Friday, August 21, 2009

The Numbers Game

Recently I've talked to several bloggers playing the numbers game. Questions and comments run back and forth like this:

"Have your comments/visits dropped a lot this summer?"

"I LOVE all the people I’ve met through blogging, I can’t see the point of working so hard for the amount of visitors I get."

"It's frustrating to have 5 comments after 3 days, and visit someone else who posted 5 minutes ago and already has 10 comments."

I've felt the same way before. Sometimes it seems like a lot of work to come up with several blog posts a week, if no one is reading! Consider, however, Noah.

God told Noah to build a huge ark. It took hard work, determination, and energy. Noah then had to gather up all the animals and put them in the ark. He had to care for and feed the animals. (Have you ever been to the zoo? Imagine the smell in the ark!) But the Bible tells us the Noah did everything just as God asked.

Do you know how many peoples lives were impacted by Noah's hard work? Besides Noah, only seven. SEVEN! Out of all the people in the entire world, only seven were saved. If Noah, who the Bible calls righteous and blameless, could do all the work God called him to do for only seven people, shouldn't we be able to do the same?

If you feel like you are called by God to write, then don't get caught up in the numbers game! Because for God, there is more rejoicing over just ONE sinner who repents, then in 99 who do not need to repent. Write for that one!

Genesis 6:9 -- Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.

1 Peter 3:20b, 21 -- ...God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.

Luke 15:7 -- I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Chatty Kelly


Sharon@JoyInTheTruth said...

I always love your refreshing honesty...put it out there girlfriend!

I know when we honor God with our hearts and lives...and our blogs/writing...then our Audience of One is pleased. Our heavenly Comment Box is filled with "I love you".

Irritable Mother said...

Right on, Kelly!
It's hard to not have "comment envy" sometimes. It's tempting to think your blog isn't making an impact.
But God knows.
He knows who is reading, and what they need to hear.
He is able to lead people to our blogs when He wants to speak through what we've written, and He doesn't need them to leave a comment in order to work in their hearts.
When I start to feel disappointed by statistics, I realize I am becoming more interested in my glory than in GOD'S. And I don't want to go there.

All glory to God!

2Thinks said...

How interesting. This is the second blog I've read in 5 minutes where I feel like it is speaking directly to me where I am at this moment. Yesterday's post was very heartfelt for me, but I only got about 5 comments. Stupidly, I was bothered by this thinking that the post must be too negative or sarcastic or- I don't know what. So, I kept re-reading it until I almost decided I should just take it down. Then the first blog I read today at Living to Tell the Story talked about a similar struggle to mine described in my yesterday's post. Now yours here that says don't worry about how many comments you get, just write if that's what you feel called to do! Thanks, Kelly! You're right, just write! What if nobody read it? Sometimes I write to remind myself what is right and that everything is going to be alright. I don't even have to get it completely right. God knows and He cares for me. And you. All glory and honor to Him, who has every hair on our head counted!

Kay Martin said...

I recall last year when I began blogging having all these thoughts on why bother if few people actually visit and read the writing.

In prayer I asked God if I could quit blogging. That day I received a private email from someone I knew. This person was at the end of her rope. She got up in the wee hours and read days of my blog posts.

Something in that writing gave her enough fight to stay alive. I don't know how long I'll write but God got my attention in my inbox that morning.

I now am most prayerful when I write. I don't always write the first thing on my mind, but I write what comes out of prayer before my fingers hit the keyboard.

I have been in churches where umbers were sometimes the most important priority, but somehow I think some of us got too much into numbers altogether.

Good thoughts here as usual.

Julie Gillies said...

Ouch, Kelly!

I agree that we shouldn't get caught up in a numbers game.

I love what Irritable Mother (love that name! LOL) said..."It's tempting to think your blog isn't making an impact."

But as you pointed out, God had Noah build the ark for only seven people. I think that's how many people read my blog. *snort*

Thanks for a balanced perspective that I needed to hear.

On Purpose said...

Great post Kelly...and May God continue to remind us of who are Audience is and why we do everything...for eternal purpose!

Tammy said...

Have you been listening in on my thoughts?
This summer has been difficult with my writing and thinking I've got to find something that will draw the crowd...then I read this. Perfect timing!

I need to remember its not about me, its about God.

T. Anne said...

That's so true. What a powerful thing to remember! It's going to to stick with me for the rest of the day. I was just thinking yesterday,why did RAchel have to die so young esp. since Jacob loved her so much? But she sis manage to leave quite an impact. Perhaps not the same line of reasoning but it jarred that thought in my brain. Thank you for getting me thinking! (slightly dangerous as it may be ;)

Bonita said...

