I Care About Numbers

It seems like everyone writes a post about how they’re, “done with page view/follower numbers because they’re not important!” Then heads all around nod in agreement.

I’m going to talk about “the thing you don’t talk about” and that’s the fact that I care about my numbers.

My numbers are a measure of personal success

I think of this kind of personal success in the same way that a mother views her child (or so I assume). A mother is going to love her child no matter what, but most mothers want their children to succeed. They want them to go to school and get good grades and land a job that allows them to support themselves comfortably. If they don’t get good grades, they still love their child. BUT, I think most mothers still have that hope that they’ll do well in life, succeed, and be happy.

That’s how I see my blog.

I love my blog no matter what—if I have 1 reader or 1,000. But I hope my blog will succeed.

I don’t care about numbers for ARCs or for being marked as “the best”

I don’t want or need every single ARC. I don’t want to have millions of page views so I can have the best publisher connections. I don’t want to be “bigger” or “better” than this blog or that blog. I just want to do well for me.

If my page view/comment/subscriber numbers go up, it tells me I’m doing something right. It tells me my efforts are paying off. It tells me that people like what I have to say and it encourages me to say more.

Everyone has goals and achievements, I have them for my blog

Most people have goals, milestones, and/or achievements in their life. They can be things like:

  • Get a 2000 on the SATs
  • Take at least 10,000 steps per day
  • Lose 2 lbs a week for x weeks
  • Write 500 words a day

But it seems like when people talk about caring about blog numbers we get all funky about it. People say you need to STOP caring about the numbers. Why are blog numbers bad, but those other numerical goals are fine?

You don’t have to OBSESS over numbers, but you can use them and love them

There’s nothing wrong with checking numbers regularly. There’s nothing wrong with setting goals. There’s nothing wrong with using stats to monitor what works and what doesn’t. That’s how I’ve figured out that my book reviews are my least popular content pieces and my discussions are my most popular.

You don’t have to live by your page views and tailor your blog around them 100%. You don’t have to stop posting reviews just because they’re the least popular. You’re free to make whatever decisions you want. But I personally still like to have that information. I like to know what works and what doesn’t and how well my posts are performing. If I want to “follow the numbers”, I can. If I want to say “screw the numbers, I’m posting this anyway”, then I can do that too.

Statistics can be a great motivator!

One of my favourite things in the world is publishing a post and seeing it get tons of comments. I LOVE having people engage on my blog. I love seeing what people think and how their opinions may differ. Getting a lot of comments and/or page views on a posts can REALLY impact my blogging.

  • A ton of comments tells me I’m doing something right. People like these posts and maybe I should do them more often.
  • Seeing a blog post get a lot of attention is motivating! It makes me want to keep going.
  • Seeing my numbers go up makes me feel extremely proud. I feel like I’m doing something and getting better at it. As my blog grows, I feel like I’m growing too.

And just like high numbers makes me happy, low numbers can make me sad. When my blog stats plummeted for seemingly no reason a few months ago, I was really upset. And that’s okay! No, it’s not the end of the world. No, it doesn’t mean I’ll quit blogging out of frustration. But it’s okay to be sad about dropped numbers. There’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t let numbers rule my life, but I do let them be in my life in some capacity. I take notice of them and appreciate them.

How do you feel about numbers like page views, comments, and followers?

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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46 comments

  1. I have fairly modest goals for numbers on my blog. I blog to communicate, so of course I want to see some activity in terms of followers and commenters, but I don’t have ambitions to be the most popular blog ever (my content is too obscure for that). The quality of the engagement counts too; one real human connection means more to me than 10,000 random clicks. However, I admit to being greedy for more of those! Thanks for this honest response to the issue.

    Lory @ Emerald City Book Review recently posted: Witch Week Summary, Giveaway Winner, and 2015 Preview
    1. Same here! I don’t care about being the best or “rising to the top” or whatever. I don’t even have specific numerical goals. I guess I just like to see the numbers go up, even if a tiny bit. Comments and page views motivate me to keep going. I think we’d all feel a little discouraged about blogging if we had 0 comments and/or page views.

