Let's Talk: Blogger Stats

Friday, April 6, 2012




Let's Talk is a new weekly feature here at i swim for oceans. I think it's important that we all have our say, and there's something to be said for raising our voices. Simply put, here on the little old blog, I like to host some of my very own discussion posts because, well, I like to converse with you all.

And so, Let's Talk will feature questions or prompts, which I will answer, too. Love it or hate it, weigh in or don't, it's my hope that Let's Talk will at least get you thinking...and maybe even get you discussing with the rest of us!
Question: What are your opinions on the importance of blog stats?

You guys have probably been seeing the whirlwind around the blogosphere, or heard the rumblings and grumblings as of late in regards to issues with book blogger stats. For some, this was directly correlated to registering for BEA Bloggers Conference, in which their original survey asked for stats that would be publicly circulated. They later retracted the request and revised their requirements. I know when I registered for BookExpo America (BEA), it asked for my stats, and it really got me thinking, especially when I chatted with Jenny from Supernatural Snark.

The thing I kept coming back to when I entered my numbers in these forms was that I don't truly believe stats are an accurate representation of my blog. Do I have fairly good stats? Sure. Are they exceptional? Lord, no. However, I'm one heck of a proud girl to say that after two years of blogging, I'm still going strong, and I have people who truly do come and read what I have to say on every single post.

That said, I most certainly do NOT believe that having higher stats than another book blogger makes me any better. Nor do I believe having lower stats than other bloggers makes me a lesser blogger. When I began blogging, I started it for fun. It was a hobby and a project, and I only started recording stats via StatCounter and Analytics after about 8 months. Since then, I've religiously watched my stats soar and dip, noted the trends and made adjustments accordingly because, heck, I want people to want to read my blog. That said, at the end of the day, my blog is still my blog.

So, why is that I have had days and weeks as of late that I find myself texting, emailing and tweeting (sometimes all three at the same time) Jenny with an altogether defeatist attitude? It seems that everywhere I turn, stats are what defines my blog these days. I understand that publishers use stats to gauge viewership and longevity for their limited ARCs. I am happy to oblige. However, when I have days and weeks where I'm consistently denied access to titles on NetGalley, or a conference tells incredibly bloggers they don't meet their criteria, you better believe that bums me out. I'm a person, and my blog is a reflection of me. My blog is not a number. It is not a job. I do it because I love it and because I adore the written word. Being able to interact with amazing authors, publishers and like-minded bloggers is simply a definite bonus. 

I'm not one to stir the pot, and I'd rather not be misconstrued as complaining, but while I recognize stats are important, they are not the end-all, be-all. Sometimes I truly wish that we were regarded as people, rather than a marketing avenue and valued opinions, rather than numbers. My frustrations won't make me quit blogging, but for those out there that feel the same, remember this - you blog because you love it. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how many unique visitors you've had, or what bounce rate you've seen. What matters is that it is your place, your podium and your time to have your opinions known. Own it, and don't get defeated.

As a wee disclaimer because I feel I must - In NO way do I feel that, as a blogger, I deserve ARCs. I fully recognize they must be earned through the longevity and quality of my blog. This post is in no way meant to attack publishers, publicists or any professionals in the book industry. Rather, this is simply to discuss that stats, while important, should not be the sole measure of our blogs.


38 comments:

  1. Okay, again as I said on Jenny's blog. When I'm thinking about the top five blogs that I know of yours is in there. Also, again, in the top three. I cannot imagine why either of you would be turned away for anything on NetGalley or at BEA. It ridiculous. I'm afraid to even make a request now at NetGalley b/c there is no way my stats meet your all's.

    There just must be something wrong. You are both consistently good reviewers and have plenty of comments. More than most any other blog I follow. It doesn't make sense. It must be frustrating. I hate the stats thing. I think the quality of the blog and the review should stand for itself and it does except for giving out ARC's. But still, you and Jenny?? Who the H*** are they going to approve then?

