The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Hi, I'm Kim. (You're supposed to say, "Hello, Kim!") I am a Google Analytics-oholic. I am addicted to Google Analytics. I check my pageviews multiple times a day even on days I haven't posted anything new. I'm obsessed with my Google Analytics. Sometimes it feels like I'm only posting for pageviews, which is not what I wanted from a blog.
It wasn't always this way.
When I started this blog I was thrilled anytime my pageviews indicated that more people than my family and closest friends were reading my stuff. I remember when one post got 700 hits. Wow! That seemed huge! Then a few weeks later I had a post get a few thousand hits. Amazing! I was incredibly grateful for those spikes in traffic. I saw them as special events that may never be duplicated.
Then, one post skewed all my Google Analytics expectations. Due to some lucky keywords that post got almost 200,000 over the course of several weeks. It continues to get daily hits ever since. I knew that one was an anomaly, but I still felt my expectations shift. Posts that got hundreds or even over a thousand pageviews, numbers that used to thrill me, now left me wishing they had done better. That's when I became addicted to Google Analytics.
Blogging became a competition.
Every week ChicagoNow publishes the most viewed posts and blogs from the prior week. As I obsessed over my Google Analytics I would think, "Will this be enough to get me on one of those lists?" The truth is that I am rarely on those lists. I am sometimes close, if a few hundred pageviews counts as close. When I first started blogging I wouldn't have thought so.
ChicagoNow also publishes lists of the best posts of the month. Last month there was a gallery post that I had intended to nominate even before I had published it. Then, at the last minute I changed my mind and submitted something else. When the list came out I wasn't on it. Ever since then I've been overwhelmed with regret feeling like if I had submitted the other post I could have made the cut. Of course, I can't know really know that.
Not making a best posts list should be a minor disappointment. In most months I see that I'm not on the list. I congratulate those who are. I move on, but I haven't been able to shake this from my thoughts. Sometimes the anxiety of that one decision keeps me up at night. I don't want to feel this way. I just want to let it go. Try again next time. But this one stupid decision has been weighing on me for weeks.
This is not fun. This is not why I started a blog.
I started blogging because I wanted a creative outlet for my writing that didn't require as large blocks of dedicated time as playwriting. I was not so naive to think that blogging would bring me fame and fortune. (I never thought playwriting would bring that either.)
Yes, I want an audience, if I didn't I would write in a notebook not publish to a website, but I don't want to judge my work by the size of its audience.
I had a post all ready to go for today. I was going to publish a list of my most viewed posts in 40 weeks of blogging, but a lot of my favorite posts aren't on that list. That list rewarded numbers not words. (Not that I don't feel that some of my most successful posts are also some of my best posts, but a good post is a good post when I hit publish. Its quality does not increase when the pageviews started rolling in.)
I am taking a break from Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a tool to learn what is working on a blog in terms of promotion and search engine optimization, and, yes, it does provide some measure of success. For those reasons I will not abandon Google Analytics altogether, but I can take a break. I have blocked my browser from accessing Google Analytics for 80 hours. I have removed the app from my phone. I consider this a birthday present for may sanity.
I'm not going off line.
Let's not get too drastic here. I'm not going off line, so please let me know what you think in the comments section below or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook. If you are a blogger have you ever felt this way. Am I the only one who has gotten addicted to Google Analytics?
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