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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. 45n5 says:

    7. Reduce the time it takes to check your stats – this problogger hack works great for speeding up my stat checking time:

    http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/05/17/a-secret-to-my-productivity-success/

  2. Roberta says:

    I am a total stats junkie. I check and check and check. I can’t kick the habit either, so I’m looking forward to the responses.

  3. Bloggeroo says:

    I love that you posted this. I used to obsessively check my logs too. Glad I grew out of that one!

  4. Allen Holman says:

    Over checking my Adsense stats was the reason I wrote Adsense Notifier – http://code.mincus.com/3/adsense-notifier/ !

  5. The more traffic I get, the less I look at my stats.

  6. dudu says:

    I think that it could be good to do something like this: I see my stats only once per day and all at the same time. Analytics, Adsense and comments.
    You can loose less time and concentrate in what really matters.

  7. ourman says:

    You are not alone and you are perfectly normal…but I’ve been blogging for four years now and I have not grown out of it.

    Perhaps if I did then blogging would lose its appeal.

    Don’t knock it.

  8. Actually, this post and the comments are kind of cathartic. I thought that I was the only one ready for a Stat 12-step program to return to normalcy. (“Hi. My name is Steve. It’s been 5 minutes since my last stat check.”).

    Like Lyndon, when the traffic is flowing over a period of time, I tend to back off. But the first day I see what I consider to be a big dip, I’m back getting crazy about it again.

    Here’s what I came to realize: If I wanted to write for myself, I’d send myself email attachements of MSWord files. But I do want to write for others.That means finding a way to find out how I’m doing. Keeping score also leads to discovering new ways to boost traffic as well as pinpointing what’s wrong with one’s current methodologies and finding ways to improve them.

    Without the stats, there’s really no trigger to tell you something is happening, pro or con.

    Excuse me, I have to…

  9. jhay says:

    Stats can indeed be addicting, especially for new blogs.

    But Darren is right, stats would soon dwindle down your priority list and you’d go on to making good content the top task.

  10. Rick Yuen says:

    I’m guilty at checking my stats all the time as well.
    It’s usually depressing to see the low numbers so I’ve been forcing myself instead to use the time to tweak the site, write new postings, or check out other blogs. As noted above, the more traffic and success you get, the less you will be checking.

  11. Darren became psychologist. I am also nearly obscssed with stats and adsense stats. Need to change my behaviour. Good article.

  12. myles says:

    remember with http://m.wordpress.com you can check your stats from any PDA/phone with a browser!

  13. Obsess with stats? Never!

    The only obsession I have is checking ProBlogger every few hours.

  14. Shedwa says:

    I love to check my stats, but mostly I check to see if there are any unusual increases or decreases. If I get a rush of traffic, I know someone big has linked to me. I once got linked to from BoingBoing.net and has thousands of hits in a matter of minutes. If I hadn’t been checking my stats, I never would have been able to quickly recognize the opportunity of a much larger audience then normal.

  15. Carlie says:

    I love the idea of “rewarding” one’s self with looking at stats after they have done something. Me… I probably check my stats 3-5 times a day, but I never really thought before how obsessive this is. but, then again, as a blog is starting out, it’s probably good thing to see where and how people are getting to your site so you can improve. As you get more visitors, you know your methods are working, so you don’t have to look as much. Maybe…

  16. Musics Place says:

    Great to read that this behaviour appears to be normal. At least to the bloggers out there. Others do not understand…
    Thanks for a great article!

  17. foodette says:

    Yes! This is totally my problem. My blog is just starting to get some traffic and comments (been up a few weeks), and I am constantly checking on it. I would think the only rememdy is just to keep improving the blog so I feel like I am adding to my stats. But, I think my husband is sick of hearing “guess what! X amount of UNIQUE visitors yesterday….UNIQUE!” Yeah, that is probably annoying for him :)

  18. I went through the same stage as I am monitoring a writing project. I guess restrain is key and using stats review as a reward after doing something can be a good start.

