Monday, August 15, 2011

Hits, Followers, and Comments

The success of most websites depends on several things: the number of visitors to the site; the amount of people who sign up for a newsletter or more information (acquiring potential customer details); and the number of sales and repeat sales.

Now a blog’s function is a little different than a retail website, even though items can be sold through a blog. Since the purpose of a blog is more networking than anything else, those three items can be translated to hits, followers, and comments. And they seem to fall in line with a similar level of importance.

Think of your site like a restaurant - there is a big difference between someone driving by a restaurant and someone coming inside - and an even bigger difference if that person actually orders food.

Hits
As I discovered from the detailed stats on my two websites, there is a big difference between hits, page views, and visitors, and most stat counters are inaccurate when it comes to actual visits to a site.
Here’s some definitions from Wikipedia:
Hit - A request for a file from the web server. The number of hits received by a website is frequently cited to assert its popularity, but this number is extremely misleading and dramatically over-estimates popularity. A single web-page typically consists of multiple (often dozens) of discrete files, each of which is counted as a hit as the page is downloaded, so the number of hits is really an arbitrary number more reflective of the complexity of individual pages on the website than the website's actual popularity..
Page view - A single page view may generate multiple hits as all the resources required to view the page are also requested from the web server.
Visit / Session - A visit is defined as a series of page requests from the same uniquely identified client with a time of no more than 30 minutes between each page request.
Hits, page views, and visits are good, because that means people are looking for us or what we have to offer. But they may or may not add up to much in the end.

Followers
On a website, these are the people who leave their contact information. These are the ones that come inside and pick up a menu.
These people are curious enough to leave a contact and may return. They are potential friends and networking opportunities. Unless they interact with us though, that’s as far as it goes.

Comments
These are the people who are buying! They are the ones who interact with us. They care enough to leave a comment and build a relationship. In life, we are ultimately selling ourselves, and those who comment buy who we are - they believe, they understand, they can relate. (And if we’ve sold ourselves as a person, then selling ideas and physical items is easy.)

So, which would you rather have?
5000 hits/views/visitors?
1000 followers?
100 comments?

37 comments:

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Definitely the comments - and 100 is a number I can only dream about right now :) But blogging, as you say, is all about developing relationships and networking opportunities, so the comments are the things that matter.

I'm hoping your next post is going to be about how to get people to comment :)

Creepy Query Girl said...

comments are key- I really feel like the networking aspect of blogging is what gets the word out and defines popularity moreso that visitors or even followers. great post!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I'm one of those who gets a lot more lurkers than commenters. I miss interacting with the lurkers, but I'd never call them out. From time to time, they'll email me or DM me on Twitter, where they seem to feel more comfortable.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Susanna, I wish I knew! I might have to get some guest posters in for that one, because I do know a couple bloggers who get that many comments.

Creepy Query Girl, that's how I feel, too.

Elizabeth, I've lurkers, too. Wish I had more commenters.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Since I do get a lot of comments, I'd say I like that best!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I love comments, but what I can't understand is someone signing up as a follower and never hearing from them again, plus there are those new followers who haven't got a blog. I get very curious about those.

Have a good day.
Yvonne.

Talli Roland said...

Comments for sure! These are the people who interact with you and your friends! :)

Jan Morrison said...

comments, comments, comments! I think I have more lurkers than anything - folks I know who ask me about some post or other but won't put a comment in. argggh.

Laura said...

I'm a small fry in the blogging world, but I do like those comments. I would never call anyone out on just being a lurker though. Some people just aren't comfortable with leaving their thoughts. If they're enjoying and getting something out of my words then that's enough for me.
I recently read a blog post of someone who complained about lurkers not leaving comments. She wasn't very nice about it, in my opinion. I think that would drive any lurkers away...

Jemi Fraser said...

I like comments too. It's so much fun to meet people who are interested in the same things I am :)

I have to confess I rarely look at stats. I didn't know the difference in hits and visits & page views until right now! :)

Jess said...

I like comments. I don't look at my stats very often (though I think the feature that tells you which countries you have followers from is pretty cool!).

Karen Walker said...

I'd definitely choose comments. I've stopped looking at stats because I don't seem to know how to affect them anyway.
Karen

Jules said...

