Bookish Banter: Should Stats Dictate Your Posts?
We all know that I am an analytical kind of person that thinks in charts and data. I love looking at information to identify patterns and ways that I can improve. I think that is a big reason that I prefer running to other sports: you can easily track your progress (pace) and ways to improve (proper hydration, run in a tailwind, sell your soul for a PR). So it surprised literally nobody last week when I talked about all the lessons that I learned from diving deep into my blog’s statistics.
Even though I think it is incredibly important to normalize conversations about statistics within the book blogging community, I also feel strongly that we shouldn’t let statistics rule our lives. I know what you are saying, “sure, that’s easy for you to say, Kal!” and I hear you. But that is why I wanted to follow up last week’s post with this discussion on whether or not we should let the posts we make be dictated by our statistics. The short answer is no, but of course, I have more to say than just that!
Generally, my approach is to write what I feel like writing
Despite what the extra level of statistics analysis implies, I don’t really choose the kinds of content that I am going to write based on how other posts in that category perform — I’d never write book reviews if that were the case.
We all know that book reviews tend to be the least viewed type of post (as reiterated in Drew’s poll), and there are a lot of factors that come into play: genre, a series you haven’t read, not wanting to read reviews of books you plan to read, etc. But I started my blog to write book reviews. They are among my favorite kinds of posts to write and read, so I continue to post 2-3 reviews every week (unless I am in Slump Hell). But what I do is ensure I never post two reviews in a row, and I try to be diverse in my posting schedule. But what I write? That’s all about what ideas I have and the inspirational writing whim (which is also why I live by a blogging schedule).
The kinds of information that I do glean from my statistics to inform my posting?
The more popular times that people are visiting my posts, which is why you will notice me playing around with my posting times. I want to make it as easy as possible for followers to come across my posts and for me, that is finding the posting time sweet spot for blog hopping. I also pay attention to things like post length to see if that affects the amount of engagement that the post has (for me, not really). But in terms of my content, it’s all my brain!
A Treasure Trove of Ideas in Search Terms
One thing that I find fascinating is the various search terms that drive people to my blog. Sure, most of my search traffic is unknown (243 as of writing this post), but there are some fun gems to be found. Here’s a badly edited image of some of my search terms for an example.
Another thing that is really interesting to me is the number of search strings that directed traffic to my ARC review of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. But I am also not surprised because that book is a mindf*ck and so I got to thinking… I should re-read the book and do a big spoiler reveal post. Mainly because I loved the book and have been wanting an excuse to re-read it after buying the finished copy, but also because it seems like something that could interest others.
Other search terms that come up quite a bit are along the lines of “books about ___,” which is why I think those kinds of recommendation posts are popular. People also apparently get to my blog by searching for free epubs, which I am not about that life and it makes me sad that my ARC disclaimer brings me that kind of traffic but oh well. As a note, my second favorite search term is angel jasmine jump the shark, and my Buffyverse soul is infinitely happy about it.
I’ve actually been inspired a few times to write posts based on some of my search terms and have a few posts coming up! I get inspiration from the weirdest places sometimes, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So there you have it, why despite my obsession with statistical analysis it doesn’t dictate the posts that I write. At the end of the day, this blog is my outlet and hobby. I want it to remain fun, so I won’t ever do away with posts of a particular type because they are underperforming. My favorite part is flexing my creativity and interacting with you all — all I want to do is find ways so you all see my posts.
What are your thoughts on choosing what to write based on your statistics? Have you noticed anything interesting that inspired you?