The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Respect by the Numbers: Do Pageviews Matter?

back side of High Roller roller coaster ride a...
back side of High Roller roller coaster ride at Cedar Fair's Valleyfair! amusement park in Shakopee, Minnesota, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What's Going on with my Blog?

          An interesting thing happened on this blog over the past couple of weeks:  The Tossing It Out posts have been decreasing in page view numbers.  Through an analysis of the situation I have determined the reason.   I can blame it on President  Barack Obama, the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), and the disastrous website and I have the evidence to back up my claim.   In this post I will explain what has happened.

          Yes, this post is about the dreaded topic of blog stats.  You may be thinking of leaving right now, but I say wait and let me present my case to see if I can influence your thinking on this.  I'll try to keep it as interesting as one can do when it comes to talking about numbers.  Trust me--I truly believe there is an interesting and very helpful story to be told in the blog stats.  If you will go along with me and then give me your thoughts in the comment section I think we can learn something that may be of use to all of us.  And there is a payoff at the end of the post that will tell you about the wrap-up of this series coming in my next post.

Can Blog Stats Be Trusted?

        Many weighed in with the opinion that blog stats are essentially unreliable.  Numbers of many thousands of pageviews, thousands of comments, and thousands of followers were cited by some of you.  All I can say about that is show me the numbers.  I don't have much to say about those instances without seeing for myself so I can make my own analysis.  If you want to offer some links for me to follow, then do so in the comments.  And even then what we see is not always the true story.

       For example, Alex J Cavanaugh mentioned a blog he saw with over 58,000 followers and 5000 comments per post, but as Alex pointed out "it wasn’t someone famous, and the posts weren’t anything out of the ordinary".  What else do we know about this blog to tell us why those numbers are there, if they are accurate, or if the blogger is reliable?  The real numbers from real stats don't lie, but people do.  And people can falsify the stats to come up with false number readings that can lead outside observers to come to the wrong conclusions.

       In his follow up post Alex said, "Overall, most of you thought blogging was about community and comments more important than pageviews."  I think this is a correct statement.  But I don't think that it follows that pageviews are not important.  I strongly believe that certain bloggers who have certain goals in mind should be thinking about their pageviews.  

       Blogging is about community and friends in part. There is a community of bloggers who focus on community and friends, but there is also a world (blogosphere) of bloggers who focus on many different things  and the building community bloggers are a portion of that world.  Like I said in my previous post, much of the debate (disagreement) arose from the fact that there were different sides talking about different subjects.  

Forget About the Content, Let's Stick with the Numbers

      Denise Covey left the comment on Alex's post "What Constitutes Quality Blog Content?  that seeemed to be the most common concern expressed by those commenting concerning stat numbers when she said, "I read Arlee's post and I'm with you on page views. They mean little and just frustrate you if you see you've had 700 pageviews and only 50 commented."   

       My question to anyone who is thinking in this way is are you extrapolating relevant observations and reasonable conclusions from the data you have available?  The numbers by themselves can deceive and discourage if they are not put into context.  If you don't have any idea why the numbers are what they are it can be easy to avoid them or assume they are unreliable or untrue.

 Now Back to my Own Diminishing Numbers       
       Regarding blog stats I can only speak based on my direct experience and observations and come to conclusions based on those things.  With this in mind, I'm giving you the stats from the previous six posts at Tossing It Out and explain my interpretation of what happen.  The stat page is as it appeared at about midday on Tuesday October 22, 2013.  The order below has the most recent post (Oct 21) at the top and descends  to the last post on the list which the earliest (Oct. 11).   Here are the numbers:

Oct 21   Do You Respect Yourself            33 comment count
                                                                  41 view count

Oct 18   Defining Respect as a Blogger       41 comments
                                                                  63 page view

Oct 16  Respecting the Reader           +6     37 comments
                                                                  152 View count

Oct  15 Battle of the Bands                +2    34 comments
                                                                  58 view count

Oct 14  Do You Feel Respected?      +13    97 comments
                                                                  303 page views

Oct 11 Tossing Out. Another....            +1   23 comments
                                                                 1792 page views

         This is very easy to analyze so I'm glad that the numbers are relatively simple for this string of posts. Here is the analysis starting from bottom and going upwards:

Oct 11:   At first I was puzzled as to why my counter was showing 1792 views for a post that had relatively few comments.  I was sure that the counter was daffy and in error.  But then I realized what I had done and the numbers made complete sense.  In this post that I intended to be a flippant filler with rather light content, I mentioned the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, and CGI Group which were all over the news on that day.  Some of the hits may have come from search engines, but I'm more inclined to believe that many entities (government watchers, Obama staffers, journalists, and others with an interest) were set up to get notifications of mentions of these terms on the web and my post was among those.  When these entities went to look at my post they saw that it was regurgitated material from other sources that was of no interest to them and moved one.  I'm pretty sure that is the explanation for that post.