Excellent, Kelly! I think this is an issue that is prevalent among bloggers. I wonder what Noah's stats would have looked like if he had a blog about ark building? And the comments, if he had any I don't think they would have been kind and encouraging. Thanks so much for drawing the parallel between him and us.

Pinkshoelady said...

Your words have struck me to a core. I needed them!
I have been that way...saying "No...I am not called to write the evidence is in my own blog."
I'm more of a story "Teller" not a writer.
I have been wrestling with God about this since She Speaks.
Thank you
I'm going to stop fighting and start listening.
I love you girl.

Edie said...

Good encouragment Kelly. It can be easy to get caught up in the numbers game, but doing what God commands is what is important.

I have always been amazed that people want to read what I write and even more so that sometimes it has an impact for kingdom purposes. Wow God!

Greg C said...

Wow Kelly, I don't know what to say. I do love blogging and writing but I guess I did get caught up a bit in the numbers game on my Examiner site. Sorry.

I do have the same feelings when I write what I think is a good blog post and no one reads it. Then I go over to someone elses blog and they write a post about nothing and have 200 comments. Thanks for the reminder about Noah.

I will now be content just to write. Hopefully you will continue to read.

Melanie said...

Yeah...sometimes I put my heart and soul into a post and get maybe 6 comments. Then I jump over to someone else who has a caption and one sentence and there are NUMEROUS comments. What? Huh?
But then I remind myself that I started blogging as a creative outlet and a way to discipline my self as a writer and a speaker. I see progress so I'm happy with that.
BTW, when you can, take another peek at my 4 S's to Success. Check out my new #1!!!

My ADHD Me said...

I used to feel the same way. Then it became a chore. I seldom visit any blogs that aren't already ones I regularly read. I have a hard enough time keeping up with them. I'd rather have a few readers that I feel like I "know" than a lot more of the "great post" comments.

(of course I also realize that there are probably thousands and thousands that read my blog but are just too overwhelmed to meter? what site meter?)

Collette@Jesuslovesmums said...

It is so important to remember why we blog! You are spot on Kelly.
Love Collette xxx

Sue J. said...

Of course, this is the week I chose to run a silly something just to say "I'm still here!!!!" HA!.... And it's got 20 some comments, which is a crazy amount for me on a regular day. It just isn't important!

Another note about Noah: True, he saved seven people that were actually on the ark. But, if Noah hadn't followed God's plan, there would have been no one AFTER those seven either.

God will do with our writing and our blogs what He will. If we have impact to one, He planned it. If we have impact to many, He planned it. That Proverbs verse from the other day about "the eyes of man are never satisfied" comes to mind. Numbers are really bad fodder for feeding our egos instead of our wisdom.

B His Girl said...

If it was about numbers I would have quit a long time ago. lol! The number of comments do not reflect how God is using our blog. It is about being obedient even if we don't see the point. I think numbers can feed our ego and we have to keep that in check. Sometimes we evaluate the worth of what God ask us to do. (Yikes...I have done that!) We want our return on investment to be clear to us. I like your analogy with Noah. He built the ark and everyone thought he was crazy. They didn't see the point. One thing I do like about site meter is to see people who visit from all over the world. Maybe God is using some of the non commenting visits more than we know. God I pray for your wisdom for all the bloggers who want to lift your name high on the www.

Heart2Heart said...


These are some great tips and I love that we should be writing for that one.

I think we have all seen the numbers game and wonder just where do these people come from, but also what we don't see are those nameless faces that stop by and read and never comment.

You will never know just how much your post may have reached those people who were lost and hurting and found their way to you.

Write for God and His glory and let us not be consumed about our own.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Kelly Combs said...

In honor of my post, I lost a follower today! huh? Repeating to myself "It's not about the number, it's not about the numbers."

Jane In The Jungle said...

Wow.... you are so right about the numbers just sucks you in.

Blasé said...

I just want to say- "Great Post"

Oh, and another thing.
Who was the joker that pushed my pic off of your front page of followers? Your Blog is NOTHING without my Cool Shades!

Blasé said...

Yeah, I LOVE this "Numbers Game"!

I'm number ONE, AGAIN!


KrippledWarrior said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

KrippledWarrior said...

Beauté et intelligence. Dieu a sûrement vous bénis, ma sœur.

Carmen said...

You're so right! I read a post by someone that mentioned she didn't have any followers for the first year! I admire her for sticking with it...and she has lots of followers now. I know what you mean's easy to get caught up in it just the same.

KrippledWarrior said...

Kelly, would you be interested in reading my son's blog? He is on fire for the Lord and he writes really well.


Gotta Have Faith said...

