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!

 

168 thoughts on “Blog Advice 3: Likes Versus Views

  1. I find the number of Likes useful just as a measurement of how I am faring with other bloggers. Other bloggers are very important to me because they are my core readers. I want to write posts that appeal to them. But I always keep in mind that I have lots of readers who aren’t bloggers and so can’t use the Like button.

    • Thanks my lovely! I’m in the same situation – lots of readers via email an facebook, so I can never really gauge the popularity of a post based on the amount I receive.

  2. I love it when people click the like button on my blog, but I don’t worry too much about it, if that makes sense. I also have a few who like a post within seconds of me posting it…or the occasional person who likes 10 posts in under a minute. They can’t possibly be reading the posts, but I don’t mind a bit. I see it as a compliment, really…the reader has so much confidence in my blog that they’ll click like without confirming the content. πŸ™‚ I’ve also noticed that the number of likes varies wildly from post to post…even if the content/concept is similar. I think, like you said, the number of likes are really more representative of how much social media attention the post gets than the number of readers.

  3. I use it every chance I get – which isn’t much, admittedly. I find myself far too busy/emotionally drained to visit my favorite blogs these days.
    By the way, great post, Suzie – again!

  4. I think I am first to comment here πŸ™‚
    I read your post until the very end and funny enough that question, about “likes” in my head from the morning. I did posted yesterday just one photo, without even a proper text and was very surprised today when I saw how many likes it has (10, not that much :)) . But my other posts, where I am spending time to write, edit etc, usually not that visible.

    • Sorry, you were almost first – I just hadn’t approved the comments yet. I often find that I get a much bigger immediate response to photographs because of the visual impact that they have, whereas written posts take more time as people need to read them first.

  5. I use it. Sometimes it doesn’t seem appropriate – if a post is sad, for instance. I am aware of spam likes from the Reader. I wish that could not be done, although it can save time if I have forgotten to like a post I read. Sue

    • Ooh that’s a really good point that I hadn’t considered. Do you like a post that has content that focuses on a sad topic? I’ve been torn about these sorts of posts – I want to like to acknowledge Ive read it, but I don’t at the same time because it feels like Im enjoying someone else’s grief…

      • Yeah, receiving a like on a sad post is kind of awkward. I tend to take it that the person could relate to what I wrote, thought I made some good points, thought the post was well-written, or some combination. I try to comment instead of just liking sad posts to avoid confusion, especially if I think the blogger might be feeling particularly vulnerable.

  6. I wasn’t a huge fan of Thor – but the scene where he demanded a horse & that scene with the coffee cup were hilarious.

    Suzie, you say hypocrisy – I prefer “fascinating series of contradictions!”

    I like your idea of ‘following’ an amount of blogs you can actually read

    • I adore all the Marvel films, and Chris Hemsworth (particularly a shirtless Chris Hemsworth) was brilliant as Thor. I found the meme on Google and it matched perfectly… I feel guilty sometimes when I’m asked how many blogs I follow, but if I’m going to follow someone it has to be because I enjoy it and want to continue to read it. I know of people that follow thousands – I just don’t know how I could keep up with that!

      • Have you read The Circle (by Dave Eggers)? It’s a fascinating/frightening read about a bleak future involving ‘liking’ and ‘following’ everything but not really accomplishing anything.

        When I hear someone follows thousands of things, that’s the book that comes to mind – I’d recommend!

  7. The world of WP can be confusing to a new blogger such as myself. I appreciate posts like this that allow me to understand the dynamics (or lack thereof) of this newfound world. I remember just a couple of months ago not knowing what the orange light meant. I was nervous as I clicked onto it or any button for that matter! I am learning as I go but authenticity counts for me. Liking something because you appreciated what the blogger wrote makes sense. Leaving comments, although time consuming, are always appreciated. Thanks for enlightening me as I stumble along. Cheryl

  8. Wish I could read more blogs. I have to admit there are days when I read the first paragraph and want to read more, but I just don’t have the energy. Several bloggers make it so that I can’t use the textreader when I access “blogs I follow.” There are days that I simply skip over those (out of frustration, fatigue or both).

    One person always goes through and likes my stuff, 10 posts in a minute (or more). At first I was shocked. Then I understood. It’s a show of support. When people get the time or energy, they’ll read what they can.

