Blogging and Writing

The Mystery of the Blog Viewer But Non-Interacter

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I generally like to avoid spending too much time looking at stats, but there are some things that WordPress likes to shove in your face whether you like it or not, including showing you the number of views, likes, and comments per post on your list of posts. Something that has always baffled me is the blog viewer but non-interacter, and I’m hoping maybe you can help to solve the mystery.

So, what do I mean by this mysterious group of people? I’m not talking about the do-nothing followers that Paula of Light Motifs II recently described; those are the people that follow your blog and then you never see anything from them ever again. I’m talking about the gap between the number of views of a post and the number of interactions in the form of likes or comments. In this context, I’m paying more attention to likes, not because they matter more (they don’t), but because it’s the easiest form of interacting with a post.

To pick a nice even number, let’s say I did a post a couple of days ago that got 100 views. Based on my blog’s usual pattern, depending on the post, that might get as few as 30 likes or, in rare cases, as many as 50. Usually it would be around 35-40 likes per 100 views. So who are all of those other viewers?

I don’t think I get a ton of meaningless likes on my posts from people who haven’t even looked at the post, but those people would have the opposite effect of the viewer but non-interacter. Having a few of those would make the percentage of likes per views even lower. One a post with 100 views and 30 likes, perhaps only 25 of those likes came from people who actually registered as a view. That means that 75 people viewed and vanished. It’s like the blogging Bermuda Triangle.

This puzzles me not because the number of likes matters, but because I just can’t figure out who all of these people are.

There are assorted reasons why someone might open a post and not like, e.g. they opened it by accident, they didn’t finish it, they didn’t like what they read, the like button wasn’t working, they commented but didn’t like, etc. Those are all very good reasons to have some views without any interaction.

There are also non-Wordpress viewers, but my posts that are a day or two old don’t get many non-WP viewers, so I don’t think that particular factor accounts for much of this particular blogging Bermuda Triangle of mine.

In my mind, those assorted factors could very reasonably account for maybe 40% of the number of views.

But I can’t figure out what’s going on that 2/3 of people who view my brand new posts don’t interact at all. Who are all of these people? The number of likes doesn’t matter, but it’s a mystery I haven’t been able to solve, and I like to solve mysteries.

So I’m curious, does your blog have a big proportion of viewers who don’t interact? Do you have any thoughts on what accounts for the mysterious non-interacters?

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81 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Blog Viewer But Non-Interacter”

    1. I generally avoid the stats page, but I always have a tab open on my browser with my list of posts in my WordPress dashboard, so I tend to notice the stats shown there because they’re right in my face.

  1. I get a lot of likes from spammers. It’s like you wrote about in the past week or so (which I’ll horribly paraphrase), don’t get too excited about your number of followers… there’s a lot of fluff.

            1. I think they do it because it seems like a lot of people will “like” back. But does it accomplish anything in the grander scheme of things? Besides perhaps boosting ad revenue by a few pennies, it seems highly unlikely.

  2. Ashley I love this post! 😄

    “The Bermuda Triangle” bit was funny!

    I am not sure if people just scroll by in the “following” section where all the people’s new posts will come up whom they follow, so a part of each person’s post (the title and few words) gets counted as a view or not?!

    Or you have to actually click on that person’s post for that to count as a view?!

    Hope that makes sense…

    But I have a mystery, and that is how I can sometimes get a “like” but no view. Nada… its like they managed to be invisible or something. 🤔

    1. I’m not sure exactly how WordPress counts views, but I think when you get a like but no view it’s because a person has been scrolling through the Reader and likes without clicking on the post at all.

  3. Yes, i do occasionally wonder about the stats— more views than likes all the time. I do share my posts on my social media— i think some people come through that. But still, it seems as though they don’t have a like button or sth. My likes are typically from wordpress bloggers. Other people will contact me directly how they like the article but never tapped the like button— and I’m thinking, does one need an wp account in order to interact?

  4. Oh, I barely ever liked your posts, if at all. I feel that liking without commenting is rude (like done just for the sake of it – everyone can like, even if they didn’t read it) so if I have something to say I comment, if I have nothing to say I just read and move on.

    1. I almost Liked your comment and left, it’s so habitual. This is so different to my approach that it interests me. It does strike me as more mindful interacting.