Oct 14:  This was a post intended for  a very specific audience in my normal readership.  No buzzwords or terms that would attract attention.  However this post did contain a plea to share and the readers kindly responded which resulted in many more hits.  Visitors were also very compliant in leaving comments as I had requested.   Two days after the post Alex J Cavanaugh mentioned it on his site and the post had another significant spike.  Thanks Alex!  And thanks to all of you who spread the word about the post.   I also did a fair amount of networking concerning this post.

Oct 15:  This shows a big drop because it is a Battle of the Bands post and these are not my most popular postings.  But they are among my favorites and I enjoy doing these BOTB posts.  The comments and views are higher than previous BOTB postings but probably because of the tie-in to the "Respect" series.

Oct 16:  This was a guest post and probably shows a spike for that reason.

Oct 18:  Since this is another very specialized post that is part of the "Respect" series the target audience is very specific and has dropped from the initial post on Monday.  It's somewhat deep post material that does not attract many readers.  However where Monday's post had about a 33% ratio of comments to visits, the Friday post now has closer to 66% of visits generating comments (intense very good comments) which shows that these readers are more invested in the series.

Oct 21:  We see another drop to some of the lowest stat figures I've seen on my blog in a long time.  However the comment ratio increases again with high value comments, showing less general reader interest in the series, but more investment by my niche audience for the topic.

      The point is that though we are dealing with very small numbers, the stat recording system seems highly accurate and variances are easy for me to find an explanation for.  Of course there are not overly high numbers to try to understand, but if there were I think I could find a logical explanation.  If I could not then I might believe that stats are inaccurate.

       There are many variables in stats as well.  Are you counting your own hits to your site?   If so there is a setting to change that.   Is there something on a page that people are hitting multiple times like a Linky List?  Are there highly searchable terms that may draw viewers from outside the community like Brandon and Bryan at A Beer for the Shower experience on their post about Amanda Bynes.  And just who is Amanda Bynes anyway?

        If there is anything in your numbers that seems to be inaccurate, there is probably an explanation to show that the numbers are not as off as they seem.

Enough Rambling and Back to the Point

        Do pageviews matter?  Ah yes, that was the original question.  

        If the content is right when the viewers get there I think the pageviews can matter in a very important way if you are looking for new readers who will keep returning.  Once you've got your community loyal to you it's important to keep them interested, but if you want an even broader audience then the content has to capture the interests of both new readers and established readers.  Maybe not such an easy task!

        It's the same principle of the Blogfest or other audience outreach events.  You want to attract more readers.  Then once you have gotten the readers there you have to entice them to come back.

       Here's an experiment for anyone daring enough to try it.  If you regularly get a lot of comments, try going for a month without commenting on anyone elses blog or doing any social media notifications.  Watch to see if anything different happens to your comments and pageviews.  I've somewhat done this and seen the numbers drop.  I'm not foolhardy enough to do it completely because I don't want to hurt my standing in the blogging community that I've been a part of, though my blog has seen the effects of some of my cutting back.

Blogging Is Marketing        

      We can consider that all aspects of blogging is marketing to some degree even if you are trying to sell your personality and wit to get more online friends.   Yourself, your beliefs, your books, or your business or whatever other reason you are blogging, you are also marketing in some sense of the word.  Marketing is sales (not always literally selling a product for money).  Successful selling comes with numbers.   I realize I'm losing some of you now who I didn't lose early on in this post.  But that's essentially the way I see things

      Community is great.  Friendships are valuable.  And I respect every reader out there.  I imagine I could have made this post more clear, but my brain is roiling with ideas.  This post--this series could go on and on if I let it.

        Instead of going any further with my thoughts, I will end my portion here today.  There is still one more installment to this series which essentially started with the concept of creating that exceptional post that goes viral with consequence and possibly big benefit to the blogger who created that post.  So next we will touch upon the concept of the viral blog post.

        On Friday I will have a very special guest interview with a blogger who did go viral in a very big way.  She has an interesting story to tell and some thoughts about viral blogging that may make you give the concept a bit more consideration.    Please be here on Friday for this very special blogger interview.

         Do you have any stats you'd like to share?   Have you determined why some of your posts have gotten very large numbers of page views without the comments to seemingly justify it?   Do you purposely add key words and phrases that you think will score high on search engines?   Do you keep track of things like Alexis Rankings, Klout, and other blog evaluation sites?    If you actively promote your posts other than commenting on other blogs, what methods do you think work best?

