“Build it, and they will come.”
Some bloggers seem to have it made in the shade: they build a blog, and everybody comes to view, like, comment and follow. If you’re one of those fortunate types whose Stats page registers in the thousands, you probably don’t think twice about how your site is performing.
But for those of us whose average views rarely achieve one per hour, just climbing the tail of the Gaussian (standard distribution) curve to get to the first standard deviation – not to mention μ (mu) – can seem to be an insurmountable task.
Fun with statistics.
There’s probably no classic Gaussian curve for blog performance; a rigorous statistical analysis would probably reveal tails skewed to one side or the other.
It’s a foregone conclusion that a day with a post on it will do better than one that goes without, but how much better? How often do you need to post, to have a noticeable presence in the blogosphere? Does the time of day you post make any difference? Is there a seasonal aspect to blog readership totals?
Is it worth your time to study the effects of keywords and tags and search engine optimization? Or is it more important for blog popularity to have been lucky enough to snag the attention of an opinion molder who will re-blog your posts?
And there’s no point in comparing your blog’s performance to anybody else’s, because of the apples-and-oranges principle. After all, blogging is not a competition sport, and to make it into one is only to court discouragement.
But it can be interesting to compete against yourself: How is your blog doing now, compared to last week? Last month? Last year? Six years ago? Daily statistics are most meaningful in the aggregate: How do Tuesdays compare to any other day? Or how do weekdays compare to weekends?
On the basis of figures for three days, can you forecast how well the week will do? What do the weekly numbers forecast about how the month will do? Can your blog’s monthly performance forecast the yearly total?
The bottom line.
It has taken about six years for my Irish Firebrands blog to garner more than six hundred followers. That probably has to do with the underlying purpose of my topic: “understanding writing,” which, although perhaps being somewhat arcane, is fascinating to me. I’m just glad to have found a like-minded group of a few hundred others who apparently feel some degree of similar interest.
The best measurement of blog performance is how it makes you feel to do it. The only sure thing about blogging as a form of the Art of Writing is that it should be enjoyable: if we’re not having fun, we’re not doing it right.