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Help! I’m Addicted to Checking My Blog’s Stats!

reader-questionsJennifer 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?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Matthew says:

    Hi my name is Matthew

    I have a problem

    I’ve been blogging 9 months now….

    And I’m a compulsive stat checker

  2. Erin Moore says:

    I’m actually not obsessed with my stats, even though my blog is only 6 months old. But my spouse checks my stats constantly.

  3. I used to check my stats constantly as well. In my first couple of months of blogging I would check my stats on many programs I use probably more than 10 times a day. However I am a lot busier these days, and I sometimes I go more than a day without checking any stats.

    I also posted an article about being a statistic addict a while back, you can check it out on my blog.

  4. Jason says:

    I went through the same thing here. Now I check once a day.

  5. Stats checking does have its benefits, though… Just very recently, my obsessive stats checking tipped me to an unusual lot of traffic coming to one particular page. Because I spotted it early, I was able to make a couple quick changes to the sidebar, to lead those new readers deeper into the site, and also wrote a new post designed to be of particular interest to them, related to the page that was getting all the hits… Wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been checking the traffic flow and incoming links!

  6. Has no one mentioned the NEW Google Analytics? You can have Google send you a report via email and you never have to go chasing after them.

    Getting my daily report instantly slowed down my frequent FeedBurner checking….

  7. This post is gold. First time I saw the title I thought I’m dreaming as I was going through my stats the gazzillionth time. My blog is a bit amoeba-ish compared to the giants posting here.
    Thanks though.
    An Alien In London.

  8. Sheila says:

    I literally laughed out loud when I read this post title because I can so easily relate to it.

    So for those of you “mature” bloggers who have successfully graduated from obsessive stat analysis phase, about how long did it take you before you got beyond it?

  9. Ryan says:

    Sort of ironic that I came over to Problogger right after looking at AWStats, don’t you think?

    I’ve got one site on a server that doesn’t let me have the control to update awstats when I want so I have to wait for the next day to see how today’s going. Sort of the same lines as the Analytics comments above. Oddly, I don’t check that one but every few days (…runs off to check as he remembers that he hasn’t checked in a few days…) But most of my sites are on a VPS and I’ve setup awstats so I can update on a whim. Maybe that’s the problem.

  10. My favorite aspect is Google Analytics’ area map, that shows where people are checking you out from. Fascinating, and kind of strange when people start hitting you from other countries. Rewarding to see your blog spread though.

    As I get more traffic though, I have checked it less often.

  11. Hi, my name is Sean and I’m a stat junkie.

    Everybody: HI, SEAN!

    I’m always been a stats junkie. I want to know if a post I wrote has legs and is driving traffic. I love that instant feedback weblogging gives me. With my many checks I can see if my server is running properly. If I see my hourly stats down that information gets me to comment on weblogs, send out e-mails on posts I’ve written, or get the initiative to write more content. Stats encourage me to make and market my weblog. For that I thank Sitemeter.

  12. Alain says:

    Thanks for the tip of the firefox plugin for adsense. This already reduces the time I have to take to login to Google Adsense. Now I also have to try and reduce the “view statistics”-addiction and everything will be ok again :-)
    I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one.

    @Blog and Bloggers: The firefox addon for adsense is called Adsense notifier

  13. Shaun says:

    Checking your stats on a regular basis I think is ok as long as you attempt to leverage your traffic and figure out which blogging methods attracts the most visitors. Monitor what your visitors are reading, how they interact with your site and where your visitors exit your site and you will maximize your traffic levels.

  14. DPeach says:

    I used to be a junkie, now I just check when I have some free time. Usually not more than 3 times a day.

    How do you people go more than a week?

  15. redwall_hp says:

    Now, someone should write a Konfabulator (sorry, *Yahoo Widgets*) widget for Google Analytics. Then people could check basic stats at a glance, without wasting time. There’s a widget for Feedburner, that shows current subscribers. Why not Google Analytics?

  16. It’s a good thing that Google Analytics does not provide live data or we would all be in trouble checking every minute.

    I check my AdSense through the firefox tool and find it very valuable.

    I also use StatCounter as an analytics package to track my live searches and hits.

    I’m on Alexa at least once a day to see if I’m moving too.

  17. Chris says:

    I’m addicted to checking my stats also! I make a celebrity website and everytime Sarah Silverman makes an appearance my hits multiply like crazy. Obviously this has been a good week for me. :)

  18. Matt Wardman says:

    I have a couple of rules of thumb:

    * Only look at your statistics on a Sunday if your are a new blogger. You should be spending your time writing your blog not reading it.

    See for more detail: http://tinyurl.com/2v8exr

    * Motivate yourself with quick statistics as you become more experienced. Find a form of summary stats that you like, and use it for 60 seconds twice a day.

    See for more detail: http://tinyurl.com/33b6j8

  19. Rob O. says:

    I was something of an occasional stats junkie before – reviewing the stats logs from my web host provider – but with Google Analytics, I’ve really strung out. I only check ‘em about every 4-5 days, but the wealth of details in GA is just so engrossing. I can easily while away an hour massaging & perusing the data.

  20. Rich Minx says:

    It is so heartening to see all these fellow stats addicts. Is there a stats-checking rehab?

  21. wu zhiyong says:

    Be useful to new blogger, I translate it into Chinese.
    http://www.wu-zhiyong.cn/post/73.html

  22. Roy Story says:

    I don’t think checking statcounter frequently is a bad thing. It can help drive traffic by optimizing towards hot terms, etc. For example I saw how many people were googling David Beckham’s first goal and since I had the video on my personal site Roystory.com I got a ton of traffic by optimizing further towards that term. So statcounter for fun = bad, to drive decisions = good!

  23. mikko says:

    I’ve been blogging for 4 months already but sill, I haven’t got over statsaholicism yet.

  24. Y. S. says:

    I check my blog stats all the time !!! (its useless cuz i barely have any readers!)

    Can someone please give me a link to the “Firefox Tool” mentioned in the article?