Are you strategic about your blog stats?

Blog stats. So fun and fascinating, so arbitrary and superficial a way to measure ourselves! I can’t be the only one that enjoys looking at my blog stats, either through Google Analytics, WordPress, or even just checking the number of followers on Bloglovin’ or Feedly. I’m slightly ashamed of it too, though, as if it’s terribly gauche! It’s not something that people talk about a lot. I thought it would be interesting to lay it all bare and see how we are all interacting with the ability to find out just how many people read what, and when!

Since switching from Tumblr to WordPress less than a month ago, I’ve certainly become (temporarily) more stat-focused. I went from having maybe 800+ followers to having zero, and then slowly back up to perhaps 200 now. It’s been particularly fascinating and heartwarming to see the increase in traffic from all the friends who have been kind enough to mention my new blog location on their blog. (Remember Tumblr was blocking Bloglovin’, so there was no way to tell the majority of my followers that I’d moved! Guess what? That business is all settled!) The other completely awesome part about it all is that you lovely people have been leaving as many comments as ever, which really means that all those extra followers weren’t really that into it anyway! I feel lucky to such great internet friends. Thank you!

And yet… isn’t there always the drive to expand? There are lots of ways to do that – participate in blog challenges, guest post, share aggressively on social media – but the one that fascinates me most is using feedback from my current blog stats/analytics to inform what I do next! But is that horrible and wrong? Or is it something lots of people secretly do, at least a little? I thought I’d lay out my thinking, and then hope to hear about yours!

*I’m going to share my exact stats from WordPress here – I don’t mean it to be either boasting or pity-enducing, just a way to start discussion!*

First up: Number of visitors!

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WordPress really seems to focus on views (aka. number of posts/pages opened), but Google Analytics pays more attention to visitors. Either way, it’s the most basic way to see if people are reading and if a particular day’s post was popular. I don’t post on a particular schedule, but I assume these stats could be investigated to see if posts are more popular when posted on, say, a weekend or weekday.

Next, Top Posts and Pages:

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This one is interesting because it lets you see which recent posts are popular, but also which older ones are still getting traffic. For example, I haven’t posted about colour palettes for a year, but I get hits on those posts daily. Strategically speaking, that tells me that coming up with some similar posts would be good. (And not just selfishly good for me and my blog stats – good in that it’s something people want to read about!)

What did people click on? 

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I don’t remember seeing anything like this on Google Analytics… anyone else? The “clicks” show what links in my posts people clicked through to see. I like looking at this section just because it’s feel good and democratic to know that I’m feeding traffic to other people in the same way that they are feeding traffic to me!

Referrers: Who is sending traffic my way?
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I find this one really fascinating. Most of the time I know why someone might have linked from another blog to me (i.e. Threedresses and Creatinginthegap and I just did the Blog Hop together). Other times though, it’s a total mystery! I seem to get consistent traffic from Stitchesandseams and Von-mema both of whom have a “recently read” blog roll in the side bar of their blogs that includes, among many other, me. I can only guess that some people don’t use a blog reader but instead go to those blogs and click through the links? Any one get traffic like this? What’s your theory? (And if you are reading, Stitchesandseams and Von-Mema, thanks for the traffic!🙂

Another oddity of this section is that the same blog gets listed with different national addresses, like .com, .ca, .co.uk, etc. I wonder why that happens?

One nice aspect of this type of stat is that is can be a clue someone must have mentioned you – so you can go and say thanks and carry on the conversation!

Finally, Search Terms: 

search terms_Snapseed

People occasionally mention the hilarious search terms people had used, so I know at least some people are looking at this section! I rarely get any search terms – not sure what that means, besides the fact that clearly no one is googling me? Roisin from Dolly Clackett seems to get the BEST absurd search terms… but then again, maybe I’m happy not being googled in bizarre ways?

So how could someone be strategic about stats? 

Well, here are a few ways that pop into mind…

  • post more posts on topics that have been popular in the past
  • continue regular post series/topics if they seem to be well-liked (ie. pattern reviews, roundups, interviews, etc)
  • post at times of day or days of the week that seem to be most popular
  • go back and update popular older posts, like Tilly recently did with her bow-belt tutorial

All of those seem like positive uses of the information from stats. As a teacher, you ALWAYS base what comes next on the feedback from what you’ve already done. Only a very lazy teacher teaches the same thing every year, regardless of what is needed or who they are teaching! As a blogger, nobody is forced to read my posts so maybe I don’t *have* to respond to their feedback… but if you and I have good discussions around certain topics, wouldn’t it make sense to explore them some more?

