Why I Care About Stats

A while ago I came across various posts about stats in the book blogging community. And I noticed that several people mentioned that the community was more important to them than stats. And that got me thinking because, on the one hand, I am obsessed with our stats page. But on the other hand, I don’t actually care about the numbers? And so I decided to do a bit to do a little more thinking about this distinction. Here’s what I figured out.

I care about the stats, not the numbers. What that means is while it’s nice to see numbers grow, I care more about what my stats page is telling me. At this point, we have over 150 followers! I’m happy with that number. I’d love for it to grow of course, but that number tells me that there are over 150 people who care about what I have to say. And that definitely makes me feel like I’m a part of a big, blogging community. So when I talk about stats, I’m talking about the information that WordPress provides me about views, like, comments, and other sorts of interaction on all of our posts.

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What I see when I look at the stats page

These stats tell me a lot about community. It tells me that people have seen our posts and are interacting and are therefore making me a part of the community. I am happy once a post gets even 10 likes because that means 10 people have seen, and I assume read, through the entirety of my post enough to say “Hey, I was here! AndΒ  I may not have something to comment but this is me waving hello!”. The same goes for comments. Once I see 4 or 5 comments on a post I know that this is something that actually started a discussion, which is all I ever want to do. Of course the more people that interact with a post, the more excited I am, but that’s not the point. I am happy with low numbers, as long as I see the numbers!

Many people have mentioned that they saw an increase in their stats when they started posting more often. Our stats tell a similar story. When we barely posted in September through December of 2018, our stats took a nosedive. When we restarted blogging in January 2019, our stats started climbing again. And since we added graphics, our blog has gotten more interaction as well. These are things that the stats tell me.

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Our stats as of June 7th, 2019

From my stat page I can see when a post that went up weeks ago gets more interaction because someone took the time to mention it in one of their wrap ups, tags, or other posts. I know that the first 2 days after posting our views will increase. I know that our comments typically increase the day after posting.

I am an engineering major which means that I appreciate what information math can provide me with. I love numbers because of what they can tell me. And I really think this is a highly overlooked factor about people’s obsession with stats. When I say I like stats what I mean is I like seeing what my stat are telling me about community that I have created. I like seeing that people from all over the world come read what I have to say even if they don’t like or comment. To me, looking at stats is my way of seeing how my blog makes me a part of the book blogging community.

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How do you feel about your stats? Do you check them often? Do you have other methods of analyzing engagement?

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44 thoughts on “Why I Care About Stats

  1. Is it sad that I’m constantly overthinking the stats? I’m not always trying to up them, but it’s really nice to know that my work is being acknowledged like you said! Congratulations on 150 followers! I’m sure you will continue to grow πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that it’s perfectly normal! It happens to me from time to time that I’ll panic about a post not doing well and start overthinking, and I’m thankful that I have Chana to calm me down. Plus, every like, comment and follower means so much to me! It’s wonderful to see people genuinely enjoy my content!

      Thank you so much! πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such an interesting post! I have to say that I have a love/hate relationship with statistics, because it’s so easy to become obsessed by them all and to feel worthless when something doesn’t seem like it’s working. I have to say though, I really like what stats tell me, like, how many comments I get on a post tells me that this post was engaging and that people wanted to interact with it and that always makes me so happy and… well, is kind of a goal for me, too, to have people feeling engaged and wanting to interact, so… I kind of pay attention to that. That being said, I try to make an effort not to pay attention to it all TOO much, because it’s been really bad on my mental health at times, too.
    Lovely post! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you! I definitely can become obsessed with stats and reload the page way too often, especially when I first put up a post, but I’ve started to change my mindset about stats. This change has been pretty recent, but I’ve found it to be a lot healthier. But again, any time you focus on stats too much it can become an issue, no matter how pure the intentions. It’s definitely more important to focus on your mental health over your stats!

      Thank you! πŸ’•

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  3. I LOVE the WP stats page!! I did love keeping track of it for just the reasons you stated. It gave me an idea of where I stood in the community. Now that I’m self hosted that page doesn’t work the same and its such a bummer. I have other ways to track but they are pretty depressing in comparison. ❀ Loved that you talked about this!! The community is more important than the numbers but the numbers give us standing too.

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  4. The section I love most is the one with the little map that shows where my readers are from. I’m just an itty-bitty girl from an itty-bitty country and that there are people from all over the world who come and check out what I wrote baffles me!

