Are You Sure Blog Numbers Matter?

Recently, the same conversation has crept up on me across various online platforms. It goes something like this.

Me: Something about a person’s blog

Them: Oh, well, my blog is still nowhere as big as yours. I only get x number of visits a week.

Me: Um…that’s about ten, 50, 100 times what I get in a month.

Them: Silence

Here’s a screen capture of my blog traffic from May 5 – June 4, 2012:

That big peak there is 480 visitors in a day, which is one of the highest traffic days I’ve ever had (might be *the* highest, actually).

To put it another way, from May 31st – June 4, a one-week period, I had 831 visitors. Some of the people I’ve talked to recently have 1,500 visitors over the same length of time.

Although my daily average number of visits has just about doubled since my first year of blogging, as far as traffic goes, I’m still very small potatoes.

And yet…

When I first started blogging, my blog traffic, which at that time was about 10 visits a day, used to really get me depressed. I couldn’t seem to figure out the magic formula of getting people to my site. I couldn’t get people to comment. Had I continued to focus on my blog traffic, I might not still be blogging, because boy can that be discouraging.

What came to matter to me more than the numbers was stuff like the fact that I can proudly say that all of the bloggers I respect most in the online world have commented here at one point or another. I can also say with no small amount of amazement that every blogger I respect most in the online world has shared one of my posts. I can say with a stunned sense of disbelief that I’ve gotten to blog on sites that I view as role models rather than a place where I rightly belong.

Would I trade any of that away for a higher PeerIndex score? Would I rather have an AdAge Power 150 badge? Would I prefer to have a little badge that counts out traffic or subscribers?

It’s not even close.

The little cafe where you’re always welcome

I like thinking of my site here as a little internet cafe – internet in that it exists on the internet. I’m not a Starbucks or a Caribou or a Panera. I’m not a McDonalds or any other big chain massive restaurant. I’m a pretty small cafe where oddly there is an infinite amount of seating room for you. We can have good talks together, and you can remind me every day how lucky I am to know great people like you. Sure, you might not get a Google Alert as your comment gets picked up by Google spiders, and it’s true that you might not meet 27 new people just by commenting here. But I think it’s safe to say that we have a good time here, even when we disagree.

That ads issue

A lot of people say that they need a lot of blog traffic so that their chances of getting clicks on their ads can go up. Their chances of getting more clicks on their affiliate links will go up. That’s possible, although statistically speaking a 20% conversion rate on such things is massive. Maybe that opportunity is enough for you and you are willing to plow ahead for big traffic on the chance it will pay off. There’s nothing wrong with that although it’s a basket I wouldn’t want to put all of my eggs in, financially speaking. If you are blogging for your business you might say that a lot of traffic is how you report the benefits of the blog to your boss, but I would argue against that too. A visit could be someone clicking and then leaving. A person leaving a comment means that they read and wanted to respond. Which would you rather count?

As for me, I am not at all disappointed that I’m small potatoes in so far as the numbers game goes. When I see 831 weekly visitors on a chart, I know who a lot of those people are. I know their faces and I even remember the comments they left on what posts. I know who tends to visit every time I have a post and who tends to stop in once a month or inconsistently, at any rate. I know that most of those 831 visitors probably either taught me something or encouraged me to think in a new way.

You’d have to be a fool to be disappointed about things like that. And hey – I ain’t no fool.

Whether you’re blogging for fun or for business, there’s more to the art than the numbers game. If you are feeling discouraged, think of why you enjoy writing and conversing with other people. Why do you keep sitting down to blog even though your numbers aren’t where you’d like them to be (and that can happen at ANY level)? Focus on THAT. Because that there is the magic of it all. Truly.

Don’t you think?

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/grandmaitre/5846058698/ via Creative Commons