I have been blogger for almost a year. Over the past year I have learned that to be a successful blogger you need an amazing amount of self discipline.
When you are starting out enthusiasm drives you. At the beginning you will be spouting out content machine gun style. Ideas will automatically form in your head. You sit down at the computer and write and before you finish the post a new idea will form. Post after post with no problems. The first 10 posts come easy.
Then one day you sit at the computer and your fingers don’t move. Your mind is blank. Putting your elbows on the table you rest your head in your hands waiting for an idea to come. Nothing happens.
You try to remember that idea you had while waiting for bus. Or the post you completed in your head while taking a shower. But what seemed like a good post at the time now seems like drivel. You want to write, but you can’t.
So what do you do?
Most likely, if you are a beginning blogger, your next move will be a mistake. Like Odysseus without beeswax in his ears, you will be lured by the Siren’s song. Odysseus was wise – he had himself tied to the ship’s mast to avoid temptation. But as a new blogger you are not wise – you will be lured and you will succumb.
With nothing to write and nothing to do, you will open an internet browser window and check your blog stats. How many new visitors, how much AdSense revenue, how many affiliate sales. You go through the routine of checking all your stats and like always, nothing has changed. Same as it was 10 minutes ago – no new visitors, no AdSense revenue, and no affiliate sales. It has not changed in the last 10 minutes, the last hour or even since yesterday. The sad fact is that it will not change for a long time.
You have a problem. You are addicted to checking your stats. Every time there is a lull, every time you find yourself with a moment of idle time you check your stats. Over and over again. Like a pigeon repeatedly pecking at a button hoping for a pellet, you check your stats.
There Is No Point Checking Your Stats
For at least the first month of your blogs existence there is absolutely no need for you to check your stats. Your blog is virtually invisible and only a very few people (your mother and best friend) visit.
After the first month you probably have enough content to start promoting it. You do the standard stuff: comment on other blogs, frequent forums and article submissions. At this point it is enough to check your stats once a week. On a day to day basis not much will change – why do you need to know if you had 12 visitors today or 15? All you need to know is that the average for the week was 13.
Of course, this does not apply if you are the first to discover that Micheal Jackson is alive and you have video footage of him in your living room. Since this is bound to be a good post with lots of visitors your stats should be checked daily. But for most cases, weekly is fine.
It is not until at least six months, when you have page rank, subscribers, and search engines send you traffic, that you need to start checking your stats on a regular basic. Only after you have a presence on the internet is there any chance of a surprise with the number of visitors, AdSense clicks, or affiliate sales. First six months – you do not even need to bother checking your stats (OK, once a week is fine).
So what is the big deal? What is wrong with checking your stats first thing when you wake up and then after your shower and then while you drink your coffee and then while your word processor is loading? This small ritual might seem harmless. But it is not.
The biggest issue is the the amount of time you lose. If you are addicted to checking your stats you will be checking them all the time. Everything will be an excuse to check your stats. Staring at a blank page – check your stats, cannot think of the right word – check your stats, do not want to do promotion – check your stats.
Instead of doing productive things – things that actually help your blog, you are checking your stats. True, to view your stats only takes 30 seconds, but if you multiply that by the 30 times a day you do it then it is 15 minutes lost everyday. If you have a full time job and a baby on each arm 15 minutes is an eternity. Every minute counts, minutes spent confirming that nothing has changed really cut into your chances of having a successful blog.
To increase your productivity – do not check your stats. Simply assume that you have no new visitors, no AdSense click and no affiliate sales. Not only will your assumption be correct, but you will save 15 minutes a day.
Ancient Greeks did not understand the concept of zero. They asked, “how can something be nothing”. Endless debates ensued about whether zero should be considered a number.
For the first few months as a blogger you will wish that zero never become accepted as a number. At the beginning you will see zeros everywhere and every day. Zero new visitors, zero new subscribers, zero AdSense clicks, zero comments.
Seeing zeros all the time is demoralizing. Especially after spending your Saturday night writing what you consider a great post. You wake up in the morning and jump to your computer, check your stats and see nothing but zeros.
The more you check your stats the more zeros you will see. I do not care how strong your armor, those zeros will get to you. You will start to feel like nothing you do makes a difference. Every time you think something should happen, nothing does. Beaten by the zero stick over and over again, 30 times a day will leave you bruised and battered. If you don’t stop checking your stats you risk being defeated by the number zero.
How To Kick The Addiction
A year of blogging has taught me one very important lesson. If you want to be productive, if you want to give yourself a chance to succeed you need to quit your stat checking addiction.
Do not have a shortcut to your stats on the desktop. Do not have them bookmarked. Do not let the browser store your username and password for easy access. Make it difficult to check your stats.
Set a specific time to check your stats once a day (or once a week) and stick to it. You will be tempted many times a day to break your rule but don’t. Remember – nothing has changed, it will only waste time and it will be a zero. By checking once a day, you minimize your wasted time to 30 seconds and are disappointed only once.
I am free from my stats addiction and it feels great. A year ago I would of checked my stats at least three times during the writing of this post. Now, a year wiser, it is the middle of the afternoon and I am proud to say that I have not checked them today.
Forget your stats and start doing something productive.
This was a guest post by Roman from How This Website Makes Money.