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  1. If I stopped commenting for a whole month, yes, my comments would drop. They'd still be over fifty though I bet.
    You found the key with a hot topic in your blog title. That's what draws people doing a search. Do they read though? Or do they hit your blog and within seconds resume your search? It would be nice to get them to read and return.
    Now, would the 5000+ extra people who visit me every time I mention Thor The Dark World please return on a regular basis? No comment necessary though - I'd never keep up!

  2. You posted a photo of a roller coaster - that was enough to get me to investigate!

    Cross-promoting on other social platforms can certainly draw more readers. It's the key words and blog title that will have the most impact, as Google and other search engines will place you higher in the rankings.

    Pageviews and hits are still flaky though. Both can be inaccurate. I've looked at my posts and seen a couple with more comments than pageviews, and that is just not possible. Hit counters are even more inaccurate, as they can reflect the number of times your site was pulled up in a search even without the person visiting your site. If someone is all about the hits, they need to dump the blog and start a website instead.

  3. Very interesting post. I noticed that my unusual posts I did last year received a lot of page views, yet my regular posts didn't. It's all in the content, and who you're marketing to.

  4. I try not worry about it. I know peeps are busy. I know I am. But I always try to leave a comment. Even if its to say Hugs and chocolate to you.


  5. You have put a lot of thought into this subject. I'm intrigued by the whole blog popularity topic, but ultimately what keeps me going are blog comments, not page per views. And I'm still in little blog status, so nothing earth shattering going on over in my corner of the blogosphere. I am sooo grateful for any comments I get!

  6. Alex -- As long as you continued to have posts with promos and references to other bloggers and were associated with blogfests you would undoubtedly stay over 50 comments. If you stepped back from blogfests and put up only posts that were singularly minded and focused on things that were on your mind I can almost guarantee you'd go below 50 comments. In your case you might take a little longer than a month because you now have established visitors who so habitually visit you. But if other bloggers felt they had no personal gain in commenting on your blog or that they would be receiving support or recognition from you then you'd start getting sad miss you or worried about you messages and then it would dwindle to nothing. I'm not suggesting that you do that, but it's the logical outcome of community blogging.

    Now on the other hand, if your content were so crucial, informative, or outrageous that visitors were compelled to keep coming and you started receiving recognition from national news sources, then your pageviews would soar sky high. Comments would also probably be high even though you ignored the commenters just because people would want to be part of the dialogue and the "movement" of your celebrity status. It would no longer be community as we now know it, but the faceless community of mass media.

    That's my opinion, but it seems so logical that I think it would be difficult to dispute.


  7. I don't keep track of my stats. Though I don't do any analyzing i do occasionally (lie every 6 months) look at my stats and to see what people have been looking at. I look at what has been searched for too.

    I'm a poor marketer. There I said it. I don;t actively promote my posts (or use key words).

    When I cut down on my commenting, my comments dropped, but Alex won't share his cloning machine so I had to cut back. ;)

  8. Forgot to mention that page view are important. They help your placement on search engines and if you use ads or want a publisher. They like to see those numbers.

  9. L.Diane -- The roller coaster was placed there with you in mind. The blog has become the website for many. There may be the occasional count anomalies which I think can still be explained--though the comments outnumber views has to be some kind of glitch.

    Miranda -- I agree with you. Now I have to figure out the content that works best for me. I'll probably keep going with the things that are blitzing my mind because that's what makes blogging most interesting to me. Maybe readers will be interested, maybe not.

    Shelly -- I'm always happy to get hugs and chocolate. Thanks!

    Kim -- I too think that comments are the most reliable indicator of what's happening with the audience. Page views tell a different story. Now I'm trying to figure how to make them come together better. My most recent posts tell me a good bit. Drop in page views with a higher ratio of comments, but not an overwhelming number of comments, with the added value that the comments I did receive were often very detailed and deep showed me that those readers were far more invested in my topic than the reader who merely passes by leaving an acknowledgement. But I like to see every visitor leave some kind of comment.


  10. Southpaw -- Thank you for mentioning that very important second point. Most of don't think about it, but it's a good thing to have just in case. I usually don't consciously think of stats, rankings, key words, or any of that technical internet stuff because I'm too busy with other stuff and the internet stuff befuddles me. Sometimes I just like to crack open the door to see if more than a ray of knowledge will come and I will suddenly "get it". I still trying to understand some of the mysteries of blogging, internet marketing, and human behavior. I may never get it.


  11. "I may never get it." Me either!