    1. Yeah, I think almost all bloggers would get discouraged if they got 0 page views and/or comments. Then it’s more like a private journal rather than a blog where people can interact and engage.

  2. For me, it’s different. No matter what my numbers say, I never let them dictate what I post. Who knows if that is the right or wrong way though. About a year ago, I was checking my numbers all the time and stressing about them. I didn’t like it. It made blogging feel like a job. If my numbers go up, cool, if they go down, whatevs! I don’t feel happy or sad either way. I just like writing content that I like. And if other people like it, that’s great. I would still be writing on my blog even if one person was reading and commenting on it.

    I feel like every blogger is going to feel differently on numbers based on what they want out of their blog. Some run theirs like a business, which then numbers may mean something, some just write 100% for themselves, then the numbers really don’t matter.

    Goals are good, yes, but again, when I kept saying “I want to get this done by this time or I want to get this far by this time,” I didn’t like that feeling so much as I liked the carefree way of blogging. So I just let everything be what it was going to be.

    1. Yeah I don’t really let my numbers dictate what I post. If I want to post something that will be unpopular, then I do. I just like to be able to see the numbers and use them if I want to. And seeing numbers go up is always a good motivator to keep going!

  3. I think liking numbers is okay as long as you don’t obsess about them. When I first started my blog I was obsessively checking my number of followers multiple times a day. And I felt bad when I didn’t got new followers.
    Nowadays I measure my ‘succes’ more in terms of how many comments I receive on a post. It’s nice to know when people liked a post. I don’t really check my statistics often though and I often am more interested in the relative scores, like how my sunday posts usually get the most views of the week, while I have no clue how many that exactly is. Just like you noticed my reviews are usually least popular and my discussion posts are more popular, although I don’t really do anythign with that knowledge and keep posting those reviews as well, because I enjoy writing them.

    Lola recently posted: Lola’s Ramblings: Sci-Fi and me
  4. I check my numbers everyday. The fact that they keep going up is a hell of a thing. Most of us don’t get into blogging unless we are egotistical enough to think we have a voice that should be heard. So more people hearing what we say =better; at least for me.

    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted: Tough Travels- Novices
  5. With blogging as a hobby, I think it all depends on the person. Some people want to see how their stats are doing. While others, it might make them stress. You never want your hobby to make you stress and sit up nights worrying (though I’ve done it for my hobbies, I don’t always follow my own rules). Whatever works for each person, sounds great to me.

    I do think everyone should setup some analytics on their site. That doesn’t mean you have to look at them, but they are there if you ever decide to. Plus, if there is ever an issue with your site, analytics can help you determine where the issue might be.

    Melanie Simmons (@mlsimmons) recently posted: Beyond Shame Audiobook by Kit Rocha (review)
    1. That’s a great point. Even if you have no desire to look at your numbers, it’s good to have them set up. That way at least you’re logging the numbers and have a history to look at if you ever change your mind and want to take a look.

      Plus, Google Analytics/Webmasters can help you with other things too, like see how your SEO is doing.

  6. I love numbers, but I don’t measure success by the numbers themselves. I look at and track page views and comments to inform myself about how people are using my blog, but ultimately, numbers don’t mean engaged readers. I’m a happier blogger when I focus on cultivating my relationships over increasing my numbers. But numbers are easier to quantify for goal purposes, so I totally get that. I’m just not much of a goal setter when it comes to my book blog.

    Amanda @ On a Book Bender recently posted: Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts {Jenna’s Review}
  7. When I was a newbie blogger, it seemed to me that people who advised others not to care about the numbers were exclusively big bloggers who had already figured out their numbers strategy (best day to post, number of times to tweet and when, what posts ranked best for engagement, etc.) and used that to build huge followings. They could coast a bit because they had all the major components in place. For growth-focused bloggers, though, not caring is a terrible idea. I agree with you that it’s okay to care about numbers, as long as a person doesn’t skip immediately into despair if the numbers don’t reflect their desires.

    1. Yeah I guess everyone is different. Some people can use numbers and take advantage of them without going overboard. Others may have a harder time with that level of moderation. If you react incredibly strongly to your numbers, it might be better to take a step back from them.