Now, if I was running a business, I’d have to be more strategic… and frankly, surely a business would be unwise not to think strategically. This is where I think the grey area starts for those of us who are in it just for pleasure. Shouldn’t we just enjoy the luxury of getting to post whatever we want? But then again, maybe you are just starting out, or really want blogging to become a bigger part of your life for whatever reason – then being strategic is the clever way to go about it!

For example:

  • reach out to more popular bloggers for some kind of crossover
  • get involved in pattern testing (Don’t get me wrong – people pattern test for the love of it, but if you want more readers, it can be helpful as way to gain new audiences.)
  • sew popular patterns ASAP when they are released!
  • post like mad on every social media community in sight
  • Here’s one that drives me a bit nuts: Make your post only show a teaser in blog readers so that people have to click through to decide if they want to read it! (Because as I understand it, reading something in a blog reader doesn’t count as a click or visit. Am I right?) I’m sure there are other reasons for doing this teaser thing, but I do find it annoying…

(Interestingly, my list didn’t really end up being about using your current stats, but behaviours aimed at getting more visitors to improve your future stats… ) 

In truth, I think the best way to have a more popular blog is to write from the heart about what you love, take good pics and join in communities. Do what you love and life will follow, right? But I also don’t think there is anything wrong with thinking strategically, the way you would in your career or when resolving a problem, as long as it doesn’t take you away from what you love.

There have been some interesting posts lately touching on related subjects lately. Already Pretty wrote about feeling pressure to conform to her readers expectations, and Lauren Dahl wrote about making hard choices between blogging, business, and life. From a different perspective, Love Lola wrote about maximizing searches and making sure your blog gets found.

How do you feel about being so easily able to track your blogs statistics? Is it good, bad, or neutral? How often do you check in on your stats, and does it in any way inform your blogging? And… be polite but honest… would it change how you feel about a blogger if you knew they were being strategic in the same way we’d expect an indie designer or fabric store to be? (ps. People involved with the business of sewing, am I right in assume you are strategic? Correct me if I’m wrong!😉


79 thoughts on “Are you strategic about your blog stats?

  1. I did read somewhere that Google does something so if you aren’t using them (I guess google analytics) more & more you won’t be be able to see what people are googling to find you. Which makes sense I guess.
    I look at my stats sometimes. They are fascinating at first! However I’m not strategic. My sewing & writing is driven by an urge to make things that interest me, try new things & experiment with new shapes. Otherwise I cease to enjoy it – or it feels like ‘work’.
    I do think indie designers, stores, online businesses need to be strategic, particularly as start-ups. There is such an array of products, patterns etc out there – so much more than when I started less than 3 years ago. It must be a tough business to be heard.

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    1. Wow, that seems rather devious of Google, but as you say, not so surprising once I think about it!
      I really can’t imagine what it’s like as an indie designer or store – how do they measure success, and how often do they make enough to live on? I feel lucky to have a stable job that lets me sew in my free time!🙂

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  2. Interesting post. I do look at my Google analytics stats occasionally, but I’m not really sure what they’re telling me to be honest. I need to learn a bit more about them. Other than that I really only look at how many followers I have on Bloglovin’. I need to pay a bit more attention to which posts/subjects etc are more popular.

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    1. I don’t think you *have* to do anything – but it is fun to know your options! I like digging around stats a little bit… but I think numbers are dissapointing as often as they are encouraging, so I try not to put too much value on them!

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  3. very interesting. in particular how Lauren and already pretty felt about their blogging. they both sounded to fed up and weary of it and it sounded like it wasn’t fun any more. i sew for fun and i blog for fun and to share and be part of the community. if it becomes such a chore, or i start changing what i make to make it more blogworthy, i will stop. i love to get new followers – who doesn’t? and every one i get completely makes my day and i do a mini happy dance. but if their experience is what being strategic would mean, i’m glad i don’t bother. i think i’ll just keep making what i make and blogging about it when i have time and not worry about the rest!

    businesses have to be strategic and they should be – it’s their job. i really dislike it (and normally unfollow or skip over the posts) when bloggers start doing series or posting every day. it might be the norm for say fashion bloggers, but in crafting, i don’t want to read something every day – i want to know when you have something worth sharing!

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    1. Agreed with all points here. I enjoy getting new followers but I don’t make it my priority…I post when I have something to share and if it isn’t for a few months…then so be it! I’d actually be nervous to have a lot of followers and feel expected to continually post interesting things. It would start to feel like work and not fill the fun, creative gap that it currently fills. Before initiating analytics, I didn’t think people actually came to my site. And seeing that people actually come to my site was very refreshing and confirmed that the work it takes to keep a blog is totally worth it!!