Hi Kelly,

I am glad that I don't even pay attention to the nubers game. I just like the fact that we get a chance to meet new people from all over the country, share our experiences, and have some fun while spreading the Lords word.

Take care and great Post!

Blasé said...

Hey HH,

How 'bout making up your mind with what you want to say and then you won't have to keep deleting your comments.

Edie said...

It's hard not to be disappointed when you lose a follower. But that's not about the numbers for me. I wonder what I did wrong and how I can mend it.

Miss Sandy said...

I love, love, love this post! You put such perspective on blogging, thank you!

KelliGirl said...

As I write the 31st comment to your post...(I'm not jealous, really I'm not...even though I've never had 31 comments...ever.)

I have so much to say about this topic, any many of the comments have said it better than I can (like Sue J.!).

Especially in my earlier days of blogging, I'd get so caught up in the comments/visitors/stats info. I'd let those numbers dictate how I viewed myself as a writer and even as a person. Sad, I know, but true.

We all want people to like us. If five people comment, I'm happy. Until I see my neighbor has 10 or 30 or 100. Then I want MORE. It's human nature. But it also makes my writing about me and not about God. This is a truth I've had to come to many times.

I've resisted adding some stat counters to my blog and removed others because I found I was worrying too much about the numbers. I let them determine my success or failure.

Like you said with Noah, our audience may be small. But even if we touch one person (who doesn't comment)with each post, those numbers add up. I am learning to accept that whatever audience God directs to my blog, whether large or small, is enough.

Because He is enough.

Blessings, my friend,
Kelli (the tall one)

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Envying comments is like envying wealth. Even if a person gains more, there is always someone with more than that, and it becomes an endless cycle. although I'm not actively seeking to be published right now, I do receive, on occasion, an affirming email message, and that helps me to see that even in my silliness, there is sometimes meaning for some people. That feels good, like I'm doing what God would want with my writing.

Linda said...

I'm not a writer, and I don't even play one on television...but I do enjoy blogging and reading blogs. I too have had comment envy, but then feel shamed for coveting my neighbor's comments. I recently changed my blog name because I realized that its not about quantity (although that can be nice too) but about quality. Thanks for the reminder. ; )

Susanne said...

Awesome encouragement, Kelly. Writers don't know the impact and influence they might have. Only God does. There are many times a post has totally puts its finger on something in my life and for that very reason I could not formulate a comment. Write on, you girls who write about the Lord. You are touching lives.

Edie said...

Auntie Chatty...
You crack me up.

Amy De Trempe said...

Loved the post.

My ADHD Me said...

You lost a follower!?! i'll track them down for you....haha....just kidding.

My ADHD Me said...

I just thought of something. Regarding the numbers game. Who knows how many people you touch? After all, think about the tribute written at Sonya's post. Her dad touched many. I bet it didn't show up on his site meter. But I DO bet it is showing up now. :)

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Great post, Kelly. You're so right. But as Paul said, "Love doesn't envy." Period.

Is coveting another's comments like coveting a neighbor's wife or property?

But it's soooooo easy to fall into that trap. And a trap is just what it is! It's the enemy's way of taking our eyes off Jesus and His calling on us, and placing them where they don't belong.

Thanks for the reminder!
Love ya,

Beverlydru said...

I've been catching up on your posts and this one so obviously hit home with many. My blog is a mirror of my life, less than perfect, sometimes serious, sometimes silly. But it's me. And like life, the rewards are beyond what I can express. You are so consistent about speaking the truth in love. And we love it.

PS I may be the 40th comment but who's counting. ; )

revtrev said...

Great words for writers called by God. Love to link your blog to mine. I'm @revtrev on Twitter.

Leslie said...

I'm a little late in reading this, but I'm chuckling because you already have 41 comments on it!

Noah may have only impacted 7 other people in addition to himself at the time, but think of all the people since then that he has impacted! We may personally only touch one person, but our posts can touch many other people through that one person.

It's fun to get comments, but we really just need to do what we're called to do for God.

Love and Hugs, Leslie

Totally Desperate Mom said...

I recently got an email from someone i went to high school with.Hhe came from a great christian family. He is a single, no kids. My blog is "Tales from the Motherhood." The main audience is not exactly the single guy. And it's not usually very spiritual. This is what he wrote...
" I find your posts a blessing to me. reading them makes me feel closer to my own family and thankful to god for everything he has done for me and mine. you are truly rich with love and kids in your life. and i bet i am not the only one of your friends who is inspired to be a better family member because of it. god uses us in ways we can't see sometime and these posts have made a big difference in my life."
I was BLOWN away. I love how God is at work even when you have no idea how or where.