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The Only Stat That Matters

Why I don’t run analytics on my blog

Let’s face it, as human beings we’re generally suckers for optimizing our processes and workflows. One need only peruse the internet looking for information on say note taking or productivity hacks, the two seemingly hot topics of discussion while filling our glasses at the World Wide Web’s water cooler, to realize the sky’s the limit in attempting to streamline what we’re doing. Anything that even if only a placebo makes us at least feel like we’re working better — if not actually so — tends to draw us in like a kid to a cookie jar. And after gorging ourselves on those delectable treats and all we have to show for it is the proverbial sugar rush for a brief time, those cookies were still delicious so fuck it.

It’s no wonder that the interest of website owners to tweak their SEO and analytics has become so commonplace. I don’t blame them, launching any site or blog on the internet is akin to a tiny frog floating on a single lily pad in an entire ocean full of them. It’s difficult to distinguish your little niche from every other one that’s even remotely similar to yours. Like an ocean, the internet is easy to get lost in if you don’t have a map to where you’re going, and a guide to whether you’re on the right course.

After starting my blog and writing more consistently, I felt the pull of this optimization and decided to try out Plausible analytics. It was — and still is — a very popular option due to its respectfulness towards reader privacy, while still providing the benefits of statistics to the writer. But here’s the thing for me at least, the stats didn’t even end up being useful, or enjoyable, and I cancelled the trial. Quite the contrary, they painfully and poignantly reminded me of the Twitter algorithm and timeline. The endless pursuit of that perfect post that goes viral; of writing whatever is the most popular soup du jour at the time. And who’s to even say that post you thought would take off even gains much traction at all?

Perhaps something you chose not to write because it wouldn’t align with what seemed most popular in your stats at the time, could have changed someone’s life for the better. It may even have changed yours. The best feedback I’ve received hasn’t been from numbers, rather from conversation. Finding out that something I wrote resonated with someone and getting to actually read and discuss why is priceless, and I would take that over analytics any day.

Writing has been a joy and a revelation, and I honestly believe in no small part because I’m ultimately writing whatever inspires me and not for the analytics. In pouring my thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and experiences into my writing and willingly sharing my content with the world, I now realize that’s my drive.

My passion.

And that is the only stat that matters.

Posted in #SeptemberScrawls - Day 18

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