Some Thoughts About Book Blogging & Statistics

I’ve had my own book blog for over two years and it’s actually taken me this long to come to the following conclusions:

1.  Followers are way more important than daily views (generally).

On a more emotional level, it’s nice to know that currently more than 750 people enjoyed my blog enough to hit that follow button.  But what I’ve found in my two years of blogging is that followers really are more important than daily views.  Your average person stumbling across a blog isn’t going to leave a comment, but a follower might.  Followers are the more engaged, active members of your blogging community and for me that’s why they’re more important than the number of daily hits I get.

Aside from that on a purely marketing standpoint, blog tour companies, authors and publishers seem to be far more concerned about follower statistics than daily hits.  When signing up for blog tour companies I’ve only been asked once about daily hits (and I’ve signed up for 6 companies).  And publishers/authors are generally not all that concerned about daily hits as long as you have a decent number of followers.  I may only average 200 hits per day, but because of my 752 followers I get approved for a lot more review requests than I would if I had only 100 followers and 300+ hits per day.

2.  Book reviews suck statistics-wise.

I’ve written nearly 500 book reviews but those are not what bring people to my blog.  No, it’s my rants and articles that bring that most traffic.  With season 4 of Game of Thrones coming up on April 6 my traffic has experienced an enormous spike because I’m suddenly getting nearly one hundred hits per day on my rant Why Girls Hate Game of Thrones—A Rebuttal.  They’re not from people getting mad at the author for the initial ignorant article.  They’re from people searching things like ‘map of westeros’ and ‘game of thrones women’.  It’s sad to say, but for book bloggers, book reviews are not going to get you very far stats-wise.

3.  Blog tours rarely boost traffic.

I haven’t actually taken place in many blog tours yet but I can say that the ones I have taken part in have done absolutely nothing to enhance my traffic.  They’re a great promotional tool for authors to get their work out there and noticed in the blogosphere but for us bloggers they don’t really do much.  Sure, the host-only giveaways are sometimes a great incentive as well as the fact that you’re getting more free books to read, but if you’re only in it to increase your stats you’d be better off writing a book review.

That’s not to say that blog tours don’t benefit bloggers as well.  They’re good at helping you find awesome new authors.  Thanks to blog tours I have some new favourite books in Andromeda’s Fall by Abigail Owen and The Collector of Dying Breaths by M. J. Rose.  So if you’re not a big statistics fanatic, blog tours can be very beneficial by bringing books you otherwise never would have heard of to your attention.

***

If I had to give any advice from this article I’d say to my fellow book bloggers: don’t worry too much about statistics.  Sure, keep an eye on them if you want to be approved for those popular ARCs, but don’t let them run your life.  The internet is a fickle place and although one week you may have a huge increase in traffic the next week you’ll have a 50% decrease in traffic.  Worry more about building your community and getting some dedicated followers and you’ll do just fine.

29 comments

  1. Tammy Sparks

    I completely agree with you. It’s better to have people engaged in your blog by leaving comments than worrying about those who only stop by for giveaways, for example. I honestly try to forget about my stats and concentrate on putting out posts.

    • Carrie Slager

      That’s probably the best philosophy to have. I’m slightly more obsessed with my stats because I like to request ARCs from publishers, but I still value comments and followers more than page views.

    • Carrie Slager

      In WordPress it’s pretty easy because on the My Stats page it tells you how many followers you have through WordPress profiles and email combined. I’m sure it’s similar on other blogging platforms.

  2. marcuslee2401

    You could play around with the title of your review posts. Currently we use a straight title that highlights the Masq Scale, but in the past I used a quote from the review and generally got more hits per post. May have to go back to that now that the Masq Scale is almost a year old.

    Also, you could try putting the author’s Twitter handle in the title. When you or someone (such as me) tweets a post, the author may see it and retweet. Or others who retweet it may alert the author. That’s part of the power behind our Twitter Marketing. It’s got that stone skipping across a pond effect.

