One of my favorite blogs is Imperfect Happiness. In case you don’t remember, I’m a bit of a stalker. She somehow writes daily for well over a year, consistently thought-provoking posts. Her mind is incredibly facile as she can move easily from recipes to book reviews to philosophical extrospection and navel gazing.
My comments on her blog sometimes grow epic in length. And sometimes they become their very own posts.
In Gettin’ Nothin’ But Stat-Sick, she poses the question that I believe haunts many bloggers. How much to do we define our blogging by our stats? If no one reads our posts, does it matter?
So, please read her post, leave her some comment love, and then, if you feel like it, come back here and read my response below.
Thank you for writing this, CJ. I think you are struggling with what the 99.99% of bloggers (no reference to OWS) go through often. We put much of ourselves into crafting these posts and for what? It’s hard to write for writing’s sake when they appear to go into a vacuum.
But your words don’t go into a vacuum. And it’s not the “if a post falls in the forest and no one is there to read it, does it make a sound?” issue. Every single one of us tiny bloggers matter. Your voice is unique.
Blogging embodies what we each hold within ourselves at every moment: we are both a miracle and mundane. We are a speck of nothing in the universe, but without our speck something that never was before and never will be again would never exist.
We matter. Both for our nothingness and for our immense importance.
Once you’ve got enough posts written you begin to get this idea through each post. It’s important while it is being written and posted, but then what? Does it cease to be important except to those accidentally popping by on their endless quest for free pron? Is the one you poured your heart into more meaningful because 30 people read it? Does Bok Choy become less pleasurable to reflect on if no one reads what you write about it?
Blogs create a huge body of work from talented writers. It is a brave thing to put all of this out there, knowing that you will not be the same person who wrote that in a month or a year, yet letting it stand. Over and over again.
I learned a lesson from your experience when your post broke the big time on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed. When my own post was featured on BlogHer. I didn’t check my stats until a week later. Mine was a fluff post and not representative of the majority of what I write. There was a spike in views, then nothing more. I’m not mainstream and I don’t really want to be. The popular kids attract a lot of haters. I’m happy writing my own quirks out and, for me, that rarely means a recipe or a top 10 list (of course, now my brain will probably decide to rebel and I’ll be able to write only in list-form for the foreseeable future)
As I’ve mentioned to you before, I rarely check stats because I know I’ll tie my ego to my writing and I will become unhappy. I don’t check to see how I compare to others. And I don’t worry about whether a post I care about gets any eyes or not. (Although, this is changing a bit as I move into the realm of PR, but not without me resisting it.)
Making money from your blog is when stats can matter. I respect the different viewpoints on the importance of stats for those who do make money from their blog. If you need to prove that you are getting enough eyes on your work to accept advertising or promotional pieces, etc, then you do need to know about it. If that is a goal, then the SEO optimization rabbit hole of research is waiting patiently for you.
I think that as long as you don’t compromise your voice and your integrity, this is fine. People can tell when you’re shilling or being inauthentic and they won’t come back. At least, that’s the theory. But, I don’t think anyone really knows. And if someone doesn’t agree with me, that’s fine too. Compromise away. I’m not the moral bloggy majority.
It’s up to the individual blogger to decide what they want their blog to be. There isn’t a limit to the number of blogs or readers for blogs. There’s something for everyone. That’s both its great strength and great weakness.
Really, I care about comments. For someone to take the time to write something in response means the world to me. Those connections are the only reason I blog instead of journal. If I didn’t receive comment, I would still blog. I’m driven to do it. Blogging is in my blood now, even on the days I think I should pack up shop, delete it all, and disappear without anything left to show I was there.
Sometimes, I wish I could disable page view stats so I wouldn’t be tempted to look. When I do look, the ones I concentrate on are what people search for and which posts keep being recycled by viewers-aside from all the pron and weird ones thanks to my non-seo friendly titles that I will not optimize because my titles are part of my expression. Those hits matter to me because it probably means I should write a follow-up post, if there’s more to say.
And with blogging, there’s always more to say.
Here are some bloggers that have more to say:
- The Existential Importance of Blog Stats: A Response to a Response by Imperfect Happiness
- How to Appreciate a Blog by It’s Ok Blog