Blaugust 2022 – Staying Motivated: Building up a Habit and (Not) Chasing Stats!

Blaugust is nearly over and given that we’re in the “Staying Motivated” week, I wanted to talk a little about blogging streaks, statistics, ways to stay motivated, and the benefits of blogging – all from my experience, so take everything with a grain of salt. I’ve been, after all, doing this for a while and I’m crazy or something!

  1. Blogging Streaks
    1. Building up a Habit
    2. Handling Pressure
    3. Why do I keep blogging daily?
  2. Chasing Stats
    1. Metrics in general…
    2. What does “Chasing Stats” entail?
      1. Search Engine Optimization
      2. Topics
    3. Is there a good point to analysing your stats?
  3. Staying Motivated – My Advice!
  4. Conclusion

Blogging Streaks

Blogging Streak Notification on WordPress. The text under the picture says: "You've posted 608 days in a row on Indiecator. Keep up the good work."
(my current streak, including today)

Blogging Streaks are an interesting topic because they very much feel rewarding… but they can also add pressure to your blogging habits.

In this section, I want to talk about how streaks encourage you to stay at it and how this is both a good and a bad thing.

Building up a Habit

The reason why streaks are so important is that they encourage you to build up a habit.

By doing something often, your body will essentially get used to it and you’ll kind of find your own rhythm.

Duolingo and Snapchat, for instance, really want you to continue using these apps, which is why they show you flames when you repeatedly use them. Duolingo may hold you at gunpoint if you’re not careful, so you better not drop your streak!

More importantly, in Blogging, it’s nice to get a streak going. 600 Days ago, I had a bunch of posts scheduled for Christmas and New Year’s and the following days… and suddenly, I had an 8-day streak or something, so I kept it going…

After a month, I wanted to see if I can go for three… after three, I wanted to get to half a year… then a year… and now, I’m still doing it for nearly two years without any reason to stop or to keep going. It’s odd, innit?

It’s like daily walks through the park after dinner and before you go to sleep. Getting into a habit is quite nice. You can stop at any time (which is what most addicts say… huh….) but you don’t really have to, right?

By building up a habit, it gets easier to blog. You can figure out times that work best for writing or formatting. You can split up your work routine into different sections, experiment, and just see what you wanna do.

You don’t even have to go for a daily blogging streak… If you don’t have much time, why not try weekly or bi-weekly? You could even set up a schedule of sorts and then sprinkle in some surprise off-schedule posts! Even if you only post monthly or every other month, that’s totally fine. Take your time! No pressure.

Handling Pressure

Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

For most people, blogging is like a diary or a journal. It’s sort of a way to express themselves and leave something behind… others may use it to document screenshots and gaming moments, their creations, their progress, lives, health, etc.

Hence, most people will do it as a hobby but it’s important to know when you need to stop and when you can keep going.

As mentioned previously, it’s important to take your time and to know your limits. Limit-testing is honestly a great thing. Do it. But don’t overdo it!

Daily Streaks or streaks in general as well as habits can often encourage a good habit of repeatedly doing something… but they can also add pressure, so it’s important to ask yourself:

“Am I doing this because I want to or because of a streak?”

Question what your reasoning behind stuff is. If you want to make money, blogging is probably not the best way to do it. If you want to become famous, it won’t happen overnight. If you do it because of a streak and not because you enjoy it, question yourself and ask if it’s worth it.

Ideally, it should be for fun, after all. Ideally, you wanna do it because you enjoy doing it. Once it becomes a drag or “work” or “stressful”, you’ll burn out.

To stay motivated means knowing when to take a break and when to go slower. It’s like running a marathon. At times, you slow down and catch your breath while still walking slowly. Other times, you’ll run again but keep your pace and rhythm. If you start the final sprint too early, you’ll burn out. Does the metaphor work?

Why do I keep blogging daily?

As mentioned previously, I’ve been blogging daily for more than 600 days now. Isn’t that madness?

And the answer is yes.

I know there are other people that also do it and who have for far longer than me… but that doesn’t mean that they’re not mad as well.

Think about it: Only an insane person would do this, right?

I’m just kidding btw. The reason why I do it is that the day has only so many hours and before I go to sleep, I don’t want to stress over not getting everything on my to-do list done.

Writing a post and scheduling it for the next day really helps me with that. It feels like I did something and finished it… and then I sleep better. It’s weird, innit?

Obviously, I also love writing. Not sure if I mentioned it already but I’m at our university’s literature club and I used to be in their editorial, so I write a lot of short stories and get feedback over there. It’s just something I do in my free time and not anything I’d pursue as a job or whatever. (After all, there are people like Tessa that have much more talent than me.)

Anyway, I enjoy expressing my thoughts and while my short stories are quite cryptic, I can be rather frank with my blog posts. I can talk about things that bother me or that I found odd… I can share my opinions on games and shows and stuff.

This is my personal blog and I also do reviews, lol.

And I love doing it… and I’m mad, obviously, so clearly the long streak is because of that, haha.

Chasing Stats

In this section, I want to talk about metrics, SEO stuff, why you shouldn’t chase stats, and if there is a good point to chasing them, after all.

Before I get into it, though, here are a couple of great posts on the same topic:

Metrics in general…

When it comes to metrics, on WordPress at least, you’ll probably find yourself looking at the hits/views a lot. There is also the visitor metric. If you want to go more in-depth, there is the “Google Analytics” tool as well as other options… but honestly, you’ll most likely just look at those stats.

