WHY BLOGGERS ARE MISERABLE

Oh no, hits are only up 7.3% on this time three weeks ago!


My blog just set a record for number of hits. It smashed my previous best monthly tally, even in puny little 29-day February. This month is shaping up to be even better.

So why am I not happy?

Because it’s never enough. Like the tycoon who already has more money than he can spend in ten lifetimes, like the athlete pumping steroids, like the seven-star hotel gold-plating the bath-plugs to qualify for an eighth star, the blogger is never satisfied.

There’s always some other blogger out there getting far more hits, writing about decorating cupcakes or their highly amusing kitten.

For those who do not yet blog themselves, I should explain. WordPress gives me an up-to-the-second count of how many people have visited this site, the search keywords they used to find it, and the posts they looked at. Hits become an obsession.

When I began blogging just over two years ago, I was delighted when I got my first hit. When for the first time 100 people visited RT’s LOTR on the same day, I was ecstatic, though I believed it was an aberration. It was.

I thought things were finally taking off one amazing day in August 2010, until I discovered that thousands of Singaporean horror flick fans had mistaken my thoughtful post Museum of Hell about the excellent Changi Museum for a gory ghost movie with a similar lurid title. A couple of days later the excitement had died down and my blog was plodding on again.

When I started regularly registering 100 hits a day, I was quickly disappointed that it wasn’t 200. Now I’m getting far more hits than I ever thought I would, and I’m still anxious if the graph dips a fraction. If it’s down for three days in a row I start to feel seriously unloved.

I can sometimes inject a sensational new post to bump up the figures, but I can’t keep that up for long. Sensational post after sensational post soon becomes same old same old.

My most successful posts for generating traffic are the ones with useful, highly entertaining information that a dozen or so people a day come looking for. Staying in a traditional Korean hanok, testing a Garmin 800 bike computer, cycling outside Amsterdam and a tour of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore have been doing well month after month.

Other posts that seem fascinating to me attract little interest.

So all I can do is keep writing about things that amuse me and hope for steady growth in readers, followers, likers and commenters. I’m pathetically grateful for the attention, so please keep it coming.

I enjoy following others’ travel, writing and photography too, and I’ve met some very nice people through cyberspace. Isn’t that reward enough?

Nope! I yearn for the day Singapore Airlines (or Emirates, Etihad or Qantas) will leave me a message in the comments box to the effect of, ‘Dear Sir Mr Richard Tulloch Esq, we would be honoured to offer you unlimited free first class travel, in the hope that you might occasionally give us a passing mention on your brilliantly witty and informative travel blog.’

To which I would graciously reply, ‘Thanks, Singers (or Emmy, Etti or Qanto). However, you must understand that my opinions are not for sale, so you better look after Mevrouw T and me exceptionally well if you want a favourable review.’

Then I’d think, ‘Damn! I could start making serious money here, and lead a happy, fulfilling life…if only my blog had more hits.’

Stay tuned for my hilarious video of a kitten decorating a cupcake.

Does anybody else out there know the feeling? Please share!

46 Comments

Filed under Travel

46 responses to “WHY BLOGGERS ARE MISERABLE

  1. Heck yes! I’m new to blogging. As in three months new, so this one view a day thing is getting sort of old. I’ve never gotten any hits, and I have one, maybe two followers. I’M SICK OF IT! Almost no one finds my blog amusing. (Personally, I find that the fact that no one finds my blog amusing is amusing because I think that my blog is rather amusing. I’ve touched on a lot of different popular topics, and I know that while there are still many topics out there to blog about, not all of them are right for me. My blog has a more sarcastic tone to it, and so it may not appeal to everyone, but I feel like it has the potential to appeal to a wide variety of people. But, seriously, one view a day? GRRRRRR!!!

    • Well, I just viewed it, Madison, and left a comment too. That’s a good start. As you see from this post, I’m not a great expert either.

      But leaving interesting comments on other people’s blogs (as you just have) is a good way to get people who are intrigued by your ideas to come and see what you have to say on your blog. The bad news is, as soon as you are getting ten hits a day you’ll be depressed because it’s not eleven.

  2. Pingback: Somebody Likes Me? « Anomalous Thoughts

  3. shawjonathan

    I know the feeling, Richard, all too well, only I’m ecstatic on days I get more than a hundred hits.

    • The ecstasy won’t last, Jonathan. You’ll eventually be thinking, ‘Oh dear, only a hundred hits.’

