A Little? A Lot?

I was bouncing around the blogosphere earlier this week, and came across something that has been stuck in my brain for a few days now.

I stopped by one of the big book blogs — one of the very well-established ones with a bazillion followers — and was reading a recent piece about staying motivated as a blogger. All good stuff. But one of the bullet points had a passing comment advising bloggers to refrain from laughing when they see other bloggers getting excited over getting 100 page views in a day.

Hmmmm.

To me, this seemed to imply that 100 page views is nothing to get excited about. Sure, maybe for newbies, but “real” bloggers know that this is small potatoes.

Granted, the post I was reading didn’t actually say this, but it seemed to be the sub-text — at least, that’s how I took it.

And my reaction was — wait, what???

I’ve been blogging for almost two years now, and I freely admit that I’m not a super ambitious blogger working my butt off for better stats. I do check my stats, probably more than I should, but I constantly remind myself that I blog for the sake of expression and to exchange ideas with new friends and far-flung booklovers, not in the pursuit of numbers and followers. Still, it is a boost to my spirits when I see my page view numbers go up in response to a post I worked hard on — and it’s always a fun surprise to see which posts get the most views. It’s not always what I’d have expected!

But I’m happy with 100 page views a day. Granted, more is nice — but it hadn’t occurred to me that what I get excited about might be laughable to others.

Honestly, I know it doesn’t matter much. The question is, am I having fun blogging? Am I writing about topics that inspire me? Am I reading good books? Am I interacting with other readers and bloggers in a way that makes me feel engaged and a part of a bigger whole? And the answer to these questions is yes! Maybe not every single day, but for the most part I feel good about what I’m doing and how far I’ve come since I first started blogging, which was mostly on a whim.

Still, it’s hard to maintain good cheer sometimes. Occasionally, I’ll visit a new (to me) blog and happen to see that they have 1,000 Bloglovin’ followers or some astronomical numbers of total blog followers, and it’s hard not to start feeling dispirited. Because the takeaway for me seems to be: Oh, I thought I was doing pretty well… but maybe not.

It’s just like I’ve always told my kids: Don’t compare yourself to others — compare yourself to yourself, and try to do your own personal best. That’s what victory really looks like.

Nice platitude. It’s hard to internalize, though.

The bottom line for me is that I need to be satisfied with my own efforts and feel like I’m doing what I want to be doing. I don’t have the time or energy to devote massive amounts of either to promotional efforts, spreading the word constantly via social media platforms, or some of the other approaches I’ve seen advocated as keys to getting bigger numbers. I applaud those who can pull this off — I really do! I just know that I have limits, and get too stressed if I take on too much.

What’s the point of this post? I guess I’m both doing a public affirmation, saying I need to be happy with my own successes and not worry about stats and page view counts… and I also wanted to reach out and see how others feel.

Do you focus on numbers? What constitutes success for you and your blog? And how do you keep from feeling down when you realize that your idea of a really great blog day might be someone else’s small potatoes?

 

 

20 thoughts on “A Little? A Lot?

  1. hiya,
    to be honest i never think about it, i never check my stats or look at views anything like that i just don’t think about my blog like that, to me that’s not what a blog is about playing the numbers game,
    back when i first started blogging i did it just for fun it was somewhere i could wafflle on about any old thing and no one could stop me ^_^ and it pretty much still is, i guess my blog to me is just a virtual scrapbook and i love keeping scrapbooks^_^ i put in it whatever interests me i don’t fret if i haven’t posted in a while and i refuse to follow rules of any kind^_^ s’my blog and i talk when i want, play tunes when i want, and collect whatever snippets i like the look of^_^
    i do find it nice when people leave me lovely comments and i do love it when they stop for a chat maybe its because my blog has no particular aim its just a scrapbook that it works, i don’t know, all i know is it works for me ^_^ and through it have met the most wonderful people and adopted a fantastic virtual family which is enough for me and the best return possible, i have no more aim than that,
    so don’t worry be happy and simply enjoy your blog i know i enjoy mine ^_^ take care and have a super saturday xx

    • Hi, thanks for your lovely comment! Sounds like you’ve found the right attitude and that it really works for you! I know what you’re saying makes total sense — now I just need to work on feeling it for myself more consistently! Yes, 100%, this should be fun, and most of the times, it really is!

