Dog on ArmrestWow – what a weekend it was! So much so that I took off on Monday to continue reading entries in the Pet Blogger Challenge … and I’m still only half way through!

I did allow myself a quick detour this morning to visit one of my favorite blogs, and found that Pamela had written another amazing post! In this one she bares it all, in response to a common theme she saw in the Challenge posts.

Sidebar: Let me quickly thank all my readers who are not bloggers, and are not captivated by the motivations and tribulations of blogging. I appreciate your patience, and I promise that we will return to our regularly scheduled pet travel programing and the adventures of Ty and Buster later this week.

There are three sentiments that have struck me by their consistency in the 2015 Challenge:

Number 1: We are a wonderful community of thoughtful, generous people – ready to help each other wherever we can. We understand that we’re not competing against each other, and that we can all succeed together.

Number 2: We have learned that we need to write from our hearts about the things that we love and make us happy. Writing for any other reason is laborious, doesn’t appeal to our readers, and stabs our creativity in the heart. Being authentic and unique is the key to longevity and a devoted audience.

Number 3: Many of us would like to increase the size of our audience. Even those who have no intention of monetizing their blogs would like to reach more people. It feels good to know that we’re connecting with others, sharing a laugh or supporting a cause, and it’s motivating to see those numbers grow!

That last point is the one Pamela addresses in her post. She notes that, while many of us hope to increase our traffic, very few of us share our blog stats publicly. She eloquently describes the fallout of that secrecy this way:

“When we only see glimpses of each other’s stats, we focus on the parts that make us feel bad about ourselves. And we don’t get enough information to think about what works and doesn’t work when we pursue our own goals.”

Getting naked (statistically speaking) has never been difficult for me. For years I’ve made my traffic, growth, page ranks, and social media following public. Why would I hide it? What harm can they possibly do me?

Dog and Laptop

The reason I’m not embarrassed is that I have a firm grasp on what the numbers show … and more importantly, what they do not.

I’m in a peculiar niche – more of a travel blogger, but with the unusual mission to cover only the pet friendly aspects of travel. My entire potential audience exists where “love of travel” crosses “love of pets,” because my readers need both. So, expecting my statistics to be on par with Frommer’s Travel Blog would be ridiculous – and that’s fine!

What the straight-up numbers have difficulty quantifying is that my audience is dedicated, devoted, passionate, and committed. They appreciate what I’m doing, and I love them because they care deeply about their pets, and are striving to include them in more aspects of their lives. The relationship each blogger has with their audience is as unique as the number of blogs out there, and measuring reader loyalty and enthusiasm isn’t easy.

So what if we pet bloggers did get naked, as Pamela suggests? I see it as a fantastic opportunity to learn and another opportunity to celebrate the support that is so evident in our community. If we desire to increase the traffic to our blogs, revealing our secrets could help. Working together, we might analyze the numbers and identify successful techniques that will help us reach our goals.

And we’d have to help each other keep the statistics in their place. We’d need to keep in mind that the numbers are just a tool. They can’t give a new blog the clout of one that’s been around for seven years overnight, and they can never capture the unique value you bring to the world with your blog. So use the stats if they can help you – but don’t let them cause you to question your worth as a blogger.

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  • I’m crafting my post for this weekend’s challenge and just read this post and then the Pet Blogger Bares All: WOW, so glad I dived into these before diving into mine! See you in the blog challenge this weekend!

  • Thank you, JoAnn! I’m still working my way through all the posts – there’s so much there and so many things to learn. And, you’re absolutely right, bloggers are great friends – some of my best friends are people I’ve never met in person! =)

  • I agree, Vicki! The goals each person has for their blog can have a big impact on the amount of time and investment they are willing or able to put in – and that can have a impact on their results. Pamela’s post focuses on people who are interested in earning money from their blog – either part-time or full-time. And, she advocating using the numbers to uncover what’s working to grow traffic or reach brands – to help everyone be more successful.

  • Yep, some of use numbers, others use other things to make ourselves feel bad, Jessica. You have a fantastic blog – one of the best around – and I hope remember that the next time you’re tempted to bring yourself down. While we all hope to improve our blogs, we need to stay focused on the positive and remember that we’re doing this to make ourselves happy – not to give us a reason to beat ourselves up.

  • SUCH a great point. I’ve noticed lots of blogs post their monthly stats and income, then pin it making it totally accessible. It never occurred to me to do the same. Something to think about, for sure. Thanks again for hosting this! I’m still (slowlllly) working my way through the posts but have learned so much!!

  • I certainly compare myself to other bloggers in ways that make me feel bad about myself but, thankfully, strict “numbers” isn’t one of them. My bounce rate is incredibly high. Would I like it to be lower? Yes. I also understand WHY it is high and don’t feel too bad about that.. I thought I read Pamela’s post but I guess maybe not. I will have to check it out.

  • I need to think about this one Amy – plus I need to go read Pamela’s post. Part of me is reluctant because there are so many reasons why people blog. For some people it is a primary source of income, for others it’s side income, and for others, it’s purely a hobby. It think if we’re going to sit down and look at stats, we will have to divide them up carefully into subgroups so we’re not comparing apples to oranges.

  • Great post, well said! This was my first year doing the challenge and I loved it and I loved reading others answers. I still have some to read also. Bloggers are a great group of friends that I am so glad to be a part of. Thanks!

  • So I spend nearly 2000 words meandering around the topic of blog stats and what they mean and you sum up the only important thing in one page? :)You don’t just Go Pet Friendly, you Go People Friendly. And that’s why I keep coming back. Even when I’m not planning a trip.

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