      I remember you telling me (shortly after you taught me to blog and got me into this sorry state) that you were pleased if you ever got more than ten hits a day. Perhaps you were being modest, or trying to lower my expectations, but a hundred hits seemed a long way off then.

  4. I just recently started blogging and I was so excited when I got my first view. I try not to be too obsessive about stats but its hard. But thanks for showing me what I’m going to be facing in the future, hurray for greediness!
    (100 views per day sounds so amazing to me right now)

  5. Erika

    nope… No idea. After reading this, I don’t think I will start. Will look for happiness somewhere else.
    But: I will keep reading your blogs and sending a hit your way. Glad to contribute!!
    Greeting from the tornado alley.

  6. I think it all comes down to priorities and why you write. I know I barely have enough time during the day to shove in some room to write a post, much less worry about blog hits. Would I absolutely love to see our stats blast off into infinity+1? Of course. But my philosophy with blogging and writing is that I’m writing the kind of posts and stories and reviews I’d like to read. And sometimes, that can be enough.

    • The perfect approach to it all, CtF.

      And we’d like to think that if we ‘build it they will come’. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s out of our control.

      I recently heard a very successful author (Kurt Vonnegut, in a recorded interview if memory serves) say he knew a number of extremely talented writers who attract no interest, attention or sales. They just hadn’t had the luck or the timing to strike a chord with publishers or readers,

      We can only do our best, write what we like and if others like it too, be happy. Blogging gives us all a chance.

      • It is always a question of luck, but luck tends to favor you when you have both quantity and quality on your side. I tell my writer friends, if you have one book, every minute you promote or spend online promotes that one book. If you have ten, every minute promotes ten books. That math adds up.

  7. Antonina

    Well, Richard, I love reading your posts and I notice you’ve been posting more regularly which is great. If it helps with your hits quota, I will share your wonderful words to my facebook friends. I’m new to blogging as well and only have one follower! But I’m not at the anxious stage yet. Maybe soon….

  8. Love this post! Just about everyone can identify, Very funny writer!

  9. I’m with you Richard. The stats are beginning to take over my mind. I work fairly hard on my posts, and when I’m satisfied with them, they get posted. (Lately it’s been 4 posts for every 6 days or so) But then once they’re posted, I look at the stats like a mental patient. I have yet to crack 100 (68 was my highest so far – I’ve only been doing this for a month or two), but I know when I do, I won’t be happy until it’s always 100, and really, I’ll want 200. Odds are my readers will tire of me before that.

    oh well.

    • Never fear, 1 pP,

      I only hit 100 for the first time when someone shared me on StumbleUpon. The mistake was soon corrected and it took nearly a year before it ever happened again. Good luck and when it’s always 200, try to be happy, at least for a month or so.

  10. You have nailed it. It must be the applause thing, something we pick up in kindergarten, I think. I manage to stand on my head for two seconds and everyone claps. You can never get enough of that unless you can meditate yourself into the wavelength of the Dalai Lama.

    • John, I bet if the Dalai Lama had a blog, he’d want lots of followers too. Does he tweet? I’ll go and look…

      …just checked. You bet he tweets! The Dalai Lama has 3,770,911 Twitter followers. Stephen Fry must be so jealous!

  11. I too, am longing for that call from Singapore Airlines, or any other for that matter, to beg me to come fly with them. I started my blog about the same time that you did and understand completely the feeling the the number if hits is never enough. When I got 50 a day I wanted 100. Now if I don’t get 600 I want to know why. Some of the posts I have done that I think are great get not much interest and others I question posting at all go through the roof. Who knows how it works??? Keep on blogging!

  12. I can’t wait for the kitten video!!!!

  13. It’s odd that the articles we put our heart and soul into seem to get no hits, likes or shares. But those articles we write in just a few minutes go off the ratings hook! Damn those kittens.

    Keep up the good work, the numbers are really not that important. (But they are fun to look at!)

  14. I know exactly what you mean – I have the same obsession!

  15. I remember one good friend – a famous Australian writer, not unknown to yourself, Richard – who told me at the onset of my blogging life, that the best way to start was to never check the stats. Of course, that heartfelt advice never actually landed in my brain and, being the math girl I am, I obsessively checked the stats, leaving me in total despair and completely blocked.
    No one on the whole world wide web loved me!
    Well, except for that famous Australian writer who was the first to leave me a comment.
    Ever since, the numbers steadily increased, not to great height, but acceptable enough not to chuck me back into writer’s block hell every time I posted.
    Hardest part of blogging for me? Not the numbers, no, but keeping up the frequency (or finding the right balance between writing, editing, teaching, blogging and living) and finding good topics (yup, seat-of-the-pants articles do score high).
    -Mina

    • Yes Mina, it’s a matter of balancing what you want to write about with what you think people will want to read about. Not easy!

