I imagine most bloggers have a love-hate relationship with their blog stats. I know we are all guilty of trying to play it cool and saying “it’s not about the numbers.” I will hold my hands up and admit I’ve done it. It’s a lie I have probably broadcast on Twitter and tried to tell myself in my own mind.
Truthfully, my reality couldn’t be further from that. I suck at playing it cool. I still find myself making little goals, squealing with delight when I get new followers and bursting with pride when I’m telling my boyfriend about the latest milestone. There were tears in my eyes the day my blog passed 300 views in one day. I occasionally throw in a happy dance, too. These moments make me feel good. They should be treasured and celebrated.
On the other hand, I do catch myself thinking: why am I like this? Why does it matter so much? More importantly, do I need to take a step back and chill out?
When I started this blog, I did have selfish intentions to a certain extent. I wanted people to read my writing and enjoy it. More than that, I wanted to know they liked it so it would boost my confidence. It was a risk. For all I knew, it could have backfired and I could have been laughed off the internet. Regardless, I came here because I wanted to be seen. Otherwise, I would have made use of one of the many notebooks I have lying around and never let anyone read a word.
There was more to it than that, though. Far more. The main reason I created a blog was to help people. I was desperate for them to know they weren’t alone with their mental health struggles, and to understand it was okay to ask for help. A few weeks into my blogging journey, it started to develop and I just wanted to help anyone I could. I wanted to make them happy, by any means necessary. Whether it was supporting them with their blog or checking in to see that they were okay, I wanted to be a positive force.
So, when the views started coming in and the Twitter numbers started creeping up, I was ecstatic. All of these people wanted to read what I had to say. I had the opportunity to make these lives better, in one way or another. By being a friend, follower and fan, I could make people smile. I could be an example to them that there are good people in this world. That became my mission.
Your mission might be completely different to mine. It doesn’t matter. When it comes down to it, each of those numbers represents a real-life person who is choosing to read your blog (with the exception of a few bots here and there.) It’s a person who cares so much about what you have to say, they want to connect with you on Twitter. They don’t want to miss a thing, so they’ve liked your Facebook page and followed you on Instagram, too. Why wouldn’t we be happy about that?
No one publishes a book because they hope no one will read it. We are publishing content online. We are doing this on a public platform. If we truly didn’t care, we’d write it in a notebook and stick it under our pillows instead, or make our sites private. If we were doing this solely for ourselves, we wouldn’t be here. You can write for yourself without putting it online. We wouldn’t work so hard if it didn’t matter.
I didn’t hold out much hope of this blog being seen by many people. Despite being determined, I knew how packed the blogging world was and, so, I doubted my little space would get much attention. To have the reception I have had is nothing short of incredible to me. I’m thankful for every single person’s involvement in this – every follower, every comment, every share, every like, every retweet. All the things people have done to drive me further with this blog have filled my heart with happiness. To come into this, nervous and full of doubt, and to have so many people tell me they like my writing is precious. Why should I try to convince myself – or anybody else, for that matter – that I am not delighted by it all?
I still have a long way to go and things I want to achieve. One thing I know for sure is that I plan to celebrate every step of the way. I am working hard to earn this, as I’m sure you are, too. It takes a lot of time, dedication and hard work to run a blog. We should make the most of the moments which make it all worthwhile.
It’s not a popularity contest and you shouldn’t obsess over it. There’s a thin line and you need to be careful. Keep in mind that, whether there’s one person or one hundred reading your blog, it’s someone you have reached. Maybe they’ll leave your blog better than when they arrived. Your words might resonate with them and encourage them to do something they wouldn’t have otherwise. Maybe they’ll tell their friends, maybe they’ll come back, or maybe nothing will ever come of it. But you put your words out there and somebody somewhere read them. That’s magnificent!
Next time you find yourself grinning from ear to ear because you’ve smashed your targets, embrace it. Know that you’re doing a great job. Jump up and down. Buy your favourite bar of chocolate to celebrate. Do whatever you want, but don’t feel guilty for it.