I know that this certain matter of contention encompasses dangerous territory, as statistics, after all, is a subject quite sensitive. However, I do have my own thoughts regarding the moot point, and have, for some time now, been wanting to share them with you– so yes, I am totally going to go there.
Many book bloggers like myself have been around for much longer, and are familiar with the gradual, somehow excruciating process by which blogs gains estimable readership. I, myself, have once or twice been discouraged by my blog’s statistics enough for me to second guess myself and consider quitting. However, this happened during the genesis that was my first week of blogging, and most auspiciously since then, I haven’t been pushed over the edge or daunted enough to give the idea a second thought. Within the confines of the blithe haven that is the blogosphere, and in the company of incredible co-bloggers, life is an endless party, and its recently been hard to feel even remotely crestfallen. However, the same cannot apply to all of us. Some people value their site stats more than others, and feel downcast with the most nominal decline in viewership. Unsubscribes and unfollows become their archenemies. Continuous blog promotion has turned into a first priority. Such should not be the case. Whether or not you agree that statistics are paramount but not all that, I’m going to ignore your sentiments in the mean time and continue divulging on the why’s and why not’s of this particular concern.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
1. The purpose of blogging is defeated without an audience.
Common sense dictates that there is no one point in posting entries when no is available to read it. This much is true– no one should waste time and effort on posts that get zero attention. For a time, nevertheless, some newbie bloggers don’t get lucky and find it hard to promote their blog’s content. I myself felt lame at first, as it seemed as if I was talking to a brick a wall. In this light, I do believe that it is important to follow other bloggers and sign up for various social media sites to allow for some exposure. It doesn’t hurt to follow back, to reply to comments, to cross-post reviews to Goodreads, to tweet links to your posts, create fan pages on Facebook, et cetera. After all, you’d want people to feel your presence in the online community, and in the process compel them to pay your blog a little visit (and maybe a follow or two). Trust me– it feels hugely rewarding to receive comments and compliments from readers, as it lets you know that your existence on this sphere of being is genuinely appreciated.
2. We want to share our reviews to as many viewers as possible.
Book bloggers review books for reasons apart from free speech and self expression. This of course, is a critical factor that leads many to the blogger path, but this isn’t the only thing that drives the need for a regular review post. Whether or not your review is negative, your honest opinions matter to people with interest. There is no author, publisher, or fangirl/boy on this planet who wouldn’t do with a little more love for their book. When it comes to ARCs, bloggers have to meet certain criteria for publishers to approve of their requests to view or receive them– this is when the importance of statistics kicks in for many. Of course, we generate more buzz with a greater following, and consequentially get approved for more popular titles. In this way, bloggers, publishers, and authors are made happy (unless of course, bloggers choose to abuse their capabilities, and request for countless ARCs they won’t even care to send feedback for. Otherwise, all is well).
3. It’s great to meet new people.
Blogging shouldn’t always be a “me me me” experience. Sometimes, it feels more rewarding to make a friend or two, rather than gain a hundred followers that won’t even bother to talk to you. I, of course, have my own share of blogger friends, and creepers that come around once in a while, but never tell me that they do so. Truthfully, I am appreciative of both, because a simple click on the follow button is enough to make me feel all giddy. However, I honestly would not trade Flip That Page for anything else in this world because of the many friends I’ve made in the process. Likewise, it feels great for many bloggers to meet people they can converse and share opinions with, friends who visit them regularly, make them laugh, make them smile, make the entire experience worthwhile (I like rhymes). On the other hand, if you prefer keeping to yourself, it never hurts to receive follows either.
But for the readers and co-bloggers who have been putting up with my relentless chatter, I think you guys are amazing, and I love you.
WHY IT’S NOT THAT IMPORTANT
1. You want a huge audience, but you don’t need it.
You don’t have to be the king or queen of the blogosphere to be happy around here. It’s not wrong to want your blog to receive countless awards, thousands of followers, or tens of thousands of page views daily– I myself am blogging for a similar, endless dream. However, I make it a point to remember that an extensive readership is never a necessity. Being quite the newbie blogger myself, I can admit that my statistics are none too remarkable or impressive. I don’t expect them to grow exponentially over the year (though that is a thrilling prospect), but of course, I am happy and sit contented with the few people who make it a point to regularly stop by and say hi. Truth be told, I am more appreciative of meaningful comments, because I love reading and replying to every single on of them (my mom and auntie have expressed their disapproval, but I honestly don’t want to pass up the chance to start a proper conversation. Sorry, I’m not sorry). I’m not demanding for other bloggers to adopt a similar mind set (because many of them have huge audiences, so kudos!), but of course, I find it infinitely more effective to feel appreciative of the people who follow, rather than keep vying for those who don’t. They’ll come along, eventually. You’re that good, so believe in it.
2. Blogging is not a competition.
I know it’s hard not to notice how many followers or page views a certain blog has, but seeing a display of numbers greater than yours shouldn’t necessarily spur a determination to top it. The way I see it, the book blogosphere is a friendly community where people work with, not against each other. I don’t think its wrong to feel a certain sense of achievement when you realize that you’ve got better statistics than a certain blogger X, but that should never be the point. If you’ve got many followers, then that’s good for you, and if you want more, that’s good for you too. There’s also nothing wrong with hosting giveaways for reaching a certain following and I honestly love getting to congratulate and beam at those who do, because in that moment, they have all the right to go all like,
Yes, yes. Werk it.
However, it’s an instant aversion for me when it comes to bloggers (even famous ones, unfortunately) who do little more than advertise and go on blog tours, never really posting anything with any real connection to the readers. I don’t blame them for not having the time to reply to comments, but if they rarely post anything with substance, it feels as if the statistics have taken control, and I don’t believe that’s the way to go.
3. A small but dedicated following is better than an extensive, but distant one.
I don’t think it’s wrong to want to gain better numbers to put on display, but I’m honestly a big believer in appreciating a small, albeit dedicated following. I don’t have that many readers, but I love how many of them take the time to visit Flip That Page regularly. In much the same way, I enjoy visiting their blogs regularly. In case you’ve gotten the wrong message, I’m not against gaining follows (I would love them. *wink wink*), nor am I against an extensive readership– both are entirely ideal. It’s fine to feel bad about declines in your blog’s statistics, because of course that tells me that you’re human. However, I do believe that statistics aren’t as important as you may (or may not) think they are, because even a small following is enough to make a blogger happy (like me!). However, if you think that there is a perpetual need to gain follows or subscribes, and a small following is never enough, dedicated or not, then you’re probably never really happy or content, and quite frankly, that’s your problem. Otherwise, I heartily approve of you (and most likely, that means YOU.)
Now it’s your turn! I’d like to know more about your own views on numbers and statistics when it comes to blogging. Do you think they’re important, but not all that? Or do you believe that they will and forever will be the point of blogging? Sound off in the comments!