    Replying to a post means sticking your neck out and possibly getting it chopped off by other readers. I think that anyone who replies to my posts has courage. πŸ™‚

    • This is exactly how I see “liking”- you describe it well- “a show of respect”. An appreciation of you effort and a hope that if they didn’t read at the time of the “liking” they will come back later. Nothing wrong with that, I say!

    • I’ve only had one bad experience with comments – I wrote something supportive and the guy mocked what I had written and them proceeded to have a sarcastic rant. I just unfollowed – their loss.

  9. To me the like button is a gimmick. I use it, but realize it is all too easy to hit that button and pretend that I care. Views are somewhat more helpful, but the real way to know that you’re connecting with other bloggers is through comments. I value repeat commenters more than those people who casually hit the like button.

  10. Great advice, Ive learned alot about blogging since following you. My blog looks and feels better and your advice has made me a confident blogger. Keep up these posts.

  11. “Use the like button particularly when you don’t have time to leave a comment, but try and comment where possible.” I find this particularly useful. It would be impossible to comment on every post I read (I follow too many!) but if something really catches my eye or strikes a chord, I’ll make sure I take the extra time to respond. I agree, likes have no reflection on content. I always measure on views or comments.

    Great advice yet again, Suzie. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

      • You’re welcome.

        Well, I always receive more views than I do likes, so I guess this is a good thing? …or is it? I have no idea! I don’t tend to think too much about it these days, knowing how easy it is to get caught up in the statistics – It takes the fun out of blogging. I guess we should just keep doing what we’re doing and hope for the best! πŸ˜€

  12. Hmm…interesting points…for me, likes are a good way to measure the reception of a post among your community, so at least you can sort of see who is paying attention haha, but also I think as well in my case and for many others, liking is more convenient than having to comment on every post, because it can be very time consuming especially if you have a lot of followers…or difficult if you’re reading them on a mobile phone whilst travelling….depends I suppose. But I personally do like the ‘like’ feature on WP.

    Vijay

  13. I like because…

    1. I am too tired and want to acknowledge a post.
    2. everyone else has said what I was going to say (more often on a blog where I might not “know” the blogger as well yet…I have no problem repeating myself over and over on a blog I have an established bloggity friendship with)
    3. It’s a photography, inspirational saying or poetry post and I like it but nothing stands out for me to specifically comment on. I say it’s like art at the museum: I like all the paintings by a particular artist, but I don’t take pictures of every one each time I go…it’s all in how I feel that day, you know?

    Just like comments and my guilt about not replying in time, I don’t hold anyone else to this reasoning or standard. . πŸ™‚

  14. Who doesn’t like to be liked! I like the ‘like button’ and I like it when you like me! When I click it, it means I LIKED YOUR POST and SOLIDARITY fellow blogger! And I comment if I really have something to say! Some posts are the kind of post you ‘nod’ (like button) your head in agreement when reading and you don’t really have anything to add. I kind of think that’s why others like a post- I think I’m wrong #newbiealert! Great post Suzie!

  15. Having everyone who reads my blog comment would be great, but I doubt it will happen. I don’t really pay much attention to the like button, or for that matter the views. Maybe I’m the odd man out. I write because I love to write. People read my blog that’s great, if they just hit like that’s great too. If they comment, that’s the best. I don’t always comment on blogs. Sometimes I just don’t have anything to add to the commentary going on. I only hit the like button if I’ve actually read the post. We all do have lives outside of this community, so sometimes reading blogs has to take a back seat for a while. I do try and comment as often as I can though.

    • Thank you very much Jackie! Please forgive my late reply – I am catching up on all of my comments, even if it is just to say thank you.
      I agree about the time – I find it hard enough to reply to comments on my own blog, never mind on others. It’s something that I need to really improve on!

  16. I have never counted how many “likes” I receive on a blog. When I use the button after I read a blog, it means exactly that “I like it.” Sometimes I don’t have a comment. Sometimes someone else has already said what I intended to say. Sometimes I just don’t have the time. But, I try to comment as often as I can and enjoy the contact with other bloggers. When I receive a comment, I answer it as soon as I see it, and I do appreciate the “likes. “

    • Thank you very much. Please forgive my late reply – I am catching up on all of my comments, even if it is just to say thank you. As you can see, I am rubbish at the minute for keeping up with the comments that I receive and sometimes I miss them entirely because of the new WordPress system. It’s something I really need to improve on!

