Home » Writing » Gettin’ Nothin’ But Stat-Sick

Gettin’ Nothin’ But Stat-Sick

The past couple of weeks I have, once again, been thinking about dropping my blog entirely. Last night I even fantasized about deleting the whole thing, closing my Facebook and Twitter accounts, and just hermiting myself away, using the internet only to help my daughter find out how many young a pine marten has per gestation, uploading photos of my kids for their grandparents, and to look up the weather for my husband (even though he already knows the weather because he checks it himself every 23 minutes, an idiosyncrasy he apparently shares with every other bike commuter in the United States (all 12 of them)).

I do not have a wildly popular blog.

Most of my daily page views are from people doing internet searches about Victoria’s Secret models or nude moms or roast fresh ham. The other twenty are, I’m certain, from friends. And from my mother-in-law. (Hi, Millie!)

Don’t get me wrong, I love that my friends are reading my blog. I just kind of wish I was reaching more than just the people who already know me in real life. Or that I had about six hundred friends looking at my blog each day.

When my post about bok choy was on Freshly Pressed this past spring, I first felt pride because by my skill, intelligence and hard work, I had Made It! Then I felt confusion because I had apparently “Made It” by writing about what I had for dinner, not for all of the dozens of posts in which I waxed poetic about friendship and exploration and mindfulness and motherhood.

And then I felt anxiety because I had no clue how to keep all of those readers. I didn’t want to go back to blogging obscurity, not after getting a taste of the limelight. I heard Neil Young in my head telling me, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away,” and I thought that the best course of action was to quit right then while I was ahead.

It’s interesting to me that both “high” blog stats and “low” blog stats cause me to consider giving up blogging.

But I didn’t quit, I just watched my page views drop off and then gradually diminish to near pre-Freshly Pressed levels over the next several months.

I think, “Well, if so few people are reading my blog, why bother having it?”

It’s possible that it would be better to give up the blog. It would leave me with quite a bit more free time and it would take away the anxiety that I feel that I might be putting things on the internet that will embarrass me and my children and grandchildren and make it impossible for me to get a job when my kids move out in twenty years.

But maybe it would be even better to hang the pretense and just blog for my friends and family. I would have the same blog and post about the same things (you’d all still have to put up with my book reviews), but I would write as though the only people who read my posts are those who already care about me and want to see me succeed and aren’t waiting to jump on me and leave nasty comments every time there’s a typo or I misspell idiosyncrasy.

Which is pretty much how it is now.

I just need to look at my page views and say, “Wow! Two dozen today! Look at how many of my friends care about me enough to read my ramblings today!”

And since I don’t want to leave my friends hanging, the average number of young a pine marten has per 7-month gestation is 1-5.

20 thoughts on “Gettin’ Nothin’ But Stat-Sick

  1. I can’t figure out the stats at all, and maybe it’s best.
    I haven’t figured out what makes one blog have tons of comments. It clearly isn’t always the great content…
    I also have trouble getting my nearest and dearest to even read my blogs.
    It’s all wonky.
    I will still do it no matter what because I’ve embraced my exhibitionist self and I find I like it.
    I hope you keep doing it.
    I only just found you!

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  2. Okay, first, I have found that the deep soul-searching posts that I love to write and that stop by heart when I publish, are never big “sellers” I guess it’s tough to google or something :) I don’t worry about that. Those posts are what I have to offer and I know they are great when I write them. Every once in a while though I’ll see a reader go through every one of them and really spend time (3-5 minutes) reading them, sometimes even coming back to one. That makes it all worthwhile. I don’t care if it’s my mom either. If I can have that kind of impact on a friend or family member, that’s awesome.

    Second, and I hate to admit this publicly, I have friends that blog who’s blogs aren’t worth reading… and I don’t read them. It’s that simple. You write well, and are interesting. Don’t assume that your friends are only reading your blog because they like you.

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    • “Don’t assume that your friends are only reading your blog because they like you.”

      Point taken. I’m fairly selective in my blog reading habits, too, and I have friends whose blogs I don’t read. The blogs I follow are the blogs I enjoy, friends or not. I don’t know why I’d never thought of my friends using the same criteria with my blog. It’s not about liking or not liking the blogger, it’s about liking or not liking the blog. So I shouldn’t take it personally either way.

