WordPress Blog Stats – Do They Matter?

It’s Sunday. Time to re-charge the batteries and reflect. Well, for an hour at least.

I’m a WordPress blogging newbie, it’s a well documented fact here on the blog, and I enjoy it. Every minute of it.

The writing is easy enough. I’m obviously no Hemingway. Not even a Gilbert Hemingway, who was a slightly built, well-cologned Irishman who used to cut my hair when I was a kid. He had a one man shop at the end of a run down cul-de-sac behind the Co-op Bingo Hall. He opened 365 days a year. It was his USP. If all else failed on Christmas Day you could always guarantee purchasing yourself a top notch cut, shave and something for the weekend. I was a precocious kid in those days.

However, I’m rambling again. The writing is fine. But what about the ‘stats’? I am sorry to admit this but I am becoming a ‘stat junkie’. Yep. Guilty as charged. Next case.

Rarely do I ever switch on the computer without checking in on the WordPress stats first.

Have I any more followers? Did no one like me today? How come I have the same number of views as visitors? Did they just look and think ‘Nope, not for me’. What am I doing wrong? How is it no one ever comments? Even something along the lines of ‘Is Gilbert Hemingway still in business and what’s his number?’ That would at least be some kind of recognition that there is someone out there who cares about me? Why has everyone else got bigger stats than me? Size is everything.

Am I taking it too personal? Am I taking it too seriously? I think so.

So, do the stats matter? Do they really? And if so, which ones do you take seriously? I ask the question but I expect no answers. Sigh.



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About writegoodbooks

I help new writers become published authors through self-publishing. I also offer writers the chance to have their work converted into Kindle eBooks and publish them on the Amazon Kindle store.

40 responses to “WordPress Blog Stats – Do They Matter?”

  1. writeonthebeach says :

    I think it’s really easy to get seduced by stats – they appear to be a validation, an acknowledgement that you’re out there and part of the human race.
    However, don’t they really depend on what categories and tags you use and that’s where you have to be quite savvy about what is going to tickle folks’ fancies?
    I am a little sceptical (ok skeptical if you must) about some of the huge follower figures and I wonder how much of “I’ll follow you if you follow me” goes on?
    Sigh 🙂

  2. MishaBurnett says :

    Just about the only one I check anymore is “views by week” and I figure as long as that line of bars is going up, I must be doing something right.

    • writegoodbooks says :

      That makes sense.
      I also checked out your Catskinner book, the sample chapters, and I have to say congrats….it’s very good. Interesting to see if you could do anything with it as a screenplay?

      • MishaBurnett says :

        Thank you–you can actually get the whole thing free at StoryCartel.com right now.

        I’ve actually written a screenplay before–my ex-wife and I wrote one that was a top six finalist on Project Greenlight. I don’t really see Catskinner as a feature, though–it’s more of a series. I could pitch it as “Dexter meets Lost Girl”.

        So, yeah, a video sale was definitely in the back of my mind as I wrote it–I think most writers today at least consider the possibility as they are writing. I’d want to generate more of buzz as a novel, and have at least one more out before I pitch it, though.

  3. francisguenette says :

    LIke you, my first order of the day is to check out my WordPress stats. I’ve been at this for over eight months – still a relative beginner in the grand scheme of things. My husband started a photo blog not even a month ago and I think he will pass me in the stats department in no time. I try not to get too hooked into the whole views, visitors, likes etc – but it’s hard not to. What really counts to me are the comments because at least you can get an idea from a comment if someone has even read the post. I’m considering eliminating the like button but don’t have the nerve just yet.

    • writegoodbooks says :

      I think photo blogs are always going to be winners….so I wouldn’t worry too much about hubby grabbing all the attention. It’s just the way it is.
      Thanks a lot for taking the time to comment….appreciated.

      • Steve Morris says :

        Francis, turning off the like button would be an awesome statement of self-belief and a huge confidence boost. I’m tempted to try it myself. But are there any side effects? Would your readers feel less connected to your blog if they couldn’t express their opinion so easily?

  4. olivertidy says :