  17. I often feel like I want to comment on brilliant posts but can’t quite articulate what I want to say. If I click “like” it means the post was compelling or moved me in some way, but I have difficulty explaining how.

    • That’s a very good point and I do that too! Also, as was mentioned in the post when I just don’t have time to leave a comment – I do a lot of reading on the train to and from work so my time is often limited – it’s nice to give something back to show you enjoyed something even if it isn’t verbalised.

      • That’s very true. Life can get really busy and we have to prioritize. I do my best to comment bc I know on my own blog it’s much more meaningful when I get comments (I love the interaction). However “likes” are still good. 😊

    • Yes, the “Like” takes away the pressure of commenting but avoids the undesirable status of “lurking”. Hehe, likes are so much better than lurks, right? πŸ™‚

      • Well, I think so. I assume if someone “like”s my post they actually read it. I personally would never be associated with liking a post that I hadn’t read and enjoyed.

  18. I agree. I use it my way but understand that other people don’t always use it for its correct purpose. I notice some blogs have rating stars – what do you think of that? Also, what do you think of blogs that want you to put in email, website addresses etc before leaving a comment? I’ve came across that a few times when actually wanting to make a comment but then I’ve changed my mind when realise there’s extra work to do

    • I have never liked the rating stars – it emphasises the popularity of a post which has no reflection on how good the post actually is! What do you think Steve?

      Blogs that require details don’t bother me as such – once you have inputted your details it often remembers you the next time. it depends on how much time I have…

  19. I like the, “like” button, but I really appreciate comments and feedback too. I totally understand it is tough to comment on every post we read, but the interactions with fellow bloggers in the “blogosphere” is great! I recall a professor in University reading her notes to us, when all of a sudden she looked out at the class and said, “Is anyone out there?” *grin* Quiet lot we were. I understood what she meant! Thanks, Suzie! Cher xo

  20. You raise good points here Suzie. Thanks for raising this and opening up a conversation. I agree with most of the comments made so far. Like others have said, I do hit the like button when I ‘like’ what I’ve read and will make a comment if moved to do so by the content. I read everything I like (just for the record). I think the relationship between bloggers improves by commenting on posts and it is this sense of community and blogging friendship that I appreciate, rather than just random likers. I do like it when I get likes but I like comments more and always reply, luckily I don’t ever have too many to reply to 😊

    • Thanks very much Debbie… from the comments I am getting i think that there are a lot of people who use it in the same way. Thanks for being part of the conversation – it’s always very appreciated!

  21. What’s funny is a little while ago I tweeted about reaching 1000 comments. That’s my favorite statistic when it comes to blogging because I enjoy the “banter” so much! I agree, though, sometimes there’s just enough time for a comment. Cheers!

  22. I use it much the way you do – as a quick means of acknowledging a post that I enjoyed reading or thought made some good points. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with an appropriate comment, especially on the kind of topics I tend to write about. I used to get annoyed when people didn’t comment on my posts. Now I wish they’d comment more, but it bothers me less and I appreciate the comments I do receive. And the likes.

    • Thanks Ziya! I agree with what you said about creating an appropriate comment. Sometimes ‘nice post, I enjoyed it’ is the only thing I can think of to say, so i use a like instead…

  23. I comment as much as possible and “like” when I don’t have time, or when I occasionally have nothing intelligent to say. Sometimes I don’t comment if there are already 200 comments, figuring the poor blogger is ready to move on and have dinner! Like you, auto-likes don’t really bother me and I love comments. Sometimes the comments are more interesting than the blog. That’s fun.

  24. I like the way you constantly share your blogging knowledge. It is very generous of you, and readers really should pay attention and take notes. Happy Hump Day! πŸ™‚

  25. Sometimes I enjoy a post, but I don’t have anything I want to say. I just want the blogger to know I liked his/her post. I know some people get all sorts of mad about likes. Those bloggers need to build a bridge and get over it. It’s no big deal. Yeah, some people like and run. Some genuinely enjoyed your work. Either way, it’s fine.

    Why oh why can’t we WP.com bloggers use Google Analytics? Our stats stink.

    Great post as usual! xoxo

    • Haha! Thanks you, as always! I have just about got used to the change in stats and use the old and new ones. I find them quite useful, but then again, i have never known anything else!

