Chasing Stats: Part 2
Even I figured I’d get this section written and published perhaps just a few days after Part 1, but things just sort of… kept happening. But here are now! If you need a refresher, the advice from Part 1 was simple: Don’t chase stats. You’ll be much happier for it. You don’t have to just take my word for it either, Syp just posted a very similar message.
But I do understand if you’re just not built that way. Or, more likely, you’re not built that way yet. It can take some time to get to the point of being comfortable just letting things be and happen as they happen.
If You’re Going to Do It Anyway
Then there are two major paths to consider: The Content you cover and Networking for exposure.
I already recommended not chasing stats, but I doubly recommend not chasing stats by way of the content you choose to cover. If what you’re writing about isn’t of interest to you or meaningful in some way, that’s a pretty quick pathway to burnout. And one thing I can tell you: If you stop altogether, then the stats are never going to come!
Networking, on the other hand — building your sense of community and your place in it at the same time? Well, that can be a good path to follow whether or not stats are of any interest to you whatsoever. If you are — even in part — doing it for stats, though, then the single biggest goal you should hold in your heart during this process is: Don’t be an Ass.
But the path to assdom isn’t necessarily well-marked for those new to the blogging fold. There are rules of etiquette which, in time, will seem obvious and second nature but, at first, may never occur to you. Further complicating matters, they can vary from blog to blog.
But to start, let’s get this one out of the way.
Broadly speaking, you have a couple of major decision points:
- Do I want to dive deep into a single topic or be more general?
- Do I want to jump on board the biggest of topics or aim for something more niche?
There actually isn’t a ‘wrong’ answer to these questions, but there is a watch-out. If you decide that you want to focus on a singular topic, just know that, no matter what you believe today, there will come a day — if you stick at this thing for long enough — when you want to cover something else.
That ‘something else’ could possibly be in addition to, but it may well be instead of whatever you were doing. So just keep that in mind, and ensure the naming of your blog isn’t so hyper-specific that you’re later hamstrung when this inevitable day arrives.
I think I can hit a two for one here, and cover both why I don’t recommend chasing stats by content and what you should do if you want to make a different choice.
If I wanted to chase stats by way of content — I’d be picking very different things to play and read. For the most part, I’d only be chasing the ‘new’. New releases or, in the case of games, new major updates might also occasionally qualify.
Playing X4 right now would absolutely be out. It has the fatal combination of being neither new nor popular. The fact that I like it wouldn’t be enough. I should be talking about the new Destiny 2 expansion instead. (Although I won’t lie — those guys if nothing else, make a decent story trailer.)
On the reading front — I’d have to stop ‘wasting time’ by reading a full series and focus more on Book 1 reviews on as many different series as possible. Only if a series proved to be super popular would it be worthwhile reading and then writing about its follow-ups.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather play and read what I like, rather than have what is popular in the moment dictate what I do and write about it. Sure, I might be able to tolerate doing otherwise for a little while. Maybe, it’d also be OK, to just pepper some of these types of things in here and there. But over the long term? No waaay. No thank-you. Not for me.
Alright, now we’re talking!
Although I don’t much like the word ‘Networking’, the idea: Building yourself a place with and within the wider community — yes.
I’m going to largely ignore the existence of… Well, pretty much the rest of the internet. I won’t go into detail for Reddit, Discord or most other socials, other than to say:
- Particularly for Reddit and Discord, always check the self-promotion rules before you bull your way into doing so.
- The Blaugust Discord operates year-round as a community for bloggers and has a channel for sharing your content if you’re so inclined. (You should join it.)
So all that aside, what else is there?
Well- If we take it back to root causes, the problem when you first start is pretty simple: No one knows you exist.
One of the best ways to fix that is to put yourself out there — not just on your blog, but on other blogs too. Here though, is where the ‘Don’t be an Ass’ guidance comes in.
You can’t — or at least very much should not — just traipse around every other blog you can find and plaster it with links back to yourself in the comments. It’s very much like wandering into someone’s house with your shoes on. Some people won’t mind this — but some very much do
Instead, aim to add to the conversation or otherwise provide some form of value in your comment. Refrain from explicitly linking back to your content in the comments at all unless you’ve been explicitly invited to. Just… Talk.
It’s enough, I promise. A new name shows up in my comments, and the first thing I check is where their profile links back to. We’ll find you through this, and take a look.
Sometimes — and honestly, this is where the real fun begins — you’ll come across posts where your response is long enough that it could form a post of its own… Embrace this occurrence! Let rip with a brand new blog post of your own, with reference back to the blogger and post who became your muse. The spiderweb of conversation that can sometimes propagate across the various blogs that make up the community is some of the best times to be involved, and certainly one of my favourite parts of being part of such a community.