STATS AND BUMPS ALONG THE WAY – Marilyn Armstrong

During 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 and periodic dips, especially around holidays.

A couple of years ago, we started getting more than 400 hits regularly. Which I thought was phenomenal. On October 10, 2017, something else happened. Suddenly, we shot upward to 500 and started getting hits as high as 700 or 800. The funny thing was, regular posts were not doing better than usual. They were doing pretty much the same as they always had.

It was a “Google” bump. For no particular reason, Google had found this blog and we were getting hundreds of hits. It kept going up until it hit 1400 at 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.

Statistical bumps are not “normal” growth. Somehow, some way, your blog gets picked up by Google or some other search engine and for a while, everyone who looks for something finds you at the top of the list. Thousands of people come and read your archived posts. Some visitors actually sign on and become regulars, but 90% or more will show up once, maybe twice, then disappear.

Red-bellied (or Golden-fronted) Woodpecker

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 the out-of-control search engine, you are exactly where you were before the bump.

It’s a bit startling and melodramatic when all that activity drops away– and you are left with your normal feedback. Even though you knew it wouldn’t last, you hoped it would.

Sure enough, we dropped back to pretty much where we were before the big bump. Riding “high” was fun, but it wasn’t realistic. We are not a news service and we don’t get huge numbers of readers for posts.

House Finch and Brown-headed Cowbird

The thing is, blogging is not about statistics unless for you it’s a business. It’s about communications 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.

Tractor with daffodils

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. Like buying groceries or replacing the kitchen faucet or getting back and forth to a hospital.

Luckily, I don’t have that much else to do. Except when I do.

With a few exceptions, I’ve talked to the entire world!

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 fantastic couple of months can be followed 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 simply 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. You are still you and you will do what you’ve been doing and all will be well.

Remind me I said that that the next time I lose 800 views a day overnight!

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

53 thoughts on “STATS AND BUMPS ALONG THE WAY – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I can be a bit of a stats nerd. Of course my numbers, after five years, are lower than what you were getting your first three… I typically don’t worry about the actual numbers, but how they change. For instance, why did I have a third less views in 2018 as 2017? Actually, my likes and comments per post went up in 2018. I posted a third less, so…. But, yeah, it is the people and interaction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really only started to notice the stats when they went up like that. This kind of blog just doesn’t get big hits like that. If I write more, I get more. Less, I get less and this year, I’ve been writing less because I’ve had other things to do … but it was amusing for those months to get this wave of response — for no reason at all 😀

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      1. Yeah, I’m sure it was a rush. I wrote a review (slightly negative but with some positives) of a Kindle early in my blog’s life. For one day it was the number 1 result on all search engines for “kindle review” and I got a few hundred hits. After that, it was not on any search engine. I looked for hours, and it didn’t come up. I assume Amazon killed it since the top 100 reviews were all 100% positive….

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        1. I have learned to be very careful about reviews on Amazon. Not only do they dump ones the author or publisher doesn’t like, but you can get seriously trolled. I got trolled for (are you ready?) a review I wrote on a biography of Alexander Hamilton. Now, I only review books I love and usually, on request from the author. Everything is corrupt and it’s always about money.

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          1. There are problems with Amazon reviews. this was a review on my blog of a Kindle Fire and had both good and bad points, but all comparing it to older Fire’s I owned, not other products.

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            1. I have the older 10″ kindle too and when Garry and I are listening to something together, I always use it. I have a good little Bluetooth speaker for it, too. I don’t use it as much because it’s heavy. When I want to grab “a book,” the 10″ is weighty, especially since I’m always packing a camera, and all the rest of my gear which I swear gets heavier every month.

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              1. A year or so ago Amazon took a few apps off and they are no longer available, so I got an Android tablet so I could use what I want to, not what Amazon tells me to (I read BBC at breakfast every day). Other than that, I loved that one, my favorite tablet ever.

