Is Your Blog Living By Numbers? #bloggingtips (Updated April 2018)

Why are so many bloggers obsessed with blog stats and numbers?

#bloggingtips #blogging #WordPress

I continue to read many interesting posts about the number of visitors and followers some of us would like to get for our blogs, but living by numbers doesn’t only apply to us in the blogging world.

Numbers are significant, but we shouldn’t become obsessed with them. When I was at school, I disliked every single Maths lesson I had because numbers and I were not the best of friends. I couldn’t understand the logic behind why I had to know anything about fractions, and I could probably count on one hand the number of times I have had to use a fraction during everyday life.

I can remember numbers being on the front of my birthday cards and disappearing when I reached the age of 13. But why disappear only to reappear at the age of 18? Then they’d go again until we reach the ages of 21, 30, and so on. Do I really want to be reminded it’s my 80th birthday? (It’s not, by the way). In the U.K, numbers are also evident on the back of some motor vehicles, and I’m not talking about the registration plate. Numbers are often placed on the rear of a car to denote the engine size, but why does it matter?

Going back to the world of blogging, I was once as guilty as the next person in checking my stats every single hour; ever wanting to see the figure by the ‘number of followers’ rise each day. The same applied to the number showing me how many hits my blog had received. If those numbers showed a decline, I would get really disheartened, whereas if they were on the up then I’d feel happy and confident. But it shouldn’t matter, should it? At the end of the day, isn’t it the quality of what we publish and the passion we have for it that are the most important factors? So, words rather than numbers? Shouldn’t our blogs, therefore, be living by words?

Just a final thought before I show you the song that inspired me to write this post. Don’t get obsessed with your blog stats. Allowing them to take over can cause blog burnout and, before you know it, you’ll have an abandoned blog on your hands. In the four and a half years I have been a blogger, I have seen so many wonderful writers come and go because they were too obsessed with numbers rather than with the words they were writing. So, start living by words, rather than by numbers, and don’t fret over your blog stat.

Enjoy the video. It’s a classic hit from the 1980s.

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Author: Hugh W. Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my blogging tips posts. If you have any questions about blogging or anything else, please contact me by clicking on the 'Contact Hugh' button on the menu bar. Click on the 'Meet Hugh' button on the menu bar to learn more about me and my blog.

231 thoughts

  1. I can understand how easy it is to get caught up by the numbers but I honestly don’t have time to do more than glance at the them these days. I would rather focus my energy on making connections with other bloggers and working on writing. I’d like to think that doing those things could result in better numbers, if that’s what I was aiming for! 🙂

    1. And you’re right in what you say. It’s the content on a blog that keeps visitors and readers coming back, so we should always concentrate on that aspect rather than too much on the numbers. The numbers will come with time providing the content is interesting and good.

  2. Hello Hugh!
    I just popped over from Suzie’s blog. 🙂

    I think you have the right idea. It’s such a shame to just stare at your blogging figures (although it can be exciting when they go up!!) I honestly find meaningful comments and interactions even more uplifting than stats.

    Or, if you write a post with a particular person in mind, and then they find it useful *that* makes my day!!

    1. Thanks for coming over from Susie’s blog. Being obsessed by the numbers, rather than the writing, can be a one-way street for many bloggers that leads to nothing but a dead-end. Comments should be treated as gold because they really do show what I consider is a successful blog. They also prove that the post is being read which, like you say, can make a person’s day. Numbers are important, but we shouldn’t become and stay obsessed with them.

  3. Here here Hugh! Absolutely agree. I always feel the passion should lie in what you’re writing about followed by interaction with readers. These are by far the reasons why I blog.

  4. Great post. Numbers were n important validation for me when I started writing just over two years ago. Now, although I’d like higher numbers, it’s my passion for writing that keeps me writing, and the reactions from those that do read what I put out there.

    1. Thank you. It’s exactly the same for me. Numbers are still important, especially when they tell me how many people have read my post, but it’s the comments that motivate and inspire me to write even more.

  5. Numbers are important to me..however I have stopped myself from checking every 15 minutes( I did)..I check 1 time a day now it is the comments I love the most they make it really seem worthwhile and they are in English which for me is a bonus as not many people speak or understand me here so an essential part of my day it keeps me focused and on track 🙂

    1. I agree, Carol. It is the comments that make blogging seem worthwhile. Without them, we wouldn’t know our posts were being read, although I understand that some readers do like to remain anonymous and not say anything. Numbers are important, especially the ones that tell us which of our posts are being read, but we should never become obsessed with the stats.