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  5. I see what you mean. Of course, when we say we don’t care about stats, we lie πŸ˜‰ – whatever they mean to us. But I honestly check on mine VERY rarely…because I’m sort of fatalistic about the reach of my blog. I mainly review backlist books, or books that – IMO – aren’t as popular as they should…so, what I mean is, I have a niche blog and I’m fully aware of that. Plus, I can’t post more often than I’m doing now (circa once a week). I have my small clique of friends (that of course I wouldn’t mind expanding, haha) and I know I can count on them. But I seldom look at my stats just because I don’t expect them to be that relevant, if you know what I mean.

    Roberta R. @ Offbeat YA

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    1. That makes a lot of sense. I could definitely use some self control so that I’m not constantly checking the stats to see how a post is doing! I think everyone thinks of and uses stats differently though, and while some ways are definitely healthier than others, I can definitely understand a lot of other perspectives when it comes to stats!

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  6. I like this take on it, although I am always surprised by which posts are popular and which posts aren’t – usually the posts I spend ages writing are the ones that don’t get as much love, lol!
    I check my states page quite often, although I am trying to focus on the quality of the information, not just the quantities.

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    1. Oh definitely! I sometimes freak out to Chana over posts that I spent hours on or wanted to start a discussion over, when they don’t behave as I’d like them to. I check my stats page often as well, and I’m actually trying to stop myself from checking obsessively, which sometimes can happen! I think stats are wonderful, but obsession is never healthy!

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      1. Agree! I used to check it all the time and recently started putting pressure on myself to achieve a certain number of views a day, etc. But really, once the post is out in the wild and I’m at work all day, there’s only so much I can do to promote it…so now I’m trying to take a more philosophical view, lol.

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  7. I love this so much! You put all my thoughts on stats into words.πŸ™ˆ

    It’s SO hard not to care about the “numbers” part of stats for me, just because although I’m content with them, I also always want them to be growing. However, I love what you said about how stats matter to you because they show that you’re in the community! That’s so, so true. Blogging is so much better when people are reading, interacting, and you’re a part of the community. Amazing post ❀

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  8. I really enjoyed this post. I feel like saying that you care about stats is kind of a bad thing in the blogging world? I loved how you broke it down. I enjoy looking at stats too just to see what kind of data pops out. It definitely showcases what posts readers like to see and what kind of content that Sha and I should be doing and focusing on and what we might need to reevaluate because no one is enjoying it. Like you said as well, you can see physically that you are part of a community. Great post!! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. I wanted to include our stats in this post because I liked reading other people’s posts where they were transparent about their stats and what it meant to them. Because everyone cares about stats in some way!

      I’m happy to hear that I’m not alone in analyzing my stats for the data it provides! I’ve discovered all sorts of things by constantly checking on my stats!

      Thank you! πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love your take on what you can glean from your stats. I also have an engineering degree, and my co-blogger has a masters degree in analytics, so, yeah, we look at number. Like you, it’s not about the number of people, but I like to see which posts get the most interaction. I have changed the way I do reviews after spending a little time on the numbers.

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  10. Aw I love this! It’s such a healthy way to look at stats, really! I used to be obsessed, in a rather unhealthy way. I’d do just about anything to try to get more views, more interaction, whatever- including pull literal all-nighters to finish posts, comment back, etc. I;d get SO upset when a post didn’t do as well as I’d hoped and such, and it got to the point where I was miserable. I was in some weird competition with myself from the month before, and it was really messed up! Now, I do look at them, but I also realize that they don’t define me. And also that blogging itself doesn’t define me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s taken a while to reach this point, and I haven’t fully removed myself from unhealthy stats habits. But I’m getting there! The longer I’m a part of the blogging community the more fun I have, and I really think a big part of it is my desire to do more things because I want to, rather than because they’ll do well stats-wise. Although I still quite like checking the stats more often than I should!

      I don’t think blogging defines me, but I think it’s become a big part of me, and because of that I care about it a lot! Which means that on some level I will always care about stats, but I’m okay with that!

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  11. I love stats! I don’t really focus on them as a motivator or as a driving force or anything, I love the interaction of blogging and I love seeing that people are engaging with my posts but I try not to focus on the numbers mainly because I know I could get obsessed really easily if I focus too much on them and I don’t want to lose the fun of blogging! I do. however like numbers so I have a graph and chart system for my blog just to see the change. Numbers interest me so I do like looking at some stats!

