Sunday, 21 February 2016

"Help, My Stats are Stuck!" Why a Loyal Following is Better Than a Bigger One


Everyone who is everyone likes numbers, especially high numbers. Let's face it, I much prefer the number 47 to 3, because 47 is bigger, and therefore implies more of something. Sure, in terms of house numbers, that means more walking down the road to actually reach home after a long day in work, but generally, the bigger the number, the more there is, and the better it is. Most of the time.

I watch my statistics pretty regularly. Some might say I check them too often, but a weekly check of Google Analytics and Sumome, a daily check of Squarelovin', and maybe a monhtly check on my Twitter and Pinterest analytics works best for me, it allows me to check out what works, what doesn't, and what can be improved upon or continued into the next period of time.

Sometimes, I like my statistics.
Sometimes, I don't.

Why?

Sometimes, I check them out and find that they haven't changed in the way I would have liked them too, aka, they haven't grown up, matured a little over time. Sometimes, my numbers aren't bigger, and I panic that all my hard work, all the time and effort I'm putting into blogging, promoting, marketing, socialising, it's all, well, one big failed attempt at getting one step further to my goals.

Sometimes, I want to throw in the towel, quit work, catch a flight to nowhere and sulk.
Other times I think to myself: "are you really paying attention to the numbers that actually matter?"

What sounds better to you, 100 people walking into your shop every day, and not a single one of them buying anything, or 100 people walking into your shop every day, 50 of them regulars who always buy something, and always return the following day?

There's a difference between a browser and a follower.
Who do you think is better to count on?


Getting big numbers visiting your blog or site is a good thing, it means that whatever you had to offer, people are interested and want to check it out, but if the only check out that one thing, and find that there's nothing else they want from you, then they're going to leave you high and dry, and as good as that number looks, it's not really something you should be relying on.

If you're blog isn't growing the way you'd like it to, there are thousands upon thousands of post out there, ready and waiting to tell you how to make it happen, the different options you could try, how many hours, weeks, months, years it could take you to get to that magical number in your mind, but if your customer service stinks, you won't get anywhere.

What does customer service have to do with blog growth?!

I work in the retail industry. If all goes to plan, I am more than likely the only person customers will interact with during their shopping trip, because I'm a checkout assistant. I'm the type of staff member stores like mine rely on to get repeat business through the doors. If I succeed in making the experience as stress free, quick, easy and pleasant for the customer as possible, there's a bigger chance they'll come back. There's also a bigger chance they'll spread the word to other people, potential customers.

That is my stores number one marketing method. No funny gimmicks. No adverts.

Word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing.
If you suck, the world will know about it.


The same works for your blog. If all goes to plan, you want your readers to interact with your blog and have a stress free, easy and pleasant experience, all in the hope they'll come back at a later date, making them returning visitors, and maybe future customers, rather than just visitors.

Your goal shouldn't be to just get visitors.
You should be aiming for returning visitors.


Take a look at your blog statistics on Google Analytics and check out your comparison between new and returning visitors. I'd bet you any money that even though your regular pageviews and sessions might not have grown all that much, your returning visitors is looking pretty hot in comparison to those newbies. Sure, newbies are great, you get to inspire and influence people you've never interacted with before, but setting the focus on making those newbies regulars is almost always better.

A loyal following is better than a large following. Always.


Whether you're just blogging for the hobby, or you're turning your blog 180 and making a career out of it, you will always need loyal readers, people who share your content, people who keep coming back for more because they know you'll always provide an amazing service, be it content, products, experience or an actual service, and they are the visitors most likely to do something to benefit you and your blog.

If you want numbers, go and get them. If you want loyal followers, earn them.

It's much harder to get a loyal following. For some people, it can take months, for others, it can take years, and it all comes down to the kind of service you provide people with, and how positive that service is. Some days, you'll be tired, you'll be upset, you'll start to wonder 'what's the point, nobody cares', but that's when you should look at those returning visitors, the ones you inspire and help become better people, the ones that stand by you and care about what you have to say, the ones who, if you dared to ask, might even send some new readers your way, or try out your new product, or help you create one.

Who knows, they might even become your friends..

How do you feel about your blog statistics? Do you care?


18 comments:

  1. This is REALLY true, and something that I absolutely need to remind myself of more often. Because of course I'd rather 10 people who cared than 100 people who didn't. But yeah, I DO get discouraged sometimes. Especially when I hit a milestone, get super excited, and then BAM, numbers drop. And it stresses me out. And also makes me feel like I can never take breaks because what will even happen?

    The funny thing is, the stats don't really even matter all that much, do they? I am making zero dollars, so it isn't like my income would drop bwhahah. So why do I get so worked up? I think for me, it's because there is NO concrete way to measure "success" or "failure" with blogging- these silly numbers are the closest thing I have! But you're SO right- I need to remember that really, some random number about how many people stumbled upon my blog in a given month isn't really the end of the world! LOVE this post!

