Posted in Blaugust

Blaugust 2022: What’s the most important blogging metric? (it ain’t hits)

Back when I joined the do-it-yourself HTML throng of GeoCities in 1996, I was not alone in absolutely craving feedback on my site. There were “guestbooks” (which you kids would call a “comments section” today), but even sites that lacked those were sure to have a hit counter on the front page. That ever-ticking-up counter let you know how popular you were, and for a while there, it was a genuine thrill to check out your site in the morning and see that 10 people (or whatever) had visited in the night.

Stats, SEO, views, demographics, and all the rest haven’t gone away. Every blog platform I know of offers some way to track and break down all of the visits you’re getting. And it’s easy to get addicted to that. I mean, a while back when reading blogs was much more the hot thing, I saw posts routinely shooting into the tens of thousands of views on dumb stuff like “Champions Online bingo cards.” I got a high off of seeing those view counts every day.

But gradually, I realized a few things. One, this was tempting me far too much into narcissism for my own good. Becoming obsessed with view counts and likes and whatnot is a good way to seeking validation from the approval of strangers. And chasing that popularity never has a good ending for anyone.

Two, views come and views go, but those numbers only tell you so much. They don’t tell you if someone actually enjoyed what you wrote. And they don’t reflect how you feel about your own post.

So a while back — years and years now — I simply stopped looking at any of my site’s stats. I just don’t. I know I’m not as popular as I used to be because blogs or the subject I primarily write about (MMORPGs) aren’t as popular. And that’s OK, because it’s not the blogging metric that I crave.

Simply put, I’ve found that the joy in blogging and writing is putting entertaining and informative content out there that interests me enough to write and others to read. I want to offer my services as a writer, not to please others, but to make their days a bit better and share in the passion of our mutual hobby of gaming. So seeing comments or getting like notifications on posts doesn’t go to my ego these days as it does to my gratitude bin. I’m grateful that people read the silly nonsense that I put out there, and I hope they get a smile or some measure of affirmation from it.

Kids, let go of your stats. Those numbers will crush your mind if you let them. It’s so freeing to let them go. Just write to write — and see the exciting places that it takes you.

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8 thoughts on “Blaugust 2022: What’s the most important blogging metric? (it ain’t hits)

  1. Excellent post! It is so hard to let go of the numbers, though, as an analytic type person. I reflect on them mostly to know what topics seem to be important to the people coming to my site – though most the time, that doesn’t lead to new writing because that post is already out there!

    Clinging to numbers is a sure-fire way to finding disappointment, especially for a newer blogger. Like you, I remember a time when just 10 visitors to my little HTML site was exciting! I’m trying to get back to that mindset again and just create for the sake of creating.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree. I still have a stat counter (or two) at the bottom of my blog, but I realized many moons ago that many, if not most of those hits are bots and web crawlers, not really people reading my “words of wisdom.”

  3. 100% agree with all of that. I imagine every blogger goes through a phase of watching their stats like the results of a favorite sports team but anyone who stays the course gets to realize what a mug’s game it is.

    I stopped paying close attention to stats years ago. Nowadays I sometimes take a look when Google send me one of their highlight emails or if I’m researching a post that requires up to date info on some stat-related topic but I often go months without even glancing at them.

    Comments is my guide metric although even those aren’t really very indicative. Often it’s the shorter, throwaway posts that trigger a flurry of comments while the ones that took hours of research go unrermarked. In the end you have to be satisified you’ve said what you wanted to say and leave the rest to fate.

  4. I dunno. I appreciate knowing that I’m not talking ENTIRELY to myself… but I am no longer under any illusion that I could get a job in the game industry so don’t really feel the need to continually self-promote anymore. Still, I do like feedback.

  5. This is quite encouraging as it tells you how far you have gone in terms of the metrics. It is very important to pay attention to the statistics particularly when you are still coming up.

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