This Is How I Use My Stats to Guide My Writing
I've heard it a million times. Stay off of the stats page. It's addicting. It’s time-wasting. It prevents you from doing the actual work. I've heard instead of writing for the numbers, we should write for readers and we’ll be more fulfilled.
They say to check our stats once or twice a week. I check my stats twice a day and I feel no guilt whatsoever. I do myself a favor by staying on top of trends that brings me results and those to get rid of.
There is no other way to know without paying attention to stats
When I check my stats in a strategic way, I can replicate my successes and improve articles that could have done better. It helps me figure out what didn't work.
There’s so much to learn on the stats page, especially for the new writer. I use the information on my stats page to see which publications are working well for me.
I use my stats to see which articles are getting read and which are just being viewed and not read. A lot of views and no reads show my story couldn’t hold the readers’ attention.
I use my stats to figure out what I could do to improve my writing to please the reader — like working harder on titles and subtitles. The images I’m using. If I could write a more interesting introduction to hold a reader’s interest.
Maybe by attempting to write in the first person POV instead of always writing in the second person POV, I can connect better with the reader. I do these things to see the result I get.
As long as I’m not obsessing
The stats page is there for a reason. I use mine to monitor my traffic — internal and external — to see which marketing techniques are working by looking at where my traffic is coming from.
I may waste time focusing on one thing only to realize it's not even giving me any results. Or I may waste time focusing on a specific stat, only to realize later it meant nothing at all.
Understanding the terminology
This is the number of people who have looked at my article. Looked does not mean read. And while it feels great seeing this number go up, it does not dictate the success of my story. But more views mean more reads.
This dictates my earnings. It tells me how many people read my entire story. This is my primary focus on the stats page. I only earn money based on the time paying Medium subscribers spend reading my story.
This is the percentage of viewers that reached the end of my story. I calculate this by dividing my reads by my views and multiplying by 100.
This lets me know how many people enjoyed reading my story. While it may make me boost my ego, it doesn’t mean a thing and doesn’t guarantee the success of a story. A clap might mean a read because a person has to read my story to decide whether to clap.
This is the number of readers who clapped for my story. Regardless of how many claps each reader gives a story, they only count as one fan.
This is the number of views that come from my followers and also from Medium’s distribution network.
This is the number of views that come from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other popular sites and search engines.
When I pay attention to this, I know where my views are coming from. I can then decide where to focus on promoting my work to yield results. I can also use it to see whether my SEO knowledge is paying off.
Making pleasing my reader the top priority
Checking your stats alone won't make you successful, but using the information on the stats page will ensure you stay informed on how articles are doing. It helps you see how the reader is interacting with your story.
Stats let me know whether to keep doing what I've been doing or to try something different. I don’t stop writing a specific type of article because it didn’t get enough reads.
I keep writing it because I am knowledgeable about the topic, but I modify them to please my audience and get better results.
I stop writing it if it’s the same information in a different article or the facts were wrong. Maybe it didn’t do well because it’s just not my thing.
Take this with you
Paying attention to my stats has helped guide my writing in the right direction. I can see certain trends and decide what to keep and what to toss.
I can try new things and observe what's working. Knowing what does well and what doesn't, I can make the appropriate changes to ensure success the next time around.
Watching my stats is only destructive if I’m doing it every hour and obsessing over it. It is counterproductive if I spend all my time looking at it and not writing or improving.