Where is Everyone?

Hello. Did I write something, say something, or do something to offend you? Hey listen, I know it’s early. It’s a Sunday morning, and it’s your day off, your day of rest. I get it. But still.

I always check my stats when I wake up in the morning. How many of my fellow bloggers viewed my posts while I was sleeping? How many comments did my posts get that I need to read and respond to?

On a typical morning, when I look at my overnight stats at around 7 am, I have anywhere from 100 to sometimes as high as 200 views. And usually around 30 to 40 comments.

But this morning, when I opened my eyes and looked at my stats page at around 10 past 7, here’s what I saw:

Only 83 views. Only 13 comments. Did everyone on my side of the globe oversleep? Did all of you who live on the other side of the globe decide that today was the day to boycott my blog? Where are you?

Even now, two hours later, I’ve only received 112 views and 15 comments.

Don’t you love me anymore?

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — November 4th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 4th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on November 4, 2017.

Trending Down

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You’re no doubt familiar with the philosophical riddle, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

I have a slight variation on that philosophical riddle. “If you publish a post and hardly anyone reads it, does it matter?”

Why should I spend my time thinking about and writing posts that few people read when I could invest that same time and effort doing something that does matter?

I’m proud of what I write. In fact, just the act of writing what I believe to be high quality posts is all that really ought to matter. Having said that, though, I do admit that it’s reinforcing to know that others read what I’ve written, like what I’ve written, and comment on it.

So the question is, should blog stats be the proxy for blogging success?

I try not obsess over my blog’s stats. In fact, I rarely even check my stats. Not more than 15 to 20 times a day, anyway. I check them to see whether or not what I’m writing and posting is being seen by, and resonates with, others.

The good news is that some people do read my blog. The bad news is that fewer people are reading my blog now than they were a few months back.

I started this blog in late May and slowly gained an audience. But, as you can see from the chart below, my views peaked in August, dropped in September, and dropped yet again in October. And what’s even more disconcerting, comments dropped considerably from September to October.

Blog Stats

Should I be concerned about this downward trend? Good question.

Each of us, as bloggers, has our own definition of success. We use certain metrics — blog stats, perhaps — to measure success. It may be the number of posts you’ve published. Perhaps it’s the number of views or likes your posts get.

Maybe your primary measure of your blog’s success is your number of followers. Or the number of comments your posts generate.

I admit that views, likes, and comments do matter to me. And the more I get, the better I feel. At least it let’s me know that someone besides me appreciates my efforts.

But, again, are my blog’s stats the best proxy for success for me to be using? What do you think?


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “proxy.”

Views

A few weeks ago, fellow blogger Jim Adams wrote a post in which he mentioned the number of views some of his most popular posts received. You can click here if you want to read the post I’m referring to.

What I found extraordinary about that post is that Jim, who started his blog about a month before I started mine, had some posts that received a huge number of views. His most viewed post had 23,144 views. That number of views on a single post blew me away. He mentioned another post that had gotten almost 11,000 views, yet another with more than 8,500 views, and still another with more than 7,500 views.

Jim didn’t say how many total views his blog has gotten since April 2017, but the fact that, as he pointed out, 18 of his posts have garnered over 1,000 views each, is remarkable.

I decided to see how many views my most popular posts have gotten. Since I started this blog in May 2017, my blog has received 765,703 views across 8,729 published posts. That averages out to 87.7 views per post over the 5 1/2 years I’ve had this blog.

But more important, in contrast to Jim, I’ve had zero posts that received 1,000 or more views. In fact, my most viewed post, other than my “Home Page/Archives (160k+ views) and my “Who Am I” page (2,068 views), was an April 26, 2018 post titled “Snidely Whiplash.” It received 734 views.

The only other post of mine to reach more than 700 views was an August 2, 2019 post, “Tygpress.com.” It had 728 views. No other posts of mine have reached even 600 views!

So you can see why I was flabbergasted when Jim reported that he had 18 posts with 1,000 or more views, including one with more than 23,000 views and another with close to 11,000 views. That is impressive, isn’t it?

Maybe you want to take a few minutes to find out how many views your most popular posts over the life of you blog have received. Do you have any posts, like Jim’s, that have received megaviews? Or are your stats more like mine, where you’ve yet to crack 1,000 on any one post?

Tell us in the comments below, or if you’re so inclined, write you own post and link it back to this one.

Checking My Stats

Just for grins and giggles, I check my WordPress stats a couple of times a day. When my stats go up a little, that makes me happy. When my stats go down a little, that makes me…well, I’m still happy. It’s no big deal. Anything is better than zero visitors, views, comments, and likes, right?

But there’s another set of stats I check daily. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) on the New York Stock Exchange.

Like with my WordPress stats, when the DJIA goes up, that makes me happy. However, unlike WordPress stats, when the DJIA goes down, that makes me very, very unhappy. Because unlike WordPress stats, when the DJIA goes down, it has real world implications.

My retirement savings goal was to ensure that I ran out of years before I ran out of money. And I worked hard to make sure that when I retired, my wife I would have enough money to live comfortably for the rest of our years, with enough left over to pass whatever remained on to our children.

But since my retirement savings is mostly invested in the stock market, when stocks take a dive, so does the value of my retirement savings.

But don’t worry about me. I’m not panicking yet. After all, what goes down must go up. Or something like that.

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.