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  3. I just discovered your blog thanks to TouchstoneZ. I am signing up to follow you :)
    I know what you mean though, I try not to look at the numbers but it’s hard! I wrote a silly blog out of boredom one day about a mystery fruit I purchased at the store and could find almost no information on it searching the Internet. This fruit was called a Lemon Drop Melon and that blog has almost 6,000 views now. The closest runner up has a little over 500 views haha.
    It’s like why can’t that piece I wrote about surrendering my need for perfection and giving in to who I am get 6,000 views!!?? Or the one I wrote about our beautiful adoption story.
    It can be frustrating for sure. I have decided to ignore the numbers and listen to the feedback instead. I value the comments left on my blog, each one is a precious gift to me.
    My blogs seem to average about 100 views and I know that’s small potatoes to most but I see it as “WOW 100 people took time out of their day to read my ramblings!”

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    • Ha! I hadn’t thought about the New England neophyte aspect of my blog! (And I’m glad you enjoy the book reviews (or at least appreciate the books that I mention).)

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  4. I’ve taken long breaks from my blog. I used to want it to be one of the “big” ones then I decided that it’s just for fun and I shouldn’t worry about the stats and stuff.

    I’ve stop posting links of facebook and just post a link to an interesting entry a few times a day on twitter. If people read it, awesome! If they don’t, that’s fine, too.

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    • You sound like you really have a handle on why you blog and are comfortable with the readership you get, Sarah. I’m working towards that level of equanimity. Like my husband always points out, page views don’t necessarily even represent how many people are reading…it just tells me how many people might have stumbled upon my blog while searching for something else. And it doesn’t even include syndicated views. So, if I can manage it, I hope not to let the numbers overwhelm me anymore.

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  5. I don’t know you, but I enjoy reading. Like others, so often you write about things really relevant to what’s happening in my life at the moment. It often strikes me as just plain awesome. I think I’ve given up on thinking too much about stats or number of readers. I blog what’s on my mind and if it clicks, great. It seems to go in waves where it clicks with people and other times where it doesn’t. But in those waves where I feel like I’m out there all by myself blogging, it can get frustrating if I focus on it. Regardless, I hope you keep writing! You often give me food for thought.

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    • Jamie, thank you so much for your kind words! It’s definitely helpful to hear that other bloggers are feeling that same “shouting into the void” sensation, at least part of the time.

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  6. I read. I don’t know you, but realize we do live near since you frequent places I know and visit. I like what you say because it often NOT what I am thinking and gives me a different perspective on how to move through this life.

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    • Thank you, Heather. It’s especially gratifying when someone with a different perspective finds what I write useful. So often when I read blogs with perspectives that are different from mine (and probably equally as often when I read blogs with similar perspectives), I have trouble stomaching them because the authors seem to assume that there is only one right way to look at things (theirs, of course), and then proceed to negate other perspectives in a rather shrill and judgmental (to my ear) fashion. I don’t doubt that I get a little shrill sometimes, too, (and boy howdy can I be judgmental when I let myself) but I make a huge effort to be nonjudgmental and respectful of different viewpoints when I blog. I try to write in such a way that we can all see our point of common ground and connect with one another from there rather than being stuck behind our differences. The fact that I have at least one regular reader who comes from a different place than I do suggests that I’ve been doing okay with that. (And I hope that’s not too big an assumption to make based on your comment.)

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  7. I don’t know you but I get an email when you’ve blogged and I always feel you are saying what I am thinking, only more eloquently. I know what more time with your family would mean, but I do really like to read you.

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  8. LOL well, my blog is lucky if it gets 4 hits in a day. Once it got 33 in a day. And no one usually comments. But during ROW 80, I was wildly popular since all new people were checking it. I like to blog, so I just do it when I feel the urge, and try not to obsess over who is looking. The majority of my friends and family “don’t blog,” reading or writing, and so I don’t even have that audience!

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    • That’s the thing, I guess. I do enjoy blogging, so I don’t know why I get so hung up on stats.

      I’ve been thinking about ROW 80 next round. I’m not sure if I should use “increased blog readership” as an enticement or not. ;)

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      • Thanks, Jess! That’s actually part of why I was thinking I need to just forget about “the rest of the world” and just blog for my friends.

        I was thinking about you the other day. A friend was looking for a pattern for a birth ball cover, and I thought maybe you’d know about that kind of thing. I’d never heard of one before at all, let alone a pattern for one. Sure would have come in handy during my doula days, though. I could have just washed the cover rather than trying to disinfect a giant ball in my bathtub. Drop me an e-mail if you’ve got any information that might help her.

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