My Actual Stats and Thoughts on Them
There is a lot of discussion around stats in the book blogging community (and blogging in general) since publishers indicate that they consider numbers when looking where to send books, plus it is just nice to think that you’re doing well in a quantifiable way. There is also a lot of discussion about how we shouldn’t care about stats as much as we do and I do find myself caring less as my time as a blogger has progressed, and therefore being less stressed. However, I can’t think of any discussion where actual numbers were reported. I’m pretty confident that I’m not just forgetting something because, especially a year or so ago, I really really wanted to know what actual numbers other blogs, both bigger and “my size” whatever that is, were getting to have some idea where my numbers fit in. I was also terrified to say what my numbers really were because I felt like I was behind where I “should have” been. Well, I’ve become much more comfortable with my stats and blog, so I now don’t mind telling you exactly what my numbers are and dissecting them. I hope that this proves interesting and useful to both newer bloggers and everyone since I think the best way to get over this potentially stressful obsession is to pull away the mystery surrounding it ;-).
Yup, that’s right, I’m generally hovering just under 2k unique monthly visitors these days with a couple of spikes around very popular giveaways (the big one in January is when Brandon Sanderson retweeted about a giveaway :D). I decided to start in October of 2012 because it would give me a nice clean two years to show you and I didn’t have Google Analytics on for the first yearish that I was blogging, so I don’t have much more to report anyway ;-).
A note on what you’re actually seeing up there: “users” is Google’s new term for unique monthly visitors (UMV) which is what publishers usually want to see to get an indication of your blog’s reach. I decided that showing the data by month instead of day/week would make it easier to see the larger trends and I find it keeps me from agonizing over day to day changes as well.
Some things that pop out right away:
- My first year or two of blogging (I started seriously in May 2011) saw a pretty steady increase in monthly users.
- April to August 2013 was a lull and I can’t think of any particular reason why that happened.
- This past winter the blog was pretty popular, even ignoring the “Sanderson spike” of January.
- July was apparently also a popular month for me, though I have no idea why and feel compelled to investigate >.>. *comes back* It was when I posted my “For Review vs. Review Consideration” post, which I thought was going to go fairly unnoticed, but which ended up super popular and Dear Author linked to it *fangirls*.
- I haven’t really grown much in the past year.
That last point seems the one that I should be most horrified about (though fortunately I feel rather unmoved and calm, which I take as a healthy sign). Why do I think that is? Honestly, no clue, but maybe:
- Summer and start of school are times people are less online? I personally seem to spend more time online during the summer since I hate the heat, but I hear from a lot of bloggers and readers that they want to spend more time out doing things during the summer, so it is a normal time for there to be a lull.
- I go through commenting phases but I’m trying. I get the impression that I comment around a lot less than some bloggers and it makes a fair bit of sense that when you comment a lot (productively at least), you get more traffic because people click the link in your comment to check out your blog. I have been making conscious efforts to stay more engaged with all the blogs I love through commenting :).
- I had less discussion writing inspiration. I’ll be honest, grad school has been pretty darn tough for me this past year, and therefore I have definitely not held to my goal of writing at least two discussion posts a month… >.>. Discussion posts definitely have the potential to get a lot more people stopping by to read and comment, so it makes sense to me that I’ve had slower months when I don’t have a discussion.
- I had fewer giveaways for a while but that’s changing. This was another omg no energy thing and again, giveaways tend to lead to a healthy visitor spike, especially if the author retweets about it. As you may have noticed, I’m making sure that I turn this factor around and that will continue ;-).
- The blogosphere is saturated with book review blogs? I’ve heard it mentioned plenty that the book blogging world has absolutely exploded in the last year or two (which certainly seems true), and that this means that there is just a limit on stats for hobby bloggers. I’m not entirely sure I buy it, since just because I like and visit these 100 blogs, doesn’t mean that I don’t also love finding new awesome blogs to follow. It is almost certainly true that it is a lot harder to stand out and become huge. I also suspect that we are all getting much less traffic from search engines than single book blogs used to be able to expect because of the number competing for page rank on every popular book. Also, this doesn’t mean at all that you shouldn’t start a book blog if you want to, you definitely should because stats are not in any way everything ;-).
So now that I’ve laid out my dirty laundry for everyone to see, I’m very curious to hear your thoughts! Do you think that I’m completely bonkers? Do you agree with some of my thoughts on why my stats are where they are these days? I’m almost too afraid to ask this but: are your own stats above, below, or at about the same spot?
And just because I think it is important to keep in mind: stats are definitely not everything, and seem to matter less and less these days anyway, so let’s all take a deep breath ;-).
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