How I Learned to Stop Worrying about the Stats and Love the Blog
Is your love of blogging waning? Do you find yourself repeating old posts or not posting at all for days or even weeks? Do you check your blog stats compulsively, or flog yourself for not having more followers?
You may be allowing an obsession with blog stats to interfere with your love of blogging.
Most of the excellent blogs and advice about blogging are geared towards bloggers who want or expect to earn immediate income from their blogging. However, I'm talking about hobby bloggers: people who blog because of a passion for writing or a topic. Hobby blogging is not necessarily unprofessional in quality, nor does it mean you don't take writing or blogging seriously.
There is a plethora of advice for how to improve and analyze your stats, how to market your blog better, and how to think of your words as copy. Here is some advice for how to fall in love (perhaps for the second time) with blogging:
- Set a schedule for checking your blog stats, then stick to it. Once a day is fine. Once a week is even better. Those numbers won't change just because you are wearing out the refresh button.
- Figure out why you blog, and don't let anyone tell you it's a wrong reason. I blog to be a better writer, to clarify my thoughts, to reach out to a writing and reading community, and to explore new ideas.
- Remember that marketing blogs need to follow different writing rules from other blogs. Advice meant for them can cause you to change your own voice into a rat-a-tat-tat of bullet points so that even you don't recognize yourself.
- Make your own rules in terms of word count, posting frequency, and topics, then stick to them or break them as necessary.
- Treasure each comment, each reader, and every connection you make through your blog, whether they number in the tens or ten thousands. To increase your gratitude, consider how many blogs you read or skim without ever leaving a comment or choosing to subscribe.
- Go to some of your favorite, well-known blogs, and read the oldest archives. Notice how few comments there are, how the author's voice changed over time, how it took a few months--or longer--for the blog to find itself and solidify.
- Write what you love to read. Toni Morrison wrote, "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." Substitute "blog post" for "book."