    Heather

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  2. Have heave you been accepted to BEA? I saw that Jenny said she wasn't. If not, can't you pay a few hundred and go? I think I'd be willing to do that. I just registered about three days ago so I haven't heard back. The firm I filled out didn't ask me for my stats. It only asked how many days per week I posted. I hope I filled out the right thing. What ate you planning on doing?

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  3. I totally agree with what you've said here.  As someone who has a relatively small blog followers-wise, when stats come into equation it can be pretty imposing - but I don't think they necessarily tell the full story blog-wise. I'll add my post to the linky when I've sorted it out tomorrow :)

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  4. I addressed this exact topic at the Ninc Conference in Florida in October and couldn't agree more.  There are so many factors that go into a blog and whether there are comments, followers, etc...it doesn't make them better or more visited then other blogs that may not.  Great post and I love your blog!

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  5. No, stat's definitely are not the be-all and end-all - I couldn't agree with you more! I was just on Jenny's blog earlier and it's making me think that US/CA publishers are probably more likely to ask for stats. I have never once been asked for stats by UK pubs, even when ARCs are limited. I guess I do understand why publishers would be interested in stats though. It makes sense for them to want to work with blogs that get high readers, but at the end of the day, stats are just numbers to me. I know several blogs that have consistent, high-quality posts but half the number of followers of other blogs. That doesn't make them any less better bloggers. 

    And yes, we should all be blogging because we enjoy it and not have to worry about statistics. Well said! :)

    (Also, thanks for finding my blog! I can't believe I haven't been over here before either. Glad to have found another great blogger! :D)

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  6. This is an awesome post. I think a lot of the time, us bloggers get caught up in stats and follower numbers (I know I'm at fault for this), but like you said - in the end, what *really* matters? And like you, I think we just need to stop worrying about that whole mess for a minute and reflect on why we started our blog, and what compels us to keep blogging. Hopefully the answer is that we love to read and talk about books, not that we want to beat another blog in follower numbers. 

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  7. Oh yes! I totally get why publishers need stats to determine ARCs, it just seems as thought that is nearly all that blogs are seen as these days. At the end of the day, blogs should be more than that, in my humble opinion :)

    Thanks for weighing in!

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  8. Okay, I'm going to play devil's advocate. Should an endless amount of book copies be produced and disseminated to each
    & every individual who requests it? Because of course, we are all
    worthy. How would the author get compensated for their work?

    I don't blame marketers etc for asking for a blog's stats. It's THEIR JOB to have an effective campaign for whatever book they are promoting and they have to show results somehow. Stats are just one way to measure results (and there are other ways too). I don't see why it upsets book bloggers so - it's certainly commonplace in other blog niches. I don't think they mean it to be a reflection of the blogger's self worth - but really ... why is the stats for a "hobby" bringing people down?

    Yes - you (we) are just a number to THEM. But so what? To someone else, a blog reader for example, you are a source of inspiration in their day, or a source that they go to find the next book they want to read.

    I love & respect your blog, but I just wanted to offer a different opinion on the whole thing. It makes me sad to see us as bloggers thinking so little of ourselves and not realizing our value.

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  9. Hear, hear! I get so bummed out when I see bloggers with thousands more followers than myself, but I've discovered it's not the most important thing. I'd rather have quality than quantity :)

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  10. Hear, hear! I get so bummed out when I see bloggers with thousands more followers than myself, but I've discovered it's not the most important thing. I'd rather have quality than quantity :)

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  11. I definitely see what you mean by that, and I truly respect your opinion! I totally understand that publishers need our stats for ARCs and whatnot, I simply don't think we should be asked to publicize them on a routine basis, or have them pitted against one another for conferences and such.

    I might be a number in terms of ARC requests, but I'd rather my blog be known for its reviews, than its stats.

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  12. Aww thank you! And yes, I agree - point is, some blogs might have less followers and lower stats, but more interaction.