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    2. Those first three years were insane years on the internet. Obama was first elected, then screwed by everyone, and we had I don’t remember how many government shut-downs. The net was really hopping and it was the wild, wild west of blogging. Many people were beginning to discover blogging … and WordPress was still FUNCTIONAL. They hadn’t decided to fix it yet so mostly, it worked. And they were still encouraging people, too. It has all changed radically in the past two years and I think we are all trying to figure out how to work with it. If there were another viable option, I’m sure a lot of people would jump on it. I’m not sure I would. Doing this the first time was fun, but I’m not sure doing it again would be fun.

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      1. I have been around WP long enough to see a lot of changes, most for the worse. far worse…. I also know that I missed “The Golden Age of Blogging”.

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        1. I got two good years and then, it all began to change. That was also when there were a lot more choices of blogging sites. Once WP became essentially the ONLY platform, they dropped all the “nice” stuff and went big on MONEY.

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    3. Trent, I am glad I’m just a contributor. I don’t have to worry about the numbers. I think Marilyn has her head in the right place. She is writing for her “audience” and not writing stuff that’s supposed to drive up numbers. At least, that’s how I interpret what she’s said.
      The numbers thing reminds me of my working days when we were always reminded about ratings. The “Suits” suggested (but always denied) we write to attract viewers. In other words, write inflammatory stuff instead of just reporting the story straight forward. no commentary, no “takes” on the issue. This is what’s happening today on Fox News and, also, the far left media —equally bad.
      I’m drifting from the subject matter. Sorry. the reporter in me is always there, lurking.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well today the news networks, even CNN, are more about news commentary than news. It drives me crazy – I only read the news today because I want the facts! From the little local and “big three” network evening news, they are still mostly news, but it is limited.

        For the most part I post what I feel like at the time. Similar philosophy as Marilyn.

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  2. I look at my stats all the time. Just to see what resonates. I average around 400-450 views a day. If I get fewer than 400 I’m disappointed and if I get 600 I’m very happy. But I still haven’t quite figured out why one day I’ll get 600 and the next I’ll get 350. Oh well, it’s all good because, as you say, we all love to blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s in part because you blog so often. I have found that each piece on the AVERAGE gets about 50-75 hits — low end, 30 -50 hits and some keep getting them for quite a while. When I started blogging, for each post I didn’t make, I dropped about 50 hits, give or take. Every once in a while, one gets a LOT more hits — Garry’s do better than mine! — or one just flounders. The ones that don’t get much, I usually rewrite and rerun. Also sometimes people just don’t seem to be around. Holidays are usually a big drop off But also, the stats tools on WordPress don’t really tell the story.

      We get a lot more hits than they show because they go out through Twittter and FB and get shared there — and NONE of those hits come through WordPress. Also, if someone gets onto your site and rolls down reading one post after another, but doesn’t call each one up separately you only get ONE hit even if he/she read 50 pieces. You can get better stats, but I think you have to pay more and I don’t care about the numbers enough to pay for them!

      You’re popular. Enjoy it Stats go up and down and there’s no explaining it. Some of the neglected pieces are better — a lot better — than the “popular” ones.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I should warn you that whatever you think are your BEST pieces? These will never be your most popular pieces OR the ones for which you get any awards actually given for writing (there aren’t many left anymore). It’s a Murphy Law thing. Garry got three Emmys — none were for what HE considered his best work. I’ve gotten awards on WordPress (when they were still giving awards) for some of the worst dreck I ever wrote. So if I think a piece is good, I will run it until eventually, the rest of the world notices.

      There are a few people whose opinions I respect a lot so when they reblog me, I feel all warm and runny. To me, that’s the biggest award of all.

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      1. I’ve published a few posts that I thought for sure would go viral only to have them be a total bust. There’s no predicting what will or will not resonate.

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        1. Exactly. Pretty much ANYTHING Garry writes goes bigger than most things I write, but he has his own fan club. For me, what goes big is usually something other people find useful. Which, considering I spent my entire adult career writing directions and explaining things, probably should not be a big surprise. Occasionally, I write something funny that gets very popular … or something weird. I got gazillions of hits on one post about blood types which I recently rewrote since I’ve learned a few things about it since I wrote it five years ago. Last year, I was getting as many as 300 hits a day on THAT single post. I never figured out why. It was information anyone could get by looking it up on Google. But you know, people don’t look things up. They think I’m a genius because I can find almost anything on the net.

