Blog Advice 3: Likes Versus Views

 

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I suppose, upon reflection, this isn’t advice – it’s more of a discussion, but I decided to include it in my blog series as I hope that it will promote conversation and assist with any questions that newer bloggers may have…

One of the most controversial blogging features appears to be the ‘like’ button at the bottom of a post. The like option is used throughout all forms of social media, and was introduced to WordPress in 2010. When I first began this blog, it was this function that I deemed the most useful when gauging the popularity and integrity of another blogger – the more likes I saw on a post, the better I assumed the author was. In my frequent ‘blog wanking’ (thanks Gene’O – great phrase) posts in which I proudly shouted my little achievements at regular intervals, I always included the number of likes a post had received. We all like to be liked… Or do we?

Two years later, the like button is something that I pay the least attention to. This is not to say that I don’t appreciate them – I am grateful for anyone who gives their time to interact with my blog, but I don’t focus on them in the same way that I do the comments I receive. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • The number of likes does not directly correlate with the number of times a post is viewed.
  • A ‘like’ does not mean that a post has necessarily been read at all. I know of several bloggers that regularly like my posts within about 10 seconds of them being published. Some of these posts have been over a thousand words long – even the quickest of readers could not have read it in that time. However, this doesn’t bother or offend me in the slightest, even though I know that some bloggers get very upset by this.
  • A ‘like’ does not give any information as to what the reader thought about the post. They liked it? Why?

In the past I have tried little experiments on a number of occasions where I check my number of views against the likes I have received within the first twenty minutes. It used to work out that the likes would exceed the views. Now, it is the other way around, mainly due to the number of email and social media followers that I now have, lots of whom aren’t on WordPress.

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However, I contradict myself at this point, because of the way I use the like button on other blogs. I limit the number of blogs that I follow simply because I enjoy them and want to be able to read all of them, even if I don’t read every post. However, when I only have a short amount of time, I will like a post to acknowledge that I have read and enjoyed it, and I will do the same if I have read something via Twitter and plan to retweet it. I know that many others do the same, and this is why I usually avoid conversations about the like button – we’re all busy people with our own lives outside of this little online bubble that we have created for ourselves, and it isn’t possible to spend hours commenting on every post that we read.

So, now I’ve potentially confused you with my hypocrisy – here are a few points to remember when thinking about the amount of likes you gain on your blog.

  • The number of likes a post receives is not a reflection of how good a post actually is and how competent the writer is. Instead, it is more of a representation of how much the post has been seen by other WordPress bloggers. If you have spent hours crafting the most wonderful, insightful piece of writing that you’ve ever done, don’t feel disheartened and start to doubt your own abilities if it doesn’t attract the number of likes you feel it deserves. Instead, work on promoting your blog to others and increasing your traffic.
  • If someone likes your post and clearly hasn’t read it, move on. Don’t get your proverbial knickers in a twist about it – use your time instead to respond to comments from others.
  • Use the like button particularly when you don’t have time to leave a comment, but try and comment where possible.

Above all…

It is not a popularity contest. I follow a blog if I like it, not because of the amount of followers they have or likes they gain on their posts. I follow bloggers that have three times the amount of followers I have, and I follow bloggers that have only been writing since the beginning of the year. Each are enjoyable and unique… And I like them all!

What do you think of the like button? Do you value it? Do you use it?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to visit my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks and give me a cheeky… like!

 

155 thoughts on “Blog Advice 3: Likes Versus Views

  1. I use Blogger, so don’t have a like button – after reading this I’m kind of glad – it sounds like one more thing to worry about lol! If it works anything like the Facebook like button clicking it can mean anything – you like it, you seen it, you feel guilty you haven’t talked in a while, they always like your stuff so you feel you owe them and on and on! I tend to concentrate on how many people read each individual post – if they bother to click into it, I think it’s fair to say they’ve at least skimmed it.
    Debbie
    http://www.myrandommusings.blogspot.com

  2. I use it in a similar way — as an acknowledgement. I also look at summaries/first paragraphs and give a lot of likes from the reader when I’m busy.

    I find the like button on WordPress useful here. I display mine on the front page so people don’t have to click the post to like. I don’t worry very much about the number of likes on an individual post, but they do mean something. I have a range in mind that a post should get, and if a post gets what I think it too little or a strikingly large number I ask myself why and I try to figure it out — but I DON’T talk about it on my blog.

