Why I Refuse To Be Ranked

Whether you like it or not, blogging is all about numbers, or it is if you are trying to make a living from it.  It’s about how many page views you have, unique monthly visitors, social media following and your DA. Whilst I can kind of understand the first three – if someone is going to pay you to write something or send you something to review, they want to make sure it reaches the biggest audience possible, and I kind of get the DA thing (how authoritative your domain is, for those none-bloggers reading this), the one I will never understand or agree with is a ranking system.

I recently left a blogging network that ranks its members and publishes the chart each month. I left for more reasons that just the ranking system, but as soon as I took the badge saying I was number xxx off my blog, I felt strangely free. It made me realise just how much a stupid badge, a stupid number, a stupid rank, was affecting my blogging confidence.

Why I Refuse to Be Ranked

There were several thousand bloggers in the network who make up the chart. I hovered around 120ish to 180ish for the past two years, dipping into the top 100 for a month or two, before slipping. Every month, as soon as the chart updated, I would frantically check. If I went up, great. When I went down, it chipped a little bit of my confidence away. Why was I going down? Wasn’t I good enough? It’s a ridiculous way to think because the way the system works (which I don’t really understand, to be honest) if someone else has a really good month, it can push you further down. Whilst most ranking systems are like that, it can never be used as a way of telling how good someone is.

My main issue? It did not, in any way, measure the quality of someone’s writing, or the engagement with their readers. And that is the most important thing when it comes to blogging.

I’m pretty sure it would be almost impossible to rank someone on quality of writing, because that is a pretty subjective thing, and I also know that should a system be possible, I would slide right out of the top 200, top 500, probably even top 1000, because, whilst I’m an ok writer, I’m not brilliant and there are so many beautifully written blogs out there that are so much better. In the main parenting blog ranking charts, these bloggers are not in the top 100, or even the top 250 sometimes. They’re lurking much further down because rather than pushing giveaway after giveaway or creating a massive social media following, they’re concentrating on making their writing and their blogs beautiful. I know that one of the only reasons that I managed to get so high was because of a high social media following. That’s after almost four years of blogging, so a relatively high number of followers is to be expected. The months where I had competitions running, which obviously increase my page views by up to 100% at times, were the months I ranked higher. There are many, many bloggers in the top 100 that deserve to be there. They are beautiful writers, have beautiful photos and beautiful blogs, and work incredibly hard on their blogs. I am, in no way, minimising their success and saying they don’t deserve to be there because they do. What I am saying is that it can be incredibly easy to manipulate your position. Running lots of giveaways, whether the prize is bought by yourself or provided by a brand (I have no issues with bloggers running giveaways, I occasionally do it!), follow threads (again, no issues with it – I’ve done it!), and so on.

Being ranked, being given a number to tell me how good I am based on how many followers I have, had begun to take the joy out of blogging. I was constantly comparing myself to others, trying to emulate them in order to rise higher in the charts. The saying ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ had never rung so true. I’m not the best writer, but I am a bloody good blogger. I do not need a badge on my blog to verify that. The fact I have readers coming back to read my blog every day, emailing me when I haven’t posted for a few days to check everything is ok, that I am able to make a decent living and support my family, that I have people saying that they enjoy what I write and that it has helped them – that’s what matters.

It’s easy to say as a relatively established blogger,  but if you’re new to the blogging game, don’t get hung up on your position in a chart that means very little. It won’t get you more readers, you won’t have brands queuing up to work with you just because you’ve cracked the top 250 or whatever. Concentrate on writing content that your readers enjoy, concentrate on doing something you enjoy. If you want to monetize and make a living from it, concentrate on the stats that your hard work and writing can influence, not the stats that can be manipulated by someone else.

 

 

11 thoughts on “Why I Refuse To Be Ranked

  1. I too removed myself from blog rankings and I feel so much better for it. Once I stopped chasing numbers, stats and rankings I felt more relaxed. I write about what I want to write, when I want, without feeling pressured.

  2. Absolutely! I am about to leave the same chart I think mainly as I don’t want to dictated to as what I can do with my blog. It’s d took me 3 years to get to the position I am now and to me it means nothing. I don’t get any extra and I don’t want to flog my log to death just to reach the top.

  3. While I am a member of the network you’re talking about I don’t stress about my ranking. Like you say, it’s just a number and to be honest if I was bothered about the numbers I would’ve given up ages ago. Glad to hear you’re feeling free, it will probably unlock all that creativeness stuck behind the worrying about numbers!

  4. When all these threads and groups and Klouting things started it made me feel really uncomfortable but I guess it depends what you blog for! I don’t make much money from my blog and as an #autismawareness writer I guess my focus is different to many. I just don’t have any interest in playing the numbers game at all! Great post!

  5. A great post and a great decision for you. I do okay in the charts, but I’m painfully aware I could play my blog as a game for a couple of months and leap right up – so therefore other people could do that too. It’s not my style, I don’t have the time or the energy (or the inclination) and thankfully I’m too old and tired to have my fingers on the pulse of stats and latest updates, or I’m sure it’d drive me insane. There are so many amazing writers who will never feature in any chart – a number is never what makes anyone a blogger.

  6. I really liked reading this, I never knew you blog rankings existed but it explains some of the numbers I’ve seen recently…Its put me off wanting to go back to those blogs as like you said, their content and writing arent up to par and I like reading and following bloggers who have the same open style as me (sometimes I’m a little too potty-mouthed). You should never seek fame or money as it is less likely to happen…I have found people that do that (like bloggers), arent very appealing as theyre not so humble anymore or realistic. Xx

  7. I too left – around the same figure as you I think, before I realised I didn’t really give a shit how many followers I have on instagram. I literally upload things I think my mum and grandad might want to see, and things that make me happy. I know I can write. I don’t need a number to give me a sense of self worth, and neither do you x

  8. Well said! I’m still part of the rankings but I don’t really stress over them. I still get tons of opportunities and collaboration offers even if I arent high in the rankings.

    I don’t actively try and influence my numbers and just plug along but I have also noticed the same thing about how easy it is to game the system if you are that way inclined and that doesn’t make the blog a good or an interesting blog.

  9. I’m so glad I read this today – I’ve been a bit deflated because I noticed that someone who started blogging at the same time as me is waaay higher in the rankings than I am. However, after reading this post, I had a look over at her site and yup, you were right – 7 of her last 10 posts were giveaways! She might be doing well stats wise, but I don’t want my blog to be a walking, talking advert for other companies – I want to build my own brand of things that are important to me and that my loyal readers are interested in. Thank you for giving me a bit more of an insight into the stats game #blogcrush

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