      Oh and I think it’s fairly obvious when bloggers are strategic about posts…if it’s interesting material I have no problem reading the posts. But when it becomes obvious the posts are just to increase analytics and don’t offer any value, I skip them and often start to skip other posts as well.

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    2. Yeah, those posts don’t make strategic blogging sound very fun or rewarding! It’s like working out or dieting purely for weight loss – whenever the numbers don’t improve, it’s suddenly crushing and demotivating! I feel quite lucy that there’s no pressure on us as average bloggers to do anything other than what we want!🙂

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  4. Very thought-provoking post! Since my blog is purely a hobby, and I have absolutely no desire or intention to turn it into anything more than that, I’m not strategic about what or when I post. I’m 100% sure my stats and readership suffer as a result, but I accept that as a natural consequence of the level of effort I’m putting in.

    Interestingly, I find that it takes a lot of time and effort to maintain a hobby blog, so I can’t even imagine how much work people are putting into their more professional and popular blogs! I admire these bloggers so much because the dedication they must have is staggering. I know I could never find that much time in my schedule to devote to blogging.

    I do check my stats regularly though, just out of my own morbid curiosity. 🙂 Everyone wants their blog to be successful, whatever that means for your own personal situation. As you mentioned though, I think the most telling sign that your blog is doing well is getting regular comments from the same group of readers. If you’ve built a community, regardless of its size, I’d say that’s a success!

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    1. It’s interesting that you say your stats might suffer from your lack of strategy… but on the flip side, everyone seems to agree that we unfollow blogs that seem too strategic! Guess that once there’s a whiff of desperation, we’re all off. Maybe (probably!) it’s best to just do your thing and build community slowly!
      You are so right that blogging is time consuming… I’m quite a fast writer, but I still spend hours a week on it. (Yikes! That is rather appalling. WHat am I doing with my life? Oh yeah. Making friends. OK.)

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  5. I actually was thinking about why I write yesterday (got tagged in the blog hop, so that post will be going up on Monday), and because of the nature of my blog, I never really paid much attention to the stats. Sometimes I see in passing that a recent post seems to be getting a lot of views, but I mostly just notice how many comments I do or don’t get, lol. But then, I’m not trying to make a business out of this, and my “strategy” for posting is basically “hey, I finished something, let’s write about it!”

    I did look at my top search keywords out of curiosity after reading this, though. Two of the top 3 seem to be Russian spambots, since they end with a .ru. Huh? But at least I know I’m justified in continuing to moderate all comments before they go live, I guess.

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    1. Oh man, speaking of comments… I learned my lesson on my last post (wrap dress tips). I didn’t end with a questions and hardly got any comments. For the sake of science I wish i could have a do-over and repost it with better discussion prompts! (Then again, it could have just been boring/confusing/useless, so who knows!😉
      I love your blog, for what it’s worth – seems to capture who you are and what you enjoy so well!

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  6. Thanks for another interesting post and comments. I like looking at my wordpress stats ( don’t know about google analytics). Its interesting but wouldn’t influence my sewing or my blog as I sew what I love to and write and photograph to be part of the sewing community. Like all what I really like is people interested enough to leave comments.

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  7. I think it might depend on what drives you to blog.

    I can see why people who are leveraging their blog to start a business or support their business have to be strategic. Given my profession where I’m generally advising manufacturers and retailers of consumer goods how to reach their consumer, I’d hope they are strategic rather than throwing darts on a map and hoping for the best. But me? Not really. I look at them, I find it interesting the posts that still get traffic, but it’s not going to make words appear in my head that I want to write. I feel like blog posts bubble up, forming in my head and spilling out. It’s much less planned than I gather others are.

    I am one of those people who doesn’t use a blog reader, I use the scroll to the side of my blog. I guess it’s because I first came across Gertie’s blog and I had no idea this whole world was here. So I started reading people in her blog feed and that became my habit.

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    1. I feel the same! I’m interested in writing more about colour palettes, but I don’t have a great idea yet, and I don’t want to write just to write! Bad posts impress no one.
      Have you ever tried a blog reader? i really love Feedly!

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  8. I don’t pay as much attention as you’d think. I try to just check in once a month or so; more than that starts to make the stats more important than they are. I just want to make good content that I like; I think it’s easy to get caught up in what other people want.

    That said you brought up a few things here I never even considered, like timing of posts. I didn’t even know that was a thing!

