Apparently it’s easy to get zillions of subscribers to your blog – Just follow a few simple steps, work hard, and write good stuff.
I know this, because there are a ton of pro-blogging sites which are eager to dispense the wisdom of their own success whilst making you feel inferior for having less than 20,000 subscribers.
Unfortunately for many of us, the promise of multiple thousands of subscribers is unrealistic no matter how hard we try – sometimes because we work in less popular niches, sometimes because we just don’t have the available time, and sometimes because we just don’t have that magic mix of talent and luck.
Ultimately this leads to frequent disappointment among bloggers.
But the bitter truth is that blogging is not a hobby or a profession for those without perseverance.
Why we obsess over stats
The only reason so many of us obsess over our statistics is because page views and subscriber numbers are the most obvious ways to measure our success. But are they really?
A business that only measures itself by its profits is unlikely to be successful in the long term. Profits are obviously important, but profit is only one measurement of success, and crucially, it is an outcome not a determiner. Outcomes are the things that ultimately we are judged by, but they don’t tell you anything about the underlying factors which will make future success possible, and which are making current success difficult.
For example, a firm which is making roaring profits today is a poor investment if their products are so bad that few of their customers return tomorrow.
A blog might have 10,000 views today from social media, but that’s hardly a success if visitors don’t find any reason to return the next day.
How can we measure ourselves
Success is self-defined. It’s also important to know why you’re blogging in the first place.
If you blog for money, then obviously revenue is the most important outcome for you. But if you blog only for pleasure then perhaps your level of reader engagement (which can be determined largely by comments) is more important to you?
If your blog is part of a longer term plan, then perhaps generating kudos within the blogging community is your best measure of success?
Next, consider (or don’t consider) the things which you can’t influence directly – such as page views. There is nothing you can do to directly influence these, so to a large extent you shouldn’t waste time worrying about them. However, don’t ignore them completely.
Stats provide you with useful information as to why your blog is not performing as expected. For example, if you have few new visitors each month (often the case after the first few months) then perhaps you are getting poor search engine placement, or you are lacking in inbound links?
If a quick check on Google shows that you are lacking in links, then perhaps it is time to re-focus on community interaction again?
Your time and energy should go into the things you can influence. And the thing you can influence the most is the quality of your articles.
In reality, most bloggers (myself included) will continue to obsess over stats.
However, rephrasing what success means to you can often give you the motivation to create great content even when you don’t have as many followers as you’d like.