Blogging is more than just writing posts. It's also learning how your site works on a fundamental level -- its reach and popularity -- as well as how it performs. This is true whether your self-host your blog or use free software such as Blogger or Wordpress. Statistics help unlock how visitors use and engage with your blog. Armed with this traffic knowledge, you can then figure out how to make your blog an even better experience for your readers.
Here are the site metric programs that I use on a daily basis to measure, track and hone my blog into the most robust website it can be.
Blog stats are addictive. You start out just checking them to see where people are coming from, marveling at how people as far away as the Ukraine are finding your little American blog. You're excited by whatever traffic you're getting, figuring that it will grow by leaps and bounds the longer you keep writing.
But at some point, you start getting frustrated with whatever number your page views happens to be. And you start wondering about other people's stats, imagining them higher than your own. And then, finally, you enter a stage where you are hitting refresh every few minutes, anxiously awaiting each visitor.
"I am so happy for you!" Sometimes we say these words honestly, our entire being buzzing with excitement for the other person, and sometimes we say these words while quietly thinking in our head: why them and not me? Why do they have an average of 89 comments on any given post when I only have 10? Why did they make that best of blogs list and I didn't? How do they collect so many Twitter followers when my numbers stay exactly the same day-to-day?