  6. I’ve mentioned this before, so I’m recycling an old sentiment.

    As someone who operates two blogs, one of which is hugely successful in terms of visitors/page views and one that gets barely noticed, I live on both ends of the numbers game.

    Let’s not be coy. On some level, every blogger cares about visibility. After all, we are not doing this just to hear ourselves talk. If numbers truly did not matter, we would just scribble our thoughts on paper and stuff it in a drawer.

    I speak only for myself, but I do want my work to be seen and shared and I’m disappointed when it’s not. It seems only the very popular bloggers say that “numbers don’t matter”. To me, it sounds like a rich man telling a poor man that “money isn’t everything”.

    1. What I’m getting at in this post is that too many bloggers concentrate on the numbers rather than the content during the first few years in the blogging world. They get disillusioned when visitors don’t arrive and/or comments don’t materialise. For many, it’s all about how many followers they can get rather than thinking about good original content that will bring in the visitors and comments. If I had £1 for every comment left that says ‘great Post, Check out my blog…’ and a link to that blog, I’d wouldn’t have to worry about dipping into my bank account to pay some of my bills. Successful bloggers work hard at getting readers and/or comments, but there are many out there who try and jump on the backs of those that have done all the hard work in the hope that they won’t have to put any hard work in.

      For me, the only stats that are important are the ones that tell me which of my posts are the most popular. Numbers are important, but we shouldn’t become obsessive with them.

  7. Wow! What a long conversation. Your blogs are so good you deserve it but there are times when I get NO readers (usually when I’m writing something personal) Then if I add a photo or write about writing they all come back so I’m learning what works and what doesn’t. I’m tempted to put an extract of the next novel in my next post. I’m not showing the cover until it is published. Maybe I’ll stick to poems. They get the most readers.

    1. I’ve always found that my blogging tips posts always attract a lot of comments. I guess it’s a subject that we all like talking about. I’ve written a few other articles about how to get readers to leave comments. A lot of my posts do seem to attract a lot of them. There are probably many reasons for that, but keep on writing and publishing posts that you know will attract a lot of readers and comments. You can’t go wrong by doing that.

      Thanks so much for leaving your comment, Julie.

  8. Love your words and advice here Hugh and I completely agree. For me it’s the interaction on my blog posts that tells me that what I’ve written has reached my readers hearts. And that’s what matters. Yes numbers are nice but I try not to get too focused on the stats.

  9. I used to check my stats often in the beginning to see if I was getting any traffic. Now i’m too busy checking my stats on Amazon! Sigh! Lol!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Hugh! 🤗😘

  10. Here at the edge of the playground my writers’ group think I’m amazing for even managing to have a blog! I keep trying to persuade some of them to have a go, because they write some great stuff. In the meantime at home, Cyberspouse gets fed up with me saying at intervals, looking up from my smart phone during the advertisements ‘Oh, I’ve got a new follower’ or ‘I’ve been Reblogged in German!’ So no, I’m not too bothered about the numbers, as long as I have a little row of pictures and the occasional comment.

    1. Agreed. It’s the comments that make all the difference because we then know that somebody has read what we’ve written. I believe that as we make our blogging journey pass that first-year, if the numbers are still important than what we’re writing, then it’s a sure sign that disillusion will soon set in and blogging will seem like too much hard work.

  11. Other than the occasional pang of jealousy when I compare myself to others, I try not to focus on numbers much. I am much more interested in engagement and comments than numbers. If I get even one comment I know my post has been a success!

    1. Somebody told me early on in my blogging journey to never compare myself with other bloggers, Molly. It was great advice as I then put more time into my own blog rather than looking at blogs that had thousands of hits and trying to figure out how I too could achieve what they were doing. I see many blogs that have thousands (even millions) of hits, but few comments on them. I’m not saying that all of those who visited never stayed and read something but getting comments on posts seems to be the only sure way of knowing that people have actually read a post. For me, a successful blog is one that has comments on them.

  12. In the first two years, I too checked my stats daily. But I had much more time for blogging too and made it one of my mission to build up something as many people as possible could enjoy and get inspired from. Times change and I don’t have the time for posting spontaneously several times a day. According to this, numbers are not important anymore. I have built up a place to inspire and I know that those who need it will find it. If it is only one person who reads something on my blog which makes this person change their lives for the better, it is all worth it.