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    1. I feel like the timing of posts would only be important if you are trying to make your stats look appealing to advertisers… like, “look, I get this many hits in a day!” Otherwise, people will read it that day or the next and who cares?
      I’ve always been so fascinated by the strategy of business and selling… but as a third-generation teacher, I have no idea how to make money! Whatever you are doing on the blog is totally working for you – what a year you’ve had!

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  9. I read on the blog reader, so your stats don’t pick up my reads. There are probably a lot of people like me, so your readership is higher than you think. But I have had bloggers switch over to the teasers and I just delete them from my feed because its so annoying.

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  10. I like looking at my stats, though I don’t look at all the details often. I see overall blog traffic regularly because that show up automatically when logging in to write. Bloglovin’ auto feature telling you about new followers also keeps that number on the top of my mind. The other stuff I check occasionally for fun. Can verify that I get an insane amount of traffic from Stitches and Seams, some times more than google. So certain people must use that as their “blog reader?” I’ve wondered myself.

    I’m kind of pig headed when it comes to outside things dictating writing content. Mostly I write what ever I damn well please.😉 I have found that several fitting/drafting tutorials I made last year came in handy recently. Several people asked me questions on how to do something and I was able to direct them to the post. That did make me think about what other tutorials would be handy in the future.

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  11. I love this topic! I used to be super obsessed with stats when I was writing a hockey blog (not that it was ever that popular, but still it was fun). But now I don’t pay too much attention to it mainly because I don’t have the drive to actually do anything to increase my stats.

    I use Blogger and they have a very simple Stats section that is similar to WordPress. I also find it interesting to see where in the world people are reading my blog, where they came from, which posts are most popular, and where they end up clicking. I think it’s natural to be curious about these things and I applaud you for posting about it!🙂 I know there is so much more I could do to increase my readership, but it’s just not a priority for me. Finishing garment, taking photos, and blogging about it is enough pressure!

    I get some traffic from Flickr because as soon as I blog about my makes, then I’ll add a link in the Flickr image to the post. And I make an indy design I always add one or two photos to that designer’s group. The one post for a pattern I tested, over a year ago, still gets the most traffic.

    I absolutely hate it when there is the “read more” link and you can’t read everything in Feedly (or blog lovin). I don’t care how popular or good a blog is, I won’t follow it if I can’t read it in Feedly. If your post is interesting enough, then I’ll take the time to click over to the site and leave a comment (like this one!)

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    1. A hockey blog?? Do tell!
      You are so right about Flickr being a good way to drive traffic and make connections! I’ve found a lot of blogs to follow by clicking though… but I get a bit lazy about adding in my own pics! Maybe I’ll work on that soon.
      (And thanks for clicking over from Feedly to comment!😉

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  12. I check WordPress stats, but I’m not obsessive about it. Mostly it’s because the “Dashboard” is on my home page (I use an extension called FastDial on firefox as my home page), so every time I open a tab and click on the icon it takes me straight there. It also helps that I’m not a popular blogger, so I don’t get a ton of hits to get excited about.🙂 And that’s OK for me, because I don’t want to feel like I “have” to post certain content or on a certain schedule. So no, I’m not strategic at all.

    And since you mentioned it, a couple of things I really hate are the “teasers”–WHY?! If I find a blog that seems interesting, I like to read a few posts to decide if I’m going to follow it. The teasers are a guaranteed way to keep me from following, because I’m not going to bother with clicking every single post to “read more”. I can’t be the only one who is like this. The other promotional thing I can’t stand is the multiple posts on twitter about a new post–once is sufficient, I don’t need to read tweets about it several times over a couple of days. But, it seems to be a popular thing to do, so apparently I *am* the only one who gets annoyed by this.

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    1. Oh dear – I have to admit I’m sometimes guilty of multiple tweets about a post! I sometimes tweet once in the morning and once in the evening, because so many bloggers are on the other side of the world in a very different time zone. For myself, I never entirely catch up on the tweets I missed at work, so I’m happy if people tweet during the evening when I’m more likely to be on twitter! (Maybe if I followed fewer people it would be easier?) That said, a few people mentioned that multiple tweets are annoying, so I”ll definitely stop!😉

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  13. Interesting post! I think it’s fun to look at my search terms to see what people are looking for when they get to my blog. But I don’t have any interest in adapting my content to suit what people are searching for or even what gets more clicks. For example, whenever I post something menswear or a gift for kids or something outside of women’s clothing, it gets very few views, but that won’t stop me from sewing or posting whatever I feel like. My blog isn’t my job, so I’m going to do whatever I want to on it… I do what other people want me to do when I’m on the clock, not on my own time!

