The Honest Truth About Blogger Stats & Numbers

This is by far my most popular blog-related post on my original blog, Sweet Tea & Saving Grace. It poured out of me one day, and it's the blog post I credit with the spark that has now become the heart of everything I stand for here at Sweet Tea, LLC.

Get ready for some truth bombs.

Pardon me while I step up onto my soapbox for a moment...

...ok, there.  {ahem}  Can you hear me from way up here?  Good.  See, here's the thing.  I was chatting with one of my sweetest bloggy friends a couple weeks ago about stats and numbers and pageviews and all of those other numbers that bloggers tend to focus on so much, and it kinda got my blood pumping just a bit.  She and I, this awesomesauce friend that I have, both agreed that we don't want to "go there", becoming big stressballs worrying about our numbers being higher.  It got me to thinkin'...

Bloggers get so hung up on stats & numbers. Here's a fresh perspective on the numbers game, and why you shouldn't be so focused on them as a measuring tool for success.

I've been a blogger for over four years.  Before my hiatus, I was averaging about 100,000 monthly pageviews.  That's pretty dang good.  Now, I average somewhere in the 20,000 monthly pageview range.  Not too shabby, but nowhere near where I was in the One Tough Mother blog days, right?  Let me put this out into the universe, though:

I'm happier blogging now than I've ever been, even if nobody reads what I write.

So what gives?

I can honestly tell you, from firsthand experience, that there is unnecessary pressure on bloggers to perform to a certain level.  Whether sponsors or ad networks put the pressure on, we're in that cooker and we're about to explode. Our focus is taken off of our lovely readers (hi y'all!) and onto what sponsors want.  Ummm...last time I checked, that big ol' company that wants me to promote their product-of-the-moment doesn't even know I exist, much less frequents my blog to leave love in my comments or ask questions and such.  So why do I care so much about them if they don't care about little ol' me?!

Now before y'all seasoned bloggers go and get all defensive, hear me out, mmm-k?  And you newbies?  Y'all stick around, too.  I might drop some knowledge on ya.

Reality #1 - Not all bloggers are created equal.

It's the truth.  Just as in life, there will be vast differences in the scale of all the blogs out there in the world wide web. Some will become legendary and make bazillions of dollars, get sponsored by every major corporation on the block, have a few book deals, a line of products in Target, or whatever.  And the truth of that is - great for them!  YAY awesome blogger!

big deal

But then there are those of us who will not become legendary.  We will stay small(ish), never ink a book deal, never make a buck, never {insert awesome blog accomplishement here}.  And the truth of that is - great for us!  YAY awesome bloggers!

It's OK to be small.  It's OK to be big.  Some fish are bigger than others, and the blog world is a massive ocean of bloggy goodness that needs all kinds of bloggers to make it flow.

Reality #2 - Comparison killed the cat...er...something like that.

A minute ago I put a whole lot of blame on sponsors and ad networks for putting pressure on us bloggers, but the reality is, I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, too.  We compare.  We get sucked into thinking we're not good enough, we're not big enough, our pictures aren't perfect enough, our crafts aren't cool enough, our homes aren't decorated fantabulously enough....you get it.

It doesn't matter what other people are doing.  If you are a blogger who loves to write, or create, or draw, or photograph, or tell stories, then just do it and stop worrying about what everybody else is doing.  Enjoy yourself, your hobbies, and your blog, and your readers will, too!  Promise!

Instead of comparing yourself to other bloggers, be inspired by them.  Because you know what?  I can almost guarantee there are other bloggers out there who are inspired by you.

martha

Reality #3 - Don't be the mother of disingenuous-ness.  (I totally made that word up.  Just go with it.)

Let me preface my next statement with this:  I am not saying this applies to all  bloggers, but it does apply to some. And you know who you are.

When bloggers focus only on growing their numbers, whether it's pageviews, social media followers, or newsletter subscribers, we lose focus on what really matters.  We become disingenuous.  (That's a real word.)  We lose ourselves to the numbers.

I was very guilty of this with One Tough Mother, which is one reason I stepped away.  I realized that I was becoming so focused on getting more and more sponsored posts, rather than focusing on creating what I love and sharing it with my readers.  I wasn't being genuine, I was being sponsored.

Now, it is very possible to maintain genuineness while writing sponsored posts, as long as you stay focused on what your readers really love about your blog in the first place.  It boggles my mind to see a craft blog do a sponsored post about toilet paper.  Unless you're making a craft with that toilet paper, what's the point?  Yea, you might have added some lining to your pockets, but did your readers get anything from that post?

Basically, if you are going to do sponsored posts, be choosy, like those moms with the peanut butter.  Only do posts that reflect the real you and give your readers a quality post.

Reality #4 - Not every blogger is a stay-at-home mom.

In fact, I bet most of us aren't.  Here's my point with this one:  I cannot expect to blog to the calibar of the top superstar crafty mom blog when I work full-time away from home and she works full-time at home on her blog.  I cannot expect to do the things that other bloggers do who have totally different lifestyles and responsibilities than I do.

Go back and read that last sentence again.  I'll wait.

Ok, do you get it?  Seriously, y'all.  I've been there.  I've beat myself up one side and down the other trying to figure out why my blog isn't rocking like her blog, or how she can post every.single.day and never run out of awesomeness, but I can't keep up with three posts per week.  Guilty.

But if you take a step back, you'll see that I work a full-time job, and I'm gone 12 hours each day, 5 days a week.  And when I do get home, the last thing I want to do is spend countless hours in front of a computer or locked away in my craft room, separated from my family while they eat hot dogs nuked in the microwave because I've got to get this post done y'all leave me alone and somebody let the dogs out puh-LEASE!!!

Sorry.  Got a little carried away - had flashbacks to the olden days of One Tough Mother right before I stepped away.

It's so real, though, right?!  We want all those fabulous things that we see other bloggers getting, so we sacrifice things that really matter for things that really don't.  Family?  Yea, that matters.  A painted mason jar post? Nope.  Notsomuch.  Reading a book in bed with your daughter who is growing up way too fast?  Yep.  Important. Editing pictures from that thing you made the other day?  Uh - no.  Not even.  Snuggling with your honey while watching his new favorite show on DIY Network, and you're just happy he's watching a DIY show!!!  Yea.  Mucho importante.  Sharing and oversharing and sharing some more your latest post to the whole world and hoping it goes viral?  No way, Jose.

Only you can prevent forest fires can determine what's right for you and your blog, based on your own available time and your own priorities and responsibilities.  I can't tell you what's right, because there is no right or wrong way to blog.  There's just not!

calling

Reality #5 - In the grand scheme of things, pageviews don't really matter.

What matters is you, doing what you love, sharing it because you care, and engaging with the 12 or 12,000 readers who love you for being you.  When you are swimming around in awesome-sauce and oozing glitter from your pores, you're in your element and you love it.  So do that.  Focus on that.

Be you.  Pageviews and followers and, yes, even sponsors, will come.  Don't go chasing waterfalls statistics. Allow organic and natural growth.  I promise you will enjoy your blog so much more, and so will your readers.

Thanks for reading.  I'm stepping off my soapbox now before I fall and hurt myself.  Which I'm prone to do.  Cuz I'm graceful and all (not really).

If you enjoyed this soapbox chat, you'll probably really like THIS ONE, too.

Oh, and after all that, I figure you really deserve this:

hey girl

*all photos are from the mind-suck we all lovingly refer to as Pinterest.  You're welcome.  :)

What would you add to the discussion?

**This post was originally posted on my blog, Sweet Tea & Saving Grace, on July 29, 2014.**

MindsetKirsten Thompson