  5. Also a fan of the “blogging Bermuda Triangle!”

    I think some peeps visit multiple times. Yesterday I had 156 views and 76 visitors. So some readers visited twice, I assume? A few 3x. I had one post up, but some were still commenting on Friday’s posts. My total likes yesterday was 65, so 11 visitors didn’t like something they read, I guess…

  6. I used to be wary of liking posts unless I really liked them. Now I tend to automatically like a post unless I either don’t finish it or actively disagree with it. But I think other people, particularly those who don’t use social media much, wouldn’t necessarily think, “I read, therefore I should like.”

    I also used to be really wary about commenting on blog posts and would spend ages lurking before daring to comment (this was before the like button, so I’m not sure what I would have done there). Even now I tend not to do it until I’ve been reading a blog for a bit and feel sure I’m going to carry on reading. It feels too much like starting some kind of social contact for me to take it lightly.

    1. i think what I like about the like button is that it’s a way to know who’s reading, which helps to create more of a community feel. Sometimes people will mention in the comments that they read my blog regularly, and I’m really surprised, as I had no idea they were stopping by.

      I also tend to like unless I didn’t finish or actively disagree. I also use the WP Reader, and liking helps me to see what I’ve read, because I would probably forget otherwise.

  7. I figured a proportion will be people who view it but don’t have a blog or WP account, so they can’t “like” it. Your post actually made me think of social media, too. I noticed on my InvisiblyMe FB page that I’ve had a two recent posts with zero likes at all, yet both have been shared once or twice. That I find a little strange, to share but not to like. Maybe people forget? I’m not sure. When it comes to WP, I think there’s also the potential for technical glitches, like when the “like” button doesn’t load or a like won’t seem to stick. Hopefully that happens less often now than it used to, but odd instances will still happen. x

  8. I totally understand the desire to solve this mystery. It is fascinating when there’s a gap in numbers.

    I’m not sure whether I’ll help or add another dimension to it but I get your posts in email. There is no “like” link at the bottom of your posts even though I find it at the bottom of most posts I get in email. So unless I have a specific comment, I never click through. So I don’t click like simply because it’s too hard. However, I don’t know if I count as a viewer since my reading happens in email.

    But if I see your post in WP Reader later, I’ll like it because I find the button there. Does that help or deepen the puzzle? By the way, I very much “like” your posts – well-written and informative!

  9. Here’s my opinion on that. For the last month or so WP has been messing around randomly with people’s sites. Unfollowing (which I know you’ve experienced), messing with the Gravatar information, and being the expert asshats that they’re so good at being. In the past two weeks my Gravatar and ability to “like” something has been f*cked up badly. I’ll hit like, no Gravatar (image) will appear, and later if I check back, the ‘like’ hasn’t “stuck”. Coming to your site and to Rory’s site (which are on but on OF ((if that makes sense)) WordPress requires me to fill in a little form every time. It won’t let me click the WordPress icon and log me in. The info that pops up is the fault of Google I guess, but it’s f*cked up too. Maybe the two aren’t playing nicely together or who knows what. I wouldn’t worry about it (if you are). I think those numbers are a bit skewed anyway because those crappiness engineers couldn’t program their way out of a cardboard box.

  10. There were blogs I would follow and read, but not comment on (these weren’t on WordPress, so liking wasn’t an option). Part of it was that this was before I created my blog, so I didn’t feel as though I had an online presence, but part of it was also that interacting with the blog felt a bit like creating a relationship, and I wasn’t sure if/how to start that relationship, or even if I was ready to.

    Now having a blog, I understand it now when blog owners say they wish that the viewers-but-non-interacters would come out of the woodwork. I wish it too. It’s odd knowing that there are people reading your blog and yet you have no idea what they are thinking. Tangentially related, there was one day that Facebook referred 4 people to my blog – I have no idea who or how my blog wound up on Facebook and attracted visitors. I don’t mind it exactly. The reality of a public blog on the internet is that people will read this blog and I won’t know why or what they thought of it. But it does feel like more of a relationship when you know who the viewers are.

    1. It fascinates me when I get traffic from Facebook as well. I don’t have a Facebook account, so they’re getting to me via someone else sharing. Funny, I know the sharing buttons exist on my site, but for some reason I tend to assume that no one actually uses them.

      It would be weird to me to switch to a blogging platform where there was no “like” button, and have no idea who was reading my stuff.