Everyone loves the comments but it is the interaction that floats my boat. I love the people I have meet through blogging. Now, can I get a glass of water while I'm waiting on the menu. :)

Stephen Tremp said...

Thanks for the clarification. I do like comments, but overall I like Page Views the most. The comments will follow.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Need to have you do a guest post, Alex.

Yvonne, I'm curious, too.

Laura, I would think it would drive lurkers away, too.

But since it takes interaction to build a relationship Stephen, I'd still take comments over page views. I can't build a friendship with those who just glance at my site now and then.

KarenG said...

I like followers and commenters. These are tangible signs that my posts are reaching people, real people, not just stat numbers.

Carol Riggs said...

I like followers and comments too! Although I'm sure there are varying degrees as to what "follow" means to people. Comments are the most fun because I answer them back, and develop relationships. :)

Eric W. Trant said...

I prefer meaningful comments.

Like I said in the post-that-got-eaten: What is it that makes a metal precious?

It's the rarity of it.

So that's what I want -- rare and meaningful relationships.


- Eric

Rachel Morgan said...

The comments, of course, 'cos if no one's interacting with you then what's the point? :-) (I will admit, though, that I like it when my follower count goes up!)

The Golden Eagle said...

Comments. :) Though I do check the number of page views my blog gets pretty frequently.

Hart Johnson said...

Those comments are definitely the evidence of people coming in regularly and being engaged. I know for BIG sites I sometimes read without comment... the likes of Nathan Bransford don't need little old me... but the comments are key for those of us who aren't famous.

The people I can think of who are comment king and queen are Alex and Talli, and BOTH of them earn those comments by commenting everywhere.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Karen, and we like the real people!

Eric, I'm going to hope I'm developing those rare and meaningful connections then.

Rachel, that's how I feel!

Hart, I may need to tap Talli and Alex for a guest post soon.

Helen Ginger said...

Didn't take me long to study the menu. I'll take 100 comments, please.

Jessica M said...

At first, I was going to say a thousand followers, but could I take a smidgen of each? Haha but honestly, 100 comments would be quite nice because it would allow me to get on a more personal basis with people. Everyone's a potential buyer and while I'm no salesman, comments = beyond that looky-loo stage. Word of mouth travels faster than being the first page on google. I think ...

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Yeah, I've never been one to ask for numbers. It's loyalty that counts. But loyalty is hard to measure. Catch 22.

And, I like comments. Trouble is, sometimes they are cursory. Sometimes they are a kind of trade situation (you comment on mine, I'll comment on yours). But even trades can work into longterm relationships. So, I'm with Helen. Comments are nice. (-:

Best,
Carolyn

Will Burke said...

It's ALL about the comments! Following is often a reciprical courtesy, "I'll pad your numbers if you pad mine." Comments are representitive of an actual time investment, and go to show how people are really reacting.

GigglesandGuns said...

Comments. That way I know I'm on the right track.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Helen, you've made a wise choice.

Investment of time - I like that analogy, Will.

Lynn said...

Definitely 100 comments! Cultivating relationships are the essence of life. I like how you said we all sell ourselves, show ourselves first and the selling of our goods just follows naturally.

Clarissa Draper said...

For me, the followers. Only because I respond to every comment (well, I try) and with a 100 comments each day, I'd be dead.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

100 comments would knock me over though I visit some blogs who get near that many. I'm trying.

Karen Lange said...

Love the analogy. Good food for thought. Okay, no pun intended!

Tamara Narayan said...

I need to work on increasing both comments and followers, but I'll take comments.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Comments always make my day, but I also love, love, love to have followers. :)

Kathi

LD Masterson said...

I do like to see my followers grow but it's the comments that count. Nothing sadder than putting up a post and getting no response.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

LD, I agree!

Thanks for the input, everyone. I have something cool planned as a follow-up to this post.

Matthew MacNish said...

IMHO comments are the most important for those of us here, because we run writer/author blogs. If we were doing something with more of a commercial angle, generic traffic might be more important.

For me, I only care about connecting with other writers and publishing professionals. I'm not selling anything, and I don't care if people come visit my blog because they Googled "Indian Guardian Animal Spirits."

I do love that post, though.