Why Increasing Pageviews Should Never be the Goal

One long standing Canadian holiday tradition is watching the World Junior Hockey Tournament that starts on Boxing day. This is then followed by a couple of weeks of waking up at ungodly hours to watch games live from time zones across the world. But it’s just what we do. Hockey is our thang.

This year something other than the usual excitement struck me me while watching the pre-tournament coverage. The coach of the team, as always, gets bombarded with a million questions, the main reoccurring one being: how is he going to bring home the gold?

His answer was really profound which is unusual given all the silly sports metaphors that fly out of people’s mouths. (Ready to give it 110% guys?) He simply said, (and I’m hardcore paraphrasing here) “I’ve told the boys to do what they know and the results will take care of themselves.

One of the great reoccurring themes of meditation and mindfulness is that when you put all your focus into your intention about an action and not the result, you can release yourself from needing (and tying your self-worth to) a certain outcome. Crazy, the coach is pretty zen!

What does all this have to do with blogging? So glad you asked!

The Numbers Trap

This time of year is all about the goals and seeing how last year went and all that jazz. So often, blogging goals get wrapped up in the metrics and stats that we simply cannot control.

We can’t control how many subscribers we’ll get this month or this year, yet so often that metric will hit the goal sheet as a measure of how “well” our blog did.

Ultimately, we can’t control how many pageviews we get because those are actions of others and I know I’m not running around the neighborhood, firing up other people’s computers and checking out my site, ain’t nobody got time for that.

When we focus on the things we can’t truly control it can create a lot of problems for us and our blogs.

1. You get stuck easier. Ever felt sorry for yourself because of your lot in life or some other external thing you can’t control? I know I have and the one thing that does is take away all the power you have to actually affect change in your life. It works the same for blogging. If you are creating and judging your success by uncontrollable events it leads to a sense of powerlessness and a lack of control. Not the best place to be working from.

2. You end up not actually doing the stuff that matters. Let’s take good old fashion pageviews for example. Say your goal is to have 200 pageviews a day by the end of February. That goal fits nicely into the I can’t-control-that-pile so instead of focusing on the actual tasks, action and things you need to do to create that result – you focus on the number (refreshing and refreshing) but wishing certainly doesn’t make it so.

3. It’s easier to compare yourself to others (and not feel like you measure up.) When we focus goals outward and on the uncontrollable metrics of our blog, it’s far easier to look outwardly for everything. Does this blogger have more subscribers? Wow, look how many comments so-and-so is getting. And the green eyed monster takes over, stealing your ability to highlight your unique gifts because you’re too worried about everyone else.

Flipping Goal Setting Upside Down

So what’s the answer? No goals? Just kind of float down the river of life?

Actually, I think that kind of is the answer.

What if instead of goal setting based on metrics (or pounds as is often the case this time of year too) we focus on doing the things that we can control, the things we know, and letting the outcome take care of itself.

Focusing on the habits, the actionable things, the day to day stuff that makes those bigger things happen, almost naturally.

What do you have control over? Where should you place your energy? What should you act on?

You can control what you produce and you can control how often you produce it. It’s really that simple. But in that simplicity is all the power.

You can produce blog content at intervals you determine and you are totally in charge of how much effort you put into making that content great.

You can contact other bloggers and try to get guest posting gigs. You can’t control if you’re accepted but you sure can control how often you put yourself out there.

You can control if you product anything for sale. If you have a goal of making money with your blog this year, you can’t control how much you make but if you’re not producing anything, chances are that number might just be zero.

Should we just ignore stats?

So where do pageviews and stats come in? Do we just ignore the whole numbers side of things?

Nope, but they do need to stay in their place.

Those numbers are helpful to see if what you’re producing and putting out in the world is making the impact you desire. They help you evaluate, adjust and make course corrections on your blogging journey – they’re the feedback loop – not the ultimate goal.

As you’re creating and crafting your blogging goals this year, how can you approach your goals from a place of control? What do you want to create this year?

What can you deliver to your readers, either through regular blog posts, ebooks, challenges or other types of content that will serve your readers the best? Focus on that and the results will take care of itself.

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  1. says

    This was a great article with great timing. I consistently find myself looking to see my views and stats and then trying to come up with something new to say to get people on the page. I got some good advice from my mom (who receives newsletters from various trainers in her email) and she said the people that send her stuff EVERY DAY she is less likely to view, rather than the people who send her stuff once a week. Too much is not a good thing :D

    • Rita Barry says

      It’s really hard to look elsewhere without something to replace the focus but you’re right, I find myself unsubscribing with too many emails as well. But some content ends up being so amazing that I won’t dream of hitting the unsubscribe button. And THAT we have control over. Great content outshines it all!

  2. says

    I will not and do not care about page views!!! As you said and as I have realized in the past is that these numbers will dictate my mood – much like numbers on a scale (which is why I do not weigh myself either). I know too many people who track their views on a daily basis and it makes them sad when they don’t have as many as the day before. Obviously I am thrilled the people come to my site in general, but what I pay far more attention to is putting out the best content I possibly can! :) I truly love what I do and that is what I think counts the most – I have built so many friendships with other bloggers, that is far more important that silly numbers. I was never a numbers girl anyways! ;)

    • Rita Barry says

      It’s really interesting how many people have related this to the scale, it’s just so true! I haven’t weighed myself in years either and they do seem to go hand in hand. When you control what you eat and how much you exercise – the results take care of themselves!

      When you write the best content you can and build great relationships – the pageviews just kinda happen!

  3. says

    Ah, she beat me to it! I was totally going to point out how this reminds me of the scale. I don’t set scale goals for myself (other than having a ballpark idea of where I should ultimately end up), so why the crap do I set pageview goals? I’ll be honest, I’m one of those people addicted to stats. I’ve been working on it for the past week or so, and have moved from viewing them up to 10 times some hours to only twice a day. Baby steps, I say! Thank you for reminding me that pageviews are ultimately out of my control. I knew that, but it never really sunk in, ya know?

    • Rita Barry says

      Pageviews are like drugs! It’s a good reminder – we ALL need it now and again, if I get distracted, I remind myself of the, “what could I DO right now to affect them” rather than stare at them. It’s made a world of difference, I hope it does the same for you. Just think of all the time you’ll save ;)

  4. says

    If I collectively took all the time that I obsess over website traffic and actually used it for creating new content – my pageviews would probably take off to new heights. Here’s to a 2014 resolution to do just that!