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How to Break Your Blog Traffic Addiction

This guest post is by John Burnside of MoneyIn15Minutes.

My name is John Burnside and I am a recovering traffic addict.

I got sucked into the analytics quicksand, and barely got out alive! I used to wake up in the morning and check how many hits I had over night. I used to stay up until after 12, even if I was tired, because that is when the day’s Google Analytics results came out. As soon as I got a mobile phone that could access the internet anywhere and everywhere I wanted that was when I was truly lost to my cravings. I would check at least once an hour and sometimes twice.

The thing with traffic addiction is that checking up on your traffic then leads on to more procrastination. ‘I’ve had one more person on my blog. Maybe they sent me an email or a comment?’ Then you go and check your emails and log in to your admin area. The list could go on and on and you can make that cycle last all day (I know because it’s been done!). This means that you will actually do nothing towards getting more traffic and you will end up just watching your traffic get smaller and smaller which is exactly the opposite of what you watch traffic for.

Hopefully these techniques that I’m about to share will help you, just like they have helped me, to actually get on with something that will help your blog.

Method 1. Rigorous planning

Now I know the nature of the traffic addict is not to plan. That is how I got stuck in the rut in the first place. I would say to myself, “I’ll just check this while I am thinking of what to do.”

The way to get around this is to plan out your day to the letter the day before. Give yourself tasks and time limits for the next day that you are going to work on your blog. If you are part-time, then plan when you are going to work and what you are going to work on during that time. Do not use the excuse, “I only have a couple of minutes.” A couple of minutes is enough time to get a bit of exposure for your blog.

Go to another blog and write a comment or have a look on a forum to see if anything interesting has been talked about that, day and if there is anything you can help with. That only takes a second, but that work will stay online helping you for a long time with a backlinks and, we hope, relevant traffic.

Method 2. Restrict the times when you look at your statistics

This method is very basic and reminds me of dieting or quitting cigarettes. Simply do not allow yourself to look at your emails or your analytics outside a certain time of the day. Write down all of the things that are included in your “procrastination list” and then give yourself a small window of time during the day that you are allowed to check them.

This is the method I use to restrict myself from checking all day. I have allowed myself to look at them first thing when I wake up and then after I have finished my work for that day. Also for the morning check so that I actually start work I actually time myself and give myself a 15-minute limit. I realize this sounds a little extreme, but when I look back over how much time I have wasted when I could have been expanding my blog, I know the restriction was worth it.

Method 3. Replace the cravings

This method is very simple and I think of it a bit like shocking the system out of the habit. As soon as you think of going to check up on your stats, redirect your activity. By this, I mean change that thought into something constructive. For example, every time you have that bad thought of wasting time, do something else like write an article or socialize on your networks (yes, this can also be a form of procrastination, but that’s another article entirely!). After doing this for a little while, you will soon get into the habit of doing constructive things.

Once you employ these methods, you will start to see results very soon in your traffic rankings. Keep in mind that everything you are doing instead of checking up on your statistics will stay online and help you for a long time. Checking your stats does nothing to help you.

My name is John Burnside and I am an internet entrepreneur. If you want to learn more about blogging or making money online then please subscribe to my feed.

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Comments

  1. Checking stats is always fun no matter which stat it is. But to cure your curiosity you know much isn’t going to change unless you have a traffic increase and at that point I would go check things out. In the meantime use this FireFox Add-On to keep an eye on basic stats through out the day without wasting time.

    Check it here:
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/google-analytics-watcher/

    • Mario Monk says:

      You are currenty offering a box of vodka to an alcoholic :D

    • tim says:

      I am currently using an Android widget on my phone’s homescreen that is simple that I can satisfy my stat-checking desire while not wasting any time. It’s a button that just shows the current number of bidtors so far so all I have to do is glance while doing something else. Then if I tap it, it refreshed. This gives me just enough information that I don’t go and indulge myself with the rest of the stats. Win-win, right?

      It’s called Analytics Widget

  2. Mike Lopez says:

    I think I’ve been there before and still guilty of doing it from time to time… :-)

  3. Morgan says:

    This post rings truth! I have a client who has a brand new website and is obsessed with checking their statistics and I keep telling him, “Quit it! You’re only discouraging yourself!” He finally stopped after some new merchandise of his came in which was his craving replacement…for now.

    Great post!

  4. Jia Jun says:

    I’ve been a traffic addiction too recently, especially hoping that another day would my traffic goes higher or end up goes down, would it hit another peak? Open mail just to check is there anybody comment on my blogs, managing these tiny stuff and end up distract myself and lost my times into no where.
    Stay focus and providing values is very important to grow a blog, instead of just check the states.
    There’s a quote: ” You can’t score if you only play defends”. Totally agree, only to maintained and defend lead us to no where, instead become one of the largest causes that we can’t grow well in blogging.

