The Numbers Don’t Lie

I don’t particularly like looking at my stats page. Seeing everything, all my posts and pages, as a whole makes me realize that I am quite an average blogger indeed. I do post seven days a week (amazing that I have that much time on my hands), but most of my posts average about 8 or 10 likes at most. A lot of my posts have been commented on with the most commented post being “Concrete Snowmen”, something I published for Writing 201: Poetry.

The best posts this blog has seen are for the Weekly Photo Challenge. Those are the “backbone” of this blog I guess, besides the numerous Daily Prompts I’ve done.

My top 5 posts are all related to WPC, because of the great pictures I provided for them and the popularity of the feature as a whole. I believe those are the only posts that got above 20 likes, besides “Gets Better With Age”. My About page has finally gotten some momentum with 19 likes and that probably is the result of me actually adding some substance to it with the couple paragraphs about my life and the intent of this blog.

Here are my top five liked posts:

  1. Always Optimistic – 44 likes
  2. A Muse of Mine – 38 likes
  3. The Hatching – 35 likes
  4. Weightless Snowsteps – 27 likes
  5. Noche de los Fantasmas – 27 likes

My most viewed posts from 2015 and 2016 so far:

  1. The Talent Show Horror – 156 views
  2. If Donald Trump Becomes President – 150 views
  3. In My Comfort Zone – 134 views
  4. 1.21 Gigawatts! – 90 views
  5. WPC: Third of Darkness – 76 views

The thing I don’t understand about the these most viewed posts is why they get so many views but only a handful of likes. It’s like visitors see the post based off the picture but see the content and realize it’s not what they were looking for. Of course, you don’t have to be a registered user to view something, so maybe my topics have been found on other sites, through Google or Bing.

My site views from 2014, 2015, and 2016 so far:

2014: 3,872 views

2015: 9,839 views

2016: 1,705 views

Based on my overall blog stats, I can unanimously agree with myself that barely anyone following me or just visiting me cares about football or sports in general. Maybe it’s the way I write those posts that scare people away. Maybe I shouldn’t be so informative about scores and players and instead put a different spin on sports related stories? Not all of my attempts at poetry were well received either. Those are usually based on my opinion of what sounds and looks good to me.

I believe by publishing posts and them ending up pathetic duds I get a better sense of what works and what doesn’t. I’m still figuring out the whole point of this blog. Somedays feel like 2013 all over again, when I started this and didn’t really know what I was doing. It’s always two steps forward, two steps back. I may hate looking at the stats because they can sometime be so unforgiving, even a few lines laughing at me, snidely saying “You failed! Ha, ha”, but I have found they are essential to a healthy, thriving blog. Going days without seeing the stats has a way of clouding my vision, making me overconfident and foolish and that is not a good thing.

The Stat Connection

Stat Pressure

Check the stats! Check the stats!

This is always the thought in my head whenever I open up my laptop and hop onto the account of one of my favorite Internet hobby sites. There is usually a strong resistance to actually do that at first, the fear of being underwhelmed or disappointed coming about, but then the pressure and nagging gets to surmounting so high, the curiosity at a peak, that I must see what has happened since my last update.

The reason for my initial fear of checking my stats everyday is because I’m afraid of being met with either bad results for the day or no change at all. The worst feeling I think I get is the fear of there being absolute silence in my feed, getting ignored completely. This greatly applies to my Twitter where I usually get no retweets or favorites on my tweets, even if I thought I put out a rather humorous and pun filled tweet – but in the world of high stakes social media, you have to think very differently to capture people’s attention. It’s not just about thinking outside the box, it’s about reimagining the box. Is that clever? I don’t know.

I don’t always check the stats on this blog, preferring to not be overwhelmed (or disappointed) by the numbers and pressure to conform to a set standard. Sure, the numbers are a great help in assisting me on my journey through the blogging cosmos, knowing how to avoid the asteroids that deter my path to success and catch a gravitational pull that has me sailing along, but sometimes I like to create posts on my own merit. It’s a lot more exciting to think of ideas that you have no idea will work, just to have some creative experimenting.

I usually go two or three days, maybe even more, without clicking the bell icon in the corner of the screen. I’m usually afraid to click it, afraid to find out how recent posts of mine did. I want that nervous feeling to die down before I actually update myself. Sometimes the icon is clicked by itself, caused by a glitch in my browser when I type on the keys in the visual editor (the HTML tab works fine), to my annoyance but relief that’s it’s over.

I probably should check out the main stats page of my blog every day and check my notifications to stay on track and get inspiration, but I feel like I don’t have to, like it’s not necessary to always have a numbers guide for me to operate. But when I don’t do it, I feel like I’m not using all of the tools available to make me a great blogger, as if I’m crippling myself by cutting corners.

So the real moral of this post is that you have to use all the available tools given to you to ensure success, instead of just relying on guesswork. That’s why there are Stats pages, Analytics, and other things to help you be the best that you can be. Don’t avoid them if you can, because you’ll only be hurting yourself. Success on social media, including blogs, is tied a lot to what people really care about, and that is reflected in the stats that are collected on almost everything. The numbers do not lie. Listen to them.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Shoulda Woulda Coulda.”

Tell us about something you should do…but don’t.