  19. Brown Baron says:

    I try to limit the checking of my stats to 3 times a day. Of course my excuse is that my blog is still new and that’s why I need to see my stats a lot heh.

  20. Mike says:

    Since the laundry room and the basement are both in the basement, I use one as an excuse to do the other. We have a lot of clean laundry. I just wish I could find a good excuse to put the laundry away.

  21. Brad says:

    As much as I love checking my stats, I’ve forced myself to check them less frequently now, as I’m finding myself occupied with other aspects of my blog. I’ll admit though, checking stats can be very addicting.

    But it’s not just the numbers I like, it’s also seeing where in the world my readers come from (geographically) as well as how they were referred to my blog. I’ve actually seen a great deal of visitors who come from these comments I leave on Problogger. I’ve also gotten a lot of search engine traffic as well!!!

  22. Deborah says:

    Wow! I am so glad I am not the only one. I am new to this as well and I am continuously logging on to my blog to see if anyone has made a comment, good, bad or indifferent. I have changed the layout template about 3 times a day for for the past week.

    I would love to get to the point where I simply post something I found interesting and leave it at that.

  23. Techie Buzz says:

    Hey Jennifer,

    You are not alone I am obsessed too with the stats because i ditched my blog which is also celebrating its birthday.

    The reason I do is because since I ditched my blog I got from getting lakhs of visitors per month to a number where I was getting only 50K and eventually to getting it low to 5K and less.

    But from there on I started to get the blog up and high again from 5K to 15K now from where I do think I can build it to a 100K site in another month.

    So don’t fret it can be done with few good things what is you have to learn though.

    Keith

  24. Michael says:

    I found myself doing this a lot early on to but I have grown out of it aswell. One of the things that I have found that helps is using a tool like Google Analytics because it only updates once a day, this way you only really need to check it once a day, otherwise you are checking the same information over and over and over again.

  25. Danilo says:

    For me, I just use Google Analytics… It doesn’t update real time so I check it only the following day. In a sense this lack of functionality can help addicts. :)

  26. SSG says:

    Thank God! Its good to know I am not the only one. I was checking my stats every few hours but I am doing better now once a day only after i realized it is affecting my quality of life. Welcopme to STAT CHECKER ANONYMOUS CLUB

  27. Deb says:

    Do you really grow out of it? After two years I’m still obsessed with stats.

  28. Hi Darren,

    I made a post a few months ago about being Addicted to Stats. Three months later and my addiction hasn’t gotten much better. I love seeing my posts getting picked up by authoritative sites and watching my Technorati rank jump. Watching the stats during a big digg day never get old.

  29. stephen says:

    stats… stast… 3 days and running.. need more hits… hits i tell you.. HITS… lol… i agree im in this boat :(!!!

  30. Emma says:

    I’m a fairly new blogger and have had to restrain my stats checking to once a day. If I don’t, I’ll check my stats every 30 minutes, which is not how I intend to spend my day.

    Thanks for the tips! :)

  31. al says:

    I like to research, thats why I put stats from wordpress.com also using google analytics. See the trend and try to figure out about behavior. Addicted, I think I’m :-) but not for long after I got the pattern.

  32. Mike Goad says:

    I’m going to go on a trip where it’s going to be a bit difficult to check anything, let alone stats. We leave in the morning. I’ll check things when I can — and, of course, I’ll look for ways to make it so.

  33. Tom says:

    I’m totally addicted. Maybe the other unix geeks/admins can relate to this:

    it’s not uncommon for me to tail -f access_log to monitor traffic in real time. I just love seeing that screen scroll by and I can sometimes pick out new referrers as it scrolls.

  34. Rhys says:

    The adsense notification tool mentioned above for firefox is great but after 1 hour it seems to stop working for me (it reports $0.00).