          That MIGHT be because I wrote a couple of search languages in the course of my career. I’m really good at figuring out how to phrase things to get the computer to show me what I want. Except in images. The images are always a garbage can full of incorrect images (nothing to do with the search), wrong images (labeled, but wrong) — so out of 1000 images, I find 3 which are actually what I’m looking for.

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    3. Fandango, how do you feel when you write what you KNOW is a good piece but don’t get good numbers. I thought (maybe I am wrong?) that you folks were writing things you believe in — not what might get big audiences? Am I being naive? As a contributor, I write stuff that interests me. I hope it resonates. Marilyn lets me know what my numbers are. Having said that, I just wrote a piece about my athletic ineptitude. I got nice reactions from Marilyn’s regular followers (You?). I was disappointed not to get much response when the piece was posted on Facebook. Marilyn posted the piece, not me. I usually write a little “intro” for the Facebook posts. Didn’t for this one. Quien sabe?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Garry, I do write things I believe in, as well as flash fiction, but I can never predict what of what I write will resonate with others. I don’t do Facebook or Twitter, so I have nothing to contribute on what may or may not get much of a response on those platforms. But as to posts on WordPress, as you say, who knows?

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        1. He got almost 100 responses on it. It’s not always just the numbers! I always feel when I get a lot of people talking about it that I’ve done a good job. When I get numbers, but no responses, I think maybe I’ve missed. Unless it’s photographs. A lot of people get tired of writing “Wow, that’s pretty,” so they don’t.

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          1. If I read through comments others have made and there’s nothing new or different that I can add, I’ll just like the post rather than piling on with a comment similar to ones that others have already posted.

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  3. I think those bloggers that persist are the ones that will eventually fall into your sphere of experience. I’ve never been a stat watcher, so I might get a lot of views or none, and I’d probably never know. What I watch for is the comment from the persistent blogger. I have a very nice core set of those, and I treasure the communication. Like you without that contact, I’d be isolated and lonely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mine are always visible (at least by week) because I use the “old” dashboard which is easier to use and has more information on it. But it only shows this week. If I want to dig deeper, I have to go into “site stats” … and they aren’t all that useful, either. They only count “hits” that come through their “loop.” And ONLY if someone actually opens the individual post. So anyone who reads more than one post (scrolling, as it were — and I have mine set up so people can literally scroll as many posts as they like without having to individually open each post — not the best way to get high numbers) but doesn’t open each one separately is just one hit.

      On the OTHER hand, if he/she opens it and you have pictures in it, you get a hit for each picture they enlarge as well as one for the post. The stats are wildly inaccurate overall, so all I usually look for are sudden BIG drops which are always WordPress. Either they took me out of their DBA (again) or they are messing with their software, or they decided I don’t exist this week or month. I try not to let it get to me because I can’t do anything about it anyway.

      They are annoying. The only thing worse is Blogger who is even MORE annoying.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I use the new format which shows me a very long time of stats — a month maybe. It seems WP wants me to know how many people are reading my blog — but I honestly don’t care. I’m still on the fence about continuing to write a blog. Not sure.

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        1. I think you’ll blog occasionally or more because you write. It’s just nice to have someplace to write whatever you are thinking about and know a few people will read it. Otherwise, it’s diary time and at this point in my life, the idea of keeping a diary is hilarious.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. That seems to be about right for a good writer. That’s mostly what I get for most posts. Sometimes I get more and sometimes, I get nothing or close to it. WordPress never tells ME anything. I’m apparently off their charts.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting development when Google gets ahold of you. Haven’t had that happen yet. I’d like to stay under the radar if possible because I just don’t have the time to do any more posts than 3 times a week.
    Leslie

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    1. They don’t pick on people to “hit,” but I think bigger blogs get hit more often just because of the size. I couldn’t write more than I do. I don’t even feel like I can keep up THIS pace. The rest of my life seems to be calling out to me to rescue it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t experienced that type of view bump on WP, but I have seen it with my photos on Flickr and YouPic. Those sites get many more times the views than my blog does. Silly viewers.

