It’s easy to fall into one of two extremes when it comes to stat checking.
Obsess over all stats constantly or ignore everything always.
Neither one is a great plan. Trust me, I’ve put them both to the test.
We are writing publicly for a reason, it’s nice to make sure we are having an impact and stats are ONE way to measure if our message is getting out there. But it is SO easy to get caught up on stats; page views, pinterest followers, facebook, twitter, amazon rank, klout score (is that even still a thing?) alexa ranking, google page rank, and a million more that if I heard of them I’d probably wonder if I need to be checking them too.
Instead of obsessing over all stats constantly or ignore everything always, I’ve found there’s a middle ground that has seemed to work really well for me over the past few years.
Be mindful of specific stats from time to time.
Instead of worrying about all the different numbers, pick one or two main places where you’d like to focus your growth –these will be the same places where you most likely will want to focus your creative energy.
For me, that’s Instagram and my email list, those are the numbers I’m familiar enough with to always know within a 10% margin of error about what my numbers are. I don’t really keep up with page views, pinterest, twitter or facebook followers. I’m purposely, blissfully ignorant of those numbers.
Use grown up-services to measure your growth
I used to manually write down my Instagram numbers every week so I could keep count. Now, I pay a tiny fee for a service from Iconosquare that keeps track of all the numbers for me, so I can look them up at any time, but I don’t have to babysit anything to make sure it’s working and that my stats are being recorded.
For my blog, I use google analytics, I know that’s always running in the background, keeping track of every type of stat (yippie, it’s a grown-up, no babysitting needed) so I only check it from time to time, maybe six times a year.
In the olden days of my online life, I was a slave to stats and there were months at a time where I checked them multiple times a day. Just imagine what I could have created if I wouldn’t have distracted myself with numbers!
Stats are a tool, there for us when we need them. Stats serve us, we don’t serve them.
Spend more time focusing on creating value than trying to measure the value of what you created
Stats are tricky because they do give us some information about what we are doing, but if we focus too much on numbers, they have the exact opposite effect that we hope. Instead of attracting more readers with great content, our content suffers if we are more focused on the latest tricks to get more page views or followers.
As hope*writers, our primary goal is to create great value for our reader, not to be a stat wizard.