    Stay clear in mind and action, don’t be a traffic addiction. It’s not worth the time.

  5. Thanks for your article, John. This sounds like me to a T! The checking has got worse since I got an iPhone and it’s super easy to just pop online and check and obsess over my stats. It is time for a reality check and I could be using that time to do more useful things. So thanks for the very sound advice.

  6. Oh man, this is so true. I’m not even that much of a technical person. But for some reason I can’t help but want to check out my stats.

    I think it can be seen as some strange way of getting approval. It’s that slap on the back you need to say “well done, people like you’re blog”.

    Thanks for the weening off tips, I shall put them into action.

  7. Wow! You must know me! Thanks for this post. I’ve read lots of advice to stop wasting time worrying about stats, but I appreciate the specific suggestions about things to do to take a different approach. I’m definitely going to stop fretting and get to work!

  8. sumanth says:

    thanks for the tips..i am suffeirng from the same addiction..hope come out of that soon. :)

  9. When I first started writing on-line I was using HubPages. I was constantly checking to see if I had new comments, how many ‘reads’ by articles had gotten, which one was my top article, which was last place, google stats – everything. I was addicted to the numbers.

    My recovery program pretty much followed what you describe. Placing limits and redirecting those urges into something more useful – like writing new articles.

    This is good advice, and I’ll attest to the problems this addiction can cause!

  10. Hi! Very well written, refreshingly honest and something shared by many a blogger including me; one of the reasons I got rid of “Site Meter” on my blog. Now I only have to contend with Google Analytics….God help me!

  11. Ayngelina says:

    I am completely obsessed and it’s getting so bad it’s up to 4 times a day. I like the tip about redirecting. I’m going to start doing that – but after I check just one more time!

  12. Rob says:

    Great post and tips. I agree and it is so hard no to be consumed with stats. It seems like stats are what make the blog world go round but that isn’t necessarily true. It is hard not to focus on them but I can definitely understand the importance of not focusing on them. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Vivek Parmar says:

    I’m also in traffic addiction checking stats everytime but working on to get rid of it. Hope these tips help me to get rid of traffic addiction

  14. You must only check stats after the day is done..do your marketing then check and see how things are gong..it just that simple..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  15. Salman Saeed says:

    I liked the post. Thank you! :)
    Even I check my Google Analytics visit overnight :D

  16. Great article! It’s so true how easy time can get sucked away when you never planned it that way. I hope to stick to my “real” plan more often. Thanks for the advice.

  17. You could always replace the addiction of looking to see how much traffic you had with working on getting traffic!

  18. Andy Merrett says:

    To avoid falling into the trap of “but if I analyse my stats I’ll be able to see how my site is performing, and what I should be working on” tell yourself that 1-5 minute glances do nothing for medium or long-term planning.

    Instead, maybe set aside a small portion of each day for short term strategy (seeing which posts have done well in 24 hours, for example) and a larger portion of uninterrupted time every week or fortnight for more detailed analysis (trends, emerging referrers, and so on). Have a plan of what stats you are going to track, then track and record and create a strategy for the next few weeks, and perhaps longer term, based on that.

    One to two hours spent each week or month exclusively on analysis is far better than multiple daily nibbles at stats where you don’t fully commit to seeing what’s going on — you’re just doing it to procrastinate.

  19. Michael Cash says:

    Traffic addiction can definitely get out of hand, and it doesn’t help when google waits 9 months or so to update page rank.

  20. s.b.Lyngo says:

    The first step is admitting that you have a problem. Give Thanks for this insightful and important post. I need to check myself before I wreck myself. ;)

  21. TidyMom says:

    fantastic article!! It’s amazing how those numbers can suck the mins out of your day and consume you!

  22. Faust says:

    do it at least once a month checking on the site analytics, simply just write good content and forget the traffic..

  23. Tristan says:

    Great post, John! I used to be a stats-aholic, but have been clean for a while now.

    Your method #2 is what saved me. I now check my stats once a day, and it’s at night right before I go to bed. That way I can either sleep soundly or be tortured all night (and give me extra incentive to work hard the next day!).

    Thanks for the post!

  24. Steven Papas says:

    John your article is a killer! Many times we put clutter first, like statistics checking or replying to every single comment in our posts, and we put business second. Planning our day the day before is a tip I ‘ve used in offline business and it works always! Thanks Darren for posting it.

  25. Devin Day says:

    AHAHAH! I have been staying up to midnight to check the stats on a new blog I launched. This post is so true!

    I like your advise on doing something constructive like leaving a comment on a blog rather than constantly worrying about stats.