  12. Do pageviews matter? Probably not, but it sure is interesting to see what resonates with your audience.

    Traffic to my blog always goes down in December - anyone else notice that too?

  13. If I visit a blog, I leave a comment. I too have noticed on my crochet blog...get this....786 views and 0 comments!! Lol! for free patterns. I, if I enjoy a free pattern from someone on a blog or FB page, I leave a thank you comment. But this is me. I would find it rude to just take and not thank. Sandy

  14. So glad I didn't have a mouth full of coffee when I read your opening! Busting a gut over here!

    I love the community most of all, and getting comments on my work makes me smile, even when I'm having the worst day of my life...which thankfully hardly ever happens at all, so you can imagine how giddy they make me feel on regular days.

    However, blogging is also an avenue of presentation. We never know who might be reading our work, so we should try to keep it a little bit professional, right? It's also a way to test theories and new ideas in writing. I did this yesterday with my calendar far, so good. The comments have been so much fun to read on this post.

    Perhaps I should have saved some of these thoughts for today's post; I was just about to hit the post button, when I saw your title in my stream - couldn't resist opening and reading on the spot. Wonderful post as usual, Lee, informative and fun!

    M. J.

  15. I don't usually pay much attention to my pageviews, except maybe on the days where I make new posts just to see if people are looking at it. I don't get that much traffic (I'm also a terrible promoter) so I'm always more interested in the comments. It's always exciting when one pops up.

  16. Tami - My traffic goes down in December probably due to holiday business and likewise in the summer. The stats matter if you are using them for informational purposes to alter blogging goals and habits. For social community blogging the pageviews don't mean much.

    Sandy -- A thank you at least seems in order if you've gotten something free. For me, if I've taken my time to visit a blog, leaving a comment seems like the right thing to do.

    MJ -- I'm glad you saw the humor here. I think mostly I come across as a bit too dry and serious and readers miss when I'm intending to be funny. And I agree with your points. I don't want to alienate my regular readers, but if someone else is checking me out then I want to pique their interest. We never know who's listening.

    Sarah-- If we aren't blogging for the comments it's kind of like talking to ourselves.


  17. I like looking at the countries which access my blog and which google.coms are pushing viewers my way. It's interesting and something to keep in mind for marketing. I don't obsess, I'm not a numbers person.

    I also use key words, and SEO as I used those at the corporate job I had. On a subject search of the title, I'm number one or three (depending on the day)on the first page. This is on a post I posted Oct 2012 which is still pulling in lots of pageviews.

    I'm enjoying your series, Lee. I think we need to be aware of the stats, and how we can optimize.

  18. This was a great post, Arlee. Get ready for an earful!

    First off, you're better off not knowing who Amanda Bynes is. At the current moment she's a waste of human skin. Second, as we discussed with Alex before, hits can be misleading. As you said, blogging is marketing. We got a boatload of hits on that Amanda Bynes post but did it increase our book sales? Not in the slightest. So it was empty calories. Nothing more than a bragging right, and frankly, if I'm bragging, I'd rather it either be about a post that truly matters or if it means I can say "Yeah, and it doubled my book sales!"

    I feel like we need t-shirts that say, "I got 180,000 hits on one post and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

    Our hits fluctuate wildly, but what doesn't fluctuate are our book sales. We've been putting out books since 2011, and they've been consistently selling about the same number with each release. They're all doing very well, enough that we want to keep writing and selling more. So whether we get 300 individual hits on a post or we get 3,000, I'm just happy to know that the people who read our blog support us and are actual readers, not just empty calories.

    Oh, and when Denise Covey said that she gets frustrated when she sees that a post has 700 pageviews but only 50 comments, I have to disagree with that. To us that's not frustrating at all. What that means to us is that MORE than just bloggers are reading our posts. I mean, in the grand scheme of things you DO want to hit a bigger market than just the blogger circle, right? Let's not kid ourselves; the blogging community is but a drop in the bucket of the Internet population as a whole.

    To us, what's more important is return traffic. If those same 700 people keep coming back over and over and over, then does it matter if they comment? I don't think it does.

    We had a book signing last week. A very nice woman from a town 100 miles away drove down to see us and buy our new book, and she told us that she's been a loyal follower of the blog for years. She is not a blogger; she's never blogged in her life. She merely found us through a Google search, and loves our posts so much that she reads them every time they update. To me, that's not only amazing, that's highly flattering. She reads us without expecting a single thing in return (you know, that whole I comment on you, you comment on me BS). So to me, it can be kind of frustrating not knowing what the nameless/faceless non-blogging reader thinks, but if they keep coming back each time, you have to assume it's something positive.