    Hello Steve
    I want to share this with someone and given the theme of your post I can’t think of a better outlet for it. It is relevant to your topic, just in case you think I’m about to try to sell you double-glazing at a great discount. I will understand if you don’t moderate it favourably.
    My daily routine vis-a-vis checking how my self-publishing debacle (surely, adventure) is going is becoming something of a masochist ritual of OCD proportions.
    After the thirty-seven minutes that my computer takes to warm up has elapsed (providing it hasn’t crashed on start up again) I check the following things in no particular order: Kindle sales (the tears of self-pity begin to form); Kindle feedback on my books .co.uk and.com (further feelings of why do I do it to myself – not bad reviews, no reviews); then I switch to Smashwords where the books are free (that’s not a plug or hint – just saying) maybe a download or three; then WordPress stats. I think that I might have just worked out my computer problems – the keyboard is flooded with salt water every morning. I can’t help myself. I’m an emotional person.
    OK. So here is the bit that has some relevance to your topic and it is my WordPress stats ‘funny’ anecdote. After about a week of blogging I understood that the whole process is a little like talking to oneself. Disclaimer: I wasn’t actually blogging for attraction – honest – the main reason was to document my meteoric rise to best-seller-stardom for posterity and my legions of fans (cue tumbleweed). Anyway, I tried an experiment – I wrote a blog post entitled, ‘Female Ejaculation and Gay Men’ to see if including prurient terms would elicit greater viewing stats. With me? It didn’t, immediately.
    (I haven’t finished, but a paragraph break seemed appropriate.) These days I usually get a couple of people look at my blog when I post something. I believe that is normal and to be expected. I have posted a total of thirty-six blogs since I started in September, 2012. Total blog views – 731. After my home page, guess which blog post has had the most hits and continues to perform well week in week out? Correct. PS I hope one of them wasn’t you.
    I find this funny. I have had hits from all over the world on this particular blog post (I understand this because often I have one hit a day and that is the blog that was highlighted) and there must be a lot of very disappointed people out there. Just to be clear there is nothing particularly offensive in that post. Not like some of the others I put out there.
    I’m going to follow you because I like what you are doing and you seem a down to earth sort of chap.
    All the best.
    Now, about that double-glazing…
    PS I have another cringingly amusing story about a self-promotion effort that I am building up the courage to blog about, so keep in touch.

    • writegoodbooks says :

      Funnily enough I had my double glazing done last year….but feel free to do me quote for future reference. You seem a nice sort of chap too, so no offence was taken.
      Er…no the Female Ejaculation post I completely missed. It must be the failing eyesight. However I will drop by your blog again and give it a go, if you take my point.

  5. Jo Woolf says :

    Hi Steve, and thanks for stopping by my blog. I share your feelings about the stats! I have been blogging on WordPress for a couple of years now and I can only say that commenting on other blogs and ‘liking’ them does pay dividends, in the end. I can only speak from my own experience, but WordPress readers and bloggers seem to be a very nice bunch! Good luck with your publishing ventures, and with your blog.

    • writegoodbooks says :

      Yes, they do seem to be a good bunch….I’d recommend anyone with even the vaguest interest in writing to set up a WordPress blog and see what happens….and hopefully get feedback.

      Thanks for the comment by the way…and apologies for taking so long to reply….you appear to have disappeared into a ‘black hole’ on my system, and re-emerged on the other side……thank goodness for that.

  6. zehirablog says :

    Hi Steve – thank you so much for checking out my Blog and “liking” what I have written. I am so gutted to discover to be reading your post on the same topic I will be posting tomorrow! But I have enjoyed your musings on the subjet as I too am addicted to my stats page! I have enjoyed reading some of your posts and look forward to reading more in the future.

  7. Steve Morris says :

    Stats are the enemy. They rob you of focus and threaten to turn your blog into something you didn’t want it to be. Unless of course you’re blogging for profit, in which case stats are everything.

    Having said that, I also confess to being a stats junkie. It must be insecurity that is to blame.

  8. A Golden Gate State of Mind says :

    Hi Steve, firstly many thanks for “liking” my most recent blog, it really is appreciated. You’re absolutely right of course about stats and I too pay too much attention to the “numbers game”. I get particularly excited when it is clear that somebody new has found my blog, for example yesterday when somebody had clearly read every instalment of my recent road trip diary. In those instances, the stats can be very motivating. Equally, if they take a dip they can – quite unreasonably – be disheartening. Kipling’s advice to “treat those two imposters just the same” is never more valid. Tony

    • writegoodbooks says :

      Great comment Tony, and thanks for taking the time and effort to get in touch. Yes, good stats, bad stats, they’re all the same…it’s the comments you get from people like yourself that matter in the end. Nothing else.

  9. writegoodbooks says :

    Yep, that makes perfect sense Steve, if you write for yourself that’s great…but my guess is that deep down we all crave some kind of positive feedback for our written work, even if it is just a daily or weekly blog. It’s nice to have some idea of whether or not our work is ‘touching’ people….’making a difference’.

    Having said that I read tons of blogs that are absolutely terrific, but they are just a celebration of someone’s life, written with no other purpose but to enjoy writing…..

    Thanks for the reply again…..good to hear from you.

  10. juanablogs says :

    Steve, thanks for liking my blog. While I pay very little attention to stats for most purposes, I find them very important when working to help clients achieve specific goals. For example, when the goal is to increase sales or contributions it’s important to pay close attention to what works and what doesn’t in order to make adjustments in strategy. We can identify the types of messages that resonate with readers and create more of them.

    If you’re trying to build customer base with your blog, then yes, stats can be very important. Otherwise, I would say just keep having fun!

