Do Blog Stats Matter?

Derek Ouellette —  May 31, 2011

This question has actually been quite vexing for me. I’ve tried to kid myself many times and say that the statistics on this blog don’t really matter. That I simply have a passion to write and that though none go with me still I will, ah, blog. Well you remember the old song, “though none go with me, still I will follow”… that may be true with my blog, but it is a lonely and depressing journey.

I read an analogy recently somewhere that went like this: you wake up in the morning feeling great, full of confidence and absolutely certain that all of the hard work you’ve put into your diet is truly paying off. Then you step on the scale in the bathroom and to your surprise you see that you’ve actually gained 2 lbs. Instant deflation. Suddenly the sun stops shining, the birds stop chirping and your coworkers are wondering what they did to get you so upset.

Blog stats have that effect.

I have a pastor-friend who once told me that I would know if I was called to go into full-time ministry if I felt passionately that no other vocation in this world could satisfy. That’s kind of like blogging for me. It’s a personal journey to be sure. But if that’s all it is then I would keep a personal journal hidden in my desk. No, it’s more then that. It’s a kind of fellowship. Unorthodox fellowship maybe. But fellowship nonetheless.

And that’s where blog stats come in. Nobody wants to journey alone.

The question professional bloggers always remind us to ask ourselves is this: why did you start writing in the first place? My mission, my purpose for blogging has not changed. I want to challenge people to grow in their faith. It is a ministry, but there are many types of ministry. What I’ve always seen in church week after week my whole life are dwarfs. People who don’t care to be nurtured. People who don’t care to grow. People who don’t care to be challenged.

But imagine a baby who never challenges itself to take its first steps. The other day I watched an old video clip taken in 1977 (with an 8mm cam.) of my sister’s first steps. It was really cute, but it also looked really hard. Her knees were wobbling as she concentrated on each step until she found herself in her older brothers arms. Everyone cheered. But if she never did that, if she never exercised those muscles she wouldn’t be walking today. Her legs would be thin and weak and her life seriously lacking in quality. Sure she’d be alive, but would she be really living?

Many Christians may be “born”(-again), but my purpose here is to challenge us all to work our muscles, to press our assumptions and to strive for a deeper understanding of this Christian faith and of our God.

I haven’t forgotten that mission. But if I had only one visitor per day, would I keep doing it? That is a difficult question to answer.

So, do blog stats matter?

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.
  • rob Haskell

    Good thoughts Derek. For myself I blog (and write in other venues) in order to communicate. So yeah, stats matter. If no one is listening there is a problem. Communication is not happening. On the other hand, I think that I would much prefer low stats and lots of discussion than what has happened some times on my blog, where I’ll get 500 visits to a post, but no comments. Then you take a look at superstar bloggers who somehow have dozens of comments and incoming links to anything they pen, and you wonder how what they are doing is different? Generally it’s because they have a pull that is external to blogging. They are known authors of books, known speakers, respected scholars, etc. It’s a bit of an uphill for a random blogger to make ins into the super blogger Christian scene. But another thing I sometimes contemplate is that we writers sometimes nurse the romantic notion that if we just write, people will eventually notice and read. Ain’t so. We also have to be savvy about getting our stuff out. Blessings!

    • Derek Ouellette

      It’s true Rob, maybe we should discuss whether or not stats matter in relation to comments. Jesus observed that no one lights a lamp and then hides it because lamps are meant to shine light. In the same way, words are meant to be read (which is why stats matter) and dialogue is meant to be engaging (which is why comments matter). I also had the mentality early on that “if I write it, they will come”… Ha! How innocent I was.

      Thanks for sharing.

  • John Gardner

    When I first began blogging in 2003, my blog was basically an online version of my personal journal. I’d been writing daily for years to help me organize and process thoughts, and figured the Internet would be a better way to ensure that I wouldn’t lose that material, should I ever wish to go back and re-visit an earlier me.

    But now I have the same sort of struggle you have. I like to think that I still care as little about blog stats as I did eight years ago, but it is addicting to see those hits coming in. I still use the blog to organize and process my thoughts, but it’s now a public journey, and many others have told me that they’ve benefited. I find myself spending more and more time publicizing the blog and coming up with content that others might want to read, but always have to struggle to keep my pride at bay. If I ever start writing just for hits, it’ll be time to shut the blog down…

    Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading this one!

  • Jon

    Wow, exactly something I’ve been thing along as well at the moment. Sometimes the pressure is to write something that everyone is discussing. This is actually good but sometimes not everything that people are discussing pumps the passion in us to write sometimes. I remember when the explosion of discussion on Rob Bell’s book came I quickly jumped into the band wagon and posted links, not for the sake of discussion but more for blog traffic. Well, that’s my honest confession here. Yes, we do need these discussions to propel us to write but the question is, is it really the thing we are passionate about? Anyways great discussion you have here.

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  • Julio

    In the beginning it doesn’t.

    But then when you get more and more visitors, you have some kind of responsibility.

    that’s all, as I see it.