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    1. I feel you though Shannon, getting 150 - 200 pageviews a day can be disheartening when you're looking for more, and it's tough to stay motivated, but oh man, the people that follow you and read your content every time, they make it worth the hard work. I do think there's a problem of measuring success, so I might have to write a post on that too! Thanks though Shannon, glad you liked it :)

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  2. Great post! This time around (after taking a year off from blogging), I have a much more laid back approach to stats/numbers. In fact I intentionally don't look at them/track them. If you're genuine and are having fun with things, that will come across in your posts and it will draw readers to your blog. I'm very pleased with the number of comments my posts are getting, many of them by repeat readers. That tells me that I'm doing something right and people are enjoying my blog as much as I'm enjoying running it!

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    1. That's a very important thing too, if you're having fun and that's what's super high in your priorities, then that's what matters most. I find that repeat comments and shares and tweets are always telling you you're doing it right, and I love it when it happens to me too :)

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  3. I have incredibly loyal followers who have turned into friends I can email with, and I prefer that to a crowd of people who don't interact with me at all.

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    1. That's great Skye, creating loyal followers and gaining friends is always best! :)

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  4. I do care about stats, but not as much as I used to. I know how to get them higher, and am not at a point where I feel like I am working hard enough to get them higher and so what I have no is perfectly fine.
    I think with followers, having a following doesn't necessarily mean that all the followers you have are loyal and I think that's what I'm taking from this. However it seems logical that the more popular a blog...the more loyal followers?

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    1. I would say that that is most likely yes, the more loyal followers a blog has, the more viewing that blog will get, and loyal followers and friends will share content, promote for you and tell others about, so therefore more popular yes. It's all about making sure you're happy where you are, and that you're not bogging yourself down with high numbers when it's more about keeping who you have on board :)

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  5. Yessss, I definitely care. If I didn't care, I mean, why would I blog publicly?! I don't like to obsess over them, but I at least check weekly. And sometimes get pleased and sometimes get really frustrated. xD it sucks to spend HOURS blogging and then find your stats have dropped, right?! But I totally agree that the loyal followers are the golden ones. I legit have some people who comment on every. single. post. I. write and OMG IT JUST MAKES ME FEEL SO GOOD. I honestly just want to give them a dragon or a cake or a dragon cake, tbh, to show my appreciation. :')

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    1. Oh I know that feeling Cait, I do, but then I'll take note of the type of post and see what people enjoy more or less, or how I could have promoted it better, things that will help me in future. I always forget to comment on yours, but I read them all, EVERY SINGLE ONE. It does make you feel good though, so I'll have to do it more ;)

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  6. Stats are important but engagement is even more important. I started blogging when I was 13 years old when it was ALL about the personal blog. Ofcourse there was the usual pinch or two of drama but for the most part everyone respected one another. There was this common rule of how to write a comment and actual encouragement of reading one anothers blogs. When I stopped then got back into it a few years later, EVERYONE had a blog. Not just a blog but a fashion blog. And I used to catch people just leaving comments to plug their website or some even botting. It made me very sad. I didn't really want to come back but then I realized I had to stay in line with my personal journey and reasons for blogging. Engagement is so important. And you want loyal followers that enjoy your material. Not people who just want to plug their site.

    xo, N
    www.natashasolae.com

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    1. Could not agree more Natasha, it's all engagement and less plugging for sure! :)

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  7. OMG yes I care so much about stats. I mean ... I only post things that I like, so I use stats to figure out what of those posts my readers like. Then I make more and better posts like that! I feel like that makes the most sense. My returning visitors vs new visitors used to be an equal balance which I was happy with, but I've been playing with Pinterest these couple weeks so it's tipping in the new visitors favour. But at the end I can absolutely remember those commenters who are on every single post much more than the exact number of pageviews I got on a specific day more ... and those commenters are the ones I continue to blog for and listen to the most!

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    1. Exactly, it's always worth checking out what people like because then you can create more! I always have more love for those that share and speak to me, it's wonderful :)

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  8. I love this blog post. I just started out blogging and I am focused more on the getting the loyal followers who actually read what I am writing. I also work in retail and great customer service is key! Great post!

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    1. Thanks lovely! So pleased you liked it, the loyal followers will help you get more in the future for sure :)

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  9. Such a great post and so what I need to think about/hear! You are so right! I follow a lot of blogs but there only a handful that I always read and comment on and that is all I want, too!!

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    1. Thanks Eva! When you think about it, the ones you always visit are your favourites, so it's no surprise that people like to focus on them rather than just numbers! :)

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