Worst Month in More Than Three Years

Last month my blog, This, That, and The Other, received the fewest views it’s had since June 2018.

Now you may be saying to yourself, so what? Views go up, views go down, right? So get over yourself, Fandango. Stop focusing on your stats.

Okay, you make a good point. But I do look at my stats as a form of feedback that might allow me to make some needed adjustments. It helps me answer important questions about my blog. Do I post too often? Not often enough? Are my posts relatable? Do they resonate with my readers? Am I writing too much flash fiction or should I write more? Are my political rants energizing or alienating?

But when I looked at my stats yesterday, I saw something troubling. Last year at this time I was consistently hitting 15,000+ views per month. Then, starting in February, my average monthly views dropped to between 12-13,000. But September 2021 was the first month since June of 2018 that my blog didn’t get at least 12,000 views.

I know that published fewer posts this past month, and generally, the more posts, the more views. But still, it’s a bit disheartening to see the lowest number of views in 40 months. I must be doing something wrong.

Maybe I’m getting stale. Maybe I’m boring my readers. Maybe it’s time for me to take a break. Yeah, that’s the ticket. I’ll take a break.

…from looking at my stats.

SoCS — Roller Coaster

Up or down
Some days
My stats are up
Other days
My stats are down
Like a roller coaster
Back Up
Back down again

I don’t know why
I can’t explain it
Stats are like life
One day you’re up
The next day you’re down

Please read and like
Please comment
On this post
So my stats
Will go up
Not down

Until tomorrow
When probably
One way
Or the other
They will go back
Up or down

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, where the prompt is “up/down,” and we are asked to use one or use them both, but try to put one in the first sentence. Linda is offering bonus points if we use the other in the last sentence. Hmm. How about both in each? Double bonus, maybe?

Blogging Insights — Fewer

For this week’s edition of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya simply wants to know about blogging in the year of the pandemic. She asks…

How do you think this pandemic year has been for blogging in general and your blog in particular?

I’m not going to answer the part of the question that asks about blogging in general because I’m not qualified to answer that. But I can give you a one-word answer as to the effect of the pandemic on my blog in particular. That word is “fewer.”

In 2020, as compared to 2019, I wrote fewer posts, received fewer views, got fewer total likes and average likes per post, and fewer total comments and average comments per post. I also wrote fewer total words in 2020 than in 2019 and had fewer words per post.

That said, I honestly don’t know if I can blame the pandemic for all those “fewers.” It could just be that my blog peaked in 2019 and now, irrespective of the pandemic, it’s trending downward. And, so far in 2021, my average likes and comments per post are about the same as they were in 2020.

So I don’t really have a good answer to Tanya’s question about the relationship between my blog stats and the pandemic. But I can tell you that, despite the mandated launch of the block editor last year and the still unfixed bug in the WordPress app for iOS, I enjoyed blogging and interacting with my fellow bloggers since the pandemic began as much as I did before it started and as I still do today.

TMP — Ups and Downs

Every Monday, Paula Light, with her The Monday Peeve prompt, gives us an opportunity to vent or rant about something that pisses us off. Today, Paula bellyached about inconsistency, and discussed her frustration with the inconsistencies within WordPress. My “peeve” today is also about inconsistency and WordPress, but it’s not so much a peeve as it is an observation.Look at this chart. It graphs my number of visitors and number of views over the past month. Talk about inconsistencies. Some days I am favored with a relatively large number of visitors and views. Other days it seems like very few are interested in visiting my blog or viewing my posts. It’s somewhat puzzling to me because it often is unrelated to the number of posts I publish on a particular day. The ups and downs or highs and lows seem almost random.

Do your stats look like this, with these ups and downs from one day to the next? Or is it just me?

Anyway, that’s it. See, not much of a peeve. Just an observation. Have a happy rest of the day, whatever’s left of it in your part of the world.

Blogging Insights — Playing in Traffic

Blogging insights

For this week’s Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya wants to know how we feel about blog traffic and stats — the views, likes, comments, and follows — and how much these contribute to the value of our blogging experience. She wants to know…

How important is your blog traffic to you?

First and foremost, I’m a numbers guy. In general, I like statistics in many aspects of life. They can be indicators of how things are going, a way to measure whether something is or is not meeting goals and objectives. And, as such, statistics can be used to make adjustments that can help you to achieve your goals.

With that said, I use my blog traffic stats to give me feedback, to let me know what aspects of my blog are resonating with others. Based upon likes and comments, I can gauge whether or not people are participating in my prompts. I can get a sense for whether readers are growing tired of my political rants. I can see if my flash fiction posts are “scoring” with my readers.

So yes, blog traffic is feedback that helps me understand what is working and what is not working. These stats give me feedback so that I can make informed decisions and make any necessary adjustments.

How often do you check your stats?

Multiple times a day.

Which part of your blog traffic, the views, likes, comments, or follows, is important for you personally? Which of these do you think is most important for your blog?

I think the least valuable stat is followers. WordPress tells me my blog has more than 3,600 followers. But it gets only a fraction of that number of daily visitors. So where are all of these alleged followers, then? Are they “following” a blog that they never visit?

As to views and visitors, I usually get about 2.25 views per visitor each day. For example, on Saturday my blog had 598 views from 264 visitors. I also got 214 likes and 117 comments, or an average of 43 likes per post and 23 comments per post. So far in 2020, I’ve averaged 29 likes and 18 comments per post, so comparatively, Saturday was a decent day from a traffic and stats perspective.

I like getting likes, but I love getting comments.