When I first started blogging I was seemingly obsessed with my blog statistics. Something that I assume many of use were and possibly still are, obsessed with statistics.
Monitoring your blogs stats and trends is an important aspect of blogging, but it can turn into a kind of obsession. Besides taking up valuable time it also can prove to be counter productive and actually do more harm than good. I used to watch those stats every half an hour, jumping for joy when the trends went up and crying when they went down.
What is Statistics?
Statistics is a mathematical science pertaining to the collection, analysis, interpretation or explanation, and presentation of data. Too many bloggers worry about the collection of data but fail miserably at the analysis, and interpretation of that data. The interpretation of data is extremely important. Interpret it wrong and you’re doomed. Interpret it right but do nothing with it, and you’re doomed. Well your blog is at least. The purpose of statistics is to analyse data trends and then to act on your findings to improve whatever you are analysing. If the purpose is just to gloat, then you have missed the boat.
Now keep in mind that statistics always works on a sampling of data. Meaning that your statistics are never a true reflection of real time actual facts. It’s a projection of things. How stats work with data is rather impressive. I have written a few statistical insurance programs myself. Basically you take a small sampling of data, then through various methods, algorithms and processes try to project what reality might be like.
Example, when broadcasting studios give you statistics of how many people watch TV, what programs they watch, when, and where. Do you think that they query every single person? No, I know this, not only because I worked with statistics, but because I have never been queried. What they do is take a sample of data and extrapolate that out to something meaningful.
With this in mind, how do you view your blog stats. Don’t be fooled to think that it is an actual representation of pageviews, visits, readers, etc. It is just a sampling of what might be true. Many bloggers have complained and blogged about the inaccuracies of their blog stats. I just laugh, because they do not understand the concept of statistical analysis. Yes, Alexa might be inaccurate when it comes to the actual numbers of people going to your blog. Google Analytics is no saint either.
The point is, don’t view these statistical tools as actual representations of data. They are just a sample, which you and I need to analyse and interpret then act on our findings.
Don’t Waste Too Much Time
Time is money. I soon found out that watching my stats too closely was too time consuming and robbing me of what little hours I had in the day to accomplish other things. Too many bloggers waste too much time watching their stats. Yes it can bring some kind of satisfaction, but it can also bring tension and gloom. Set aside a specific time to analyse and interpret stats. Understand it’s use, and then apply your findings. If you don’t do this, then you might as well not have any stats at all.
Don’t Compromise on Quality
Blogging is not about hits and numbers. It’s about quality content presented to loyal readers. If you worry about traffic and blog stats all the time you may end up writing for search engines instead of human beings. Blog for human beings not for bots. Build your credibility first traffic later. In fact traffic is a direct result of quality content.
Steady as She Goes
Realise this, that it takes time to build up a successful blog. Sometimes it takes years. Look at the successful bloggers today. See how long they have been around. They are not fly-by-night bloggers. They have taken time and lots of hard work to build up the traffic that they now enjoy. I also presume that they have also analysed their stats and applied their findings to further improve their blogs. Patience and long term commitment are the keys here. So work more on your blog and less on your stats.
Am I saying that you do not need to check your blog statistics. No! Am I saying that blog statistics are not important? Once again no. Remember, everything has a purpose and that you should do things in moderation. By all means check your statistics. But not too often. Then learn how to analyse and interpret your blog statistics and then apply your findings. How often do you check your blog statistics? How have you applied your findings to improve your blog? What advice can you give from what you’ve learned?