I'm obsessed with them.
It all started when my blog started gaining a little traction. A few hundred here, a few hundred there.
Suddenly, a project I didn't have any plans for became a possibility. An exciting possibility.
My page views went up and I liked the way it felt.
Validation for my efforts. Attention. Recognition.
But what goes up, must come down. (Or so the saying goes...)
As I saw my Wordpress bar chart go from looking like a New York skyline to straight-up suburban, I felt, well... anxious.
Perhaps I'm not meant to admit it, but page views and vanity metrics and Google Analytics and unique visitors are making me miserable. Instead of focusing on the positives, I find myself obsessing over my next milestone.
"How many newsletter subscribers should I have? Why did Instagram have to change their algorithm? Will I ever become a "big" blogger?"
If you put yourself and your work out there on the Internet, I applaud you. Because this shit is hard. Hitting publish takes courage. Promoting your work takes courage. Building something from nothing takes courage.
It doesn't help that the amount of noise around growing your blog is deafening. Everywhere you click, there's a friendly-looking blogger with an online course to sell you. More page views! More subscribers! More! More! More!
But that isn't why I started blogging.
I started because I love to write and, for the first time in my life, felt like I had something to share.
Maybe you dream of being a full-time blogger. Maybe you're already one. Either way, my point is this:
Obsessing over your follower count isn't going to change anything. It's only going to STOP you from coming up with the ideas that can actually grow your audience.
So! The next time you start obsessing over your page views, here are some more productive and positive things you can do instead:
1. Write your truth
Authenticity may be the buzzword du jour, but it's true. Writing honesty and candidly for yourself, rather than purely for page views, will help you attract your tribe over time. Repeat after me: Your tribe is out there. Make sure they find your best, truest self when they visit your blog.
2. Get to know your audience better
If you haven't already heard the term "micro influencer", you soon will. Many brands are shifting towards wanting to work with bloggers who have a strong and loyal audience. Quality not quantity, basically. Instead of spending ten minutes checking your stats, use the time to ask your audience's opinion. What do they love about your content? What do they want to see more of? Invest time in building your engagement.
3. Support other bloggers
Go read another blogger's work, leave a comment, share it and support each other. Building your online audience is all about building a community. How can you build your future audience when you're too engrossed in your current metrics?
4. Trust your timing
If you're consistent and continually producing high quality content, your blog and social media networks *will* grow over time.
Your value as a content creator isn't based on your page views, or your follower count, or any other online numbers. It's based on your engagement. With your audience and yourself.
5. Focus on your wins
Start keeping a blogging journal. This will get you away from the screen (hallelujah!) and be a positive outlet for you to reflect on all you've achieved so far, without looking at a graph for validation. Write down a monthly win. Document the posts that have done well. Identify any trends. My best ideas always take place away from my laptop. Writing everything down in pencil is proven to help you think more creatively.
6. Remember your intention
Disclaimer: it's totally ok to want to grow your blog. Running a blog is time-consuming and you deserve to make money from your efforts. Just don't lose sight of why you started in the first place.
From now on, I'll be following these steps religiously.
And if my page views go up in the process? Well, that's just great :)