What Constitutes a Successful Blog? The Number of Visits? The Number of Comments? And Just Who Is Reading This?

Posted on 26th May, 2018

So here's a question for you: who is reading this?


Recently I was involved in an online conversation, which started with the question: what constitutes a successful blog? The number of visits? The number of comments? In my case, those two numbers are wildly different. For example, in April my blog was visited by 840 people a total of 1,459 times. Yet my blogs receive very few comments by comparison.



So far this month, 96 people have visted my Welcome page a total of 140 times; and I'm thrilled about that, because since the start of the year, I have made a point of putting something new on the Welcome page every week. I like to think that readers appreciate that. When I look at other websites, I find it disheartening when some pages stay the same for months on end. I want my website to have something fresh every week, even if it only an update of the books I am reading/listening to and a link to a blog from the archives in the weeks when there isn't a new blog.


Similarly, by posting new photos of Llandudno on a semi-regular basis, I have encouraged more people to take a look and the 'Llandudno' page has substantially increased in popularity.


So: back to the original question. Who is reading this? Who are these lovely folk who take an interest in my website? I would love to think that some people are here because they enjoyed The Deserter's Daughter and they're looking forward to A Respectable Woman... but I have no way of knowing.


I know that plenty of people read blogs without ever leaving a comment, just as there are countless avid readers who have never posted a book review. If just one or two of you would take a deep breath and leave a comment to say, "Hi. I'm here because I read The Deserter's Daughter.... because I stumbled across your Llandudno page.... because I thought it was due to be one of Kirsten's guest blogs this week(!)...," I would be so chuffed. Go on: you know you want to....




Make A Comment

Characters left: 2000

Comments (18)

Thanks, Jen, for adding this very sensible perspective. The number of views will always be wildly different to the number of comments and it is simply a matter of keeping open the channel of communication. I was just hoping that this post would encourage a few people to say hi - even if they never say it again.
I read your blog...always! :)

You've raised an interesting question, though, and one I think about too. After some years in the 'wilderness' (when the tide turned away from blogs), it seems (at least in North America) that the tide is turning back again and blogs are becoming more popular. Like you, there is a big discrepancy between the number of people who see my blog organically (via social media), those who subscribe to receive it via email, and those who comment. However, I try not to worry about those numbers and focus more on my blog as one strand in a broader plan that enables me to maintain a connection with readers. For that reason, my blog posts are more about life than writing, although the majority of my comments seem to come from other writers.
It's a interesting question, isn't it, Kirsten? I know that writers read my blogs and yours too. Also, my web page for writers is quite successful. But if my readers are reading this, they are keeping very quiet...
We discussed this when we you came to stay, didn't we? I wonder if it is mainly writers who read the blog or readers too. Sadly, I haven't signed a book deal yet - am editing before my agent sends it on to publishers xx
Christina, I'm sorry if this blog made you feel guilty. That was never my intention in writing it. I didn't post this blog to make people feel guilty - it is an honest question about who my readers are. Thank you for calling my posts engaging. I take that as a huge compliment. Now I'm off to track down a translation....
I'm very guilty of reading blog posts but not posting a comment. I have, however, left a few comments on your posts over the past year or so. Why, you might ask? My answer is simple: your posts are so engaging. As they say here in Scotland, "Lang may yer (blogging) lum reek!" The devil in me will leave you to work that one out for yourself. ;)
Wendy - glad you're here. Yay!
Julie - yes indeed, let's hope that Kirsten's next post is about signing a book contract! I know what you mean about juggling various responsibilities and fitting everything in. Certain things are bound to slip down the list. You are obviously very busy with your public speaking, your book, your school work etc.

Thank you for saying you like the relationship I have built up with readers and writers through the nature of my blog. I appreciate that.
Tara, thanks for putting this matter in context. Yes, I'm sure that time is part of the issue for many people. Like you, I do enjoy and appreciate having a lot of readers, even though the number of comments is low.
Cass, thanks for your lovely long comment. It must be frustrating to have lots of visitors to your blog when you are giving something away, then have the numbers drop off once the freebies run out. I'm glad that you have found something in my blog that you think will be useful for you to apply to your own blog. See you at the Conference in July xx
I am reading it... of course I am xx
I am definitely eagerly awaiting A Respectable Woman, Susanna! I like the way you are creating a relationship with readers and writers; I'm debating whether to cover both in my own blog. I've started by explaining how I progressed from loving reading to becoming an author, but I've been so busy with conference speaking, re-plotting my novel and keeping up with my school funding blog and newsletter lately, that I've had real difficulty in setting aside time to add more posts.
I must get back to it though. I have a static first page and the blog page is what I intend to change, so it was interesting to read your comments about changing the home page. I guess as long as there is new content, and you tweet or post on Facebook about it, it might not matter where it is.
Keep up the good work - and let's hope Kirsten's next post is about securing a publishing deal!
My visitor/comment ratio is low too but then I don’t comment on every blog post I read either, I just don’t seem to have the time. I just enjoy the fact that people are reading and try not to be disappointed that they don’t all comment, it just doesn’t seem the way.
I’m shamefully behind with my blog. I’m not even sure it classes as a blog, really. I first set it up as just an author website (using WordPress) but I’m technologically challenged so even setting up the gadgets (as I kept calling the widgets) took me forever!

I did use it to post a story online, two chapters a week, last year, and that brought thousands of views/visits, though only about 10-15 comments per chapter, but as soon as it was over things fell back to normal - very few comments unless I was offering freebie stuff. That is my own fault though. I didn’t have a structured or regular posting approach.

I also have a joint blog with my co-writing friend and we’ve had several posts where you can see nothing but tumbleweed rolling across the ‘0 Comments’ tag, despite steady views. Again, if there’s a giveaway, there can be up to 100 comments!

I found your blog post really interesting, Susanna, and also helpful (and 😂 re Kirsten!) I will take your advice and make sure I update the pages more regularly and will endeavour to find some engaging content perhaps as a side to the writing.

I haven’t yet read The Deserter’s Daughter, but I did order the paperback 2 days ago. It’s going direct to my Mum’s so I can pick it up as one of my summer reads in June when I’m next in the U.K. I am looking forward to reading it very much and will write a review when I’m done!
Jan, it's good to know that I have struck a chord. The visitor figures are inspiring in their own way and it is marvellous to know how widely read a blog can be; but the number of comments never reflects this. I'm glad you like my website. I do enjoy working on it. I will shortly do a bit of an overhaul and also add new pages for A Respectable Woman, The Sewing Room Girl and The Poor Relation.
Cath, thanks for your comment and your support - also for your understanding about the comment/visitor ratio. I don't want to scare people off by asking them to stick their heads above the parapet, but it would be such a help to know who I am actually writing for!
Your post rang true for me this week. I always check the number of views on my blog and am amazed how many there are and from people world wide. However, this is never reflected in the number of comments. That is why I'm very grateful to loyal supporters like you. I always enjoy your blog. It's always thought-provoking and interesting. As well as the 'writerly' topics and guest appearances, I love to hear about your own writing progress and news. The pictures of Llandudno are wonderful!
Hi Susanna x
I know what you mean about visitor to comment ratios, would be nice if every reader left a comment, even a brief one.
I'm here because you're a fellow writer and I enjoy connecting with writers and stick around because I love what I find.