    1. I completely agree with you, Erika. I see far too many people shouting from the rooftops how many followers they have or how many hits their blog has, but how many of those hits were from people who actually stayed, took some time to read a post and leave a comment? Seeing comments on posts is the only sure way of knowing that somebody has actually stayed and read your post.

      1. That’s true. But I think that there are many people who read but stay anonymous. Since we don’t know exactly, I really don’t care anymore. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to share with a worldwide audience what I feel the need to share. That’s why I am doing this for.

  13. Interesting post Hugh. Some good stuff and some nonsense.

    Of course we are interested in statistics, if no one is listening we might as well lock ourselves in a room and talk to ourselves. I don’t believe that you are not interested in how your blog posts are received and that you don’t wait for responses.

    Fractions. I bet you use fractions every day of your life – fractions of a second when boiling an egg, fractions of space when parking your car – Fractions are important.

    Numbers on the back of a car are important so we can judge power and performance and the fraction of accelerator we may need to overtake them!

    I was always told that size does matter!

    Anyway by all counts a good post!

    1. Thanks for commenting on this post again, Andrew.

      What I was trying to get over in my post is that people should not become obsessed with the stats and let them affect what they publish on their blog. The only stats I’m interested in are the ones which show which of my posts are the most popular and how many comments my posts get. Without the comments, I’d probably have given up on blogging. I’m no longer concerned by how many ‘likes’ a post gets since I know that not everyone who ‘likes’ a post has actually read it. I firmly believe that it’s the quality of posts which matter and which bring in the followers (as does ensuring we all respond to those comments), so let them do the work for us rather than concentrating too much on the number of followers or the number of hits our blog get.

  14. I love how you dissect our obsession with numbers. It would be hard to keep plodding along with blogging if I didn’t enjoy it. I look at the big picture now. I’m sure there are more than a few blog-to-book ideas in there! And, as you know, I’m all about marketing posts. There’s always so much to learn. Thanks for your help!

    1. Thanks so much, Kathleen. I’m thrilled to hear that the post is going to be featured. I wrote it two years ago but, after reading a blogging tips post written by Janice Wald, updated and republished it.

  15. Hi Hugh,
    I’m back to offer you congratulations! You won the Blogger’s Pit Stop Linky Party with this post. Congratulations! (Would they say “cheers” in the U.K.? If yes, Cheers!)
    Janice, your hostess

  16. Hi again Hugh,
    1. I admit I’m obsessed with numbers. That said,
    2. I had TRIPLE DIGIT page views from Flipboard on Sunday! Yay! Hoorah! I know you understand my joy.
    3. Thanks for bringing your post to last week’s Blogger’s Pit Stop.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

    1. Way to go, Janice. Very pleased to hear about your Flipboard Sunday. I do flip your blogging and social media tips, so hopefully, I was part of that success.
      You’re welcome. I join in when I can and enjoy sharing my little part of the blogosphere over at your place.

    1. Hi Janice. Ah, yes, but the track runner who breaks a personal best has done a lot of training, eaten the right foods, and trained every day. You’ve found your audience by writing articles that people want to read, so the numbers come to you. Well, that’s the way I look at it, anyway.
      Did you notice what piece of advice of yours I took from one of your recent posts, with this post? It’s worked because it’s brought me in traffic I’d never have otherwise have got.

      1. Loud and clear!!!
        Updated: 2017 !
        Yes, my influence alright! I am so glad that you find my tips valuable and they end up being helpful.
        When I saw this post on Twitter, I thought, a 2015 post on Twitter in 2017? People retweet older posts regularly so I didn’t give it more thought. Now I understand this is an update.
        I thought I’d have to look all over like a scavenger hunt to find my influence, but there it is plain as day. Again, I’m so glad you’re finding my tips helpful. Thank you for making sure I knew. It is definitely rewarding to know my tips help people.
        Janice

  17. Still true! The only number a blogger should be looking after is “number one”. Forget what every “one” else is doing and concentrate on what you are doing. You’re right it can cause obsessive compulsive disblogger and that’s not good. I’ve experienced it and had to take a break but now I’m back baby and concentrating on the words because…https://youtu.be/JHLMGBwAbhA and also because https://youtu.be/iWako3_ENlk. Have a great day and DFGTBA 🙂

    1. Well, first of all, I’m very pleased you are back. Secondly, don’t stay away so long next time. I mean, blogging without Steve? What’s that all about? 🤔

      I knew you learned the lesson in this post. Now, just get on with those words and forget the numbers ever existed.

