As I spend more and more time in the online world I have noticed that there are quite a few little spats that break out between various people. It isn’t often that I have had to deal with quarrels – I’ve been lucky in that there are only one or two incidents where others have been so offended by what I have written that they launched personal attacks. However, there was a little Twitter spat that appeared on my feed this morning that seemed to be about copying posts and stealing followers. The final tweet, before I’m assuming that people started getting blocked, was simply: “You can f*ck off with your 200 followers.” This made me smile – it highlights perfectly what I feel the social media world represents – it’s all about the numbers. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I see ‘Follow me on bloglovin’ I need three more followers to make it to thirty’ appear on my Twitter feed.
I arrived in the blogging world extremely late, only starting my own litte blog in April 2013. I’ve never hidden the fact that Suzie81 Speaks was a personal project – I was experiencing quite a difficult time in my life and as writing has always been therapeutic for me, blogging seemed to be the perfect solution.
For the first few months I wrote and pressed the publish button as often as I could, with no expectations. I discussed every little thought that entered my mind, I included photographs of my daily life and I started to get to know other members of the same WordPress community. Over time, my little space of the Internet grew – I purchased my own domain name and spent a lot of my free time talking to interesting and entertaining people, reading posts and customising my site. I was (and still am) immensely proud of my achievements – every award and every milestone was shouted from the rooftops of the online world and my personal life – because they were completely unexpected and a wonderful addition to the act of writing in itself. Lots of other bloggers do the same… and why not! Such achievements deserve to be celebrated! A lovely bloggy friend of mine recently had a second one of his posts go viral, and I’m really pleased for him – he has a fantastic blog and deserves every success!
I get lots of emails that ask for blogging tips and request reblogs of their own sites. However, most of those emails discuss the same thing: my numbers. How did you get those numbers? How can I get those numbers?
Let’s talk about those numbers shall we?
I’m a self-confessed stat obsessive. In sixteen months I’ve had just over 250,000 views and gained over 7,000 followers. 90,000 of those views have come from one specific post that went viral on Facebook in the UK earlier in the year. Again, I am very proud of those numbers, in my little world they are amazing, and I bore The Bloke about them on a daily basis. However, in the blogging world they are minuscule. Tiny. Over the summer I have received between 400 – 1000 views a day, but during an average working day it is about half of that.
I spent a lot of time looking through my list of followers, and discovered that hundreds of them are from blogs that haven’t been updated since last year. I know of quite a few people that I personally follow that are currently having a break from blogging after experiencing burnout, and there are a few who still continue to read and comment despite not writing anything themselves. While the numbers may suggest one thing, the traffic that I get is considerably less.
Of the 7,000 followers, nearly 2,000 of them are from my Twitter account, and a large percentage of these are the same people that follow my blog. I have nearly 100 people on Tumblr, and over 100 people on Facebook. Again, these are predominantly made up of the same people from WordPress. The rest on Twitter are people who, like myself, enjoy participating in the many hashtag wars that take place and have no real interest in reading my blog.
In essence, there are about fifty people who regularly read, comment on and promote my posts. They are incredibly supportive and they care about the well being of those within the online community. These are people who maintain their own highly entertaining blogs, which I thoroughly enjoy reading. Of those fifty people, I have email conversations with five of them, and I have just one on my personal Facebook account. While I love the little buzz that I gain from seeing an unexpected spike in my stats, it doesn’t compare to the comments that are left daily from these people. They make my day, even if I don’t always have time to reply to them.
So, instead of questioning your number of followers, you should be asking yourself about the quality of your posts and your ability to engage your readers. Blogging is an ongoing and lengthy process, it takes weeks, months and even years to build up a community, and you are not going to gain thousands of followers and millions of views by simply pressing the ‘publish’ button. Regardless of your blogging goals and ambitions, you should be looking for quality, not quantity in your posts and the followers that you gain from it, and also in the blogs that you follow yourself.
And to those fifty, thank you… X
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog