Saturday Morning Chit Chat – The Thing About Stats

statsSo I’m looking at my blog stats one night, this is a recurring disease of mine.  I try to fight it off periodically, calling it obsessive and compulsive, but eventually I need to go and look. I won’t tell you how often I look at the stats or you might suggest that someone take my blog away from me.  In any case, after showing remarkable restraint for a few hours, I finally gave in and went and looked.  My post that week was not particularly exciting. I liked it, but I wasn’t expecting much.  Imagine my surprise then when I see the spike in visitors.  I wondered a bit and then figured maybe some of my regular readers who had not looked on the release date had come around. But that’s not what had happened. Strangely, when  I looked at the country of origin I found Belgium. Belgium??? It’s wonderful place I’m sure, but I don’t know anyone there and while I get visitors from around the world, I don’t normally get a lot from any given country, much less over 50 in a one hour period. Clearly, something about my blog tags was coming up because of activities in that country. So I went out in search of the answer…yes that’s the kind of thing I do.  I’m sure I was a cat in my last life.

I found out that the King had abdicated his throne to the prince. How I had not heard that news in the first place, I don’t know, but while interesting, I was not really making the link back to my blog. I also found out that the Brits were surprised to learn that red tape imposed on them by Brussels had cost them £5billion in just two years (ouch).  Again, interesting, but not really making the link…or was I.  The consequence of the sticker shock caused a major coalition row in the U.K.  The topic of my post that week was coalitions.

Whether that was the cause for the spike or not, I can’t say, but it did provide a valuable lesson. I don’t know what causes a particular post to sing while another does dismally. What I do know, is that vacations, bad weather, sports teams, slow news weeks, busy news weeks and the position of the moon can all influence the outcome.  I need to focus on the quality of my content and having fun. The best part of the spike from Belgium was that lesson…and I did get to learn about some things that were getting little or no coverage in Canada but were of interest nonetheless.

Do you ever get preoccupied with numbers and lose site of your objective?

Last weeks poll results: 70% said, “yes, they thought Google Glasses were a good idea” and 30% said, “No way”.

This weeks highly scientific poll asks…

About Debra Yearwood

Experienced communications and public relations executive who manages challenges with an eye on outcomes and a sense of humour. Learn more about how I think at https://commstorm.com/ Learn more about my experience at ca.linkedin.com/in/debrayearwood/
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20 Responses to Saturday Morning Chit Chat – The Thing About Stats

  1. I am no longer obsessed with my stats. Most of the traffic from search engines bounces right off because they were searching for something else (as you discovered) and stumbled on my site. Referral traffic matters much more to me. Readers of some of my most popular posts will stay five, ten or even 15 minutes (no kidding – those are the instructional posts, like how to write a LinkedIn invitation). Then I know that I’m on the right track.

    • When I think about how goofy I got there for a while it amazes me. Just proof that no matter how much you think you know, there’s always room to learn more. Now that I’m actually following the advice I would have given, 🙂 I look at trends over time and yes, I look to see where my traffic is coming from and how people are finding my site.

  2. cassi9879b says:

    When I log in to Blogger I look at the stats at least once a day LOL. Off the top of my head I only know of two people out of the country but they show I have readers everywhere. On Life as We Live the second country to the US is Russia followed by France. I’m not sure how my weight loss journey is resonating to those audiences.

  3. Glynis Jolly says:

    It’s interesting that your poll is divided equally (I put in for sometimes). I tend to think that raise and falls in blog traffic has more to do with the time of year AND personal preferences at any given moment.

  4. Leora says:

    I’ve noticed that when I work hard on providing useful and or unusual information useful to readers, my stats go up. However, this takes a ton of my energy. And I then I get overloaded with work or family obligations call, and I don’t always have that energy. So I’m happy to write good posts every now and then … no, can’t really say I’m stat obsessed.

    • I hear you about the time involved in preparing something readers find useful. I would like every post to be a keeper, but the reality is I know that it’s impossible. We are currently renovating it would be impossible for me to produce a blog on a new subject that required intensive research. I try to keep in mind that sometimes a blog that I think will be a knock out falls flat or a blog that I think is average takes off.

  5. Diana says:

    Sometimes i get obsessed with stats, too – but that’s usually if i am launching a new product, or a new blog, or testing a new tactic in an old blog, etc.