  26. I’ll admit to “liking” a post I haven’t read. I have done that on blogs I know I like, so my “like” can be constituent with “Yay! I like that you posted! And hopefully I’ll get around to reading it later!” I don’t take it seriously and think of it as a “I like that you blog/I appreciate the effort” moral booster rather than a true comment on the post.

    I only comment if I have something worth saying and I often over think my comments. Not a problem with liking.

    Extra likes can only help, they certainly don’t hurt! On Facebook “likes” are super important for getting posts seen- I have no problem liking willy nilly!

    It is notable that the “like” button is only for wordpress.com users. I switched to wordpress.org and it is much, much less utilized- you also can’t just access it through the WordPress Reader- another big change.

    Bottom line like you said- I don’t mind where they are coming from, don’t take them too seriously, but I like Likes. Thanks for starting this discussion! It sure is an interesting one!

    • (there was a WP plugin for the like button on .org when I was on it, they rolled it out shortly before I switched back to .com…not sure if it is stil an option, but it was by the company and not a third party developer)

    • Awesome comment, as usual! I value the likes more on facebook, but with only 308 people on my facebook page and the stories flying round about the restrictions made about people viewing a post I take it less seriously than I do the views.

  27. I myself agree with all that you wrote. i DO on occasion “like” a blog for the effort and content or perhaps the graphics. And, that said, I DO read quite a bit of them. Not all, but a lot. But again, I get very few likes, if any at all, yet quite a few hits. So it’s a win win situation to me either way.

    • Thanks so much for your honesty! Does it bother you when people do the same on your blog – it doesn’t bother me in the slightest but some get quite irate about it!

  28. For the most part 90% of the time I Like a post, because I feel it was enjoyable, but I might not feel a comment is needed or someone may have already said what I was going to say. But I do try to comment as much as possible.
    For my posts, it’s very hard to gauge how readers interpret that button. Some days I have more likes and little to no comments, other days I have more comments and less likes. It’s a crap game in a way. Similar to views/visitors. I’m trying to broaden my social media presence and hopefully it’s working. Time will tell.

    • I can totally relate – some days I’ll have a ton of likes and fewer comments and others it is the other way around… I’m also sometimes surprised by the number i receive on certain posts – far more or fewer than I would expect depending on how good I felt the post.

  29. I was thinking on this very thing yesterday. I have a new blog and while I appreciate the likes, the comments mean more to me. I have feedback from the reader. All have been nice so far, but when they comment I can tell that they read it and enjoyed it. I enjoyed this by the way-πŸ˜‰β˜ΊοΈ

  30. I feel weird clicking the like button on this post. I usually drop a like if I enjoyed the post but had nothing to say in a comment.

  31. I agree that it’s the comments that are most helpful, because you get a clue into what the reader enjoyed, or what connected with them. Sometimes the comments aren’t even on the blog but in the form of messages that people didn’t want to share with the whole world. I like that the like button can acknowledge whether someone has enjoyed it (potentially!) Long like the like button and comment box!

  32. The fact that you can see who liked your posts is mainly why I love it. The like button can be a way to segregate loyal readers from other people. Especially with small blogs like mine, it’s nice to see people coming back, reading, liking and at some times commenting on my blog. Those same faces helps give me a boost of self-esteem knowing that they love what I write and they’re constantly coming back. Seeing who likes your posts also shows how some people come-by your blog through the wordpress reader, which I have to say is another discussion on itself, and likes your post from there. You can see that some likes you get is irrelevant as you can see from the stats that the views doesn’t come increase, and the person who liked your post most probably won’t come back anymore.

    The wordpress reader and stat page are really something, but it isn’t something I would recommend taking into priorities when blogging. Which is why I highly recommend Blogloviin’ instead. I don’t know about you guys but this is how I feel about it.

  33. Yep, I use it. But you probably knew that already! I do try to be pretty authentic, though, with my likes. Oh, and I am a speed reader, luckily. *laughs* Depending on the book (light reading vs more academic reading) I can read a 400-page book in 2-3 hours.

  34. I really ‘Like’ this post, Suzie, great advice. πŸ˜‰
    But seriously…
    I love Likes, Comments, Shares, etc., but it’s all window dressing, in the end, if you don’t give the real you I think people feel it.
    Another awesome one, but do you do anything else? πŸ™‚

  35. Sorry to press the like button πŸ˜‰ …I feel that the like button is a good acknowledgement for reading the post. I have gotten hung up on seeing likes on my posts, but I don’t dwell on it. Sometimes I hit like because I don’t have time to comment. Especially for all of the blogs I follow that partake in photo challenges. A Like is a happy acknowledgement that others appreciated my photo and even the comment if one was left. I agree that we all need to READ the posts and engage appropriately when we can. I also follow a lot of new blogs and the like button may provide encouragement to them as a new blogger. Love reading your blog, Suzie, and I appreciate all the awesome things you do to promote other bloggers!