  35. la bloga says:

    some times, I see stadistics, watching the keywords of search engines

  36. markowe says:

    Almost from the start I have used a little free utility called TraceWatch (you can Google it), which is great for beginners because in the “Latest” tab you can see EVERY hit displayed individually, in a user friendly way. It can get very obsessive though, and I am glad I am not the only one.

    With some of my sites still only into 3-figure daily unique hit counts, I still find myself examining every single hit – where it came from etc. etc. which may be a good thing because I can keep track of trends and have tweaked a few things as a result. I think in the long term though, I really need to “kick the habit”!

  37. I had the same problem just not long ago, but I found the way to fight it. Just think about time you waste checking your stats during the day. You could probably easily produce a great post that cuold attract more visitors to your site.

    I decided for myself to check the stats no more than 2 times a day. Sometime in the afternoon and about 10-11 pm. Second one actually can be the only one, since it will show some useful info you can use for optimization or new posts the next morning.

    BTW, what is that Firefox Adsense plugin called?

  38. ianternet says:

    haha, that is funny when I first started out with my blog I was doing the same thing and now I usually chec stats every other day. but its great to see your stats because you want to keep doing it more and improve on it more and more every day

  39. Ali says:

    I’ve a recovering statsaholic.

    Statsaholism is a very addictive condition and getting out can be quite an ordeal.

    I’ve disciplined myself to check it around 3 times a day from the 24 or more I used to do. At one point of time there was always one tab open for it.

  40. Blend says:

    Don’t worry about stat just enjoy to blogging. :)

  41. Golf says:

    I am exactly the same, but I also check my Google Adsense on a regular basis!!

  42. TechZilo says:

    I am a stats junkie, totally!

    My blog is only a few months old, and has a handful of traffic, but I just can’t seem to stop checking stats.

    I already have 3 tabs(FeedBurner analysis, Google Analytics, and SearchStats for WordPress plugin page) always open, and use “Reload Every” a firefox extension, to reload them every minute while I am browsing, which is usually 2-3 hours a day.

    Is there a remedy out of it?

  43. Jennifer says:

    Hey! Wow! First of all, thank you so much Darren for responding to my question. You just made my day!

    Since posting that question, I’ve grown out of checking my stats all the time, mostly because it’s been difficult to devote 1-2 hours a day before or after work to my blog while raising a toddler, so I don’t post as often as I would like. Checking my stats has been feeling a bit like stepping on the scale when I know I haven’t been working out! I only check about once a week.

    The most addictive stat tool I use is mybloglog.com since it delivers real-time data. Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have said that in a room full of stats-oholics…

    And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m dying to see how many people have clicked through to my site!

    :)

  44. Amanda says:

    I check my stats once every day in the morning. However sometimes I hate checking my feedburner stats :|

  45. 60 in 3 says:

    I used to do this and I would obsess over every drop, real or imagined, in impressions or feed subscriptions. By the third week, I was checking things a bit less often. In my third month or so and I’m down to only checking once every few hours :)

    So yah, you get better over time. I have to admit though that it’s a rush seeing that people are actually reading what I wrote.

    Gal

  46. I was also suffering a bit from this problem but found one good solution to it. You can read a short article I wrote about that solution by clicking my name. Perhaps you´ll find it helpful.

  47. Guilty as charged… I’m always looking at stats.

  48. adrian says:

    same for me, i started my blog 4 days ago, and i can`t stop checking my stats

  49. affzan says:

    I consider myself as one of the stat junkies :D. Every hour or so I would check my feedburner account (although it doesn’t have live update since I didn’t upgrade), mybloglog (doesn’t have live update as well), google analytics and adsense account.

    Seriously, I think every new blogger has this habit. You’re just too excited to know how well the audience accept you. I take this as a motivation, but it can demotivates as well if the stats are not as expected.

  50. I completely agree that a schedule works well. I check my stats once a week, when I write up my weekly summary post. It keeps me from getting too absorbed in checking my stats and it also helps me look at things from a more scientific perspective. Without a schedule, you can’t compare results between time periods as well.