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?