  2. I am part of a swapping community called Swap-Bot. Within that community, I created a group for Book Lovers so we can share swaps about our love of books. One of the swaps we do there is to share our monthly reading log. Two of our members, instead of just sending emails about it, shared theirs on their blogs. I thought, great idea, and created my blog with the sole purpose of sharing these logs with my partners in the swaps. I decided, since I was posting a few reviews of books I had read, to list my blog at the Book Bloggers List. Imagine my shock when I had an author messaging me, for my review. Even though I told her (and the next) that my blog got no views, they wanted me to read their books, and I did and posted my reviews. Then I started visiting other blogs, and stumbled across Dewey’s 24 Hr RaT. I found all kinds of new blogs to view and hey, a few followed me back!! All this is to say, no, I don’t pay attention to my stats. I cheer over each comment, and I smile when BlogLovin’ says someone is following me, and I have 15 followers. Yup, just 15. I know I’m a new baby blog but I didn’t get into it for millions of views and will never want millions of views. While it could change, because nothing with me is ever etched in stone, blogging is for me. I like writing, I like reading. Writing about what I’m reading is fun for me, and even if my few swap partners were all that ever saw my pages, it’s fine by me. Would I like a few more followers, sure, why not. This community is pretty fun so far, but I don’t base anything I do on that. I won’t conform to anything, because that’s not me. I’m just who I am, for better or worse, and people can take or leave me and my tiny blog. 🙂

    • I love it! “I’m just who I am, for better or worse, and people can take or leave me and my tiny blog” sounds like a perfect approach for having fun and staying sane!

  3. I have only been blogging about books for a year. We (I have one co blogger) are averaging 80 pages views a day and I have no idea if this is good or not, but I know it is good for us! Compared to where we were a year ago, it is way good! I check our stats maybe like once a month. I love getting comments. I love meeting new people. I really have no clue why some “big” blogs are so snobby towards the little guys. I have experienced this online as well as in person when meeting the “big” bloggers and I was not impressed. Now some people are super nice, but some have such an over exaggerated sense of self importance that I lost interest talking to them in the first 5 seconds… Also, keep this in mind, with 80 pages views a day and instagram and twitters and good reads and facebook, I can barely keep up. I think that at some point if your blog gets too big, you cannot really interact the same and for me, that is what it is all about.

    • See, you have what I think is the right attitude! And I think your statement about loving meeting new people is so important. Quality over quantity works for me! I agree, it can be hard to keep up when there’s a lot of activity, and I also feel that it’s the personal interactions that make blogging so rewarding. I’ve never met other bloggers, big or small, in person, but the snobbishness would be a total turn-off. Thanks for stopping by and adding your thoughts — so great to read your comment!

  4. Hi ! I agree with you totally ….. I’m not on Twitter/FB,etc. so I don’t even publicize my posts. As a result I get only very few views per post. A friend suggested that I join Twitter just to promote my blog but I don’t want to – I’m happy with the pace I have set for myself. I think you should give yourself a lot of credit for taking initiative like the book meme directory and all. Keep up the great blogging !

    • Oh, thank you so much! I’m not a big Twitter user myself — I’m there, but not terribly active, and I just don’t have time for more than what I currently do. I love your statement: “I’m happy with the pace I have set for myself.” That’s my goal, and I’m mostly there. I just have to watch out for my tendency to zoom in on numbers and focus on enjoying the process! I do stop and ask myself every so often if what I’m doing makes me happy… and when I realized I was stressing about certain things (like a recurring features I was aiming for), I dropped those pieces. “Real life” is hard enough — I don’t need blog worries too! Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your thoughts!!

  5. I occasionally stumble across posts like the one you read–ones that imply X numbers of page views or followers or comments “isn’t good enough.” I even found a post once that pretty much gave a timeline and said, “By this many weeks, months, or years into blogging you should have X many followers.” Well, by all these standards, my blog is a failure and even though I agree with your philosophy–that I blog for myself and to share thoughts and meet fellow book lovers–it is irritating to discover there are other bloggers out there who think your blog is somehow unimportant.

    However, it’s always worthwhile to look at the blogs you like, the ones YOU think are good or thoughtful, and see how many followers they have. Followers and page views do not equal good content. Sometimes, big bloggers ARE good writers; other times, big bloggers are just people who run a lot of giveaways or are good at networking or are skilled in SEO.

    So, even though it can be easy to get into a place where you wonder if your stats are high enough (especially when there are other bloggers implying they aren’t), if you remind yourself to focus on your content and whether you think that’s good, I think you’ll always be pretty happy and motivated to blog. Also, I’ve run across a bunch of posts like yours, from bloggers reminding us all that stats aren’t the only thing that matter, and that’s always encouraging.