    Ultimately, comments are nice. They're often complimentary, and they start great conversations, and we've made a lot of wonderful blogging friends that way. But if you're only trying to sell yourself and your blog to your friends, then you're missing the whole point of Internet marketing.

  19. Lee to be honest I have never given thought to how many visits I get and how many actually comment. I blog because I enjoy it and if someone reads and comments then I'm over the moon, If someone visits but don't comment then that's up to that person. I'm happy what I'm doing.


  20. Came back to check. Yes, my comments would drop well below the 150 average, but there would still be a lot because of the way I blog. I've become the news and I usually ask questions at the end - and people respond. I wouldn't ever quit though, because posting when one can't comment would be rude.
    And agree with Brandon and Bryan. We want to attract a wider audience. I had to go back and check my daily pageviews (it's been a while since I looked) and I average 900 a day. So obviously a lot of non-bloggers and people who don't comment are reading. They could be coming for the news, for the movie stuff, for me as an author - who knows? They are visiting though and that's cool.

  21. BOIDMAN ~
    Your analysis above seems very much on target to me.

    I have been reading this 'Respect' series even though the topic is not personally of tremendous interest. After doing this bloggin' bit for years now, I have come to the unshakeable conclusion that due to the nature of my personality and the subject matters I primarily focus on, I and my blog will always appeal to only a very limited number of readers. I'm doomed to be a small fish in a small pond, cult classic-ette type of blogger, and I don't think ANYTHING I do (short of ceasing to be the authentic "me") could change that.

    And that's the reason this topic is not of tremendous interest to me.

    However, I just conducted a little research into my own numbers and here's what I found:

    I tallied up all of my comments and page views for my most recent 24 posts. I did not include the currently front-and-center post ("The Jacques Cousteau Underwater Misadventure Theatre") because it only went up yesterday and most of my few regular readers still haven't found it yet, so it won't max out on its full potential for a few more days.

    But my other 24 most recent posts totaled 500 comments and 3,440 page views (my own visits to my posts are not counted by the system, so those are legitimate page views from non-me visitors).

    Divided by 24, I get an average of 20.83 comments per blog bit and 143.33 page views. However, since I usually respond to everyone who leaves a comment on my posts, we need to cut the comment average in half, down to probably 10.5. And that number strikes me as being very accurate, in line with my impression.

    But again, I sometimes generate ongoing discussions in the comment sections, so even that 10.5 number does not mean 10 DIFFERENT people are commenting, as some of the first commenters return to pick up the conversation with me. So, my guess is that I really only get about 5 to 8 different commenters per post.

    I noticed that I had one blog bit in particular that scored a pretty impressive number of page views on my 'Stuffs' blog shortly before I closed that blog down.

    It was titled "Film Noir: My Top Ten + Two" and I posted it on Feb. 27, 2012. From that date to this date, it has accumulated 11,400 page views. And yet it has only 6 comments (excluding my own).

    What this tells me is that people who are into Film Noir are REALLY into it, and they are willing to read just about anyone's opinions on the subject, even if he (me) is not a recognized authority on Film Noir.

    Just the keywords "Film Noir" attracted readers to my blog, and yet, even though I feel it was a well put together and entertaining post, it still did not acquire more than my average number of comments. And not one of the 6 commenters was a person unknown to me beforehand, finding my post from "somewhere out there". Go figure.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  22. Hi Arlee,
    Your brought out an important issue here, Of course PV matters a lot.
    Though in some cases the comment rate is low the PV level is in a high position, i am sure it matters a lot.
    Thanks for opening up a discussion.
    Keep inform.
    Best Regards

  23. DG -- I used to look more often at the countries and sources, but not as much anymore. Also, I don't actually obsess on numbers as much as it might appear here recently. Curiosity just got the best of me recently. I do try to use words and topics that might help search ranking, but don't think too much about that either. I'm glad you're enjoying the topic. I'm doing a lot of "thinking out loud" sort of stuff and I was afraid I might lose too many readers over it, but it is heartening to see how many are interested and have taken time to leave substantive comments.


  24. Beer -- I still lean more in the direction that hits can be misleading if taken the wrong way, but they can also be very helpful indicators if looked at in total context. I wouldn't necessarily call your Amanda hits "empty calories". Their more like the mashed potatoes and dessert in a well rounded meal. They help fill you up and compliment the nutritional value of the comments you receive.

    Like you point out later, you don't know who those comments are coming from and how they will turn up later. Better to be viewed once by someone than never. And as Southpaw mentioned, the numbers affect how certain analyzers view a post and a blog. The numbers can make a difference in ways we ourselves might not be measuring. In my case, mostly because I don't understand these stats in the first place, but numbers logically seem like they are positive for marketing and measurement purposes.

