Jennifer asked – “I just started a new blog a week ago. I’m writing one post a day, in the mornings before I go to work. I have a problem with obsessively checking my blog stats and comments during the day at the office. Surely I’m not the only one! Is there anything you can say that might discourage this behavior? Or are there some good desktop widgets that I can run unobtrusively in the background? My regular career would probably benefit from it. I would love to go pro one day but I’ve gotta pay the bills for now!”
Jennifer – I’ve got a few comments for you:
1. You’re not alone and you’re perfectly normal – Most new bloggers go through exactly what you’ve described. I remember doing the same thing at a part time job I had, every computer I’d go past that didn’t have someone on it I’d check my stats on.
2. Most bloggers ‘grow out of it’ – I think you’ll find that most seasoned bloggers still have a fascination with their stats – but that for most of them the checking becomes a little less frequent and obsessive over time. Of course I do know some that don’t seem to be able to kick the habit :-)
3. Firefox Tool – I’m not sure what stats you’re checking most but one handy tool that you might like to check out is the Firefox add-on that allows you to see your AdSense earnings throughout the day. It shows you both totals but also impression numbers which can give you an indication of how much traffic you’ve had. Of course it’ll also show anyone walking past your desk the same information :-)
4. Give yourself a Stat Checking Schedule – I’ve never done this myself but I have one friend who became so obsessed with her stats that she almost became paralyzed by analyzing them and got very little else done in her life. Her remedy was to set the alarm on her phone to go off every 2 hours. The alarm told her that it was time to check her stats. It was sort of a retraining of her mind as to what was appropriate behavior for her. She gradually increased the time between alarms to a point where her ‘stats habit’ was more under control. Seemed to work for her.
5. Enjoy Yourself – I’ll finish with this one. Part of the job of starting a new blog is the rush of seeing that people are reading it. While checking stats every 12 minutes might be a little overkill – it’s an indication that you’re excited and passionate about seeing your blog do well. Harness that excitement and channel it into your actual blogging and you’ll create a wonderful blog.
6. Reward Yourself with a Stats Fix – OK, I inspired myself with point #5 and had to add another last point. Perhaps you could making checking your stats a little reward for a good job in some other aspect of your life. I used to do this now that I think about it – I’d put off checking stats until I’d completed a new post or had emptied my inbox for example.
I’m sure plenty of ProBlogger readers have been through a similar thing to Jennifer – I’d love to hear the suggestions of others too! Are you a stats junkie? How do you keep your habit in check?