  8. I don’t have any goals for followers/page views/comments/etc for my blog. I don’t care enough about the actual numbers to set any. It’s not that I don’t think they’re important, because they are. Whether that is just for some personal goal, or for ARCs/advertising/whatever. I do check my page views daily just to see if they’re going up/down/staying the same. It does make me feel great to see my visitors slowly creeping up, but seeing that doesn’t affect how I blog in any way.

    I guess, I mean that I just like seeing increases, but don’t care what the actual numbers are. I don’t use the numbers for anything, so I don’t care what they are. I know my blog stats are super low compared to most blogs I follow, but that’s okay with me. I love my blog the way it is and how I blog works for me. Seeing increases, no matter how small, is nice though.

    Angie F. recently posted: Review: Popular by Maya van Wagenen
    1. I don’t really have specific goals either, but I do like to see general upward trends (or at least no downward trends!). It’s a good motivator. πŸ™‚

  9. I cared a great deal about numbers when I first started blogging, but I really stopped looking and caring at least a year ago. Most of that is because my numbers started to go down, and it was depressing. But I know the reasoning behind it, and I’m okay with that now. I post mainly reviews, and that doesn’t seem to be the popular thing now, which means I have lower numbers. Instead, I focus on when I get comments. I don’t get many, but the ones I do get mean a lot to me.

    Sarah recently posted: Review: A Local Habitation
  10. I feel the same! About stats, I mean LOL. πŸ˜‰ Whenever I get really good stats, I usually like to share how they make me happy and feel thankful. Sometimes I’m scared that people might mistake this as being obsessed with numbers (or worse, bragging about numbers) but it’s just something I feel like I’m proud of you know? Just like an author would be if they get 20k words done or when their book gets 2k adds on GR, I feel happy about getting 2k followers. I’m excited when my views suddenly go up. My stats motivate me to blog more (because who wouldn’t want to when there are people reading your posts, following you and sharing their thoughts with you?) but it’s not like I’d stop blogging if my stats go down. I still blog because I want to, regardless of numbers. I also agree that analysing those numbers can help you expand/flourish your blog, but stats shouldn’t be the basis of what you’re going to post or whether your going to. That’s still your choice. Loved your insights on this, Ashley. πŸ˜€

    Hazel @ Stay Bookish recently posted: The Infernal Devices Trilogy: Manga Adaptation Review
    1. I totally, totally, TOTALLY agree!!

      I wouldn’t stop blogging if a few posts got 0 (or very few) page views or comments. I wouldn’t stop blogging if I had very few followers…

      BUT! Having high numbers does make me happy and feel proud of what I’ve accomplished. And seeing those numbers continue to go up is a really strong motivator and makes me feel like I’m continuing to do well with my blog.

      I know numbers aren’t the only way to measure “success” or “doing well”, but they’re certainly one good method.

  11. Yup. I care about numbers. I write some of what I am thinking and feeling – most of my personal thoughts are not internet-shareworthy – but I also share my writing because I want feedback. It’s why instead of just having a private blog, I paid for a domain name and link my posts to my Facebook, Twitter and Bloglovin accounts.
    Why would anyone who does these things say they don’t care about the numbers?

    Runwright recently posted: Run In The Rain And Love It
  12. I care about any and all feedback, but numbers are a part of that. Even if a post gets five views and one comment, if that one comment is this long thing about how it rocked their world, that means more to me than 100 views and a few “Great post! Check out my blog!” comments. I try to focus more on the qualitative, since it seems less discouraging for such a new blog, but I do get giddy every time I reach a new quantitative milestone (just hit 100 email subscribers what what!).

    Brittany recently posted: #BookBlogWriMo Day 5 – Where I Blog
  13. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with caring about your numbers, I just don’t. I think the main reason is that my blog is where I want it to be. Every post gets some comments which means I’m engaging with people and they’re reading my posts (at least enough to leave a comment). I think I would be happy to see my numbers go up, but also overwhelmed if I got too much more traffic. I’m far from being a big blog – I’m quite small actually – but I can’t really keep up now. So growing isn’t one of my goals. Its really important to me that I respond to every comment and visit everyone that visits me – and I struggle to do that as it is. I don’t know how the super big blogs keep up! But, like I said, I see nothing wrong with watching your numbers and trying to keep up.