    • writegoodbooks says :

      I agree totally. Wise words…..thanks a million. I will definitely keep checking out your posts…..thanks for commenting here….apologies for taking so long to reply…it’s an age thing, and a filing system that works when it feels like it….hey ho.

  11. casmiraharrison says :

    A-ha! A kindred spirit!

    As much as I’d love to take the stats monkey off my back and give it a good, swift kick, I, too, am a bit OCD with the monitor. I’ve been at this less than a week and I find that daggum WordPress button is like crack.
    Dang hard habit to break.

    I appreciate the “follow,” sir. (But, truly at this point, I was just in awe of getting any page views at all. I figured I was good for maybe a couple whackadoos… There are more than a few loonies out there to go around.)

    Now, if you don’t mind, would you point me in the direction of that “Female Ejaculation” post?
    For, ya know… umm.. research.

    • writegoodbooks says :

      Yeah…I know the feeling about the ‘stats’ situation. Best to ditch the pesky little stats monkey and never look back.

      Thanks for your comment….you seem a sensible soul, with the right approach to blogging….apart from the er….er…..female wotsit thing.

      Good luck with the blogging…….I will no doubt see you around the blogosphere from time to time.

      Oh yes, apologies for taking an eternity to reply….I have had a ‘glitch’ in my system, now thankfully sorted…..

  12. freshlyworded says :

    Steve, I think we are all stats junkies. Well I am. Mine are pitiful but I write nonetheless for the pleasure and the comments and likes and views I get. Writing should always be about the pleasure of doing it, but having someone read it is nice too! Enjoyed your post by the way – we should all wish to write like Hemingway, Orwell is my favourite!

    • writegoodbooks says :

      I’ve tried ignoring the stats myself but they keep nudging me….and I have to have a look every now and again…..I can’t help it.

      The writing is, as you say, a pleasure….which is why I drone on every day. Thanks for the comment by the way…..appreciated.

  13. maureenjenner says :

    Mason Cooley said, ‘Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.’

    A bit like blogging, which lets me travel the world while sitting at my desk; enjoying the chance to exchange points of view with so many interesting people.

  14. Let's CUT the Crap! says :

    Thanks for the like today.

    I’ve been at this almost two years and in the beginning, stats and followers is all I thought about, but then I realized I was drowning, just trying to stay on top of all the post I subscribe to. I am more interested in finding time for writing instead. Sometimes the whole adventure is overwhelming.

    • writegoodbooks says :

      Yes, I agree about the early stages of blogging and the need to constantly monitor stats and view your progress in terms of numbers. It’s really not about that, even I can see that…..but they do have a massive influence on those new to blogging. I think you do naturally get to the point where you realise you have to write for yourself and your readers and leave it at that. If they come, they come. If not, it’s just one of those things….

      Great comment….and thanks

    • casmiraharrison says :

      Overwhelmed is exactly the feeling.

  15. Serenity says :

    Reblogged this on Serenity's Musings.

  16. Amanda Wood says :

    It is hard not to get seduced. Like many/most bloggers, I started my writing not expecting anyone to read it, or just friends. And then a stranger liked what I said. Wahoo! And then another followed, and another, and then I got hooked a little on the validation it brings to what is usually a solitary endeavour.

    What I have noticed/learned is this. The stats, like all stats, lie a little and are subject to interpretation. If someone reads your post in RSS, you might not get a site hit, so you don’t even know that they are subscribing or reading. My friends subscribe by email, but they rarely comment because they don’t blog and thus just tell me in person that they like my stuff. I changed my settings recently (I think you read about that) so that people only get the first paragraph in the RSS and email so they do come to my site. But even then, I did some experimenting, and I think there are false positives (like when I go to my site from my work computer, before logging in) and lots of people who read your blog post via the WordPress Reader (I am not convinced that you get a hit if they visit your site).

    Anyway, my personal belief is that the most important thing is to maintain your integrity and honesty in your writing, visit and comment sincerely on other posts, and yes, look at your stats to see what your readers seem to like, and then proceed as normal. My blog is a mix of photography and writing so I definitely notice that my photos get more likes/visits than writing, but I am also “guilty” of skipping a long blog myself at times…

  17. dleonard says :

    I’ve only been doing this for a month and a half. While I admit to being a stats junkie, it’s all in the name of experimentation (or at least that’s what I tell myself). If I do THIS, will they come. What will happen if I do THIS? etc etc
    It has yielded some pretty interesting info – probably useful if I can figure out how to apply it. My experiment with tags did indeed attract visitors and views. My various experiments with subject matter are the most interesting. A concert review of a cult musician got more views that everything else put together – even when I contrived to get Kim Kardashian into a tag lol. My latest post about God and spirituality is getting a shitload of likes – and somehow,no visitors whatsoever. So many mysteries to unlock. And impossible to do without the stats!

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