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

  1. 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.)

  2. 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.

  3. 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 🙂

  4. I get the same. I believe it could be that people read it but they don’t really have an opinion which is clear enough to leave a meaningful comment. Or perhaps they do not want to be judged by others. Or again they are just readers but nor really writers.

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