    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted: A Month of Giving Thanks Day 6
  14. I used to care a lot more about the numbers than I do now. It’s nice getting new followers, but it’s not my main focus or why I blog. I do love comments and I could do with a few more, but as long as I get some per post, it’s okay. Just enough to know someone read what I had to say and wanted to chat about it. Because that’s my favourite thing about blogging, the community. Chatting books, recommending, discussing them and all that. As long as you’re not obsessive about it, I see nothing wrong with keeping a tab on numbers. It can be handy to look back and see all that’s changed.

    Rebecca recently posted: Review: Nil by Lynne Matson
  15. I like getting page views and comments, it makes me just a little bit happier knowing people are looking at my blog and enjoying it as much as I am. I don’t obsess over it or get sad when nothing happens, there’s always going to be ups and downs with it.

    Kelsey recently posted: Review: Alpha by Rachel Vincent
  16. I think the general advice about not worrying about numbers in the community is good because a lot of us seem to be of personality types that do end up obsessing and stressing when most of us are doing this to have a good time with a hobby. It’s great to use numbers as motivation and a metric to figure out what posts people like to read, but the sad side sometimes seems to outweigh the good side for people I think. I notice and stress more when numbers drop or don’t grow at all than when I get a spike because generally I know what that spike is from and the happiness only lasts a little bit. Not thinking about stats at all is a way to avoid those emotional swings I guess? There’s also the argument that I’d rather write the posts I enjoy writing than the posts that get me the highest numbers perhaps. But in any case, I think the general advice of “not worrying about numbers” is really just trying to help each other not stress about competition, etc, and enjoy our hobby and I personally think that is good advice to have floating around our community since we seem to have burn out and stress over stats being overly common things.

  17. I agree! I also care about numbers. Not because of ARCs. I love it when I see my page views goes up because it means that someone out there loves my blog, reads my reviews or rants. I’m not obsess with it though. Numbers for me are a way to motivate myself. πŸ˜€

  18. I don’t over obsess about the numbers but I do watch them. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. My main motivation to blog is just because I love it however quietly watching the numbers gives me some additional feedback on what content other people are connecting with. It makes marketing sense and I like knowing other people are reading, following, commenting. Otherwise I’d just write a private blog!

  19. I think I’m one of those people who constantly tries not to care about them. I have this problem when they start to mean more than they do. I like it when I set personal goals for myself but then I start to raise the bar and if I don’t reach it, I feel bad, like what am I doing wrong. I’m not one of those bloggers that will devote a lot of time on my blog. I used to spend 5 out of 7 days on it, but now, it’s when I can and if I want to. I love the ARCs and e-Galleys that I do get and maybe if I cared more I’d get more, but I’m kind of content with what I’m currently getting.

    I think the thing with people saying they don’t want to focus on the numbers is that they don’t want to beat themselves up for a number. It’s not the number per say, but how how they invest in the numbers (or at least me).

    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books recently posted: No Longer Missing
  20. Oh I definitely care about numbers, but my idea of big numbers is a lot different from others (my goal for November is 425 visitors). My goal is basically to improve each month. Non review posts are definitely more popular but I’m a review site at heart and I love reviews so I’ll always do those. The way I grow traffic is mostly commenting and Twitter. I write what I want though, not what I think will boost numbers.

    Leila @ LeilaReads recently posted: Memes I Meme – BookBlogWriMo Day 10
  21. I definitely care about numbers, and I’ve been blogging since 2009. That’s a LOT of blogging, and I still hardly have any followers. Obviously, I continue to blog because I get a lot of enjoyment out of it, but it would make me so happy to see comments (on anything really, i rarely get them) and see readers enjoying my posts. I even host a ton of giveaways and practically have to throw books at people before they’ll visit my blog to enter. So I don’t feel like saying “you shouldn’t care about numbers” helps smaller bloggers who care a lot but just can’t seem to attract any readers.

    I loved this post, and i’m glad to see there are others out there who love numbers!

    Cassie G recently posted: Blogtober Wrap Up

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