    Also, regarding the time of day changing the traffic, for me at least, it doesn’t change the overall number of views. If I post, say, early morning on a Monday, I’ll get a big spike of hits on Monday. But if I post late in the day or over the weekend, I’ll see the same number of views, just spread out over two or three days.

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    1. It’s interesting that posts about mens/kids wear get less hits – I guess fewer people are clicking over form their blog reader? I totally agree that we should get to blog about whatever the heck we want – because I think doing anything else would lead to burnout in no time! I know that when I look back at old posts from the first year of blogging I had slightly different people commenting, some of whom don’t comment know… which is fine! They’ve got the right to read other blogs just as I have the right to blog about what I’m into at the time. There’s so much choice!

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      1. Yeah, I think that’s it- maybe they see the posts in Bloglovin and just mark read? It makes sense to me that fewer readers would be interested in something that’s a bit off-topic for me (since most of my readers are presumably interested in women’s wear, it makes sense that that’s what they want to read about!). I have different people commenting now than when I first began, too. Actually, a few of the very first blogs I read are no longer active… I guess that our readers and the things we read are pretty fluid!

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        1. It’s rather nice that readership is fluid – means we don’t have to please anyone! If they like, they’ll read, if not, thats fine too!🙂

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  14. I totally admit to being a stat-reading junkie! I find it fascinating and it has been so nice to see things slowing grow over time (almost 4 years!). I also like knowing that even during the times when I’m not posting as frequently, my traffic doesn’t completely disappear. It’s also really interesting to see which months always tend to be more active/inactive each year on the “summaries” page (May, June, and July are usually lower traffic because more readers are on vacation). Yeah, I’m a stat nerd. =)

    My sewing room post will forever and always be my most visited post but I don’t really need to try to replicate it (even though I will probably do an update at some point since I’ve rearranged the furniture). One of my main reasons for starting a blog was to get some information out there simply because I was tired of answering the same questions over and over in real life – and I feel I’ve accomplished this because I still get emails and comments on really old posts thanking me for giving answers.

    The majority of my traffic is from Pinterest, Ikeahackers, and Google searches for sewing help and sewing room organization. (I think my writing style is a bit too technical to get the funny Google search results, but I have gotten a couple good ones over the years.) I love seeing that I get quite a bit of traffic from comments I left on other blogs and that comments on my blog often get clicks over to those commenters’ blogs. It’s the interaction and discussion that I love the most.

    I also like checking out the referrers that I’ve never seen before in my stats. Many times it’s because they have made a cutting table like mine and I’m able to see photos and leave a comment sharing a little bit of the excitement with them when I would never have known otherwise. (You could probably just say I’m a little nosy, hehe.)

    About not being able to see reads from people using blog readers, you actually can see that a little in your stats. Look at the WP dashboard stats page and the box for “Top Posts & Pages”. The little bar graph icon (or magnifying glass on the WP homepage) next to each post can be clicked to see specifics. The “syndicated views” (the dark blue on the graph) are times a post is clicked on and pulled into a feed reader. They are counted separately from the overall post views and not included in the totals.

    I have mixed feelings about having the whole post being viewed in a feed reader. On one hand, I prefer that people read my posts on my blog in the format I have carefully created for the layout (especially since it doesn’t always look correct in a feed reader). I also always try to read posts on the actual blogs and I find the teasers annoying on those who don’t trust me to click over. On the other hand, there have been times I haven’t been able to read blogs at home and I have to use Feedly on my phone – if I only get a teaser when I’m on my phone, I might skip it all together because I don’t have time to go back later. You tend to lose people if you force them to click when they don’t have time or want to. So I let feed readers have my whole post in hopes that more people will actually read it because it’s more convenient.

    Overall, I agree with you, it’s about the community of it all. I’m sure there are a lot of silent non-commenting readers my blog helps, but I will always love the commenters most – mainly because many of them end up having my favorite blogs and I would not have found them had they not left me a comment on mine. (I also have found many wonderful blogs just from comments left on other people’s blogs – it’s so nice to see who people are beyond a comment.)

