Size Does Matter

I forget sometimes that you guys don't get to see this blog from this side of the screen. I forget that, as long as things are going smoothly, you don't have any idea that people are flooding in and brushing past you on the way to another post. All you see is what you click on. For all you know everything is the same as any other day.

 

The last couple of days have been a little weird. A couple of bloggers that live a little higher up the food chain than me, decided to have some fun with one of my posts from last week and tried to make it go viral. It was great fun and while you regular readers were sipping your coffee and pondering the supremacy of WordPress or Blogger, a couple of hundred people were pushing past you to find out what Google was up to now.

 

It was very cool to have the rush of traffic but I learned something that shocked me.

 

I didn't like it.

 

As most of you guys know, I'm a stats hound. (I prefer my name for it, GnomeyNewt.) What you may not know is I watch my stats obsessively. So much so, I recognize most of your IPs. When I look at my detail page on Sitemeter it displays IPs and ISPs but I see my readers. I have found I can only keep up with about 100 per day. (I know this because last Tuesday was the first time I had hit 100 in one day and it was all I could do to keep up.)

 

Yesterday the count went over 200 and instantly, I lost the intimate feel of this blog. I couldn't see who visited when and what they read. All I could do was look at referrals and trends and outclicks and all that other sterile, non personal stuff.

 

Nope, don't care for it. It's not that I don't appreciate the new visitors, I do. It waas just a little uncomfortable with the crowd milling about. Fortunately traffic has died back down a bit. I like small parties with my friends, not roaring nightclubs where I see my friends from across the room.

 

Maybe it's just a growing pain. Blogging success and traffic go hand in hand. I wonder if this is why successful performers talk about missing the small venues.

 

I realize most of you have better numbers than these every day. What do you do to maintain the personal relationship with your blog readers? Do you only worry about your commentators and ignore the lurkers? Do you miss being small? Would you go back?

12 comments:

Kuanyin said...

Yup...like being small-ish! Like you say, it's more intimate! :-)

joen05 said...

I haven't quite hit that number yet, I am trying to grow though. I still hit almost every one of the blogs on my blogroll at least once a week though, and I try to comment whenever I do! I did find that when my hits increased, there were less comments on the blog, which I didn't like. Huge numbers doesn't always add up to a lot of clicks either, so.. it's a toss up. I'd like to continue to grow.

Brown Baron said...

With the kind of content you produce, you can't help but become big :)
Stats? I'm a total junkie too.

Jayne said...

When I first started my blog, I would try to visit every person whose image popped up on BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog as visitors. Now I just visit them if they join my neighborhood or send me a message.

I visit and return-comment my commenters, but there really isn't any practical way to keep up with the lurkers.

But then I'm wanting to build a community of people who participate, so if someone glances and moves on, then I don't wonder who they are so much as how to get them to stick around a bit longer.

I'm actually trying to ween myself off visiting stats, because I find it more of a distraction than anything! I go to try to see what's popular and what's drawing readers in, but if I dwell there, I feel like I'm just obsessing.

Ad Tracker said...

@ Kuanyin - I agree, smaller is better. Aloha!


@ Joen05 - I understand exactly how you feel. Enjoy it while you can.


@ Brown Baron - Thanks! I don't think I would enjoy blogging nearly as much without the stats :)


@ Jayne - I guess that's just part of growing. I still don't think I like it :/

YC said...

Well I can understand your POV, Adtracker - it definitely is easier to handle communication-wise if it's small - but I would like more readership definitely - guess for me it's a matter of finding the right balance. I know my group of regular readers and friends, and would love to know more people, but if it grows - gosh you would really understand why the 'authority bloggers' seldom respond. :)

Joe said...

Adtracker,

We always try our best to produce the best article we can, no matter how many visitor we have. So I think we really only cater to the folks who comment on our articles.

Keep up the great work!
NYSK responses!

P.S. Great headline by the way. I need help in creating headlines.

Brent said...

Newton, "If I have seen further it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."

Aaron Cook said...

Hey there...You've been tagged!

Also mentioned you in the audio commentary as well. :) I totally enjoy your writing and perspective and am thankful that I came across it.

Shine on,
Aaron

Telling It Like It Is said...

Loved your post here! I have not yet become enthralled and obsessesed with stats quite yet. Not to say that I won't, since I've just today added my sitemeter, thanks to you mentioning it :) so now maybe I'll take a little time out to check it out from time to time. I'm simply too busy writing content, checking out other blogs, commenting on them, stumbling etc to stress over stats as of yet. You're doing a great job, and as you well know, I stop by quite often to see what's going on here.

Bobby said...

I have been through the exact same thing. I have learned to have a completely different approach to traffic because of it.

If I get 500 new people looking at my blog, I may get 1 or 2 new friends out of it. I maintain a very personal feel and I maintain the friendships I build even during big traffic spikes.

I learned to be indifferent to it. If I have 5 visitors or 1000, It makes me feel no different. My friends are the only ones who count.

I like to ask this question:
If you reached a high pagerank and out of the blue, John Chow wanted to be your buddy, would you go for it? Say her writes a big post on how great you are and thousands of people are jealous, dying for such an opportunity like that. Would you respond?

I would completely ignore it and would be embarrassed to be associated with him. I wouldn't say thanks and I would redirect any links from him away from my blog.

I have my friends and the only way any big blogger would have a chance would be to prove his or her friendship to me.

I hope you are not mad at me. I had no intention of doing anything but getting a few laughs and supporting you simply because I think highly of your work.

Some people get the impression that my blog is big, but my blog is just a hub of friends and it is small by any standards.

You are too good not get a growing stream of traffic and what you are going through is normal for people who care about others!!!!!

I sure hope you have a great Sunday! I will be reading all your posts only because I personally like you:)

Ad Tracker said...

@ YC - I'm sure I'l get over it. It was just a little disorienting not being able to see things like I was used to.


@ Joe - I think that is probably the only way to do it. I'm just resistant to giving up the closeness.

Glad you like the headline. I always write my headlines last so I thought of that just before I wrote it and hit submit ;)


@ Brent - You always have good comments. I could never forget that you guys are what it's all about :)


@ Aaron Cook - Thanks so much for the mention and endoresment. I truly appreciate you thinking of me but I hope you'll understand when I say that I don't participate in memes and linktrains. I've blogged about it in the past and maybe I'll blog about it again soon. I'm not trying to be a snob, I just don't do it. Thanks anyway though :)


@ Telling - You're doing it the right way! Turn away! Don't stare into the Stats! It'll change you ;)


@ Bobby - Goodness gracious NO! I'm not mad at anyone. I just got a little taste of what I thought I had always wanted and found it wasn't as cool as I expected.

What you and Gary did was a very nice thing and I appreciate it. I think maybe sometimes my blog posts are directed more at myself than my readers. As much therapy as anything.

I realize if this blog succeeds, I will have to give up a lot of the intimacy I have come to relish and begin to communicate to my readers as more of a whole than individuals. It will just take time for me to get my head wrapped around it.

Thanks for the understanding, support and encouragement :)