For my first three years of blogging, I got around 100, then 200, then 250 to 300 views per day. In year four, it slid up to around 350 to 400. Where it stayed, showing a gradual, slow but steady upward movement with occasional shots of one post being exceptionally popular.
At the beginning of this year, we started getting more than 400 regularly. Which was — I thought — phenomenal. On October 10, 2017, something else happened. Suddenly, we shot upward to 500 and started getting bumps to 700 and 800. But the funny thing was, the regular posts were not doing better than usual. They were doing pretty much the same as they always been.
It was a “Google” bump. For no reason, Google had found us and we were getting hundreds of hits. It kept going up until it hit 1400 in the beginning of November. Which was crazy. Blogs like this don’t get those numbers. It stayed up there for a few days, then started to drop.
I did not expect it to stay in those numbers. The archives were getting all the action. Old blogs were being read by a lot of people — which was fun — but I knew it would not last.
Stat bumps are not “normal” growth. Somehow, some way, your blog gets picked up by Google or some other search engine. For a while, everyone who looks for something finds you at the top of the list, so thousands of people come and read archived posts. Some visitors will sign on and become regulars, but most will show up once, maybe twice, then disappear. They came to see one post, maybe read a second one while they were at it, but your “real” daily numbers haven’t changed. Without the input from Google — or whatever search engine found you — you are right where you were before the bump. It’s a bit startling and dramatic when all that activity drops off — and you are left with your normal feedback. Even though you knew it wouldn’t last, you sort of hoped it would.
Sure enough, we dropped back to pretty much where we were before the big bump. Riding “high” was fun, but it isn’t realistic. We are not a news service and we don’t get huge numbers of readers for posts.
The thing is, blogging is not about statistics, unless for you it’s a business. It’s communication with the people who follow you. You follow them, they follow you. You feed each other ideas and give each other encouragement. The actual writing of a blog is only half the fun. The rest is people and relationships. The ideas you get from reading other people’s material.
Also — popularity isn’t always as much fun as you think it will be. I spend a huge amount of time writing, photographing, processing pictures. Keeping track of what’s scheduled. I answer all my comments and sometimes, I end up using a full day just answering comments. It is fun — but it eats a lot of time and it’s hard to find room for other things.
Luckily, I don’t have that much else to do. Usually.
Like other people who blog a lot, I love it. I love the people, the ideas, the stimulation. I don’t get out into the world the way I did when I was younger. If it weren’t for blogging, I’d be isolated and probably lonely.
The thing to remember, for all of us, is statistics bounce around. A great few months can be followed — entirely unexpectedly — by a serious drop in readership. Why? People move on. WordPress messes with the software and you lose a few thousand followers. And sometimes, you hit a lull. If you aren’t blogging for the numbers — if you are doing it because you genuinely love writing or posting pictures or whatever it is you do — then a drop in your stats doesn’t change anything.
Remind me of that the next time I lose 800 views a day — in one night!