    So glad you’re on WP now because I have loved your blog for a long time and now I can actually join the commenting fun! You have an amazing talent for asking good discussion questions! (Just look – I’ve practically left you a book in this comment so I think I’ll stop now…)

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    1. I love that you are a stat nerd! I’m excited to be able to see the “Syndicated Views” – I didn’t know about that! It’s a much smaller percentage than I would have guessed, so I guess fewer people use a blog reader than I assumed. (Why doesn’t everyone use a blog reader, I wonder? Do they not know it’s an option? It’s so much easier and efficient!)
      I’m glad your Ikea cutting table post keeps getting traffic, because a great workspace is the project that keeps on giving! If they’ve got a great table then people will love sewing more, and that’s got to make life better, right? (Well, sewing certainly makes my life better!😉
      I”m glad you can comment more easily now too! THanks for always taking the time to leave great comments!🙂

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  15. Can I just say that I’m so glad you moved to WP, I never could figure out how to comment on tumblr from my phone… I kinda feel like a jerk sometimes, I follow so many sewing blogs but I hardly ever comment. I need to work on that, I’ve gained so much knowledge and inspiration from the SBC. I really do enjoy your blog and have been inspired to sew several knit dresses because of you : )

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    1. I’m glad WordPress works more easily for you! I’ve never figured out how to comment on my phone… so I always mark posts “saved for later”…. but when later rolls around, I don’t always comment on as many of them as I wish.
      Thank you for saying that I’ve inspired you to sew knits – that’s a wonderful compliment! Knits are just so great to sew and wear – I always feel like once people start sewing them, they’ll never stop!🙂

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  16. I don’t really pay too much attention to my stats. But I do like the map feature that shows where in the world your views are coming from. One of the things I love about the sewing community is how international it is, so it’s kind of neat to see that in map form. Like others, my blog isn’t my job and I don’t want it to become a source of stress. So I write what I feel like writing, when I have the motivation to do it. I think if I became stats obsessed, I’d end up getting worried and stressed.

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    1. That map feature is really fun! On Google Analytics there’s a live view where you can see who is on the sit at that moment, and it’s so exciting to see a country light up!

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  17. quite a while ago i switched from blogger to wordpress, and since switching the stats are less in my face, so i hardly ever look. honestly, forcing me to look at the stats almost always had a demoralizing effect! i know certain posts get far more hits than others, popular new indie patterns always have more interest than stuff i make for my kids. that does mean that at least half or three quarters of my kid makes never get posted… it’s too much effort to write up a post that nobody cares about!

    great post, it’s also interesting to read everyone’s comments on this topic!

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    1. I haven’t used Blogger in a decade, so I didn’t realise the the stats are really up front! I don’t think I’d like that. They are in-you-face enough on WordPress! I do find the stats a bit demotivating sometimes – especially when you worked hard on the pics or thought you had something interesting to say… but then I’ve always got another idea brewing, so I just try again. Like you though, I’ve got plenty of unblogged makes that just don’t seem worth blogging!

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  18. What an interesting discussion!
    I don’t look at my stats very often. I probably should.
    I originally started my blog to help publicize my Etsy shop but I didn’t know what I was doing and I quickly fell in love with the community. I mostly blog for fun although I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that building a good blog so if I ever come up with a great pattern or something occasionally floats around in the back of my head. Not that I do much about it…
    Besides all the great projects and friends I’ve made in the community I’ve also been learning what posts I like, how different promotions work and how to keep my blog me without becoming an advertisement for some product.
    That being said I don’t feel like I have a very clear voice and there’s TONS of work needing to be done to my blog to make it come up to the level of some of you guys. So right now I just focus on the fun and figure practice won’t hurt anything.

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    1. P’shaw! If you don’t look at your stats, no reason to start. I think people can always tell if you are writing from the heart. I always enjoy seeing how each blogger approaches posting differently, and the lovely thing is that there is no right or wrong way to blog!🙂

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  19. As a consumer of blogs, not a blogger, I can understand the interest in your stats! The amount of time and effort that many put into their blogs is astounding to me – I do understand that bloggers may want you to click on over to their site if they have advertisements, but I do tend to flick past the ‘teasers’ the majority of the time.

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    1. Nice to hear a perspective from someone who reads blogs but doesn’t write! Have you ever thought of starting one yourself? It’s fun, I promise!🙂

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  20. You are always fascinating, G. I sense I’m vaguely strategic about not being strategic. For me, my blog is an entirely selfish pursuit. I write because I love to. Of course, I also love readers (and my readers are amazing). But I feel that, were I to write for any reason other than to satisfy my creative urge, I might compromise my own enjoyment and I seriously value what the act of writing gives to me.

    I am extremely conscious of those who used to blog for themselves and then decide to blog for money or hits or some ulterior goal. I almost always lose interest because what I love in reading others is the very same authenticity I feel I’m applying when I write for myself. That’s what I relate to at a core level.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love how you blog covers whatever you are thinking of, regardless of topic. It’s nice to be trusted as readers that we are interested in you, not just your sewing or just your knitting! I bet you’ve got a very dedicated following because of it!🙂

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  21. This made me super curious. Other than seeing my followers grow on Bloglovin’ cause it shows you when you log in, I never really thought about it. Now that I am self-hosted on WordPress you have to install a plug-in to see your stats. So I’m curious to see what it shows.

