“Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics…”

The quote above is often attributed to Mark Twain himself, but in fact according to Mr. Twain, he was quoting Benjamin Disraeli. Here is the full quote:

“Figures often beguile me,” he wrote, “particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'”[

I could have said the same thing about myself. I don’t really want to talk about my Stats. It seems rather like talking about money¬†– I was brought up¬†not to¬†do that.

Having prevaricated most of the morning due to it being a fine day and a great one for drying the washing, here I am back at the keyboard, and I have decided to open up and share some of my Wordpress.com information with you.

I am most pleased to see that my visitors come from many different countries. Whilst by far the majority are from English speaking ones, like the US (top of the list, Who Knew??), Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand, it is also true that Ssh Maddy is Writing¬†has seen¬†visitors from some 40 countries, as did my self-hosted blog for Seniors 60+ Maddy At Home. Click the link and scroll down to the bottom of the page if you want to see which ones. I think it is a wonderful thing that we can connect online with people around the world, and¬†if we don’t understand the language we can use Google to translate for us.

I was disappointed when I did the Blogging 101 course,¬†that I didn’t get¬†many¬†followers for Maddy at Home¬†(compared to the WordPress.com course participants)¬†even though I realized that this was because¬†it was a self-hosted site, which is not so easy to follow in the WordPress.com reader. Not only that, I didn’t expect that most young people would be¬†interested in following a seniors’¬†site, although I am pleased to see that many of them at WordPress are! I have not felt at all discriminated against because of my age here and I am by no means the only older blogger¬†doing the course.

For Writing 101, I unearthed an unused WordPress.com site, and I have been pleasantly surprised to find that, despite my age and my complete lack of creative writing experience, I have gained many more followers than I did on the previous course. I decided to add a picture link to my self-hosted blog in the sidebar. The statistics tell me that almost half of the visitors to Sshh Maddy is Writing have clicked the link to Maddy at Home, which I think shows that my link has been a great success, with the traffic more likely to be in the 60+ group but probably including others as well.

What of the numbers? Well, I could make anything of them really. Now I’m not saying that statistics lie, just that they are open to interpretation. And sometimes the interpreters lie.¬†Other times they are just not too good at math.¬†It’s hard to be stuck in tomorrow, which is what it sometimes feels like down here in Oz, trying to understand today’s numbers. Figures never were my strong point. If I said my traffic had increased 100% , that would sound pretty good and it would not be a lie.

I have been a somewhat inconsistent poster, and this task really has been¬†a lesson to me, because I now see that if I had posted at the same time each day, and was consistent with the timezone settings across all my memberships and applications, the statistics would be so much more accurate and therefore more meaningful. There is no excuse for this lack of conformity given that the scheduler is available. In the case of the Seniors’ Blog, I have rendered myself¬†powerless to tell you which of my posts it the most popular. For Sshh Maddy is Writing, this post tagged¬†Mrs Brown’s Attic¬†shared the most popular spot with this one.¬†There is a danger that both¬†will become part of a much longer¬†story,¬†so don’t forget to follow me!

I was even able to see the Tags and Categories for my WordPress.com site. They appear at the bottom of the Insights page. The mystery that some of us with self-hosted sites spent quite a bit of time discussing, is solved. There are No Tags and Categories available in the Insights for the Self Hosted sites.

I am one of those obsessive types that you’ve heard about, checking daily or dare I admit even more frequently, for the few lost souls¬†loitering around my blog, expecting them to suddenly turn into a large and noisy¬†crowd, with no end to their comments and remarks in sight. Needless to say that hasn’t happened, but I have had the opportunity to look at the thing from a different perspective. I looked at the year as a whole, and saw that there has been a steady increase, not only in traffic but in engagement too.

The other thing I can tell you is I certainly need more traffic!

Since the self-hosted sites don’t appear in the WordPress.com¬†reader, some of you may have missed out on some really good blogs. I made a list of them so that I could follow them in my reader, so I will share them with you here. First you need to make a list by typing a name (e.g. Self-Hosted Blogs) in the field on the left just below Recommended Blogs¬†and¬†clicking the plus sign. Then¬†click¬†your¬†list’s settings cogwheel¬†so that you¬†can paste any of the below linked URLs into your list where it says “Enter a Blog URL or topic to add to the list.” Then just click “Add” and udate the list when you are done.

