I have a little *confession*. I use the word confession lightly because it’s something I’m quite proud of.
I haven’t looked at my blog statistics for about three months.
That means no looking at how a blog post did, no looking at monthly page views. Completely forgetting about the numbers. I haven’t even checked the growth of my social media engagement as extensively as I used to. Checking my blog statistics, for me, was a way to check how much I should be charging for sponsored content and adverts. I would check my page views because I knew that the more it climbed, the more money I could charge for. This is a problem and is completely unlike me and my personality. I should be checking my page views as a fun way to see what countries my audience comes from, and who’s enjoying themselves in my internet space. This year, I’ve gone back to doing exactly that. It’s no longer about the numbers. This changed after New Year.
Now, I’m normally not someone who treats new years as fresh slates. Personally, I don’t think it’s a healthy outlook on life. But this year was different. When the clock hands faced twelve and I fell into 2017, my first thought (once I’d kissed my boyfriend and wished him a happy new year) was how shit I thought my blog content was. I just couldn’t remove the thought that I was entering the year with content I hadn’t enjoyed creating and cringed at a little when sharing.
The most popular blog posts on my website at the time were these:
There are two blog posts on that list that I’m really not interested in anymore, and two that I’m very proud of. It’s probably not hard to guess which two blog posts are the one’s I’m proud of, but they are ‘A Grey Area’ and the post about mental health. The Grey Area article is about my domestic abuse story and where those who experience similar situations can go to get help. It’s the most read blog post on my website and one that I truly believe had a positive impact on people. It highlights the problems with our justice system when it comes to crimes in relationships and offers support to victims. I also included a call out for anyone who wanted to work with me on projects to campaign against domestic violence and make a change. I received so many emails and made real connections with real people and that felt amazing. It also led to me campaigning against domestic violence and attending feminism events as a panellist with companies like Avon, Refuge, and working with Benefit Cosmetics. It’s incredible to turn something shit that happened to you (which is also a big learning curve) and transfer it into something that others can consume and be influenced by, for positive change. The blog post about mental health is another I’m proud of because it generated a really positive response from loads of people that were taking my advice, and it felt good to know I wasn’t working on my mental health alone. What does this tell me? It tells me this; the content that truly has a positive impact on people and inspires them (which is what I want my work to do, more than anything) are the articles that are personal. Real life experiences where I worked hard to tell the stories eloquently and sensitively. Stories that have a message, a lesson, a bit of motivation. And ultimately, created positive change in a person’s life.
I’m bored of tailoring my content to a specific formula that I know will boost my page views. I’m bored of downloading thousands of freebies on Pinterest to help twiddle with my SEO and ‘crank my pageviews’. Last year, when I wrote content, I’d look at Google’s keyword planner and see what people were searching for the most, and write that. Just that. And that makes me sad. That’s not why I started a blog.
I’m not going to pretend that I don’t enjoy seeing my page views go up. It’s nice to know that lots of people visited your blog and read your work. But when you only write articles like ‘how to start a blog’ and ‘5 ways to save money’ all the time, you start to feel creatively stifled. I’m not saying you can’t write about those topics in creative ways, but I was angling all my content to fit with a monetisation formula. I don’t want to do that anymore.
All this tailored content and filtered words have led to me having a bit of a blog identity crisis. I don’t want to be a blogger who thinks about money 24/7. I don’t want to be a person who worries about money so much that I toss away creative ideas that make me happy, to opt for click bait and bullshit-spun articles.
These last few months of not checking pageviews have been blissful. I used to obsess over y analytics and check it twice a day, sometimes more. And on the bad days (which everyone has) I’d feel down and contemplate deleting my blog. And it was bad page-view days that led me to writing meaningless content that was ‘clickable’. When I’m checking numbers, the sad days outweigh the happy ones, they put unnecessary pressure on you when writing, and that is not the way to blog.
Now, I don’t really check Analytics or Jetpack at all, unless I’m applying for a job or campaign where it needs to know my statistics. For me, statistic measures just don’t work anymore. The best measurement for me and my content, is real engagement from real people, in the form of comments, emails, tweets, etc.
That’s why there’s been a bit of a shift in my content. I hope you’ve managed to see my personality come through in my content more often now. I love displaying my creativity through posts that show you who I am and what I love, especially through projects like my podcast and magazine. It’s going to continue that way. The creative tutorials and advice on blogging & other creative projects won’t disappear but they’ll definitely be done in a way that’s more entertaining and, more importantly, they’ll be me.
Get ready for more ‘me’ content x