    This was an interesting post Gillian – thanks for bringing it up.

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    1. I really can’t decide if following stats is a good or bad thing! it can be really fun, or occasionally disappointing. But somehow I can’t look away!😉

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  22. I look at my stats quite a bit but it never seems to translate into deliberately changing my blogging behaviour to influence them. It takes enough time to blog in the first place without worrying about when I post or sticking to a very rigid schedule. The only thing I have to add is that I noticed a dramatic change to the stats when I started commenting more on other people’s blogs, and that surprised me.

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    1. That’s an interesting point! I think people really enjoy comments, and it drives them to reciprocate! I”m definitely more likely to comment regularly on blogs who comment on mine, because it keeps the conversation going and returns the compliment!

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  23. Interesting post. I used to be more focussed on my stats, but I didn’t really know what to do with the information, and to be honest, I just don’t have enough time to think about it nowadays. I don’t have a very large readership, but I’m always really pleased when people take the time to comment.

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    1. Comments really are the best feedback! Stats alone are just numbers – but it’s so much more energising to have conversations with other sewists!🙂

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  24. Oh my gosh what to think about! And I didn’t even get the chance yet to read all the other comments, but suffice it to say, I love you on WordPress! I want all my sewing buddies here! It’s so much easier to read blogs when everyone is on one platform! I am so selfishly lazy!

    I like the stats, but also realize they are a bit whack. For instance, it counts when I look at my own blog from my computer but it doesn’t count when I look at your blog through the wordpress app (so I will never be a statistic on your blog views, sadly.) I like the links clicked, that’s fun. I tag my posts like crazy, and try to always link to the patterns or other blogs when I mention them.

    What maters to me is the conversations blogs share, the comments, the community, so sometimes numbers are not helpful in that arena. I only have like 150 followers give or take, but only a few tags interact regularly. This is probably because of my random flurry of posts and lack of consistent “blog care.”

    We put so much work into blogging! I have sewn. Four garments since my last post and I have to choose my time carefully: sew or blog? I am much happier with my new dresses than with a new blog post. Although, I will probably post about some of them now. Way to make me feel guilty about blog-neglect!🙂

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    1. WP won’t count your own views of your blog if you are signed in. I bookmarked my dashboard and always start there just in case it’s been a while and I have to log in again (every so often it makes you resign in).

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    2. I never tag my posts – what’s the benefit? Do you find it helps people find your posts? Maybe I should start…
      I”m glad you’ve been blogging and sewing lots – you are one of those bloggers who se mood really shine through in your posts! If you don’t post much then I get worried for you!🙂 In my mind, lots of posts = happy Malora!

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      1. I tag posts because I use tags to find other blogs! I tag things like pattern name or company, or category like “pattern fitting” or “sewing for boys.” I find it useful when I look for information. I have found quite a few awesome blogs that way.🙂

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  25. ” I can only guess that some people don’t use a blog reader but instead go to those blogs and click through the links?

    I don’t know for absolute sure, but yes … that’s my guess. Mainly because I’ve had comments from my readers telling me they use my sidebar as their to-read list. I know *I* use it that way. I only use Bloglovin’ when I’m reading on my phone.

    As for the different country domains for my blog (Stitches and Seams, in case you hadn’t put 2 and 2 together, but since you’re a teacher, I kinda doubt that!) … um, I have no idea.

    Great post, btw. As are many of your thought-provoking posts. I imagine you’re a FAB teacher!

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    1. Wait, that’s YOU???? Somehow I’d put an entirely different blogger face and blog to your name… well, now I feel silly! I didn’t recognise your blog at all when I clicked over, but I would have sworn I follow you…. so who is this other people I’m thinking of? Rest assured I’ve following you now! *facepalm*

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  26. Great post Gillian! I love looking at my stats too, not for strategic purposes (I find that much too complicated and makes blogging a chore) but to see how people find my page and which links they click. I get around 60 – 100 visits per day on average days and it spikes to about 200 when I post. No idea if the day or time of day the post goes on affects that.

    It still feels a bit surreal that there are so many people out there apparently liking what I write!