    • Thanks so much Terri – it’s much appreciated! I generally like and dont leave a comment for photography posts – there isn’t much you can write other than ‘beautiful picture,’ and then it seems a bit bland…

  36. I use the ‘like’ button mostly when I don’t have time to leave a comment. Sometimes I hit ‘like’ because I just don’t have a comment after reading a post. I really do try to respond when anyone follows my blog or takes the time to leave a comment. I honestly can’t respond to every ‘like’ I get especially as you’ve noted above someone can go through their feed and hit ‘like’ without actually reading your blog. And I don’t even get a crazy amount of traffic lol.

    • Thanks very much! I do know people who will leave a message on the blogs of people who have liked a post to say thanks. I couldn’t do that – I have enough trouble keeping up with the comments haha!

  37. Ack! I “liked” this post. Now I must comment. Because, well, this post. Anyway, I agree on all counts. I do like the like button, though. O_o Huh?
    “A β€˜like’ does not mean that a post has necessarily been read at all.” <—True. In that sense, it's kind of silly, I guess. But, also true is what you said about reading, acknowledging, and letting people know you were there and read and enjoyed their post. I don't have a lot of time and find it difficult to comment on everything I read so it kind of bugs me when there's no button. I have two choices at that point. I can close the site and they will never know I've read it (even if I tweet it) or leave a comment I don't have time for which becomes: "Great post!" or something. Anyway. Great post. πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks Sarah – your comment made me smile. I tend to tweet if I wanted to like and there isn’t the option to… getting very obsessed with twitter at the minute!

  38. Not all blogs I visit have a like button and I don’t always leave a comment but if I like a post I will hit the “like” if there is one but I will definitely share it either through twitter, google+, facebook, or tumblr. I personally think shares, views, and comments go hand in hand when thinking about your blog but more then that I think if you are enjoying what you write then that is really all that matters.

  39. The Like button on comments is a useful way to let someone know I’ve left a reply, since they’ll get a notice of that but not (unless they use the Reader) of reply comments. Which is pretty screwy, but there it is.

  40. I don’t use the like button as much I use to use it, but I’m guessing that’s because as time goes on and we become more and more aware of the ins and outs of WordPress and blogging, our attitude towards certain criteria change. For example, I think every blogger is transfixed about the number of followers their blog has for the first six months, before that no longer matters as much.

    I’ll “like” a post if I really have enjoyed reading it and/or commented on it, no longer because I want the author to know that I have read it.

    • I totally agree – when starting a new blog the focus seems to be about the content. However, stats start to matter to lots of people when they see the numbers going up. After my first year I have developed quite an unhealthy routine of checking them first thing in the morning and last thing at night… Thanks Hugh!

      • I rarely check my stats now, Suzie, but I get quite a few comments left on posts which say “Please follow my blog” and a link to the blog. They are usually from fairly new bloggers and I always recommending they do the Blogging 101 and 201 courses run by WordPress. That is how I got started and where I’ve seen the biggest increase in the number of followers I get.

  41. Great post! I always try to comment if I like what I read. But sometimes even a comment can be hard to produce – maybe I am tierd or my brain is on vacation. Then I use the like button. A while I bookmarked all posts I liked going back later to comment but blogging is fast. A post is often fresh information and I got crowded with old blog posts. Missing all the new ones instead. So go ahead and like but remember comments are a better way to interact.

  42. This is interesting because I always wonder why post likes were added. I use squarespace, so there’s a favorite heart instead of a like. I haven’t yet had someone like or favorite or “heart” any of my posts, but I failed to see how it was helpful or what would drive a person to use it.
    I understand how it works with social networks, but blogs? hmm.
    Anyway, I really enjoyed this post. So much that I’ll “like” it πŸ™‚

    • Thank you very much – really pleased you liked it! Please forgive my late reply – I am catching up on all of my comments, even if it is just to say thank you. I totally agree – the number of likes something receives doesn’t reflect on the integrity of the post, it’s more of how many people have seen it!

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