Sod the stats and blog for happiness….or do both.

I only have one rule when it comes to blogging and that is, that I do not blog about blogging, but seeing as this is my space I can break my own rules if I really want to and there has been something that I haven’t been able to get out of my head for a few days and I think it deserves a different viewpoint, to be put out there.

I had an e-mail pop into my inbox earlier this week providing information about a session being offered at one of this year’s blogging conferences. The headline was “Sod the stats and blog for happiness”. This suggests to me that these two things are mutually exclusive and I want to set the record straight. You can care about your stats AND blog for happiness.

It drives me mad that bloggers seem to be pushed into two camps. Those who don’t care who is reading, or in growing their audience and simply blog for the pure pleasure of writing and those who cynically want to promote themselves and climb league tables. I certainly don’t think I fall into either of these camps and most people I know don’t either.

Whenever I listen to the ‘I only do it for the love and stats are so grubby and unseemly’ brigade, it always seems unrealistic to me that most bloggers don’t care whether they are being read or not. Surely one of the things that sets blogging apart from simply writing a private journal, is that we want a conversation, some feedback. We want people to read what we have written and there is nothing wrong with that.

Of course I am not suggesting that we care too much about stats. You must write what you want to write and in your own style, in order for people to enjoy reading you and for them to keep coming back. If you become too hung up on how many hits you have had in a day or if your comments are increasing or decreasing then you may find that the enjoyment that you felt when you first started has gone, but that doesn’t mean you have to ignore them either.

I love blogging. It has given me lots of happiness, caused me to meet some really fantastic people who are now among my dearest friends and through reading other blogs I have laughed, cried, thought differently about things and learned so much stuff I cannot begin to list it all. If someone asked me I would say that I definitely blog for happiness and yet in addition to this I also check and care about my stats.

I don’t check them every day and I don’t get overly upset if they go down. By caring, the appropriate amount, I have been able to make a little pin money and review the odd product, but generally I keep an eye on them because I like to know people are reading.

Caring about how your blog is doing doesn’t have to mean you are miserable and writing purely to increase your audience. I know lots of fabulous bloggers who write gorgeous words and take amazing pictures and have used their blogs as springboards to make some money, either by taking advertising, writing elsewhere or even using it to expand or start businesses and surely they would have had to have some kind of idea of the size of their audience to do this. Although, of course the number of visitors and comments is not the only measure of how you engage with your audience either, but I guess what I am saying is that it is possible to pay some attention to this side of things and still blog for joy.

So, you don’t have to “Sod the stats and blog for happiness”, I am here to tell you that you can do both and that it is OK to do both. It does not have to be one thing or another. As with most things it is about balance.

What do you think? Do you find it easy to balance these things or do you have a different view to me?

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22 thoughts on “Sod the stats and blog for happiness….or do both.

  1. I agree 100% with you. I do blog 'for me' but I also love getting comments or seeing my tots100/ebuzzing etc ranks go up.Obviously sometimes my ranks go down but it doesn't really bother me. I'd rather they didn't but I'm not going to cry or rant, I just carry on blogging.It's definitely possible to blog for happiness and still care about stats 🙂

  2. I try very hard not to care too much about my stats because I can become obsessive and hugely competitive. I am lucky in the numbers game, but a lot of that is just that…luck. In the end there are many ways to gauge blog success – numbers are one thing, then there is engagement and connection, a much harder thing to foster.

  3. I think I genuinely am in the don't care about stats camp. As you know I've started a new blog and I have told people about it because I want to talk about the things I'm writing about and have no one in real life to do that with. I don't need heaps of people to read me, just two or three comments so I can chat and share.I've also made a bit of money through my other blog as it got me two writing jobs and a few paid for guest posts but not once did this people ask me for my stats. Blogging is a hobby for me and a way of expressing myself creatively. I don't have time to do loads of publicising or checking of stats.Have you had a revamp here? It's looking very swish!

  4. I do not believe that the two things are mutually exclusive and I also am a firm believer in that people blog for the response. maybe not the stats, but the engagement. I would hate it is I never got any comments. I might as well write a diary if that was the case

  5. What a sensible post. I've always kept a private journal ad so very much blog for public consumption. I'm a journalist and so used to writing for a readership, but the interaction on a personal blog is uniquely satisfying. I try not to care about my stats, but as a relative newbie my humour rises or falls with them. keeping meaning to grow up..

  6. It's funny, I write for a massive site I never look into the minutae of what's happening with the stats whereas on my personal blog I love to see what's going on. I agree with you, it's about personal connection and one way to establish how people connect with you is to look at what's popular, how they are finding you, how they move through your site etc. My stats don't bring me the work, writing a quality site with heart and integrity has done that (in my opinion).

  7. I agree with you totally.My blog is my space, primarily a journal and I write for me. However, I have found that I love the social side of blogging and love comments. I have regular follwers and love getting new ones. I like to keep an eye on my stats 🙂

  8. I honestly couldn't agree more. I think it is possible to strike that balance between the two and I definitely feel that I manage that. I do check my stats. Not obsessively as I'm really not that into the whole numbers thing. But I do like to know that I'm not just writing into the ether. I quite like knowing how people have found me and it's nice to see when something has been well received. For me though, my blog is all about engagement. I love to receive comments and often, the comments turn out to be better than my original post although I'm not sure what that says about my blog! Ha!

  9. Good post.Yes, if we didn't care at all about whether anyone was reading we could just write a personal diary and have done with it I suppose. Perhaps I can be the first one to stick my head above the parapet and say that I probably care too much about stats. I check them too often and I get discouraged when going through a 'trough.' I'm not particularly proud of this but there we are.That doesn't mean I don't write for pleasure, because I do. But I would like to be successful at writing for pleasure if you see what I mean. I'd also quite like someone to pay me for writing, but that's a whole other story.

  10. What a fantastic post. I have been blogging for nearly four years and tbh it very much started out as a bit of fun, somewhere I can ramble, take pretty photographs, talk about my family and love of shopping etc. I talk from the heart on my blog and in real life. In turn it is this talking from the heart that I think interested the pr/brand thing and perhaps why my blog is a little bit more out there. I don't want my blog to be my brand as such but I definitely think the two, happiness and stats can indeed go hand in hand. Perhaps balance is the key. For me I hardly check stats, and IMO if all you care about is facts and figures perhaps one is doing their blog a disservice, it is the passionate blogs I am interested in.

  11. I wrote a blogpost similar to this a few days ago from the viewpoint of a food blogger. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I struggle to put myself in either camp. I certainly don't write blogpost for SEO, I write about what I want to write about but at the same time I like the engagement some posts get.

  12. It is very easy to get upset about the stats. I have learned not to look too deeply into them when I am having a bad day. i also have a close group of bloggy friends who pull me back into line!

  13. I think it's because it is personal on our blogs, we pour a little bit of ourselves into our blogs. It was you I had in mind when I talked of bloggers who had helped their work with their blogs and still kept them gorgeous

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