    Blogwanking is a thing I poached from my friend Luther who runs Infinite Free Time and sometimes contributes for me.

      • I also have comment likes turned on so I can acknowledge specific types of comments without answering — Drive-by “Great Post!” comments, and brief comments from friends that shouldn’t require a response other than a thank you. And so my contributors can send one another (and me) notifications that way. I give a lot of comment likes when I’m visiting threads.

      • I do the same – I was considering turning them off as the notifications were becoming annoying, but I’ve left them on so I can acknowledge that I’ve read someone’s response to a reply…

      • I’m fairly careful with them. Typically, I like the owner’s first comment when I am working a thread, and the last one when I am done. And like other commenters’ things in between. I do my best to not flood people with like notifications.

  3. I started using the likes as read recipts for myself. Which actually comes in handy when I retread a post and think that I have read it before in that case I just have to check the like button. When I don’t have time to comment I will like too. I have heard that the reader of the WordPress phone app does not influence views which will probably mess up the stats too…
    I try to comment but sometimes I have nothing to say, in that case alike is better than nothing at all …

  4. I only use the like button if I’ve read the whole post. Does that make me hopelessly naïve? Sometimes I’ll use it if I can’t think of an appropriate comment, because it sometimes seems wrong to comment on something really personal when you’ve only been following a blogger for a couple of weeks, especially if I haven’t been interacting with them very much.
    I’m new enough to blogging (first anniversary at the end of the month) that I’m still quite thrilled when someone likes a post. Perhaps it will have worn off in ten or twenty years.

  5. I have helped a few people I know start up a blog. When doing so, I always encourage them to include the “Like” button and the option for readers to comment at the end of their posts. At the same time, I’ll repeat that they should blog because they want to and because they feel that what they have to say is important in its on right. Starting a brand new blog is a huge undertaking, from coming up with blog post ideas to actually writing them, from designing pretty pictures to promoting your post, it’s a lot of work.

    The last thing you want to do is get discouraged because you’re not getting immediate social validation. Especially because it’s not a reflection of reality. My stats will show me that a dozen people clicked on to my blog post today, but my likes or comments will yawn a gaping zero. Such is life. People are busy, or not as interested as they thought they would be.

    For my part, I started my blog in October — and I am happy to get a little star, and ecstatic when someone takes the time to comment. Sure, maybe it’s a drive by — but out of the hundreds of millions of blog posts out there, someone actually drove by my little outpost. 🙂 That always feels good to me. Anyway, I’m enjoying reading your blog… thought provoking!

  6. I was thinking about this just the other day, I posted something which got 4 likes almost instantly but had no actual views, not sure whether some people just automatically like something in the hope you’ll then read their blog or not but it’s certainly something I pay the least attention to now like you. I concentrate way more on views and comments these days, which is why i try and comment more, it’s much more useful feedback!

  7. I don’t place much value on likes other than, as you said, an indicator of traffic passing by. Some bloggers are “Like whores” giving them out to everybody without much thought. It’s nice to get traffic, but interaction is the most valuable currency in the social media world. We only get so much time in life and if someone spent a tiny bit of theirs on reading and telling me what they think of my writing, that is incredible. I do have “Comment envy” when I see all the comments you get. But then again, you get what you give and I know I don’t get to spend as much time reading and commenting as I’d like too. Have a great Sunday Suzie!

  8. Had me giggling at Proverbial Knickers there Suzie! 🙂 Made my Sunday! That said, I have a terrible habit of not checking my stats or likes … Oops. I probably should. Also I do like the like button (that sounded odd in a sentence) in the respect that if I can’t think of what to say in a comment but know I do want to say something I’ll click like and make a mental note to return to the blog later after I’ve worked out what to say. That said, I do have a memory like a sieve at the minute, mental notes should be replaced with written ones methinks!

  9. Generally I use the like button if I’m on my phone somewhere typing out a comment would be impractical. But I never hit like unless I’ve read the post and like it. Sometimes I hit like and also comment. Sometimes I like a post, but really have nothing of value to put in a comment. On my own blog, I’m always happy to see a like, but I don’t agonize over their deeper meanings 🙂

  10. I generally use the like button if I see something that interests me. I might also see something I really don’t like, but if there is something about a post I can appreciate, I’ll hit the button. I am particularly heavy on the button is scanning visual content, photos or artwork.

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