Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Blog Traffic Statistics

As a person professionaly involved in web site marketing (I'm NOT talking about www.theWORDproject.com, which is largely a labour of love) for the past 3 years, I know all about web traffic stats and analytics. I've got expensive software tools to measure my search engine rankings and visitor behaviour.

But after the 3 years, I've pretty much realised "So what". You can spend hours and hours pouring over statistics, but does it really change anything? I mean, whether you've got 10 visitors or 10 000 visitors, you're still gonna put your best foot forward right? In my opinion, the time spent number-crunching would be better served improving your actual website.

Which brings me to blogs. OK so we all want readers. Net worth (pun intended) is measured in eyeballs. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you need readers. Does a blog which is truly excellent ( and there are a lot out there) become less excellent because it hasn't got many readers? That seems to me like saying that van Gogh's paintings wouldn't be good unless millions viewed them. Faulty logic right?

The crux of the matter it seems to me is: Why do we blog?
To make money? Hardly likely, you'd need like 100 000 visitors a day to get a reasonable return on Google adsense. And look at howm much money van Gogh made from his art.
To get discovered as the next Great Author? Yeah, right. Stick to blogging and maybe one day publish your own blook (yes, a genuine 21st century term).
To network with other people that share your interests? You'd do better participating in one of the zillion chatrooms, newsgroups or forums.

No, none of these is the real reason. Emarketer recently did a comprehensive survey and discovered that 70% of all bloggers site "personal therapy" as their main motivation for blogging. (NB: this is not limited to BiPolar Bloggers). So if it's personal therapy we're after, are 1000s of readers really neccesary. Get 1000s of readers and I guarantee ya you'll start writing for your audience instead of yourself. Is that therapy?

Most bloggers start out in the dreaded "Writing for One" phase. But think back to that phase. Weren't you perhaps saying deeper, less ego-driven stuff back then? AKA more therapeutic stuff? Lots of readers, and you become very self-conscoius about what your readers will think, and the true self starts bottling up.

Something to think about...

***
Today's my 5th "In-the-Pink" day in a row (which means very upbeat moodwise, for new readers) (you see, there I go). This is an all time record since I started this blog. I cannot help but attribute this to the recent increase in my Lamictal from 200mg to 250mg.

7 comments:

  1. Nice article, BPG, and very true.

    Even if we want to become the Great Author, we're not going to become one by reading the stats and attempting to figure out what our readers like. We'll become the Great Author by writing what we like and striving to improve upon what we create, developing our real style.

    We are ourselves and we evolve.

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  2. I wonder how many bloggers even realize that they are writing for an audience. Great post.

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  3. Extremely well said...therapy...yeah...that's it.

    I agree with you about blogging becoming somewhat ego driven. Some of us end up pandering to our audience to some degree & I find that pointless (although I fear I've fallen into that rut from time to time).

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  4. First I started writing for my family to understand mental illness, then when none of them were interested, I wrote for entertainment, now I'm writing for therapy. I'm very happy with the responses I get.

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  5. Hardly worth saying but a big (reasonable) reason for blogging is simply to write. If you do it regularly, as I do, it keeps you at writing. So the question becomes, why do we write?

    Eventually clicking in some form--like capturing someone who can genuinely help you get a publisher for your Great Book--seems to me another reasonable reason for blogging, so long as it isn't a primary one.

    --Bob Grumman

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  6. Nice post ... I agree with you as well BPG However, I tend to relate bloging to delusions of grandeur

    http://mathematicalpoetry.blogspot.com/2006/03/defining-bloglusions-of-grandeur.html

    Cheers,
    Kaz

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  7. I know this a slightly older blog entry but none the less it is one I found very intresting and a bit eye opening. I started blogging back in December of 2005 for essentially the reasons you stated in this post...therapy. That and I wanted to create a diary for my young (six) son to gain some insight into my disorder and mind state. We are estranged and my ex-wife will not allow me visitation currently (due to me being Bi-Polar).
    I have gotten lost at time in an on going melee with my ex-inlaws and a few others who started reading my blog a few months ago and that has deeply affect my writing there and compromised both the writing and the integrity of what I post there. I am not sure I realized how much until finding your blog and this post in particular. I didn't mean to rattle on like this but I just wanted to say a sort of sideways thank you to you and some of the others out there.

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