    Also, both our followers and daily hits go up as our Twitter following goes up, so although not everyone who follows your account on Twitter knows who you are or even cares, for every new person you follow and that follows back, there’s a chance of a new follower.

    Followers are important as you mentioned, but if they don’t come to the site, they don’t have a chance to engage. Thus, a random visitor has meaning as well, even if they don’t leave a comment. They may come back. After all, I doubt very many people hit the follow button after only the first visit.

    • Carrie Slager

      The thing about playing around with titles is that I really don’t like how messy they look with quotes, hashtags and @authors. It’s obviously beneficial for a promo site like yours but I may just have to tweet the authors manually if I write a good review. The titles suit The Masquerade Crew just fine but I don’t feel like they belong on my blog.

      That’s very true about Twitter, as shown by our little experiment! I was going to talk about social media in this post but decided to save it for a later date. It really is an important way to get followers.

      Yeah, I was talking more about dedicated followers, the ones who comment and engage in the blog. Random visitors that come back can be just as valuable in the case you describe.

      • marcuslee2401

        Composing the tweet and the title at the same time is simply about efficiency and the fact that countless people share our posts. There’s nothing stopping you from tweeting a different format to attract more clicks, visitors, regulars.

  3. marcuslee2401

    Speaking of stats, your Alexa ranking is holding pretty strong in the mid 400’s. It was closer to a million before we did our little experiment in January. Alexa bases the ranking on 3 months worth of stats, so I am curious what will happen to your number in April. It may go up a little, but my guess is that it won’t get close to a million as long as current traffic remains strong.

    • Carrie Slager

      I’m not sure if my Alexa ranking will go up because my traffic is pretty steady, holding an average of 246/day for all this month. Obviously I’m not getting as many views from Twitter as I was, but I seem to have way more people poking around the site and commenting on discussions lately. My traffic is most definitely up this month. I’m not sure if it will hold true for a couple months but I can hope.

  4. Rabindranauth

    Ive noticed that book reviews do indeed suck for gaining followers, I’ve come across more than one blog thats alot younger than mine with as much as three and four times the amount of followers I’ve picked up so far.

    I could care less 😀 My blog is for fun, I struggle to find time to read the books I want to, much less to make time for ARCs of books I’m only semi-interested in.

    Curiously, I seem to get the most new hits/followers if I can post around 12 PM GMT, so if you’re a new blogger looking to build a following, you can try mass-publishing around that time with the broad range tags (books, book reviews, movies, etc)

    • Carrie Slager

      For me, the best time to post is 12:00am MST. Then the post has the whole day to accumulate hits, likes and comments before it sinks down the page the next day. Then again, that’s not always true because this post is pretty popular and yet I didn’t publish it until noon on Sunday. It’s really hard to say!

      Blogging for fun is a great reason. I hope you continue to have fun blogging. 🙂

  5. Jay Dee

    Interesting. I’ve found the same thing. However, I’ve also found that if I consistently post daily, I not only get a higher number of views per day, but I get more engagement in my comments. High views can mean the chances of getting more followers is higher. But I do value my followers a lot more than the number of views.

    My reviews also don’t get a huge number of views, but there are some exceptions. Macbeth is my most popular review, and it’s one of my most popular posts. But my articles and opinions are number one.

    • Carrie Slager

      I’ve only ever posted daily so I honestly can’t comment on posting daily = higher stats for me personally. I’m sure it does increase your traffic but not everyone can post daily.

      Yes, I have exceptions too! 🙂 My review of The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton consistently is one of my most popular posts.

      • Jay Dee

        I went from posting weekly to posting daily in November, and I saw a big jump in views, followers, and comments. It just encouraged me more.