    Monitoring your stats is good – no, wait, it’s not just good, it is kinda mandatory – if you want to address your readers’ expectations and needs. However, just looking at the stats isn’t gonna cut i for anyone. You need to draw your conclusions and act on them. I think a good frequency is one per week – sped like 2-3 hours digging and finding patterns, ideas, etc. With time being not enough and all though, it is good to do it any time, really… i am trying to do it at least once per month or two, and i surely advise my clients to never ever do it less than once per month…

    • I agree about the importance of monitoring the stats and doing it related to specific activities or trending. Once a month is reasonable and doable. The challenge comes when monitoring becomes a preoccupation. When I first started my blog I was absolutely preoccupied with what was happening. I paid more attention to my blog stats then I ever had to my organizational website stats or our CEO’s blog site when it was first launched. I thought it was interesting how quickly I lost site of best practices I had been following for years when it became personal. 🙂

  6. I do check my stats on a regular basis but for no other reason to see what might be happening. I pay little attention to SEO, the issues people are having with Google right now mean little to me.

    I am more concerned with content. I am sure that if I learned how to read the stats I could use that to steer my content toward what people are looking for blah blah blah. But the thing is what I write is an outlet for me first and foremost. If I start chasing the things that make other people happy, I will no longer be true to myself.

    • Well said Jon. Trying to manage SEO is a little like trying to read tea leaves to predict future events. While I will accept that there are certain things that you can do the optimize your ability to be found, you can spend hours each day trying to determine what would work for your site and in the process make yourself crazy. I don’t spend that kind of time thinking about SEO in my day job, I’d probably be fired if I did given all the other communications activities I need to sort out, so why would I spend my free time doing it?

      The expression, content is king is absolutely true and should be top of mind all of the time.

  7. Simone Hart says:

    Not having a blog, I can not think of any stats I follow other than the stock market and that is only once a day at most. I do however check out news sources that are not North American. The BBC is a good beginning source. As to why your stats were up, could be as simple as the subject was interesting.

    • Actually I was amazed at how much news doesn’t reach us here in Canada. It’s to be expected …I guess, but when I think of some of the nonsense that gets aired and called news in lieu of legitimate news from other countries, it’s pretty amazing. I really like the BBC suggestion.

  8. Yep, those dang stats can be an obsession at times. They seem to call me. I can hear then. “Come look what at what is going on. You know you do”. The thing is I used to look at them obsessively to the extreme. My mood would be dictated by what I saw. It was sad really. Then I kinda burned out and started writing from my heart and thought be damned the stats and I can honestly say I’m happier. My blog is growing and I’m not looking at my stats every other minute. It’s now down to every few days. 😊

    • One night a few months back I looked at my stats and was so disappointed that it put me in a sour mood for the next twenty-four hours. At which point the stats got better. Then of course I was happy…this is not a healthy way to live.

      I still look (I’m convinced it will eventually be recognized as a disease) but I avoid letting it color my world, it’s simply not worth it. 🙂

  9. Arleena says:

    I am obsessed with the stats. Without knowing what is going on it is hard to adjust the site.. My question, with all the increase in visitors, did it convert to people commenting on your blog site? Did you see new comments from people that were not in your group?

    • No. It was just a weird spike. While the stats can give me some ideas over time around trending, letting me know which topics go over better than others, a day to day (an hour to hour) review won’t reveal much. For example, self-improvement posts are hot spots for me, but I don’t know that until I look at trends over weeks and months to see which posts stay alive and active well after they are posted. That’s how I judge the topics that have appeal.I had one post that went crazy when I posted it, it broke the then record for visits in a day, but then it totally flat lined.It has not been very active since then. If I had taken that day’s activity as a cue and focussed there, I would have been making a mistake. The day to day obsessing is just that, obsessing. 🙂

      As to followers, that has been pretty random because I have been pretty random in my actions. I’ll go along with quiet then get a spate of followers on tumblr or Google+. To get an increase in followers I would have to take specific action, such as run a contest, do a push out to my connections on LinkedIn and Facebook, participate in a “best blog” contest, do a lot of guest posting, get a lot of bloggers to guest post here…or some other targeted action. All of that takes lots of time, or money etc.

      Just a thought, given the amazing products you carry I’m amazed you haven’t run a contest or did I miss it?

  10. pellontyrese says:

    hI I am just the same i am addicted to my stats good or bad i have to keep checking them. thanks eric roberts

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