the community and the community will engage back with you. Don’t afraid to self promote on social media, say twitter. It’s your blog, your content people aren’t going to know about it without you promoting it.
More varied book related content. Discussions are good – but come with needing to know that there will be people who disagree so need to be ready to accept that and not start wars. Bloggers would probably need to engage readers more- through questions, perhaps.
Do to those that you wish to have done to you. Simply put, engage with others. Follow them, like their posts, share their posts, and most importantly, engage with people in a conversation, either through comments on a blog, or through twitter/instagram etc. Importantly, be yourself. Don’t try to follow a golden rule or path that others set out. Take the time to find what works for you, and if your content is good and you are engaging with people, your numbers will grow.