  6. Harliqueen

    A great post, very honest. I find building relationships with followers a great experience, and am more concerned with building a good base of supportive people than daily hits 😀

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  8. Ashley

    I’m not sure I entirely agree with you on point #1. I mean, I do agree with your point that regular viewers are more important than possible one-off visits… BUT, I don’t agree that follower numbers are important. Yes, 750 people have clicked follow, but that doesn’t mean that 750 people read your blog regularly, so the numbers is misleading. This is even moreso if you’ve ever made following you a giveaway requirement. People often click the “follow” button then never return.

    So I agree that followers are important, but I disagree that your follower number is an accurate representation of how many followers you have. I think regular, dedicated followers are better represented in the number of comments you get or the number of people who subscribe to your blog and open the emails. I can tell you that x number of people have subscribed to my blog through email, but only a portion of that number actually opens the emails regularly. It’s that second number that’s a more accurate representation of my number of followers.

    I do agree with all your other points though. My posts that get the most traffic are discussions and blogging tips. My reviews are pretty close to the bottom! And that works for me because I’ve been writing fewer and fewer reviews lately in favour of the discussions. 😛

    • Carrie Slager

      I know 750 don’t read my blog regularly, but I know that people don’t ‘often’ click a follow button and never return because of the traffic I get from Bloglovin and the WordPress reader. So that’s not necessarily true. Like I said, follower stats are (to me at least) generally more important than how many hits I get in a day.

  9. Anya

    Interesting, I’ve actually been hearing that unique monthly visitors is most important since it’s easy to inflate follower numbers by giving giveaway entries for following etc ya know? So just because I have 700 email followers, doesn’t mean that all 700 are actually reading the emails ever, whereas the actually visitors to the site are obviously at least looking at something. Most publisher info and blog tour sign ups that I’ve been seeing have also been asking for my unique monthly visitor number in addition to follower numbers, weird huh?

    I do agree that not worrying too much about stats in general is a much less stressful strategy ;-).

    • Carrie Slager

      Yes, it is easy to inflate follower numbers via giveaways but I don’t actually do many giveaways so I doubt my follower number is inflated artificially. 🙂

      I know full well that not all of my followers are reading my posts. But what I was more talking about was the followers who are regulars, the ones that comment around once a week because they’re genuinely interested about my blog. Those are why, to me, followers are way more important than unique monthly views. Just because a new person checks out a post I promoted on Twitter doesn’t mean they’re actually going to read it, comment on it, etc.

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  11. Cait

    This is really fantastic advice. 🙂 Love it. I’ve been blogging for 3 years (almost!) and I’m starting to figure out the same things. Like discussions hit more comments than reviews, and also, if you’re friendly in the blogging world, they’re more likely to be friendly back. (lol I’m a bit thick sometimes. 😉 Anyway! I found your link through Parajunkee and I’m just popping around to leave some comment love. XD

    • Carrie Slager

      Thanks! I always appreciate comment love. 🙂

      Yes, if you’re friendly in the blogging world of course people are more likely to be friendly back. However, you can’t be too accommodating because then people walk all over you asking for favour after favour. It’s a tough balance, to be honest and there’s always a learning curve.

  12. Goldie @ My Book Musings

    Since I have more reviews than discussion posts and memes, I tend to have more comments on my reviews. Actually, I rarely get comments on discussion posts! So that is not an issue on my blog. Funny, eh?

    I never thought of blog tours as attracting publicity. Do they, really? Sometimes I decline, it can be a huge pressure, too!

    • Carrie Slager

      I’ve always had far more reviews than discussions/articles but I still don’t get many comments on my reviews. It’s weird.

      Blog tours can attract publicity but only if they’re extremely well-run. Most don’t attract much publicity for bloggers, but the recent Andromeda’s Fall blog tour with Masquerade Tours has increased my traffic a little bit because of the giveaway and the schedule links. I think it all depends on the tour company.

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  14. katherinereads

    I agree with all of this! Especially the point about the low number of stats on book reviews – unless it’s a really pumped book or a highly anticipated ARC copy, they get such low views.

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