Just from the title alone, I know some of you who are fellow bloggers are probably gasping.
We’ve all seen post after post talking about the importance of viewing your analytics, the benefits of learning more about which posts are doing well, and how they’ve improved their views by insert percentage here by doing insert action here. We’ve all come across income reports explaining how they made x amount of money in a month by increasing their interaction.
This post is not to discourage analytics as I think they are certainly helpful. I also think there’s nothing wrong with looking into these things as a serious blogger, hoping to turn a hobby into a part-time or full-time career. However, I stopped looking at them after realizing that it was starting to affect me a lot.
You see, I started blogging because I loved to write and the teenager in me wanted an outlet to express my teenage angst, my boy crushes, and all the other things most people could care less about. I started my first blog on Blogger when I was in my last year of high school and wrote whatever was in my heart. I didn’t care who was viewing what from where or how many comments I got (I got none, by the way, hehe). I just enjoyed using that space to vent about all that seemed so important in my world back then, but in hindsight was so trivial and angsty.
I also had a side blog where I wrote poetry – not even considering whether people liked it or not.
I stopped writing on both blogs sometime during college, opting to start this special blog at some point during my junior or senior year of college. You can read more about my reason for starting this blog here.
In short, none of those reasons including being the biggest influencer on the internet or having thousands and thousands of comments or feeling concerned about whether I’m meeting a certain quota in regards to interactions. Those things are cool to know and as someone who’s recently became more serious about blogging, I see the value in it, but when you start criticizing your work and more importantly, yourself as a result, I think that’s when it gets to be too much.
Since connecting my blog to Google Analytics, I’ve found myself getting really depressed when I’d compare my growth to some other influencers on the net. There are so many companies I’d love to collaborate with and opportunities on some influencer networks I joined that I’d love to take part in, but when it came down to it I couldn’t match up to others. My voice and audience wasn’t large enough. While I definitely rejoice in seeing my fellow bloggers succeed, get the partnerships their seeking, and continue to kick serious butt, I found that I began to insult my own writing and become really hard on myself because I wasn’t making a certain number of impressions.
As someone who pours their heart out in their posts, I began to take it personally.
Maybe my voice isn’t interesting enough.
Maybe I’m too boring and my content isn’t as interesting. Many of the blogging-help posts I’d see would often validate this in their articulation that what helped them grow was making their content more interesting.
I could post all day about what’s cool, but what good is it if it’s inauthentic? What good is it if I am sharing those things primarily to gain an audience – even if the content is no interest to me?
So after reading this post by one of my fellow blogger friends, Megan from Apron Strings and Sticky Fingers, I felt inspired to do something that I felt convicted to for a little while, now – I stopped checking my Google analytics.
I stopped obsessing over how many views I did or did not get on posts.
I stopped worrying about whether I would hear back from a company I pitched to.
I stopped worrying about whether my posts about my faith would or have caused certain opportunities to no longer exist.
I stopped being so concerned about that and simply began writing again without comparison.
I began writing, allowing my creativity to flow, without feeling that my writing style is not interesting enough.
While I definitely care about my audience and sharing what matters to you all, I no longer obsess over comparing my writing style or this or that to another blogger’s.
While it’s definitely a challenge, doing so has helped me to really tune back into my voice and my love for writing. It’s allowed me to focus more on putting out content that I love (and think you all would, too!) and content that is authentic.
I am not proposing that everyone stop checking their analytics. It is very helpful for seeing what your audience likes to read and what they’re ultimately interested in. I will probably begin viewing it sometime in the future or at least introducing a reader survey for you all to fill out at your leisure. However, I think taking breaks from it for short or an indefinite amount of time is healthy and sometimes necessary. If you’ve found yourself becoming so critical of yourself that you feel your blog is worthless or that you aren’t as good as another blogger in regards to interaction, maybe a break would be healthy for you, too.
I think the internet is a really cool place because there’s space for so many voices. There’s opportunity for so many people to express their creativity, share their faith, share their favorite finds, and other things that so many people can connect to. Whether it’s one person or two-hundred, you never know how what you’re writing can be an encouragement to someone else.