  11. I think this is a great question . I have wondered too. I wish I knew because it does make me curious. What is the reason to view but not respond in some way? I actually wouldn’t mind hearing if someone didn’t like what I had written ( respectfully of course- lol). But it’s always good to hear different perspectives, but even that wouldn’t seem to account for the gap that is sometimes there. It’s curious.

  12. This is the second time I am ‘viewing’ this post directly on the site. There will probably be a 3rd time when I come back to read your reply to my comment. One person, 3 views.

    I never ‘like’ a post unless I REALLY liked it – and that goes for people I subscribe to and read every post.

    I read a lot of blogs, like many posts, but not all, and rarely comment because there just isn’t anything I can say.

    Certain blogs I ALWAYS read in the Reader because they are visually awful – tiny font for instance. Most posts I see initially in the Reader and then click “Visit Site”.

    The Reader is helpful in deciding which posts I will NOT read in their entirety. If I’m going to read a post in its entirety then I go to the site.

    Do my habits make any difference to how you interpret stats?

    1. Yes! I hadn’t thought of people coming back to read comment replies. I also wonder, if someone opens a post in the Reader, and then continues on to the actual site, if WordPress counts that as 2 views, or if it knows it’s the same person and just counts it as one. Hmm…

  13. I don’t get many views or likes. I mostly just pay attention to views and comments. Those 2 mean that people are looking and reading my posts more than likes. I do get more likes than views so I don’t think likes are that important.

  14. 🙂 Ashley, my educated guess is that some of your views were referrals from Google and other search engines on the world wide web (And there is the possibility that those viewers do not have WordPress accounts).

    After all, you are using Yoast ― an SEO plugin; its job is to help your blog posts to be visible on search engines.

    1. Strange, WordPress sent your comment to spam.

      I don’t seem to get search engine traffic on brand new posts. Google is a lot more interested in my posts that have been around for a while.

  15. I don’t “like” every post I read. Some topics in blogs interest me more than others, so while I tend to read all posts in the blogs I follow, I only “like” the ones that speak to me in some way.

  16. Whether or not I’m able to read other blogs is directly related to my energy level. If I’m up to reading, I may not be thinking clearly enough to engage in even a like button. Sometimes I’m like a magazine reader, flipping through the pages.

  17. I’ve come to WordPress having left Reddit and IG, where Upvoting/Liking felt like a way of showing support for the person who made a post. It’s an *imagined* wholesome feeling.

    I might click Like if even one sentence resonates with me on the whole post but I don’t have something to contribute. If there is a risk of seeming gratuitous to other bloggers, dialling it back might be best.

    1. I know that some likes are meaningless, and I find it’s usually not that hard to figure out who those people are. I see likes as a way of saying hi, I stopped by, and this interested me in some way.

  18. I more often than not start from the Reader, move to site, read there, like and or comment, and then return if notified of reply. If I comment, I like it. But if like doesn’t necessarily mean I comment. A lot of times when I visit websites, if they are appealing I cruise the site entirely. There are many times I go back and read early posts of bloggers who kept my attention for a while. While doing this early or page reading I don’t always like and rarely comment. Weird. I thoroughly enjoy your website 😍

  19. Some of the views could be bots and spam. I notice that on days with few likes but a lot of views, I have more spam comments and random countries on the stats.

  20. An interesting post Ashley.
    Love the Bermuda Triangle analogy.

    We are living in this world which we think it’s real but it’s an illusion.

    At least let us enjoy this illusionary world of …the views and likes instead of wondering, and we all can have joy and excitement at the end of the day.

    Let us all look at the WP statistics as a fun game since it creates curiosity

    The math is simple.

    1.We just get less than 0.5% of our total follows in the form of comments.

    2.There is no logic behind the number of follows and the number of likes.

    3.There is no set of pattern between the number of views and number of likes in relation to the number of comments.

    4. Actual number of comments is 50% of the total comments since remaining 50% of comments are contributed from the authour.
    Suppose there are 40 comments- actual comments are just 20.
    So the total number of comments is misleading.

    5 .Inspite of boldly admiring and discussing about one Mr.Sebastian-time immemorial- no clear cut answer has emerged.

