Why blogging in the dark can be a good thing….

The email was short and sweet….

” Kathy!  It’s me again.  I am wondering if you can tell how much activity my blog gets.  I looked at the stats sheet, but couldn’t tell.  Am I writing about the right kind of stuff?”

My reply:

This is a COMMON problem.

It’s been my experience that you can’t judge which posts are the most “powerful” by the comments because often, the only people who leave comments are other bloggers who want to leave a breadcrumb trail from your blog to their blog.

With that said, I peeked at your stats …[snip] I also saw that you’re getting lots of love from the Google bot.   That’s good.

However, aside from the dry information readily available in your log files, ….for right now, you’re blogging in the dark so to speak.   It’s true that your stats can tell you what page people entered on and how many left after reading that page.  I can also see how many pages each “visitor” consumed “on average”.    Log file analysis doesn’t always tell the story.  We know your average page view is 2.32 pages…. was that the result of each and every visitor visiting 2.32 pages or was it hundreds of single page views combined with three or four visitors consuming 10-20 blog posts on their visit?  Because of the high traffic, analysis is difficult at best!  It’s easier in this case to see 10 visitors with an average page view of 8 pages per viewer.   Then we know SOMEONE is very interested in what you have to say!   It’s very common for high traffic blogs to have a low number page views because an interested reader who consumes 10-20 blog posts won’t drive up the average number of page views over thousands of visitors.

Then the question is…. did those visitors who consumed a single page on their visit… were they “regular” readers (who subscribed via RSS feed).  An RSS feed subscriber may visit every time you post an entry… or they may only visit when you have an interesting headline that catches their eye.  The blogs I subscribe to via RSS will only see me visiting a single page if I was just there the day before, reading the previous day’s entry.

In a word, you could drive yourself NUTSO worrying about this.  Or, you can continue to blog from your heart.  Write as if you were speaking directly to a potential client.  What would she need to know about you before signing up for your services?  How can you build TRUST with this stranger?  The goal is to build up trust to the point where the reader will take a chance and contact you.

The more you post, the more trust opportunities you’ll have.   As you post, you’ll be revealing MUCH more than you should even focus on.  For example, today’s post is EXCELLENT!  It tells me a lot… I read this one and the one before it and if I didn’t know before, I do now that you’re a Christian.

Now, that may be a HUGE turn off to some people.  That might be enough to “cross” your name off their list.  But those people weren’t really even in the running to be your client.  On the contrary.  Once they had a conversation with you, they would have seen that and never contacted you again.  This way, they learned it from your blog BEFORE they wasted your time by calling.

Again, you’ll drive yourself CRAZY trying to define the single post that was the “tipping point” and caused the potential client to fill in the contact form or pick up the phone.  You can ask, but they probably weren’t aware of the process.  Was it the last post they read or the first?  Which straw broke the camel’s back?

I am aware when I reach that tipping point… but only because I’m ACUTELY aware of the process.  I don’t ask “regular, normal, functional” people the question of “when did you decide to pick up the phone” because it’s not that they WON’T answer it, it’s that they can’t answer it.

On the one hand, you don’t want to “ruin” the intake process by grilling them on what made them decide to call.  On the other hand, if you WERE to grill them, you need to be aware that psychologists estimate that 85% of the buying decision is made at an unconscious level.  All your potential client could answer would be what the last post was that they read before they called or contacted you.  The probably can’t tell you when they made the decision.

The moral to the story…. many of us are “blogging in the dark”.  I remember one potential client contact a few months back.  A woman called late on a Friday afternoon and she opened the conversation with me with an unforgettable phrase,

“I don’t know why, but for some reason… I think you might be able to help me.”

She’s normal… she’s functional… and she’s not obsessed with this stuff…. of course she can’t pin point WHY she called.   However, her comments and questions clearly referenced a few blog posts I had made a few months earlier.  Looking back, she hadn’t posted a question or a comment on the post…. no one did!  It wasn’t a “powerful” post by anyone’s definition except hers!!!

On the other hand, my serious introspection of my bellybutton lint when it comes to making major sale decisions is BOUND to affect my decision making process as well.  By trying to see past the veil… the one the hides the 85% of the buying decision making process from view… am I skewing the results?

As I try to measure, I find myself entering aCatch 22 world similar to that in Quantum Mechanics… “when a quantum system interacts with a measuring apparatus, their respective wavefunctions become entangled, so that the original quantum system ceases to exist as an independent entity.”  In other words, by trying to MEASURE  the quantum state one will actually ALTER the quantum state rendering the measurement useless.

In other words… tis far better to blog naked, in the dark.  That way, when you think no one is reading… you can really speak your mind and blog from the heart.

Spend too much time “blogging” from your head makes blogging scary… difficult…. and not fun.  When you’re blogging “from your head” you end up viewing posting to your blog in a similar vein to working up the courage to go streaking across the field of the Super Bowl during the first quarter.  Turn off the television cameras and all the lights and it’s a MUCH easier proposition!

Instead… just post to your blog.  The more you blog, the sooner you’ll find your “blog’s voice“.