James Bellorini
Cathy Lynn Brooks
Spilt Milk
Meeting My Family
UK Transitions Mentor
James Proclaims
Memoirs of a 21st Century Time Traveller
Writing Oh My!
The DIY Bistro
The Highland Chef
the diary of an alzheimers caregiver
Life is a Metaphor
Travel much?
Truth. Love. Service.
Garth Meaney Author
Mary’s Arthritis
Maddy at Home
delights of the algarve
Barbara. A. Krawiec
Atypical 60
Maria Holme
Heart Story
Su Vaikais
To Hear Life
Spontaneous Whimsy
Wanna Be Writer
Finally a writer
Overlooked Nature



Now you only have to click the list to see that latest posts from the bloggers you have added.
Feture Photo Attribution

Samuel L Clemens4 1940 Issue-10c” by U.S. Post Office – U.S. Post OfficeHi-res scan of postage stamp by Gwillhickers.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Samuel_L_Clemens4_1940_Issue-10c.jpg#/media/File:Samuel_L_Clemens4_1940_Issue-10c.jpg

32 thoughts on “Writing 101: Search your stats for a post idea

  1. Hi Maddy! I enjoy your writing and was surprised to learn that you have “a complete lack of creative writing experience”. You have inspired me to keep plugging away on my blog, investigate my statistics (which I have been putting off) and start scheduling posts for the same time. Thank you! -Whitney


  2. Whitney apart from consistency, the bloggers that blog about blogging also recommend perseverance and I think you have to have a lot of it and not be discouraged so I am forging ahead & just doing what I can to increase visitors.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Perseverance, yes! It certainly seems that way. ūüôā How long have you been blogging? My blog is 2 months old tomorrow. If I can keep it up for the next 10 months it will be a huge accomplishment. Blogging is a lot of work! xo Whitney


  4. Hey Maddy, thanks for the follow earlier! Blogging 201 stressed having an editorial calendar to make your blog more consistent. That’s what I’m going to try from here on out. My posts were kind of random so I’m going to stick to a schedule and see if that makes a difference.


  5. Thank you so much for the list Maddy, I rely heavily on my WP Reader to catch up on my fellow bloggers posts. I added my own list on the WP reader so that I do not miss out on them, but then the list keeps growing and I dont always get the time to update it. Your list just made the task easier for me!
    Thanks a bunch! ūüôā

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so very much, Maddy, for including me in your list. I am very honored! (I will definitely visit the other sites you identified.) God bless you. …As always, thank you for sharing your writing. Your posts are a joy to read, and always I think and learn from them–a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Found it! So sorry I missed it. Our Internet has been a challenge these last days; I’ve not been checking email regularly. Thank you so much for taking the time you did to respond to my email to you. …Concerning your request: I would be very honored to do what you asked for Oct. 9th. In fact, if you do not mind, would it be ok to send a draft to you ahead of time so that you could let me know if it’s what you had in mind? ( …I would be happy for you to edit, if you wished!) …What a blessing you are to me in my newly retired life! Thank you Soooooooooo much! ..BTW, since I didn’t respond, if you found someone else for the 9th –no problem… Also, if you ever need something to fill your site and I don’t respond to a request, please feel free to copy/paste; adapt any of the posts I’ve done. I would be very honored if you found anything I’ve written worth including–in any way you see fit– on your site. Please let me know if I’m still on/”in” for the 9th:)


  8. So true about the stats…I don’t like talking about them either and honestly I do not like to worry about them. I rather just write because I love it:) You did such a lovely gesture at the end by providing such great sites!


  9. Thank you for this Maddy ! I have not been updating “my Reader” lately, because I actually don’t like to read there, and prefer to read from my e-mail notifications , but maybe that is why I have been missing posts from fellow bloggers that I thought I was following .. dumb Turtle ūüėČ
    Thank you for your blogs list – so many good ones ūüôā
    Turtle Hugs


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