    • Briana, thank you for your insight and encouragement! I’m glad I didn’t run into a post with a timeline like the one you mention when I was newer at blogging — I probably would have run screaming for the hills! It’s nice to hear that I’m in good company! It’s easy to tell myself to judge myself against my own sense of what’s good (or not), but i agree that it can be irritating to hear others talk about what’s good enough. There are a lot of posts out there focused on getting more followers, more views, etc — and that’s fine, I suppose, but I’m never going to be be a person who’s out there hustling for more followers just to boost my stats.

  6. I do look at my stats, partly so I can keep my NetGalley profile up to date, and partly because I’m curious. But followers and page views don’t mean nearly as much to me as comments do.

    (Also, for what it’s worth, if I had read that post, I probably would have unfollowed the blog. What’s the point in shaming people for being enthusiastic? What happened to being a supportive community?)

    • I hear you about the value of comments. It’s the comments that get me smiling when I check up on my blog. Regarding the blog post I mentioned, it’s interesting (kind of) that I don’t think they intended to shame anyone, but the net effect was shaming anyway. Weird. Fortunately, I encounter far more bloggers who embrace the idea of a supportive community than those who don’t.

  7. Oh, I love this post. You’ve said many of the things I’ve thought to myself… many times. I go through stages with blogging: there are times I’m happy with where I am, when I’m dispirited, when I wonder if anyone ever actually reads what I write (or if it’s all just spambots from Russia). I think you’re right in that it’s that constant reminding yourself WHY you do this, why you put in the effort, and reminding yourself of the tangible benefits of the answers to those WHY questions.

    I’ve personally noticed that my blogging works as therapy: so when work life or social life is in a ‘down’ period, my blog is usually blooming, and vice versa. I try to remind myself that I blog my way out of bad bits of life, and that the goals is to be happy no matter where I am and no matter what the stats are for the day.

    That said, I do check my blog stats at least 3-4 times a week. And it can be exciting, or disappointing, depending on where I am. I’ve given up any thought of being a ‘big blogger,’ but I’m still excited and happy to make personal contact with an author I loved or to see some other tangible response to my blogging. When an old acquaintance gets back in touch because they’ve seen my blog posts on Facebook – that’s weird, and cool, and something I put in the ‘success’ column. I take my joy where I can find it, you know? Anyway, I’m sorry to ramble on so much. Your post was great, and it made me think. So, thanks. *grin*

    • LOL, spambots from Russia! Some days I think that’s most of my readership! 🙂 But really, thanks so much for your nice comment. Sounds like you’ve got a great attitude, and I like the idea of blogging as therapy… although I’ve noticed somewhat of an opposite effect for me: My sunnier posts tend to come when I’m in a good mood or feeling especially energetic. But yes, the goal is to be happy, and the best bits are feeling creative and feeling like I’ve made a connection. I do tend to check my stats every day, but less about comparison with others and more about seeing which posts in any given week seem to get more responses. It can be so gratifying to put out a post after a lot of thought or effort and then see the comments coming back! (Of course, I think we’ve all experienced the opposite — working really hard on a post and then having no one say a word about it.) Anyway, I am trying to “take my joy where I can find it” more these days, and it helps me stay calm even on my less upbeat blogging days!

  8. It took me a long time to secure this motto in my head, because when I started out I checked my stats OBSESSIVELY. It was bad. But I’m coming up on 3 years blogging in a month (holy crap) and I’m over it. I rarely check my stats and actually didn’t even know how to on my new WordPress site when I tried a few days ago and I’ve been on WP since October. lol Anyways, being happy with your own personal successes and not comparing yourself to other bloggers is key because there are a ton of extremely successful bloggers. If my blog is small potatoes to someone else, well whatever, because I’m happy with what I do on my blog and that’s all that really matters in the end.

  9. Thank you for posting this! I first began book blogging back around Christmas time, so I’m still sort of new to the whole blogging world, but correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like there are more small book bloggers than there are extremely established book bloggers. And we all have to start somewhere. To some people 100 views is a really big deal. I know it was a big deal when we got our first comment, so I hope that that didn’t deter or discourage any new bloggers, because it really is such a fun place to be a part of and the people are generally extremely nice! 🙂

    • I think you’re absolutely right! It can be daunting to get started, and getting those first few comments is such an amazing feeling! I love discovering new blogs and bloggers starting out, seeing the enthusiasm, and establishing new connections. Thanks so much for your comment, and good luck!!!

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