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  13. Glad to hear it! I truly believe it's quality rather than quantity when it comes to the blog, so enjoy it and have fun! :)

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  14. Aww thank you, Heather :) I hate the stats, too, and while I know publishers use them for the coveted ARCs, I can't help but be bummed out when my blog is frowned upon for lower stats in some areas. 

    I guess that's the world of book blogging though!

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  15. Amen. I really believe you have to blog because you love it. Otherwise you won't stand the test of time.
    So question, what was the initial requirements? 

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  16. I read Tanya's comment and completely agree with everything she said. I don't ever want to come across as one of those bloggers who feels they are entitled to books simply because they set up a blog and post their thoughts on books. That doesn't guarantee me anything, nor should it. I can't even imagine the number of review requests that must pass through a publicist's inbox, and they need some method of determining which blogs are the best promotional outlets for them. I understand and agree totally.

    However. Understanding and even agreeing that stats have a place doesn't mean insecurities don't creep in when our numbers are low and a request gets denied. Of course the publisher has every right to deny us! I totally get it. For me, it's just a flaw of mine. I take things too personally. I know I shouldn't. I know that rejection doesn't mean my blog isn't worthwhile or important me and people who read it. I can't help it though:)

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  17. This is why I love you...because I know my defeatedness will be mirrored in your own. Again, like you, I NEVER feel as though I'm owed books...just get bummed out when I'm not afforded an opportunity to prove my merit haha

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  18. Too true. Honestly, they said to provide stats, which I did. They weren't bad by any means. They told me if I hadn't heard anything in two weeks, I could consider my registration accepted. Two months later, I get the email of decline.

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  19. I love your blog Melissa! I think you have one the best ones out there in the YA blogs department. I get bummed too when my followers, stats or lack of get me a rejection...oh well Ill cry and then get over it...:)

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  20.  Um can I be one of those bloggers who is owed books??? LOL just kidding......

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  21. Aww you're lovely, Tina! I'm glad to know we all get bummed out sometimes - perhaps we can rally around one another :)

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  22. oh mel. This made me sad :/

    I try not to let these things get to me. I can totally understand why this is bothering you. When I heard the Bea requiring stats, I was actually appalled.

    Glad they rethought that. 

    I said this in Jenny's post and i'll say it again. 
    We bloggers know our readers, our content and worth. No stats can ever define that. they may be pretty to look at, but I don't see them as important whatsoever.

    *hugs*

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  23. Great post, and I do love your blog! Stats, oh those stats. How does the publisher know that the person is not lying then when she or he tells about the stats. And how about those people who have blogged for 3 months but have a 1000 followers cos of a lot of follow me contests? So yes stats are so not what's important in the end. I blog cos I love to blog

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  24. Stats have always confused me and, like you, I only recently started looking at my stats more and using StatCounter and Google Analytics. My stats are okay, I think, and, of course, I'd love for them to be higher but it's just not that high up on my priority list. I'd rather write posts and read and comment on others' blogs then spend hours worrying about SEO and page views and unique visitors.

    Still, it seems that's all pubs are interested in. *sigh* Reminds me of teaching and all the politicians, etc. care about are testing results. The test and its results do not define me as a teacher or my students, not really.

    I try not to worry about that--either as a teacher or blogger--and just put my head down and do my thang.

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  25. I wonder if the increased pressure about these stats has something to do with the  increase in the number of people blogging? If there are more bloggers, publishers would want to know which ones can promote materials for them. I do think a well written blog with a small group of loyal followers may be better than a mega blog with high stats but low loyalty. If your blog has 50 people who totally respect your opinion and buy books based off your say, that's way better than having 10,000 page hits a day.

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  26. Well put. Some days it is difficult to remember that we do this because we WANT to, not because we are searching for justification.

    Although, for those who ARE searching for justification, perhaps this whole book blogging thing isn't for you.

