Thursday, July 24, 2014

How to Battle the Blogging Slumps (AKA Sunny Talks About Stats)

There comes a time in every blogger's life when they go through the blogging slumps. I've been through it a few times over my three years of blogging. Most recently, it hit me a few months ago.

I've always loved looking at my blog stats. I won't deny it. I love seeing the GFC followers grow and I love seeing my page views spike. I love what I blog about, but I won't lie and say that I could be one of those bloggers who writes just for the fun of it and doesn't give two hoots about who's reading (or in my case not reading). Call me shallow, but for me half the fun of blogging is knowing that people are reading, and seeing the interactions between reader and writer.

So you can imagine how I felt when my stats looked like this:


I was used to an upwards trend in my view-counts. Of course there were a few dips, but in general the graph kept moving up. Suddenly, after such a high point the view counts plummet. The next month is a bit better, but the following months are showing a downward trend. It might not look terrible to an outsider, but to me (granted I can be a tad bit dramatic) I was not happy.


I started thinking "What if I'm a has-been? Like those old athletes at the Olympics or...or like a grown up child Disney star? You know they do say that blogs are only supposed to last a year or two, and I've been around longer than that...Is the content drying up? WHAT IF NO ONE LIKES MY BLOG ANYMORE?!!!" 

See what I meant when I said I may be a bit dramatic?

I fell into a blogging slump. I just didn't feel good about A Splash of Ink anymore, and I didn't feel like writing. I know that I shouldn't see the value of my blog in the view-counts, but I still do (at least partially). After a few weeks though, I managed to pull myself out of the slump, and here's how I did it:

1. I took a closer look at the view-counts.
I realized that in that "high point" my view-count was slightly inflated with page views from web crawlers. You know, those random sketchy websites that you see in your traffic sources. Those page views weren't from real people. The crawler websites stopped...crawling (terminology??) the month after the high point which contributes to some of that seemingly drastic drop. Realizing this made me feel a lot better.

2. I looked at blog posts that were getting the best responses.
I looked at what blog posts were getting a) lots of comments and b) lots of page views. Usually these posts tended to be the ones that enjoyed writing the most. These posts were often on the shorter and lighter side. They were tighter and frankly more entertaining, in my opinion. With this new knowledge, I committed to writing better quality posts.

3. I made changes.
If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got. Take a second to wrap your head around that statement. If I wanted to see that upward trend again in my view counts, I was going to have to shake things up a bit. That was when I introduced the twice a week posting schedule. I started working harder on commenting on other people's blogs and just being around in the blog-o-sphere, which I had been neglecting.



I didn't come out of the slump right away, but as I started to implement some of those changes I saw results. Comments started flowing back in and the view-count started climbing again. It took a couple of months to return to that high point, but this time the high point view-count was free of the "fake" web crawler views, which made it that much sweeter.

If you're in that blogging slump, I encourage you to keep going. Keep learning and keep blogging; it doesn't last. I wrote some more about the insecurities of blogging awhile back; if you're interested in reading them click here. Are you in a blogging slump? What are your tips for getting out of the slump? Thoughts and comments, let me know below!

Reading: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
Listening: Rufus Wainright
Watching: Covert Affairs

16 comments:

  1. I really needed this today. My blog has been very quiet and I even lost a follower recently (which, when you only had twenty, is a big deal). I feel bad about this at the moment, especially because I haven't been as active in the blogosphere as I should have. But this is definitely encouraging in that it helps me recognise that I can turn this around. After Camp NaNo. I just can't keep up with everything this month...

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    1. I'm so happy to be able to help you out! I know exactly how you feel. It hurts when someone "unfollows", no matter how many followers you have. I also found it helpful when I realized that it was okay to have slower months on the blog when I had busier months in real life.

      I wish you all the best in your future blogging:)

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  2. Thanks for the post! It's great advice that I'll definitely be listening to!

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    1. No problem! Thanks for stopping by:)

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  3. Making changes is one the the best ways to beat a slump. I did the A-Z challenge for the first time this year--something I swore I'd never do--but it REALLY helped renew my enjoyment of blogging again, even though I returned to a once-a-week schedule afterwards. I also keep dreaming up blog series ideas that I can fall back on when I'm stumped.

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    1. Yes! Blog series are the best! I have a few going (that probably need more posts, haha) and they're great for when I don't have as much time to give to blogging or when I can't think of anything. I also find it helpful to keep track of any ideas that I have, so I can fall back on those as well:)

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  4. This is awesome! As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

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    1. Haha, yes. What a great quote! I will definitely be using that one!

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  5. I nominated you for a blog award http://butterfliesoftheimagination.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/two-blog-awards-the-sunshine-award-and-the-very-inspiring-blogger-award/.

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    1. Thanks so much for the award! It's lovely:)

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  6. That is some good advice. I've hit a slump right now and have been trying to get out of it. Most of mine is I've been so busy writing I haven't done any really good posts in far too long. But the commenting on other blogs has fallen by the wayside as well, and as you said, commenting helps a lot. Just being around other blogs in general does.

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    1. I cannot stress how much being around the blog-o-sphere has enriched my blogging experience:) You're right, it helps so much!

      The blogging slumps because of all the novel writing are some of the best slumps to be in. Nevertheless,I wish you all the best in your blogging and hope you can get back at it!

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  7. Thanks for sharing your struggle and how you came out of it! Yes, the posts that do the best are the ones that are well put together and are thoughtful. we all like to share our thoughts and ideas so these types of posts are best. I like how you included the search engine crawlers that count as hits. They really do screw our results from the meaningful visitors, don't they?

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    1. You're welcome! I'm happy to talk about experiences like this.

      And yes! When I found out what a crawler was and how it effected my stats, it was like I could finally see clearly. I only want to track my success through meaningful vistors.

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  8. Oh...so so much awesome in this post. ABSOLUTELY YES to all your advice. I often got hung up on my horrible stats...until I started, you know, actually talking to bloggers. Heh. I treated bogging as a very one-sided thing. "Just come and read my posts but I'll never read yours"...not intentionally, I just didn't "get it". Then, lightbulb. Heh. Now my stats make me happy. But I totally agree with doing-something-different now and then, to shake things up. It's fun for me to write them too, so win-win situation, right?

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    1. I know the lightbulb you're talking about! I remember when I figured out the whole interaction part of the blog-o-sphere. It was a little bit intimidating at first, but I grew to really enjoy it.

      And as always, thanks for the compliments!

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