    I would never want to sacrifice comments or relationships, but you make the best point when you say, " if you're only trying to sell yourself and your blog to your friends, then you're missing the whole point of Internet marketing". That's the point I've been pushing.

    Thanks for the great feedback.


  25. Okay, Arlee, you have peaked my interest in stats. I average about 150 pageviews daily.

    So, I looked up my top posts Weekly, Monthly and All-Time. Very interesting.

    The Revolutionary War Began On Less Than 2% (Tax) 10/20/13
    Back to the Beginning by M. Gerrick 10/22/13
    HERE'S TO YOU...again 10/18/13

    What does this tell me? 1) I was talking about political stuff in the first post. The government shuttdown, the debt ceiling, and the ACA. Yep. Probably got some taps from govt. watchdogs. May have gotten some taps from googling. And a decent percentage of my regular readers won't comment on a political post. 2) Fairly typical for A HERE'S TO YOU post. 3)Back To The Beginning was my first guest author post. Not all of my readers are writers. Ergo no comment. 4) HERE'S TO YOU...again didn't fair all that well because it was back-to-back with the first one... 5) BATTLE OF THE BANDS VI. Well, it is not proving to be a reader favorite. However, I LOVE IT.

    Let's skip to All-Time:
    Reporting Again From Las Vegas 9/23/23
    People's Choice Awards Breakdown 1/6/11

    Okay, let's figure this out via your system. 1) That post has Marshall Mathers aka Eminem in the tag line. I used to get a FLOOD of people googling him that led to this post. Hence, the huge number of PVs, few comments. 2) I really can't explain this one. People googling Las Vegas???? 3) I imagine this one gets more hits after every PCA show. And it probably also has Marshall Mathers/Eminem in the tags. So, it's a toss-up. 4) Another Marshall Mathers/Eminem post. 5) TAKE ME TO THE CARWASH was a post about the now-defunct show Ally McBeal. I did mention that season opener when she had sex in the car wash. I think this post has such a high number of hits because people actually google things like "sex in the car wash." Gah.

    So, if I want an intense number of pageviews I need to start writing more posts about Marshall Mathers again. You know he has a new album coming out in November? It'll be "mayhem til the A.M."

    Another interesting sidenote, I was getting a non-proportionate number of views from Russia. As far as I know I don't have any regular readers in Russia, but I get TONS of PVs from there. What do you think that means? For a LONG TIME, my Russia PVs doubled my US ones. I think it's odd.

  26. Yvonne-- And if you're happy with what you are doing then that's what you should keep doing. I'm happy with my blogging, but I'm also thinking about further potential if it is there. I think there is more for me.

    Alex-- What you are doing definitely attracts and keeps the audience. I was just saying that if you stopped in the way I set the parameters in my first response, your hits and comments would drop in a huge way. But you're so entrenched with everything you're doing there would be no point in giving it up unless you wanted to give up blogging or see if I'm right (which I'm sure I am) and you don't want to be doing that nutty experiment. I'll do the experimentation for you.


  27. Point #1: You are correct that pageviews go up as comments on other's blogs increase. Pictures bump up the traffic, too.

    Point#2 Well more than 50% of visiting sites are from spam outfits like vampirestats and their low-life cronies. However, I will say that spam comments have went down once I set up moderation.

  28. StMc-- These long comments today were kind of unexpected for this post--I actually wasn't sure that I'd generate many comments at all with this content. The long comments are good from the standpoint that it means I need to respond individually to many of them thereby inflating my comments for the post. It looks good on the stat page.

    There are a lot of similarities between your blog and mine, not so much in content, but in results achieved and stats--at least stats before the ones cited in this post. Your comment discussions are much bigger and ongoing than mine, but I still get them and this is something I don't see on most blogs. To me it represents investment by the reader instead of fly-by obligatory commenting. I know it's what you prefer and what I like as well. That's why I like to go for topics that are conducive for debate and conversation.

    I still am convinced that you have a lot more potential for audience reach than you ascribe to your abilities. Your personality may be off putting to many in the blogging community that I have fallen into and connected you with, but I think your subject matter has more potential for wider readership if only it would get picked up by the right media sources. You've got the stuff, but not the proper outreach. I'm hoping you'll find it.

    Thanks for great data and commentary.


  29. I'm going to sit on the side of the table that leans toward comments are more important than page views.

    I know one of my biggest concerns is I am a *crap* return commenter and I feel I've lost a lot of goodwill over the last year.