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  12. I wholly agree! One shouldn’t be obsessed about stats to the point of mental exhaustion, but disregard them altogether sounds silly and unproductive. Without stats we won’t know what our audiences want, when we can reach them, etc.
    Thank you for sharing such an informative and honest post, Malka πŸ™‚

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  13. It’s so important to know it’s okay if you care about stats. I know it was never the intention of anyone for people who care about the numbers to feel bad, but it did get a bit awkward for a while to mabe feel like you’re this icky blogger that only cares about being popular. Which is definitely not the case. Kudos to you for talking about this and telling us about your experience! Not everyone is comfortable sharing their stats, so congratulations on your progress! πŸ™‚

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    1. Definitely! I understand why people think that EVERYTHING shouldn’t be about stats, but I think it’s totally natural to care about them! That’s especially why I wanted to share our stats in this post. It’s a part of blogging, and I’ve enjoyed when other people shared their stats, so I figured people would be curious to see ours as well!

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  14. The community definitely makes blogging worthwhile, but I agree that stats are important and help build community. Stats help me see what kinds of posts people are reading and engaging with. Since I like the blogging community, I want to have a conversation with them through my posts.

    To be frank, I also need to care about what kinds of posts are getting engagement because I’m a book blogger. Publishers send me books with the expectation that my post will get clicks – and hopefully motivate people to purchase the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I definitely feel like community and stats overlap more than people recognize! I love the community, and my stats help me grow my community!

      And that’s definitely a really true point. Even if on a personal level stats don’t mean much to you, they certainly matter to publishers!

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  15. I noticed that a lot of math people love stats and data! I used to obsess about it, but I’ve been blogging forever so I don’t really mind as much now. I still keep track of my numbers but I prefer people who leave comments rather than liking. I like the interaction better!

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  16. I definitely don’t “care” about my stats in that I don’t let them determine what I do or whether I feel “successful”, but I am also kind of obsessed with them. I love seeing what posts do well or don’t. Which ones get more comments but fewer likes. Of course, half the time I can’t figure out what causes a view spike, like the seemingly random one I had on Saturday when I hadn’t even posted anything, but there’s something kind of fascinating about that too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! That’s the perfect way to put it! I like seeing how the numbers play out, but I try not to let that translate into my self-worth over the blog! And one of my favorite things is trying to figure out what causes my stats to spike or slow. If I ever figure it out, I’ll be sure to let you know!

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  17. I sort of really enjoy stats because I think they tell a story and (it’s probably because of my day job) I enjoy looking at data and determining what it tells us and then what action may need to be taken.

    I’m interested in my stats but not always bothered by them. I get less views on a particular feature I write because I think it appeals to only a few people who follow my blog but they’re so engaged with that feature that I continue to do so. Plus I have fun writing it so that’s when I ‘throw the stats out!’

    I think stats are useful though in determining a course of action. If you want more views or comments etc. then people can see what posts gain those and can continue to feature more of that type of post. I think looking at stats is great but if people are guided by stats than use those stats as a guide rather than to panic about them – if that makes any sense at all?! Probably not, I’ve only had one tea this morning.

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    1. Yes! I love looking at the story that stats tell. It’s super cool to see how much you can discover!

      I think I’m only bothered when i can’t understand why the stats are behaving in a particular manner. But like you, if I enjoy something, even if I find that it doesn’t get the stats I would want to post it as long as a few people found it interesting. Interaction in its purest form trumps stats for me any day!

      And I understand exactly what you’re saying! There’s a difference between using stats as a tool and using stats to determine the worthiness of a post or of you as a blogger! β˜•

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I usually say I don’t care about stats but I would say it’s helpful to see what’s doing well and what’s not. Personally, though, I still just post whatever I want. If it brings even ONE person to comment or enjoy the post, that’s enough for me. But I do like that you argue for stats as a positive, not something to be used as a competitive measure. It’s so easy to fall into the numbers trap – getting obsessed with views and likes. It’s important to remember we’re all here just to chat and meet like-minded people πŸ™‚ Great discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup! I think that stats are really useful, even if it can be easy to obsess over them. I definitely hear posting whatever you want, but there’s something nice in knowing what posts people enjoy when they visit your blog. But as you said, interactions with people is definitely the most important part of blogging! Thank you! πŸ’•

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