    New Years Resolution. Stop starring at stats and start promoting :)

  26. Great post, I check my stats every night to give me a fair idea of the direction of my blog…

  27. Paystub says:

    Nice stuff for addicts, well i guess tech-savvy can also use it!

  28. Krissy Brady says:

    Great tips! I was a traffic addict when I first started my blog, but stepped out of the habit once I got more involved with the process of adding content. I did what you have suggested, and setup a schedule for my blogging, so now I am down to checking my stats once a day, to see what topics hit and what ones don’t for my future blogging schedules. I will definitely be keeping your article on hand though, for times where those cravings are too much to bear. :)

  29. Penny Webb says:

    Read your post while I was waiting for my Blog Stats to load up. Woops! In the early stages, so use it as a bit of encouragement, but you’re right – can so easily become an obsession.

  30. Lisa says:

    Wow, exactly what I needed to hear! At least it’s comforting to know I’m not alone! What is really bad is when getting distracted with stats and email takes away from what is really important in life, like my kids. I am going to make a resolution about this today–who needs to wait for the new year?

  31. Andy Merrett says:

    Let me tell you when things get really bad…

    I have been known to open a terminal window, connect directly to a command line on my web server and watch raw log files go by! Seriously.

  32. Jewelz says:

    I am a victim of this horrible addiction. Wow, I thought I was the only one. Glad I’m not alone though. Thanks for making us aware of this and giving us a solution :)

  33. Tim Woodbury says:

    Geez, John. You’ve got me pegged.

    I just launched my first sweepstakes. This whole day has been lost to rotating between my email, the dashboard, and the analytics page. “Maybe someone else added a comment,” is all I’ve been thinking so far today.

    Data addiction indeed.

  34. Chris says:

    LOL. Guilty as charged. I couldn’t function without my GA and Statcounter. =)

  35. I’ve been there and still does it once in a while.

  36. i am addicted to adsense report, analytics and feed subscriber report :)

  37. Im a traffic addict but Im proud of it. Its even the title of my new blog http://trafficaddict.com LOL. Checking your stat is not bad because we need to evaluate things and learn which one is working. We need to measure our campaigns regularly so we can save resources.

    But of course, sitting and watching stats all day and just hoping to have an increase without doing anything is a totally different thing and its not acceptable in this business.

  38. Haha. It happens to the best of us. I’ve learned not to value the worth of my blog, or even the worth of myself, to outside numbers or variables.

    For those of you who are new to blogging, I recommend having a blog for about 3 months or so that is PRIVATE, write your best stuff. That way you get used to no commenting or no views and you are comfortable creating great content for the sake of creating great content.

    Remember: you are worth far more than your site stats, lol.

  39. Jimmy says:

    I strictly avoid looking at my stats for my new site. I don’t even want to think about it and just do what I like with.

  40. Fayltrik says:

    This is so true! I’m getting addicted to watching my traffic stats as well! I would go to analytics and spend 1 hour looking at all the data. Then I would switch to adsense. After that, I’ll check my email for comment notifications. Then the cycle repeats.

    I need to get more productive.

  41. Karen Marrow says:

    I like the title of this post. Yeah, I think people can get addicted to anything and then procrastinate. Great advice you give here.

    Thanks,

    Karen

  42. Yoichi says:

    I have to admit I am addicted to traffic.

    This post has laid out the symptoms and have to admit. It gets me excited to drive more of my efforts into whats working when I check out my GA.

    I am getting better at time management though.

    This was a fun post to read!

    Yoichi

  43. seenu says:

    Great advice dude

  44. Jagan Mangat says:

    I am addict too but my blog is slowly slowly growing,increasing on traffic and that makes me write more for my blog.

  45. So, should I get Google Analytics? *giggles*

  46. Salman Saeed says:

    Good one. Surely gonna act on it from now on and stop being an addict.

  47. sandman says:

    What a fantastic and timely post. I’ve only recently started to realize that I have a procrastination list (including, but not limited to, checking traffic). Great suggestions, thank you!

  48. turisuna says:

    I’m still a traffic addict till now lol
    And the worse is I lose the spirit to write article if I find out that my traffic has decreased :( I know it’s stupid and I should stop this habit right now. Maybe I can make it as one of my resolutions in 2011, get rid of traffic addiction.

  49. This is right on! It’s funny John, I was the same way, especially initially. You’re right though, it’s highly unproductive and if you’re traffic, subscriptions and emails aren’t so plentiful, you’ll be running into a ton of “mini upsets” every time you check your stuff! That’s what initially broke me of the habit.

    You touch on a great point at the end, conditioning.

    Nice Post

    RC

  50. Jimmy says:

    This post is “deja vu” for me…