Looking at the Numbers

I’ve just been looking at my stats and have finally realised why my numbers aren’t looking so good this year. I still seem to be getting comments and visitors, and the site seems busy enough by my standards (which are, admittedly, not as high as the standards of some sites). The difference, as far as I can see, is that I wrote 465 posts in the 365 days of 2017.

I’m not sure if that’s really possible, but it’s what the numbers say, so I’ll have to accept it. It’s either that or go back and count the posts.

Year Total Posts Total Comments Avg Comments per Post Total Likes Avg Likes per Post Total Words Avg Words per Post
2014 44 22 0.5 49 1.1 11,285 257
2015 252 850 3.4 1,657 6.6 80,901 321
2016 288 2,539 8.8 3,812 13.2 99,157 344
2017 465 8,431 18.1 10,725 23.1 155,383 334
2018 325 5,893 18.1 7,345 22.6 101,535 312

This, of course, raises another question – how important are the numbers?

When everything was going well last year I was happy to think I had a growing audience but as they’ve gradually declined I haven’t really noticed any practical difference in terms of interaction. I really only need to see a few people, and I can’t follow and read too many other blogs.

It’s a bit like followers. I have 1,500 followers but get an average 18.1 comments per post. That tends to suggest my real number of followers is nearer 18 than 1,500.

It’s enough. I’m happy with the followers I have and don’t need the other 1,450 fictional followers.

What does anyone else think?


25 thoughts on “Looking at the Numbers

  1. Helen

    In the final months of last year, I had a huge spike in the number of people who viewed my posts – I think a woman in India had kindly publicised my blog on her Facebook page. However, as time went by the stats went back to normal, which was a bit of a relief….
    It feels a bit spooky when tons of ‘readers’ visit but don’t comment.
    As I’ve disabled the like button on my blog, though, perhaps it would seem less spooky if they were able to press that little button. It irritated me when, as you’ve noted Simon, likes appear when they can’t conceivably have read the post.
    As for whether the readers are reading or not, I think there are a number of factors. Sometimes, I might read a post and then come back to it a second time in order to comment. That might make it look like the blogger is getting more traffic. On the other hand, sometimes I am interrupted before I can comment and then the moment is lost. Or of course, WP is playing up and it just isn’t possible to post the comment.
    Readers might also only read some posts by another blogger – time, particular interests etc. Or they only use WP once a week perhaps but they are genuine followers.
    I do seem to get a fair number of ‘followers’, though, who are clearer marketing rather than genuine readers. Which probably, sadly, accounts for some of your followers.
    Anyway, this has turned into a rather long reply, as I do find the stats interesting. At the same time, they don’t really mean much. To me, the comments matter far more – and the hope that the reader, commenting or not, has gained something from the read.

    1. quercuscommunity

      Excellent points -I think he main thing is that I should stop worrying about the numbers and stop feeling I should follow everyone who follows me. Time to go back to basics – I started this blog to practice writing, not to be popular. Though it would be nice to be popular for a while…

      1. Helen

        I think you are popular – but no you don’t need to follow everyone who follows you. You wouldn’t expect people whose books you read to follow you, would you?

        I used to feel I should follow a blogger if they followed me. Then I realised the marketing issue, followed by the sincere blogger who just doesn’t blog about stuff I will be inclined to read.

  2. Laurie Graves

    It is true that many readers follow a blog but don’t comment. I met one such reader the other day when I was at an event with my book. She introduced herself as someone who followed my blog and even expressed sympathy about the passing of our dog, Liam. So…

  3. ChasingSernity

    It’s easy to get sucked into the numbers isn’t? In the early days I became quite fixated on my lack of followers-couldn’t figure out why similar photo blogs had numbers in the hundreds or thousands. What was I doing wrong? But there’s the rub, we of a certain generation tend to take things at face value, problem is, there are likely less “faces” behind these followers than we give them credit for. I do take time to read your posts, as much for the content as for the quality of the writing!

    1. quercuscommunity

      Thank you. Yes, I see the numbers associated with some blogs and wonder how it happens when there are equally good blogs with far smaller numbers.

      Fortunately I am happy with my group of visitors. I know you are all real people and have interesting blogs, even though I don’t read them as regularly as I should.

      1. ChasingSernity

        Grateful for my followers as well. My problem now is that as sole caregiver for my 90 year old mum with mid-stage Alzheimer’s, I have no “spare” time, or energy, to engage in past activities, like my photography- hence all the balcony shots! You take advantage of the small mercies when they come.

      2. quercuscommunity

        I liked the Town Hall shot – you even replicated the shadow on the window frame.

        Sorry you don’t have time to get out, though the balcony shots are still good.

  4. GP Cox

    I don’t have the time to comment on each post as I follow an awful lot of blogs. ( I have trouble saying no. ), and far too often, I’m just not glib or intelligent enough to think of a reply. But I do visit and read. You might wish to revisit your blogs and see how the content of the posts has changed.

  5. derrickjknight

    What is most important is the friendships, like ours, that develop. I am intrigued by the number of likes I get without a visit, often far too quick to have read anything. Regarding the sudden drop in stats, I have experienced this, too. There are so many blips on WP at the moment, e.g. difficulty in connecting to make a comment; or being unable to like without making a comment, that I wonder if this has affected anything.

    1. quercuscommunity

      Agreed, sometimes when I post late at night I get likes almost instantly, which always makes me suspect they haven’t read the post.

      On the other hand, I tend not to leave comments on blogs where you have to leave your email details etc.

      What I’m seriously thinking of doing is reducing my list of followed blogs to the twenty or thirty I actually read so I can keep in touch better and spend more time on them.

  6. tootlepedal

    The followers number is total fiction and consists of hopeful people or robots who click on your blog in the hope that you will click on theirs. I have over 8000 alleged followers 98% of whom never look at the blog at all. Even the likes might not be totally reliable as I have been known on a busy night to click a like button without reading the whole of a post with proper concentration and other people may do the same. Of course I always read your posts from top to toe as they are both well written and reasonably short, excellent qualities in a poster.

  7. Andrew Petcher

    What I find intriguing is that people visit the pages (maybe) but leave no footprint. If I chance upon a blog post I generally leave a comment to let the author know that I have passed by!


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