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    1. Pictures sometimes get MOST of the hits. People like to look. They don’t like to read more than a paragraph. That’s why I KNOW something is weird when I get that many hits. This type of blog doesn’t GET that kind of attention.

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  6. I made the same experience with getting on ‘Explore’ on Flickr at the beginning. Literally every photo I posted (with very basic talent and no photoshop at all, I still haven’t got photoshop!) got shot to one-day-stardom. And then Flickr got bigger and more professional and my voice wasn’t heard any more…. Did I care? Like heck; I even put a note to each of my pictures: Don’t just dump an icon or stupid thingie, I want conversations, opinions, debates, not faves…..
    I don’t think you ought to worry about your readers’ interest. WP should worry however on how they treat people; since approx one week I have to ‘sign in’ every time I come back. Maybe it’s my constant moving from one country to the next and back again (plus different languages and codes)….. I’m glad I’ve found you and although I might not help greatly with your stats, I’m at least a faithful follower 😉

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    1. That has been happening to me a lot lately, too. I think it’s them messing with the software again. I have also found if I reload the page, it usually finds me. It’s definitely them, not you. I suppose they have to keep the HAPPINESS ENGINEERS busy. I would be embarrassed to have to call myself a happiness anything.

      Photoshop is way too expensive. Check out Corel. It isn’t quite as good as PhotoShop, but it’s close AND doesn’t cost you anything but the purchase price and will do most of the stuff you need.

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  7. Couldn’t agree more. It was exciting when my numbers were soaring, gave me a bit of a thrill to be honest and when they died down, and I’ve mentioned why before, it was like a punch in the gut. I was heartbroken that the numbers never came back, which meant the readers weren’t there. There are a few valuable people who have continued to look in on me and I appreciate it. I, like you, do the blog for fun, for entertainment, to connect with other bloggers and I so enjoy learning about their lives, their pursuits, interests, daily lives, what makes them who they are. I love you and Garry. You are interesting, fun, and good people. You couldn’t drag me away! hehe

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    1. But that’s how those booms are. Suddenly, you’re getting these crazy, great numbers … and then, as suddenly as they began, they vanish. I knew they would go away because I could read who was reading what and mostly, there were tons of individual blogs getting “hit.” And I was NOT seeing a big boom in followers, so I figure these were people who were hitting me, reading one post or two, and then they were gone. if you get a big burst of hits, but you don’t get an equally big burst of followers, it’s going away. How long does it last? I got almost six solid months out of it. Now, I’m back to where I was before it happened. But that’s okay. It’s what I expected.

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  8. From the Bloggers Bash Award thing I learned a lot about blogs that get traffic vs those that don’t. I’ll never write a blog that gets a lot of traffic. I am too old. I am not raising children. I am not pursuing a career. I’m not traveling. I’m not even trying to write something people want to read. I’m done with that part of life. As my retired life as progressed I’ve learned that, for me, retiring means no longer pushing that fucking big rock up that hill any more. 🙂

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    1. Not me either. It’s why I said blogs like mine, like yours, like Pat’s … we don’t get huge numbers. But people who follow us care about us and are interested in us and that means a lot to me. These days, my biggest “trip” is to Connecticut or the other side of Massachusetts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are several blogs I follow and enjoy so much that are written by the 30 and 40 somethings who also follow mine. They are heartening and lovely and I’m glad those people are holding up the sky. I’m happy the sky no longer needs my help.

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  9. Mine are going down, down, down….

    On days where I don’t make a post, I tend to average about 25 views. I used to be able to count on at least that many just from search engines each day. And too many of the search terms that are leading to my blog are getting encrypted. They need to at least let me get my humor from the stupid things people search for!

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