Like many who write online, I find it a bit too easy to become obsessed with stats. The same is true for other content creators such as photographers, vloggers, social media influencers, and other creatives. In fact, we can get obsessed with them to the point where it adversely affects our mental health in our struggle to accumulate these stats.
Yes, stats are important. They are a barometer by which we can gauge how effectively our content is reaching people. While there are many stats to consider, the three that I follow the most closely are views, followers (or subscribers), and interactions (like/reactions, comments, reshares, etc.)
In this short article, I’ll share my feelings on what each of these stats means to me and some insight on how I go about improving on them. Today, we’ll touch on views, then in a future article, we’ll look at the ultimate importance of followers, then finally interactions.
Views Are Everything, But They’re Really Not
The most deflating thing to happen for any content creator is laboring over a piece for hours, days, weeks, or even longer, only to get only a handful of views and little to no interaction. You share it to all your social networks, build backlinks to it wherever you can. Still, you can count the views of it on one hand. What happened?
Most likely, it’s nothing you did or didn’t do. Unfortunately, you can push something out on every social media network and related forum there is and get next to no exposure for your work. Since views are the lifeblood of every content creator, you want to make sure you’re getting eyeballs on it. Otherwise, you’re basically writing for yourself and a couple of passersby, and that’s very humbling.
Sure, some views inevitably come from automated spider bots crawling the internet for either search engines or RSS feeds. Then, you’ll get some random views from foreign countries, some of which can be spam bots out to find their next website to harass. But, for the most part, your views will come from real people like yourself. Whether they stick around and actually find your content helpful is another matter; that subject is for an entire different article about how to use web based analytics. When that view count is low, though, it gets really depressing and sometimes even terribly demotivating.
The best way I found to increase views in the past is to use hashtags. This is a tried and true tactic on Instagram and Twitter, but they would sometimes work on Facebook, Linkedin, and even Pinterest, too. The beauty of hashtags is that they put your content in front of a targeted audience which is often far outside your usual sphere of influence.
On Twitter, you can also sometimes get the benefit of bot accounts which automatically reshare posts with certain hashtags; these bot shares may not do much, but it’s something, and it’s at least an additional mention or two. Also, sharing posts multiple times during a week, or even a day, is fine, especially on Twitter, as long as you share other stuff in between, especially other creators’ content.
There used to be StumbleUpon, which was extremely hit or miss,. I use to get some traffic explosions from it in the past with thousands of potential views. Probably 2 out of every 100 posts you put on there actually got Stumbled, but depending on your topic, you could get an amazing new avenue of traffic. Unfortunately, many views from StumbleUpon used to bounce immediately. Still, the dopamine hit from seeing a big number of views at least helped to motivate me to keep blogging.
Nowadays, Pinterest basically serves the same role. It’s still extremely hit or miss as heck, but it’s at least a blast to browse! Like StumbleUpon once was, it could be an amazing way to get your content exposure. You just had to be sure to submit plenty of other links besides your own. Unfortunately, entering the 2020’s, the site became overrun with dedicated Pinterest marketers that led to the site not being nearly as useful as it once was, outside of a handful of niches that I don’t service.
As I’m rewriting this article in 2022, I must confess that all of these social media avenues for soliciting views finally dried up for me in 2021 with massive algorithm changes on multiple platforms. I deleted my Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest accounts in September 2022, as I was getting half a percent of my views from all three of these sources. Interestingly, my views didn’t go down, but rather than up.
The solution for me, of course, was my bread and butter way to get organic traffic: SEO. Visitors that come to my content with long tail keyword phrases (search queries of three words or more) are my favorite to optimize for in my writing. This is because the more long tail a search request is, the more targeted that piece is, allowing me to benefit from the views of people who are actively looking for what I wrote about. Organic traffic is awesome and it’s the cheapest way to attract a new audience, although far from the easiest.
I’ll get into my personal views on SEO in a future article. But, yes, in moderation, trying to show Google how awesome you are to their pretty little spidery fellows is a tried and true strategy, as long as your content is legitimately helpful. This isn’t to say that social media is useless for every one, but as soon as it became of no use to me, I ejected it. Hopefully you still get views from social media, but if you’re not, stop wasting time on it and pivot to SEO and backlink building instead.
What Views Really Mean to Me
Many of us want views for grinding pennies on CPM and video ads. But, for those of us who rely on in-text affiliate links, pay-per-clicks, or no ad income at all, views are more of a source of pride for us. It’s good to know people have actually seen your content. Still, I believe that the raw number of views a particular piece of content gets is less important than gaining readership and eventually high-quality interactions. Of course, the more views, you get the better, but views are not everything!
So, if you keep getting low views on your content, don’t despair. It may just be you need a better place to promote. More likely, you should focus on better targeting your content for your intended audience. Let me know if you have any questions, my lovelies! Whatever you do, don’t give up. You are an awesome content creator, and you can only grow with each and every post you make!
Keep on’ creatin’!
~ Amelia <3