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Like a roller coaster ride at a carnival, checking our blog statistics can take us on highs, lows, twists, turns, make us come to a screeching halt, and even turn our life upside down.

But with blogging, in order to know if we’re “being found”, or to find out if our blog is growing, it’s essential to install statistical programs to track our numbers.

It’s what we do with and about those numbers, and the other facts provided in statistical programs that will determine if we put ourselves back on that roller coaster, or if we learn from the information that’s provided.

Today’s Lesson

With five statistical programs installed , + Feedburner, I can easily spend an hour or more each day stat checking. In the beginning, I did. I don’t know exactly what I was looking for. Maybe one more visitor. But if the numbers didn’t change, I would often feel a sense of disappointment.

I quickly realized I needed to utilize my time more effectively.

With different stats producing different information, I started digging past the actual numbers. This is what I find:

1) How are others finding my blog, (referrals, search engines or direct)?
2) What keyword phrases are they using to find my blog?
3) What links do they click on?
4) Are advertising links paying off?
5) How long are readers staying on my site?
6) What are my most popular posts?
7) Which posts are not being read?

I also learned, the numbers are fickle. No two statistical programs report the same results.

Lesson 4 Having statistical programs installed on a blog is important. Much time can be wasted checking stats. The growth of a blog is determined by comparing months of information (numbers, averages), not days.

However, the numbers do not dictate whether you’re successful as a person. If your writings have helped just one person, it has served it’s purpose.

Footnote: If your goal is to make money with a blog, high numbers are vital.

Today’s Assignment

Do you spend an excessive amount of time checking your stats?

Do you look past the numbers and analyze other pertinent information?

If your numbers don’t increase, do you get disappointed and/or lose motivation to blog?


Photo taken at Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, Ca. by: KateMonkey’s photostream

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  1. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I used to stress over the numbers but now check it when I’m bored. I use Statcounter and I didn’t even realize you could look at all that stuff at first! I do look at it, but I’ve never really analyzed it. I just find it interesting and sometimes funny (sometimes scary what people are looking for and find me.)

    I get excited when I have another subcriber to Feedburner and disappointed when I lose one, but not to the extent I used to. We all like to be noticed.

    Debbie Yost’s last blog post..How to Put on a Coat

  2. *guilty*

    although I used to spend a LOT more time looking at stats
    …but then I made my stat page my homepage..

    I look at whats “on fire” so to speak.. I have posts that perform well way after I wrote them which is a good sign

    I pay attention because I want a good idea who my readers are and how I can best cater to them
    I notice I “overlap” crowds (personal development, twenty somethings, women) and i can see that bc of my stats

    oh and if my numbers don’t increase, I rack my brain and try something new
    lol I used to be sad about it but I think I’m ok now πŸ™‚

    JEMi | Tips for Life, Love, You’s last blog post..What the Super Successful You Knows

  3. I confess – as a new blogger I only check my basic Feedburner stats. What are the others you recommend?

    Stats are something I knew I’d have to learn about eventually, but there are so many things you need to know when you’re getting started blogging and I had to simply begin, not knowing how to do everything.

    Thanks for the reminder Barbara!

    Mark – Creative Journey Cafe’s last blog post..Interview with Duane Keiser

  4. Barbara,

    I’ve found Google Analytics as one of the best free tool available for the stats. It’s rich interface provides stats by referral ( I’ve found today that you contributed 22% of my traffic on the day you gave me some publicity.. thank you for that) , by region, by search engines etc.

    I recommend all of your readers to use it since it is free and you may find, with 5 or 10 mins of research everyday, that it is very useful in knowing what works best for your blog.

    Shilpan

    Shilpan | successsoul.com’s last blog post..3 Steps to Develop a Personal Vision for the Life

  5. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Debbie.

    Stats can provide tons of information. They can help you to write other popular posts based on how people are finding you.

    Hi JEMi,

    Thanks a good idea to make your stat page, your home page. Undoubtedly it’s a time saver.

    With all of the great topics you write about, I can see how you would end up with a mixed “public”.

    Hi Mark,

    When I signed up for BlueHost, AWStats and Webalizer were preloaded (I just had to activate them). I added Google Analytics, WordPress Stats, and Sitemeter. (all free). Each one produces different types of results.

    I use AWStats to watch growth as it seems to be the most comprehensive and they don’t count visits by bots, spiders, crawlers, etc.

    Hi Shilpan,

    I, too, like Google Analytics for their interface. I like the maps and graphs they include.

    I did read that they do not provide counts if someone blocks their IP address, and I don’t know if they include RSS reader visits. It’s been awhile since I read that, so it may have changed.

    I’m happy to hear you being NBOTW has increased your readership. That was my hope. πŸ™‚

  6. Thanks Barbara!

    Mark – Creative Journey Cafe’s last blog post..Interview with Duane Keiser

  7. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Mark,

    Let me know if you have problems with any of them.

  8. Do you spend an excessive amount of time checking your stats? Nope. I stopped checking about a month ago…well actually I have NEVER checked my stats, only my number of subscribers. I’m almost “afraid” to look…a high number might make me feel responsible, a low number make stress me out and want to post more to get high numbers.

    Do you look past the numbers and analyze other pertinent information? Nope. I don’t know what they are and kind of like it that way.

    If your numbers don’t increase, do you get disappointed and/or lose motivation to blog? Nope. I rather just focus on doing what I do and hope the numbers take care of themselves. Kind of crazy, but fortunately this is just a hobby for me.

    I’m not ready to look at numbers Barbara, lol….I’m still a babe.

