The Hit

Back when I was writing fan stories, I was very concerned about hit statistics. I would check my hit meters every day, and, if I didn’t match my numbers from the day prior, I’d get a little depressed, or I’d worry about why I was “losing readers.” Was I not making them happy? Were they bored with my story? What had I done wrong? I’d wring my hands over this nonsense, even though – rationally – I knew the numbers meant nothing. I could get 150 hits in a day…but it’s not like anyone would ever leave me any feedback, which was what I really wanted.

A typical hit stats graph

I still check my hit statistics on posts and stories, but I’ve become so much less affected by them. If a story or post goes days without garnering any interest, I feel a little sad, mostly because I think of my stories as part of myself. And I don’t particularly enjoy feeling neglected. But then I’ll look at another piece that gets a lot of hits, but very little feedback, and I’ll be reminded that it’s not the numbers that make me feel fulfilled.

It’s not important how many people glance through a post or a story. What’s important to me is when I’ve made someone laugh, or cry, or reflect a little on their own lives, with my words. And if they take a moment to let me know that my story affected them in some way? That’s one of the best feelings in the world. I’d much rather have one person be genuinely touched by my story, than a hundred or even a thousand who just take a glance and feel nothing.

Some people will tell you that hits are valuable: essentially, they’re a measure of your success. Others will tell you that hits mean nothing. I’m here to tell you that – in my experience, at least – hits can represent popularity and how successful you are with reaching your audience…but they truly don’t matter, so long as you love what you’re doing.

Which would you rather: get the hits, or love what you do?

What are your feelings on hit statistics?

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9 thoughts on “The Hit

  1. This seems to be a popular sentiment of late. Frankly, I don’t have the time to trawl through my stats. But that’s not to say I don’t pay attention. I have a lot of followers who have never left a comment or “liked” a post of mine. The core group who pay attention, read my stuff, comment, and engage in conversation–they’re the ones I care about. As long as they keep coming back, then I’m happy. And if that core group grows, even better.

    But I’m with you. The hits mean little to me, too. I much prefer building the relationships, and growing from the center.

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    • Thanks, Kate.

      It’s taken me a long time to get over that self-conscious feeling generated by statistics. It’s nice to know it has affected others, too. But, you’re right: the honest interaction of people who care (they’re so rare on the Internet!) is so much more important than how many people click on a post link.

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  2. As someone new to blogging, I check my stats every five minutes! I’m also on DeviantArt with my writing, and I always check the reads for the first day or so, before giving up on it and uploading the next chapter online. I worry that I’m not interesting to my readers, and that I will never have an audience who are truly dedicated, like a core audience, but I guess it’s early days!

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    • It’s not to say I don’t check the stats (even on dA)…I just don’t worry about them so much any longer. You’ll find readers (or, readers will find you) over time. Keep writing and doing your best, and they’ll come. I’ve found that commenting on other people’s work will often open up correspondence, too.

      Good luck, and thanks for commenting!

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  3. I enjoyed this, it brings up feelings I had as well about those stats. I don’t even look at them anymore. At first though, I checked my stats a couple of times a day.
    You’re right as well, comments make everything worthwhile. That feedback provides the companionship we all crave – sharing a sunset, “Look look over there!” Sharing a post and having a comment on it is like someone going, “Oh yea, I see it too!”

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  4. For me, it’s the first few days after posting something that excites me. When I see a new review, I get giddy. When there’s nothing, I end up forgetting about it.

    But let’s face it–In those first few days, I’m refreshing the page every two minutes, especially if they leave comments. I like to know what they did like, what I did wrong, and if I’m even doing a decent job.

    As for hit numbers, I figure that people are just clicking on random stuff on the first page of the site. Most of the time, they just click on the first chapter of my fic and move on. It’s a bit disappointing that they don’t give the rest of the story a chance, but at least they tried it. They might’ve gotten intimidated by the amount of words and chapters, though.

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    • I know what you mean, spooney. When I was uploading 1MC! especially, I was so exciting to see the numbers go up. But, as I said, they were just numbers. I had maybe four or five people who would ever actually comment, and less than that ever had anything helpful to say. I think the Internet is so glance-and-go these days, it’s hard to initiate feedback. I tried to do that with Author’s Notes, but even that didn’t often work.

      These days, I’m more concerned with perfecting the craft. Sure, it’s nice to get reviews, but the ones that really make me feel like I’m on the right track are the ones that imply they’re really paying attention to what I’m trying to do. Part of it is the particular audience, too. Some are more open to giving critique than others.

      Thanks for commenting!

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