    6. We have forgotten ( with due respect) a mention of the bots.

    6. My heart alway tells me to leave a comment not just press the ‘like’ the button since the authour can’t be sure of the worthiness of the post just by noticing the count of likes.
    On the extreme side I feel the reader is insulting the authour.( Many times I also behave just clicking the like button alone).

    7. Your comment section is incomplete since you failed to mention Sebastian 😄😄
    My apologies on behalf of Sebastian.
    8. Like button though is an illusion yet it provides ‘Dopamine’ to the authour. Does not matter if there is no interaction.
    Let us just have fun filled time for the day.

    Enough of my ranting.
    But your post made my day lighter and I enjoyed those moments as I was reading your post.

    🙏🙏🙏

    1. Excellent points!

      I should have added a Sebastian p.s. to this post – it seems he took a brief hiatus and has gone self-hosted (not that I’m checking or anything…). He/his bot is back to liking posts, but his gravatar isn’t linking to his blog. I wonder how long it will take him to realize that all the liking is for naught…

  21. I have the same thing happening with live streams. Consistently have several viewers who never chat. Since I can see people who have accounts, I know the same people watch every day yet never even say hello. Strange lol.

  22. I read but don’t always like if the post doesn’t resonate with me. I have this weird I like to know stuff so will read things just to get a resolution. Like Melanie (I think) mentioned above, WP was being weird recently and I couldn’t like or comment on peoples posts. What I find weird are the likes within a minute or so if a post being published. To me that’s a bot!

  23. I think there is a mix of reasons people might like and not comment – time restraints, a little shyness, and also the general social media culture of jut pressing that heart and moving onto the next post. But there is no doubt that there is a lot of strangeness from potential serial likers who don’t seem to read a word of the posts they are liking.

    I am not worried. I have very little time myself, so I don’t worry about anyone else’s blogging habits. But there is nothing as satisfying or encouraging as genuine interaction.

  24. I get way more views than likes. I try not to look at the numbers though because sometimes it makes me feel like my posts are crap :/

    1. It seems to be a very common thing to get more views than likes. Seeing various people’s comments, it makes me realize that I tend to assume that people approach reading blogs in a similar way that I do, and they just don’t.

      And yeah, numbers can sure make it easy to come to negative conclusion. I wish WP would make them a little less in your face.

  25. I’m weighing in a day late & have not read others’ replies. But whenever I’ve pondered this, I’ve always thought two things:

    (1) That some viewers are getting to the post through WordPress suggestions based on keywords (or even just from googling keywords of their own in search of posts). Some of these people see the post, and if it doesn’t resonate with them, they move on. Or they move on because they don’t like putting their identifiers there — in other words, they’re “lurkers.”

    (2) Somebody who is taken by the post will read it more than once, at different sittings or even at different computers. So one person might account for up to five views or so.

    Interestingly, in 2008 I wrote a post called “My Sexuality” in my private diary (the one that has 5 readers now & had 3 a while back before, I think I’ve mentioned it twice here. It had 9 readers at that time.)

    Though I only had 9 readers, when I checked the stats, it had over 100 views. Naturally the subject matter prompted more views, but how? Did my 9 readers each read it about 11 times?

    I hate to say it, but it seems more likely that one or more of my readers was untrustworthy and that they gave their private user-pass to some of their friends. It bugs me a bit.

    1. Oh that’s strange. That would indeed be a problem if someone gave access to others.

      I think the major factor I hadn’t accounted for was individuals returning to a post multiple times, whether that’s to finish reading, reread, or read/reply to comments.

      1. I can’t remember who all nine of the people were then, but I am certain all five of the current crew is trustworthy.

        I often go to your posts three or four times, because I don’t finish it the first time, or the second time, etc. You probably get 4-5 views from me alone off of a single post.

          1. It’s the kind of thing that could only hurt me if I were to become famous. (At which point, my private words would be widely quoted all across the tabloids.)

  26. I usually like posts that interest me and I sometimes comment and sometimes I get half way through reading something and get interrupted and forget to either respond or like what I read. And sometimes I think I am going to save this so I can finish it.

  27. I look at my stats from time to time. I don’t like to because it detracts from me writing new content, but I like to see what’s going every so often. My issue isn’t with views, but I want more people to click on my outside links. I have a buymecoffee account and a medium account. I’m trying to gauge when it’s time to build more onto my blog. Overall, I wouldn’t spend too much time looking at stats. Try to focus on pushing more content out 🙂

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