Don't get lost in the numbers, write instead

Obsessing over the numbers, whether they're vote counts or page views, is a waste of time. So, do something productive instead.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://ramblingpolymath.com/2020/11/dont-get-lost-write/

My numbers have declined steadily from 2013 since the rise of Facebook despite keeping my blogging at a higher frequency.

Don’t sweat the numbers. Google Analytics remains the best “free” analytics platform out there, but changes in privacy laws mean browsers are more likely to block the tracker from running. You’re probably recording fewer clicks than you’re actually getting. A good way to check is to look at Google Web Master Tools to see how many clicks Google search is sending your way. I usually only record about 2/3 of all search traffic in my analytics platform.

My advice, focus on giving your readers what they want and keep an eye on things like time on page and repeat visitors. These metrics are a far better indicator of the health of your blog than page views.

Another SEO trick that I didn’t mention in this post that’s particularly important for photographers is not to neglect the Name of your image and the Alt Text Moz does a great job of explaining why Alt-Text is import. TLDR: Good Alt descriptions will help people find your blog in image search.

I’m not a fan of anything Google. I have a Gmail account from 2004 that I use to register at website that might be spammy and I use Google Search but only while logged out.

I’m. using the data collected by WordPress directly against the platform.

Most of my images have ALT text set but that didn’t seem to help in search. Good example here: https://islandinthenet.com/walking-downtown-princeton/

I am with you on Google. While I can’t avoid using all of their services, and actually use Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to host my blog and other services, I try to use alternatives where possible.

For Rambling Polymath, I am using Matomo, an open-source analytics platform running in a Docker container on GCP. Not the easiest thing to set up, but I’ve found it’s a fair bit more accurate than Google Analytics, that’s less likely to be blocked by browser tracking protection. I’ve been considering putting out a post about it, but it is quite technical to set up.

Wordpress’s analytics are definitely a good alternative — certainly much easier to set up and use than Matomo — but I’ve found that its accuracy can be a little erratic.

My advice, avoid the analytics rabbit hole before it swallows you the way it did me.

1 Like

Sage advice. I’ve slowed my posting frequency as I deal with a now weeklong period of vertigo.

1 Like

With the major changes to Google’s algorithm this month, I’ve been doing what I can to keep my eyes off the numbers more than usual. I took a big hit to my pageviews, this month, but I’ve seen my average time on page nearly double to almost 6 minutes. I’m sure that much of this is tied to having a large amount of long-form content on Rambling Polymath, but it’s the metric that I am focusing on for the time being.

I think slowing down and taking more time on posts is a good idea even when you’re not dealing vertigo. And I’m sorry that’s getting in the way of what you’d like to be doing. I hope switching to tea has made a difference.