    Very interesting post, by the way - and thanks for showing us your research :)

  30. Phil -- It's a topic worth discussing, but not of interest to a lot of bloggers. Thanks for visiting and letting your presence be known.


  31. The posts I have that have really taken off are easy to understand. They have mass appeal. (Things like the 25 reasons ... post.) They're the type of posts that get linked a lot of places and shared multiple times on Facebook.

    Those aren't my favorite posts, though. I care more about my book reviews, and while they get fewer views initially, they seem to gain me more regular readers that enjoy the same type of things I do.

    The most illuminating thing about this post for me was seeing your views, Lee. I thought they'd be much higher based on your subscriber number.

    I don't get a ton of comments, but I don't mind. As far as which I care abut most, views or comments, my answer is neither. I care most about links. If another writer enjoys my piece enough to link to it, that makes me quite happy, and it always translates into more views, and ultimately more readers.

  32. Robin- I was tempted to email you since you do the BOTB posts to see if your results are lower like mine. I agree--I love those post and I'm in for those for the long haul for now at least.

    Thanks for the great data feed. I think you've made a very good extrapolation of what has happened in each of these cases. I do think a lot of people Google things like Las Vegas. I often do when I'm going to travel somewhere and I might hit the first 10 or so pages looking for info. There are also possibly a lot of PR people and other such parties getting notified when something goes up on the internet in their field of interest.

    I tried an experiment on my blog A Faraway View to see if using the word "sex" increased my page views at all. It did not. But I can see where the specificity of your phrase might generate some interest. Maybe because of people looking for info about that show episode?

    As far as the visitors from Russia? Maybe they are spammers? Someone trying to hack your site? I'm always suspicious of the views coming from Russia.

    Thanks for indulging my interest!


  33. CW -- Yes, I have seen the presence of VampireStats and I wish someone would drive a stake through their blogging heart. Oddly enough though I recently removed some of the moderation on my site and the spam hits went down. I was sure that I would get inundated.

    Mark -- I can't imagine that any sensible blogger would argue that comments aren't more valuable. At least they provide us with more precise information about who has visited our site. Like you, maybe even more so than you, I have become a crap commenter. Partly because I get involved in weird blogging missions like this post and the ones that accompany it and also because I've had to start doing other things besides social networking. Life happens.

    Kelly-- I can see what you're saying. A common bit of advice is that if you want a post that gets a lot of attention then do a list. Book reviews are much more specialized but I can see how they would build a readership loyalty. As far as the stats shown here, this was my point: The more focus on minutiae and topics of limited interest, the less visits I received. Normally my views are much higher than most of these. I was mostly fascinated here to see how as my series progressed the comment to view ratio increased--something I see to be a positive.


  34. I pay almost no attention to my blog stats. Probably I should do some analysis and find out what works best.

  35. Stats are indicators that can be interpreted in different ways. They are helpful, but what sells is content: are you offering something a lot of people want to know? Is the content offering something new for your readers? People are looking for information. Provide valuable information, especially new info, and the stats will take care of themselves.

  36. There's also a difference between site views and specific post views, and that's important to recognize. For instance, StrangePegs had about 150 views yesterday but yesterday's post has only about 30 specific views (and some of those are from today). That tells you a lot about how people are getting to your blog. The specific page views are from people with some sort of subscription who clicking on a link to that page. Also, there are people that read posts in emails or through a reader and have no intention of commenting so never click through to the actual post. But the numbers are important because they tell you about trends. Trends are more important than the specific numbers for any given day or post.

  37. Susan GK-- I don't look at my stats too often and usually only think about them when I see something strangely out of the ordinary.

    Richard --I think you're correct. Content is surely something especially important to keep new visitors returning.

    Andrew--True. And there are many ways to read stats. Depends on what you want to know. I typically don't want to know much.


  38. I think topic has a lot to do with views and the title. It can get me to click on a blog not in my feed.

    I want to be seen. If I get a lot of views but few comments, that's OK. Unless it's spammers.

    I'm out here to be seen.

  39. I don't have to slow down for a month to see an impact on my blog. All I have to do is slow down for a couple of days and bam, I get a marked decrease in comments, but not necessarily in pageviews. I do think pageviews matter. There's a bunch of people who are interested in the content, but may not want to spend the time thinking up an interesting comment. I think there are two aspects to blogging--the community (the commenters) and the rest of the world. Both matter to me.

  40. Mary--From reading some of your recent posts I can see your good marketing sense. Content is very important on the blog, but if no one is looking then the content is kind of wasted.

    Lynda -- You and me both. I think most of us have to stay somewhat on top of visiting around to keep comments coming to our own blogs. Your statement about the two worlds expresses what I've been trying to convey. We need to try to cater a bit to both.


