I consider myself a generally positive kind of person, and so any Blog activity is good. I am, however, a very detail oriented individual and so have an inherent need to understand what numbers really mean.
At the time of writing this Post, I had 1741 Followers. That sounds very good, but am I really understanding it completely? To date, my Blog has received 68,552 Views and 21,327 Comments. Sounds very good to me also … but let us look at those statistics.
Followers: I don’t actually have 1741 people around the world eagerly awaiting a new Post for their reading pleasure. What I do have are 1741 email addresses that are advised when a new Post is published. Whether the owners of those addresses actually respond to a new Post advisory is only known if they Like or Comment against my Blog Post.
Views (aka Hits): It would be nice to believe that 68,552 people have been interested enough to visit my Blog, but it is my understanding that is not the case. People can arrive at my Blog by accident, as a result of their Google search (e.g.) showing my Blog (or a Blog Post) near the top of the search results list. They click the link hoping to find what they were looking for, and arrive on my front page. They are apparently recorded as a View.
Comments: I would love to think that my Followers have commented 21,327 times to date, but that is drastically misleading. The problem (Is it a problem?) is that my comments are also recorded, so if I respond to your single Comment, then there are now two Comments. I have to approximate that Comments are really about half of what the stats show.
Likes: This is a good one because of the various reasons why Like would be clicked. Do you Like my Posts because:
You liked the photograph? You didn’t read the Post, but wanted to reward the obvious effort? You usually Like my Posts? The Post was too long to read, but it looked okay? You had more important things to do, but wanted to be seen as active on my Blog? Perhaps you read the Post and did indeed like it?
So do the stats serve much of a constructive purpose? I would suggest very much so. Followers, Hits/Views and Likes are relevant if compared against past performance. i.e. as long as my Followers number is consistently getting higher, then obviously more people are requesting notifications of new Posts which can only be good. Likewise the Hits/Views and Likes. Consistently higher numbers can be interpreted as increased interest.
The Comments stat is , to me, very different. It is an excellent guide as to the effectiveness of my Blog. All the other stats mentioned are “single click” generated, but a Comment takes some thought and deliberate execution. Because I freely dialogue with my Commenters, I know that my Comments stats are approximately double what I would expect, but even having half of 21,327 is a great reward for creating a Blog and publishing Posts.
Finally, while I love to see my Comments stats slowly increase, what I really love to see are names that are familiar to me. These are the individuals who have been commenting regularly for some time now. Some of you go back to when I started this Blog. Newcomers are extremely welcome of course, and it is always my hope that they too will become familiar names as time passes.
As for the stats? Given their inherent shortcomings, use them to your best advantage as a general motivational tool …. but celebrate the Commenters. They really are my future in Blogging, and I suspect are also yours!