Typically, they don’t tell you much though without the inclusion of extra plugins.

On WordPress, it will explain as well how people found your blog, where they’re from and what your top posts are for the day.

On Blogger, I remember seeing devices, browsers, and people’s demographic and stuff as well when I was on there but I’m not sure if that’s still a thing, honestly.

And well, in Google Analytics, you can check out all sorts of other stuff but generally speaking, I wouldn’t recommend that since…

Chasing Stats sucks. Don’t do it.

What does “Chasing Stats” entail?

Chasing Stats is the concept of writing for views and honestly speaking, it sucks and is unthankful.

Unless you’re blogging for your living, I wouldn’t attempt to conform to all the rules and stuff because it honestly takes away all the character from your writing.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO (Search Engine Optimization), for instance, will require you to write sentences that are shorter, posts that aren’t as lengthy, and you’ll need to watch out for specific keywords and search terms. There are many layers to optimizing your blog for Google but all the work is for nought once Google changes how their search engine works.

Heck, Bing actually is not even indexing any of the WordPress blogs anymore unless you have your own domain, which is odd. Imagine having optimised your writing for Bing and imagine then realising that your blog isn’t even listed there anymore.

Topics

Chasing Stats also entails writing about specific topics that you won’t like. It’s frankly draining to constantly report on Drama but that’s what people want to see.

The other day I talked about Dinkum’s controversy, for instance, as well as the Dolphin Barn stuff. In these cases, I wanted to talk about it to spread awareness. But in theory, these posts will also gain a lot more traffic than those labours of love and your favourite posts. It sucks.

And that can be draining as hell for you and your passion. Chasing Stats entails writing about things you don’t care about while also letting yourself see that the topics you do care about or the posts that you worked a lot on… just won’t get to see much traffic.

Is there a good point to analysing your stats?

Honestly, kinda?

The issue here is that for me, my overall blog stats can be a motivator.

When I see that I get close to a specific estimate, I get hyped and I try my hardest to reach that! When I undershoot a little, there’s always the next month! But the stats obviously will go up and down. It never is just [stonks meme] if that makes sense.

But I don’t look at individual post metrics anymore because I know that reviews are there for the long run and drama posts are there for the short run. I loved my review on Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion but it’s not exactly “doing well” compared to other reviews. If I wanted to analyze what went wrong with it, I probably wouldn’t find much really. Maybe I wrote about it too late?

In 2021, that review got 30 views. Surprisingly, it got a lot more this year in April and May which I don’t quite get… I wouldn’t have been surprised if the review got more traffic in November where it also was on Humble Choice but nope, none there.

Similarly, views tend to go down in Summer but Blaugust messes with that.

At the same time, plenty of my reviews are doing really good lately and I just don’t know why.

When it comes to analyzing your blog posts’ traffic, you’ll end up being disappointed because there isn’t much of a rule to anything. So, instead of individual stats, just look at the big curve overall maybe. That one feels nice to look at for me. Personally, I love it.

Generally speaking, the more you write, the more traffic you’ll get. My blog only really picked up the pace once I got to weekly/daily posts and it got even better after that. I suddenly had an “anchor post” as well in the form of my “Girl by the Sea” review, as well as my Fall Guys review, my Bumble BFF review, the other Dinkum post, and some of my Achievement Hunt posts… These constantly drive traffic to the blog and hence to other reviews and tags and whatnot.

So, once you have an anchor, keep writing, you’ll find more.

With multiple anchors, traffic’s “gonna be booming”, I guess? But your favourite posts won’t be the most popular, as my Babylon’s Fall post showed… sigh.

Staying Motivated – My Advice!

Overall, to stay motivated, you’ll need to do two things, in my opinion:

  • Don’t look at stats.
  • Build up a habit.

Stats suck. Period.

Building up a habit and getting into a rhythm, however, is pretty darn great because it’s fully up to you. By Chasing stats, you’ll lose what makes you unique. By getting into a habit and experimenting with your style, though, you’ll find out even more about what sort of posts you want to write.

Typically, I try to get myself into the mood to write by getting some coffee or tea beforehand. When I noticed that I enjoy writing in the evening more, I switched to decaf coffee so that I’d still be able to sleep afterwards, haha.

Eventually, I’d at times write on the balcony with a Gin and Tonic. Sometimes, I’d write with a glass of wine.

Overall, getting comfy really helps me with getting into writing.

Staying motivated gets easier when you’re comfy. If it helps you, you don’t even have to wear pants!

Motivation is rough sometimes because IRL gets rough which is why another important piece of advice I’d like to give would be to realise that you don’t have to do anything!

  • You don’t have to write X amount of words.
  • You don’t need to publish Y amount of posts per month.
  • You don’t have to write about this or that topic if you don’t want to.
  • You don’t need to publish posts for others. Do it for yourself.

On top of that, reading comments helps a lot. Knowing that people enjoy your posts greatly helps with sticking to the habit of writing or blogging. Hence, I try to leave a comment whenever I can but that’s something that Syp and Naithin also get into in their posts.

Conclusion

There are many things to consider but in the end, your blog means your rules.

Write when, where and however you like. Don’t add pressure to anything. You’re doing this because you like it and not because someone told you to, right?

You don’t have to. You’re able to.

It’s not: “You must” but “You can“.

I hope some of this has helped. The Blaugust people have talked about it plenty but I mainly linked to Syp and Nait because they are coming from the same angle as me though with different advice. Hope you enjoyed that! If you have any questions or need advice on anything, feel free to let me know or comment below!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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