    You can tell the bloggers who have passion and excitment and love all of the things! Those are the blogs I follow. Those are the blogs publishers should be hitting up. Can you ask for more than an enthusiastic and sincere reader? Methinks not.

    Thanks for the reminder that we are more than the sum of our parts.

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  27. Well said. I agree that I am the same and not better than anyone else. It's said when you blogger put other bloggers down due to stats. And yes, I've seen this going on a lot on twitter. It really bugs me when a bloger says other bloggers can not request ARC till they hit a certain limit.

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  28. I agree! I've been blogging for two years and built up a solid following. Then GFC went down and I lost my follower stats. I had to start rebuilding that with Linky tools and NB. I added a little sign on the side to show I did have a substantial following through GFC. But yes, publishers rely on these stats for ARCs. I wish they didn't, but I understand in some cases why. However, I didn't know they relied on them for BEA. If you pay to attend, what does it matter? I've been denied books on NetGalley and actual physical ARCs too. However, my other stats are extremely low, but I'm happy that I have return visitors and they make comments. I love reviewing books and I'm happy to be a part of the book blogging world!

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  29. New
    follower hopping through! Great post! I followed you through GCF  - you can return the favour over at http://www.bethebooks.blogspot.com
    :) Happy Friday!

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  30. I think that's an important question. I mean, I'm happy when I get my 1500 comments/month or stuff like that, but in the end followers don't mean readers, right? There are blogs with very high stats that, in my opinion, don't care that much about the quality of their posts and reviews. Still they get approved of everything.

    I can see why people would want high stats. We are bookbloggers. We read a lot and sometimes it's nice to get a few ARCs here and there, especially when you think about how much we promote those books, too. Publishers won't send you a review copy if you have zilch followers and the only visitors you get are you and the bots, but I review books because I like talking about them, not because I want to get more ARCs.

    And as you've said, it's sad to see that blogs that are incredible, that take the time to analize books and analize themselves as readers to point out why they didn't like a book but others could.. it's sad to see that they have "only" 500 followers and blogs with the default review ("Awesome book, definitely recommend it because it was awesome! I loved the heroine because she was kick-ass, and the guy was so hot!") have 5000.

    There was a blogger I talked to last year and she said the only reason why she blogged was to be able to get more books. She wasn't embarrassed about it at all, and I think it's nice that she was that honest about it, but it also made me die a little on the inside. oô

    Anyway, great question and great post!

    Patricia

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  31. It's easy to get caught up with the stats and the numbers, very easy. I just try to remind myself that I blog for me, not for the numbers and not for the "free swag"  but for me and my enjoyment and to share my passion. (Although that's hard to remember when I pull up my stat's page!) 

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

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  32. Hopping by to say have a great weekend!
    New email follower :)

    The Muggle

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  33. I know what you mean... it can be addictive to watch those little numbers going up. I've been blogging since 2008 but I only just separated off my book reviews into a separate book blog, and it feels like starting from the ground again to try and build something up. Really hard work! (Especially since, as you say, NetGalley publishers can be very quick to judge...)

    Following from FF - it's my first week taking part, so I'd love it if you would check out my FF post :)

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  34. I believe that quality is better than quantity, and I never feel entitled to anything.  I move at my own pace and focus on what I want.  I know reviewers who have many more readers than I do, but their reviews are much briefer, riddled with errors, and/or all summary/no review.  Things are what they are, and not everyone is in this for the right reasons.  I just focus on doing what I love and ignore the stats whenever possible!

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  35. It's easy to get bummed out when things like that happen. But I'm of the grotesquely optimistic sort, and things like that don't always effect me. Particularly, when I don't navigate the murky waters of Analytics and things like that very well. I just do what I can and strut my stuff when pubs ask, but other than that I don't know what else there is to do.

    Still, I totally get your frustration. It sucks when you're judged based on popularity and numbers, when those things aren't always on our sides. Thanks for the discussion!

    Have an amazing reading week!

    Asher

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