      Nice choices of tunes. I hope you enjoyed my pick, even if I did pick it two years ago.

      1. I hadn’t actually heard it before but yeah nice choice. Although technically I was away, I wasn’t really as I still had TAPM so I still had the link to all the blogosphere but SteveSays was on a high ate us and it was good for me. I’ve hopefully came back refreshed and reignited and one could say re-branded as steve says is no longer 🙂

        1. So I saw when I visited your blog recently. Good to hear the break from blogging has helped, though. I’ve taken a few breaks from the world of blogging and they’ve always been of great help.

  18. A most worthy reblog Hugh. It’s funny how we try to keep up with everything and our stats, especially when we’re trying to grow our blog in earlier stages. We all know how much we have to do as writers who self publish and market ourselves in the midst of trying to have a life too. Honestly, I do my best to keep up on all fronts, and build friendships along the way. My commenters show me how my blog is growing. The last thing I have time for is to investigate all the stats. Hopefully we build and people are interested. I let the universe take care of the rest. 🙂 ❤

    1. Very nicely put, Debby. I think, as bloggers, the target we are aiming for changes. However, some bloggers seem to stay on that early road I call ‘desire’ where nothing but the number of followers they have on their blog is important. I’ve had comments left recently on posts that say nothing but “nice blog. Please come and visit my blog and like and comment on my posts and follow me. Here’s the link…” They don’t say anything about the post they’ve commented on and I’m seeing an increase in these kinds of comments. I do occasionally visit these blogs and many have no ‘about me’ page or they have failed to respond to comments already left. It’s a big learning curve, but there are so many other ways of increasing our readership and building our blogs. I could write a whole post about this, in fact, I probably will. 😀
      xx

  19. Thanks, Hugh. There’s been such a huge emphasis on analytics, bean counting and numbers (I quite like numbers but not what we try to make them do and how we can make them lie), but I’m a firm believer that the really important things cannot be simplified that way. Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Olga. I remember being in this very situation during my early days of blogging. It was all about the numbers. They meant more than what I was writing. Thank goodness somebody pulled me off that path. Of course, when we put them together correctly, they can work so very well for us.
      You too, Have a lovely weekend.

  20. I’ve recently done a lot of thinking about my blog, its direction and growth. I wondered whether to diversify my blog and post more often in a concentrated effort to grow my blog. After some soul searching, I realized that I wouldn’t be happy if I followed that direction. I love my current posting schedule which gives me time to enjoy the blogs that I follow, I share my poems which are my true love. I’ve just added a fitness category to share my experience as a person who’s been working out for some 30 odd years. I didn’t add it to increase my numbers. I added it have fun sharing. I figured some might enjoy, and benefit from what I have to say. I’ve come to the realization that I’ll never be a huge blogger by the numbers. It was such a relief to accept that. I do follow some really big blogs that are awesome, but they come by it naturally. I admire them.
    I did obsess over the numbers until recently, and now I check less and less. Another huge relief to let go of any expectations in that regard. I’ll continue to blog and have fun for as long as I see fit, so for a long time to come. 🙂 You have a fantastic blog btw. 🙂 I found your blog thanks to Miriam from Out an’ About. I’m so glad I dropped by. 🙂

    1. And fun is what Blogging should always be about, Brenda. You’ve certainly adopted the right attitude about this. I think many bloggers get obsessive with the numbers, especially number of followers, in the first year and this can so often lead to Blog burnout and they give up when the numbers don’t materialize. However, our Blog stats can also give us lots of valuable information such as which posts get the most views so we can concentrate on writing similar posts so to generate more interest.

      I was recently at a Bloggers Bash where we had a guest speaker who spoke about numbers. His closing words were “Don’t work for the numbers. Make the numbers work for you.” Makes perfect sense to me 😃

      Thank you for the follow and thank you to Miriam for introducing you to my blog.

      1. I would agree about making the numbers work for you, instead of working for the numbers. A concept that reminds me of the expression ‘work smart, not hard’. You’re very welcome on the follow btw. 🙂 Wishing you a great Thursday!

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