I’m usually pretty good at understanding people. I try to be, anyway. Every now and then, I look at the statistics for this blog—and my other blogs—to see what people are reading (not that many people do) and that helps me focus on writing articles that might be more appealing.
Actually, I probably should pay more attention to the numbers. It’s interesting.
With the statistics, I can tell if this blog is healthy. Is it a good use of my time and is anyone reading? Anyone who writes wants readers—even as we try to convince ourselves we write just for ourselves. So, what I write and what you read should cross paths at some point. On my other blogs, I’ve written about politics, food and sports. This blog has been more personal. It’s been about faith—which is about as personal as you can get.
I’ve had a few thousand readers over the years, which is gratifying. After all, this is not a source of income but a source of pleasure. Some blogs get more readers in a day than I have had in a decade and that’s fine. The lessons I have learned over these last few years have been important.
My top ranked article, in terms of page views, is a study I wrote on Naaman three years ago. I circulated the study to my small group at church and tweeted it a few times. However, it surprises me that this story still ranks at the top of the list. Have I gotten boring? I did think it was a good study, but I thought something more controversial would get more traction.
My second ranked post is one I wrote on rapture teaching harming the church. Honestly, this one doesn’t surprise me. I knew it would be high on the list but I thought it would easily beat the rest. Almost all of my readers are in the U.S. where rapture teaching has been very popular in evangelical circles. The rapture article was written in 2006—making it twice as old as the Naaman article. Very surprising.
The third ranked article is one I wrote last year on the ice bucket challenge that was going viral on social media. Rather than pour ice water over my head in a video, I wrote a bit about the importance of giving to charity. I gave some statistics about wealth around the world to illustrate my point. Of everything I have written, I am glad this one was noticed. Giving is important.
The fourth article in my ranking also surprises me. It’s very short and is on the purpose of evil. Simply put, you cannot have free will without a choice between right and wrong or good and bad.
The fifth article on my list is the newest. I don’t know if I have just gotten better about tweeting to my peeps or if the topic meant something to someone. The article was on the time I yelled an expletive at church. OK, maybe that explains why that one climbed up the ranks so quickly. Don’t worry, the link in the word expletive leads to the article, not the word. It’s safe to read.
Some personal favorites did not make the top 5 list. I really liked my article on John Lennon, my article on Coldplay, and a few others. I thought the Christmas one on Jesus Claus was pretty clever. One more holiday season starting in late September might give it a boost.
I’ve also learned a good bit from what people do not read. My lowest ranking post was a simple quote I liked. The whole thing could be read in the preview without opening the page. Always write something worth reading. Links to articles in other publications did not do well. It’s better to tweet a good article you like and share it. Commentary is good but don’t share it if you don’t have something to say about it. Leave your blog for your own thoughts.
As I mentioned, most of the posts have been pretty low in readership. Part of that is because I did not share most of the older ones—I was writing more for practice. As I got more comfortable, I started to try to see if anyone was paying attention.
The jury is still out on that question. I rarely get comments, but I am getting more traffic. As I get back to work on some book projects this summer, this blog can be therapy for me. If you check in from time to time, I hope you will find something you enjoy as well.