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    1. My numbers are fairly similar – and yes, it totally blows my mind that so many people could give a damn about what I blather on about!🙂

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  27. Ok, Gillian, I am embarrassed to say that I was wondering where you went the other day and didn’t realize you moved over here. Or maybe I did? I don’t know. Back to work time has been really crazy for me but it is starting to calm down. Anyway, I’ve added you back to my feed now! And I’ve got some catching up to do!
    I installed something called stat counter way back when I first started my blog. It is free, up to a certain amount of hits. Anyway, I still log in every once in a while and check things out. It gives WAY more info than Google analytics. It really is only for my own curiosity. My favorite stat to check is the keyword search. I love seeing all the crazy stuff that pops up.

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    1. I’m glad you found me! Do you use Bloglovin’, by chance? Tumblr stopped them from seeing Tumblr posts, so it would have seemed like I just disappeared…

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  28. Far out – I learnt SO much from this post, including what was written in the previous comments! I assumed that there was something out there on blog stats – little did I know how much🙂 I am definitely going to give tag-surfing a try. Also I must be the only person who uses Bloglines as a blog reader!

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    1. I learned a lot too! I went back and tagged a few posts last night… I’m definitely going to give it a try from here forwards. I’m curious to see how it works!🙂
      I’ve never heard of Bloglines! Do you like it?

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  29. Love the new look of the blog!

    I’m a casual stats follower. I check in maybe once a week or so just to make sure that anyone is still reading. Every now and then I get a surprise. Like a couple weeks ago – I normally get ~100 views per day but suddenly had well over 1,000! I only figured out what was going on by clicking through and finding that an old post had been picked up in a Buzzfeed list and people were finding me through that. I’ve tried to stop paying too much attention to my stats because, honestly, it makes me pretty bummed out when I post something that I’m way psyched about and my views for that day are particularly low. I do however, try to post on days that I know I get better views (usually Mon-Thurs).

    As for bloggers changing their blogging habits based on their stats – knowing that someone did that wouldn’t bother me. I think the only thing that really bothers me as people start trying to increase readership and monetize is 1) too many sponsored posts so that the blog stops feeling genuine, and 2) having to ‘like’ on Facebook or follow on Pinterest or whatever to enter a giveaway (I hat redundancy and since I generally just follow the blogs I’m interested in through WordPress or Bloglovin’ I don’t like have things pop up on my Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as well).

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    1. I agree with you on all counts! Stats can be fun or disappointing… like the month I really worked hard at the gym and my measurements didn’t improve… then the next month I slacked off altogether. i would have been better just doing my thing for both months (and indeed, I refused to let them measure me after that!)
      My favourite giveaways are where people are legitimately excited to give something to the people who read them, as a thank you… as opposed to a stats grab to get more (superficial) followers. That doesn’t make you any real new friends, I think!

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  30. I check my stats, but for me it’s an exciting day when I get more than 15 hits, so it only takes one person clicking around a bit to produce a (comparatively) huge spike. Half my readers are people I know in real life, too, who follow links as and when I remember to share them rather than following the blog itself.

    I’m not strategic about them at all. Far too much work for (to me – day job, no dependents) far too little reward.

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    1. We all started somewhere! I have this really clear memory of being so excited to have 11 readers. Then there’s some magical tipping point where you join in some challenge or sewalong, and suddenly, bam! People find you and it starts to snowball! I think your blog is great the way it is.🙂

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  31. I’m a Feedly user – I only read through Feedly (although I will go to the blog to post) and I think at this point I only read one blog that doesn’t post full content in my reader. I remember the bad old days when I had bookmarks for all the blogs I read and went to them all once a day, even though most of them hadn’t put anything new up – I don’t want to go back there! Reader or nothing.🙂

    And I (as a reader) don’t see anything wrong with using your stats and being strategic in order get more readers. I know people above have said that time of day /day of week doesn’t matter in terms of overall numbers, but I think it makes a difference in terms of comments and interaction.

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    1. I remember those days too! And perversely, I have a few sites (The curvy collective, some random girly makeup sites etc) that I still enjoy looking up the old fashioned way by typing in the address. Except that no thanks to autotype, I usually don’t have to type past the first letter!😉

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  32. Oooh I hate the preview thing. Mostly because people aren’t using it properly.
    If they want to use it they should write their first paragraph accordingly (alluring/succinct) to make you want to click through. On feedly photos often don’t appear in the preview so it’s very easy to mark something as read just to get onto a “real” post. Disappointing that so many blogs use that format

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  33. Hello,
    Love the stats! I’m a person who doesn’t use a blog reader (tried it – couldn’t stand the ugly interface – went back to random googling and clicking on people’s “blogs I read” sidebar).
    Cheers, Sarah

    Like

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