      The terror and the joy of blogging compared to book writing is that you can see immediately how you’re succeeding or failing.

      • I just posted a comment on Mina’s post re ‘To blog or not to blog’ which had a link to this – glad I clicked it – great post (and alot of the comments are relevant as well!!! Glad it’s not just me!)

        It’s awaiting moderation – hopefully Mina will ‘approve’ it… Hang on – will post it in here – might be useful as part of this reply as well :)

        Here’s the bit that if I’d read yours first I’d probably have put in this reply LOL :)

        “Hmmm… I’m not a ‘real’ writer…a ‘proper’ writer.. I’m just someone who wants to try and get stuff out of her head and onto virtual paper, and is happy to share it with anyone who wants to read it.

        I think it’s fair to say it’s a hobby for me, which is good really, as my best day had 66 hits and that was 2 months ago – other than that it’s the odd 20-25 hits a day with big fat zeros in between (the spikes mainly happen because I’ve posted and been read by ‘followers’ rather than been tripped over via the ‘tags’ function in WordPress My number of subscribers is increasing, but I still don’t have many ‘true’ followers from the blogging community, they’re mainly members of my limited group of connections on Twitter (or my even more ‘locked down’ Facebook account) to be honest! I’m not really surprised at the number of ‘followers’ – my content isn’t exactly awe-inspiring, or beautifully constructed, or cleverly written. My grammar is terrible, I mix metaphors, use hyphens far too much and generally mangle my mother tongue. I do hope that practice will improve me though

        Those pesky stats constantly nag at me though. Every morning (and to be honest, periodically throughout the day – especially on a ‘posting’ day) I check out the number of hits, look at any bloggers who’ve clicked ‘Like’ or have commented (bless their little cotton socks!), and dutifully reply to show my appreciation. All because as much as this is a hobby to me, I want to feel that it’s worthwhile – that someone somewhere out there gets something, no matter how small, from it. Over the past few months, I’ve had ‘comment conversations’ with some fellow bloggers along the lines of ‘first and foremost I blog for me, not others – whether I entertain people isn’t the main reason I blog…’ The only problem with that, is that part of me is completely on board with that (they obviously had control of my brain and fingers when I replied!), but I also want to be ‘liked’ or at least to be felt worth reading…and right now, I’d be lying if I thought I was ‘being heard’. ”

        It’s DEFINITELY a balancing act – and I’m not at all ‘balanced’ yet! :)

        J

  16. Pingback: To blog or not to blog | Mina Witteman – writer

  17. Pingback: To blog or not to blog | Mina Witteman – writer

  18. Colleen

    Thanks for a very heartfelt, enjoyable post, Richard. Even though I don’t blog, this does sound familiar to me … And what a great final line — I’m still smiling, and will carry that image with me throughout my day.

    Best wishes,

    Colleen

  19. Yes! I definitely know the feeling. It’s great that there’s so much information available – Google Analytics, WP-Stats, Feedburner feed counts, etc. but it makes me a bit neurotic, too. And when one post gets fewer comments than usual, I start wondering what I did wrong. All that time, thought, emotion when I really should be concentrating on my book, or at the very least putting up more blog posts!

  20. Obsession of hits have take over the obsession of personal weight!
    I’d be happy to put on 10kg (and trust me, that would not be a good thing) if it would give me 10k more hits!

  21. Oh… and don’t forget the amount of FB fans! Thankfully the twitter-bug hasn’t bitten me. And god forbid that Google + catches on!

  22. Caroline

    Richard, I linked this article to some web friends, so maybe this will get some hits. I hope a couple of them stay.

  23. Tim

    Hey Richard. Got to this a bit late – so much good stuff to read, so little time! I know exactly what you mean about obsessing over your stats, and how frustrating it is when the posts you love writing the most are so often the ones which generate the fewest readers.

    I keep telling myself that the two most important things are (a) quality over quantity and (b) my own satisfaction with what I write. And then I go back to checking my stats every hour or so. Rest assured that your loyal audience appreciates everything you write, even if it doesn’t always show up in hundreds and thousands of hits.

    Anyway, I’m off now to look at some YouTube videos of piano-playing pets … ;-)

  24. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking
    back frequently!

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