    Natural Woman’s last blog post..Sentimental Value

  9. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Yes, 4.0 point (Natural)

    You are a babe. πŸ™‚ That’s what your public says.

  10. Hello Barbara, de-lurking now…. actually that’s not a word, is it?

    It’s so funny you should post this when I am currently wondering whether I should START analyzing stats and get some more information about what’s happening at my blog.

    As a relatively new blogger I have been through that obsessive must check the subscriber count phase, then feel terrible if I lose one. But I’m well past that now and so I mostly just check which sites are my biggest referrers. This has affected my social media activity in that StumbleUpon has done big things for me compared to anything else so it’s the networking site I stick with. It’s also fascinating to see which sites are talking about you – so wonderful for the ego!

    In terms of content though, I go very much with my heart. I don’t think about stats and what works and recently I’ve wondered whether that’s something I should change. What got me thinking was Clay’s post over at The Growing Life when he was talking about his successes so far and I realized he’d actually employed a consultant to help him work out a blogging strategy. I feel like such an amateur now!

    Not that I’m unhappy with the success SHE-POWER has had. It’s done much better than I expected in a relatively short period of time, but he did make me realize how instinctual I am and now I’m wondering if that is in fact a weakness when it comes to blogging.

    Anyway, think I might check out some of these statistical programs so thanks for the info.

    Love your blog by the way. I’ve been reading for awhile.
    Kelly

    Kelly@SHE-POWER’s last blog post..Quote of the Week – Children

  11. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Kelly,

    What a pleasure it is to see you here at BWAB.

    “De-lurking” – the act of exposing oneself after an undetermined amount of time. Often used to describe a blogger who reads another author’s writings but hasn’t commented on, or communicated with the author, to make them aware they’re been read. Not to be confused with “stalking”.

    Statistics do contain tons of information. Not only do they tell you how people find your blog, what keywords attract search traffic, days of the week, as well as time of the day your blog is being read the most. They tell you which and when search engines crawled your site., number of unique visits and return visits, page views, plus how long visitors stay on your site. By taking all of this information, you can work on making improvements, thus improving your “numbers”.

    Yes, Clay has done phenomenal with his blog. His efforts are paying off and I’m sure his traffic numbers/subscribers are skyrocketing. Kudos to Clay.

    Satisfaction with the growth of a blog is totally individualist. Whereas some may want massive traffic in a short period of time, myself, I’m content with the steady growth I’m experiencing. It give me time to adjust to increased comments, emails and the other responsibilities that come with higher numbers.

    BTW: I love the interview series you started. JEMi was a perfect choice for your first one. She’s a doll.

    Now that you’re de-lurking, I hope to see you here more often. Thanks for the visit. πŸ™‚

  12. This is such a great post, I wish I would have read it a month ago! LOL

    Would have saved me some serious grief.

    When I launched my blog to friends and family I actually went down by three subscribers the next day. I had a complete melt down and cried for two days straight after all the work and stress I had put in to the blog. In hindsight it probably was that I hadn’t been writing in two weeks and people just naturally clean up there subscriptions…

    So now I am just checking stuff once a week to watch for growing trends, to see what kinds of posts are more popular and what days and times people are reading me the most. Today was the first day that I hit over a thousand page views and again I burst in to tears, but for a whole new reason.

    I think when we get obsessed over statistics it inhibits the natural process of what we were meant to do. Imagine all the stuff I could have done in that two days that I sat around feeling sorry for myself had I not checked the subscribers?

    Just gotta keep on plowing forward and following the vision…

    Dr. Nicole Sundene’s last blog post..Who are the Villains of the Kitchen Table?

  13. […] I added statistical programs, more time was spent watching my numbers (hopefully grow), and analyzing how the statistical data […]

  14. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Dr. Nicole,

    As easy as it is to read and learn from other people’s’ mistakes, often it takes mistakes we make on our own for them to “hit home”. My mother used to call that “learning from the school of hard knocks”. I think it’s a school we never really leave.

    It sounds like you are finding a balance, learning from your stats, and are not letting the results put you on a “roller coaster ride”.

    Plowing forward and following your vision will result in success. It all takes time.

  15. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I’m quite lucky in that respect. Because I had other websites before I began blogging – I’d already got over the need to constantly check stats.

    Admittedly, I don’t check them much at all – although I do like to see what keyphrases people are using to find me. That can be time consuming in itself, but it can be a good laugh too, as people land on my blog after keying in some amazingly strange phrases.

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Beyond Criticism – When It’s Time To Pull The Plug

  16. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    It is funny how people find us, isn’t it?

    I think it’s one thing we don’t think about when we do use keywords (whether planned or not). Words can take on so many different meanings.

  17. Pat RNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for this post Barbara. Enjoyed reading the notes from your commenters. Seems like I’m not alone.

    At first, I checked my stats obsessively and checked on the other information that came with the stats (i.e., how long someone stayed on my site, what got them to my site, referrals, etc.).

    Like Shilpan, being NBOTW increased my traffic greatly that week and I beamed (thank you). But, it used to bum me out if I didn’t see any regular increase in traffic. I think I’m passed that now.

    Now, I’m not as caught up in the stats and I’m continuing to enjoy the writing and sharing with those that stop by. I’m thankful if I can give just one person a lift for the day.

  18. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Pat,

    In the beginning, it’s tough not to check stats often. You do want to know you’re being heard. But, after awhile, you realize how stat checking can take away from your writing (and life, too). Soon, the numbers aren’t as important, and you settle in to why you really blog…because you love to share.

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