  41. I'm not too sure just how much credibility I associate blog views with to be honest with you Lee, sure they're important but at the end of the day I think the comments are most important, the more the better because it shows generally a reader wants to interact with you, the best comments are the ones from people who you know have read as well because then your written words are being read and that means more than page views can. Interesting thought though, personally if I was you I wouldn't worry about the decline, it's probably just temporary and most certainly is no reflection on your quality of writing, that's for sure.

  42. I know my visitor stats are skewed, there's a singer from NY. Yolanda Renee and I think most of my hits are from folks looking for her.

    When my web page was active it was crazy! But blogger gives the individual blog stats too - still I don't know how accurate those are because I've had more comments than visitors once or twice, and folks need to make sure they don't count their own views! LOL

  43. It was great reading your analysis of your own stats and what you said made sense to me. I do find page views interesting and I look at the stats for my own blog regularly. I see the number of page views and where they are coming from. I also try to figure them out- because of course we want to replicate whatever we did to get lots of page views and comments.

    Looking forward to Friday!

  44. I wonder if search results isn't the factor here. If you have a term that happens to be highly-searched at the time the blog is posted, wouldn't it make sense that the blog would get more clicks but less comments? Since the curious readers wouldn't have a reason to comment, necessarily, since they're just stopping by to read about the topic.

  45. This is certainly a subject people are interested in even if most say they don't care. As it happens I am the perfect example of a blogger who is not so good at leaving comments on other blogs, I do have about four maybe five I follow closely and always comment on their posts and maybe another four or five I comment on but erratically. Mainly because I like their blogs but not all the subject matter is of interest to me (such as your own) then the others I follow I sometimes comment but it is very very rare although I do stop by and have a read from time to time.

    So I am not really very interactive so lucky to get more than single figure comments even at the best of times. At present my blog gets about 100 to 250 pageviews a day but I reckon at least half of that is junk web crawlers even though I have the anon comments turned off. As it happens I noticed a fall in pageviews within days of turning off the anon comments. I also make sure I do not count my own page views. When I first started blogging I though I was doing OK until I realised I was most of my own pageviews

    I am working on ways to increase views but as I said previously I really only have so much time and while I blog every day commenting on a lot of blogs is hard, and I would rather not just stick bland unrelated comments on blogs just for the sake of generating traffic to my own blog, I would feel like I one of those annoying anon robots.

  46. Since your post regarding respect and bloggers I try not to obsess over the page view count, but try to concentrate on delivering worthy content and interacting with the folks.

    Nevertheless, I did notice that my latest blog post received more comments than usual and I was very excited about that. I know eight comments (including two of mine I believe) is a small number for many but heck, it was like a landslide for me! Lol! I'm pretty sure it occurred because I've been reading and commenting on other blogs more often and I posted about it Facebook.

  47. Yeamie-- I'm not concerned about the decline in regard to my series since I understand why it happened and it makes sense. I am somewhat surprised about the increase in activity in this post as I thought it would be the one of least interest since it dealt with numbers. More views and an increase in comments most which are rather outstanding. I guess more people are interested in numbers than I had thought.

    Yolanda -- Confusion can draw unexpected visitors. I'm sure if my URL or blog title contained my real name I would see false hits since I share my real name with so many others and many of those might be searched with some frequency.

    Jess -- Stats are a science that can be of great use for those who understand what they mean. I wish I knew more.

    Stephanie -- I'm sure that search results can have a big impact.

    Rob -- Sometimes I find that leaving comments is the most interesting and creative part of blogging, though it can be very time consuming.

    Clarissa -- Commenting on other blogs has the biggest effect though I can see that your Facebook promo drew my friend magician/entertainer Chuck Windley to leave a comment. I was very surprised to see his comment on your site. I know he is on Facebook a lot.


  48. You certainly have done your homework! Interesting points about search engines too. Looking forward to what your guest has to say tomorrow.


  49. Arlee, very interesting post. I definitely see my numbers drop if I get behind in my blog reading. I notice they pick up when I get caught up. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your stats.

  50. Julie -- Please do be here for my Friday post. My rambling goes on a lot but the best words come from the voice of experience.

    Susanne -- And with social blogging we never seem to get very caught up do we.


  51. Fascinating post Lee! I try not to focus on pageviews and other metrics too much as it can be discouraging. But I like how you analyzed your numbers and discovered the reasons behind the spikes. If commenting drops, my visits do drop as well. Everyone likes their back scratched, too. So the big question is, which is more productive, commenting on other blogs or using that time to make a very shareable post? Off to see your viral blogger interview!


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