This post was not on my Preview of Coming Attractions, but I’m pissed and felt a need to write it NOW.
Either NO ONE at all is reading me (and I find that REALLY hard to believe seeing as my posts are so unique, funny, etc.), or the WordPress statistics are simply wrong or too confusing to follow.
I know people are, in fact, reading because I have followers (and finally, there are more non-family than family followers), MailChimp says the majority of people on my list actually open their emails, and I get email and comments from readers on Facebook in addition to the normal comments on the blog itself.
Those of you who are experienced, established bloggers probably don’t worry much about statistics these days. But for those of us just starting out, statistics are the Holy Grail by which we judge our worthiness.
After each published post, a new blogger will go onto his or her WordPress website and check those stats EVERY FIVE MINUTES! (Well, at least I did/do!)
It took me awhile to figure out that posts read through the RSS feeds are calculated in a different area on WordPress – you have to go into the post itself and check the statistics there, and then it will tell you how many “views” are RSS. RSS feed readers are not included in the numbers you see on the WordPress Stats page.
Even then, things didn’t seem to add up. I started getting “followers” who, according to WordPress, had never even “viewed”my page. Hmmmmmm? Turns out, people who read my posts through the WordPress Reader page don’t count towards the statistics, and I only know if they’re reading when they sign up to “follow” me.
On one recent post, I checked the stats and learned that I had only one “view” – and that was in Trinidad. I don’t know anybody in Trinidad (although I am very happy that you found me, whoever you are!).
Well, that was just odd ‘cause I knew from talking to friends and co-workers, from checking my MailChimp account, and from reading my email and Facebook pages, that I had more than one hit on my blog that day!
Am I soooo special that every one of my friends, co-workers, family and other readers jumped onto the earliest flight to Trinidad that day so that everyone could read my blog together? Or perhaps everyone joined together in a Skype conference to read that day’s post?
OF COURSE NOT!
Come on, WordPress, have a little sympathy for us. I wonder how many new bloggers, after reading their stats on WordPress, have said to themselves, “Eff this – no one cares anyway!” and then simply QUIT blogging?
I almost did just that.
But then I received a PERSONAL EMAIL from one of my non-family, non-related readers in a different part of the country, who told me “You’re doing great! Keep it up.” [Thank you, A!]. And there’s another non-family, non-related reader in another part of the country who consistently posts positive comments on my blog [Thank you, K!].
Were it not for these two supportive readers at the very beginning of my blogging adventure, I would have been forced to rely only on the WordPress stats, never knowing that there were many others who were, in fact, enjoying my work. And I would have given up.
There must be a way for WordPress to add a line or column to the stats indicating how many actual “hits” there are (including from the WordPress Reader page), in addition to how many “visitors” and “views.” Maybe that still wouldn’t pick up the RSS feeds, but certainly it would be a more realistic indication of who’s actually reading the darn thing. This little bit of extra information could very well make the difference to someone who’s on the verge of giving up blogging forever.
Anyone else with me on this? Wouldn’t all you newer bloggers feel better if you knew how many people are really reading your posts?
Thank you for letting me vent.
And now, back to the regularly scheduled programming …
As always, I love to hear from my readers: firstname.lastname@example.org