8 Addictive Habits of Bloggers

Steven Snell


As bloggers we face a wide variety of task each day in managing and building our blog. Productivity and efficiency is a must, especially for part-time bloggers. Standing in the way of productivity is a number of habits that tend to be extremely addictive and time-consuming for most of us. I think I have personally struggled with each of these at one point or another, and I’m sure that you can relate. Let’s take a look at each of these habits and how you can overcome the addiction.

1. Obsessing Over Subscribers

The number of subscribers to a blog is probably the most common measuring stick for determining the blogs impact, importance, or success. As a result, all of us make an attempt to gain new subscribers on a daily basis, and many times this turns into more of an obsession than a goal.

While building a large base of subscribers is important for any blog, putting too much focus on a number can do more harm than good. First of all, you can’t force anyone to subscribe, so you are not in complete control of the situation, which makes it frustrating. Second, not all subscribers are equal. Loyal and involved subscribers are much more valuable to a blog than someone who subscribes but never actually reads. It’s impossible to look at a subscriber count and know what type of involvement the audience has. Sometimes an unhealthy obsession with subscriber counts will lead you to make decisions that will harm your blog in the long run.

How to kick the habit

Rather than focusing so much on your subscriber count, focus on building active readers and developing relationships with them. While it’s fine to have goals for reaching a specific number of subscribers, don’t let that determine your success or failure. There’s much more to blogging than just the number of subscribers. If you need to, develop some other goals that will take some of the emphasis away from your subscriber count.

2. Checking Stats Constantly

Just like subscriber counts can be addictive, so can traffic stats. Useful tools like Google Analytics can become a nightmare if you spend too much time looking at your referral stats, search engine traffic, and most popular pages. While I do feel that analysis is a necessary part of blogging, it’s also easy to go overboard. Do you really need to check your stats every couple of hours? Checking constantly isn’t going to change the results.

How to kick the habit

Set a specific time each day or each week to check stats and don’t do it any other time. Give yourself a few minutes at a time and that should be sufficient. You may also want to allot a little bit more time once a month to do more in-depth analysis.

3. Chasing Social Media Traffic

Social media presents an incredible opportunity for bloggers, but it also becomes a huge distraction for many. Especially Digg. I do believe that targeting social media users with your content is a great way to bring new visitors to your blog, but chasing social media traffic with each post is overkill. I’ve seen many bloggers that constantly use Digg buttons on their posts with very poor results.

How to kick the habit

Only submit your best work to social media. Don’t try to push everything you publish, because it simply won’t work that way. You’ll have much better success if you only promote your best work, rather than trying too hard to make a square peg fit into a round hole.

4. Excessive Use of Social Media

While going after traffic from social media can be a big distraction, surfing around social media sites looking at popular content can also be a big time waster. I’m an active user of social media, so I’m not suggesting that you should never visit these sites, but avoid spending hours each day looking at sites just for fun. I think StumbleUpon is especially addictive for many bloggers.

How to kick the habit.

Set aside a specific amount of time for visiting social media. By limiting yourself you will still be able to find the valuable content that is available, but you will refrain from reading too much about things that really don’t pertain to you.

5. RSS Feeds

How many feeds do you have in your RSS reader? How many do you actually read? Most of us spend a lot of time each day just wading through feeds that we don’t have much interest in. Subscribing to other feeds in your niche is a good habit, but within reason. Most of us don’t have a few hours each day to read through the feeds that we subscribe to.

How to kick the habit

I like to go through my subscriptions every couple of months and get rid of anything that I haven’t read in a while. If the odds of you reading a feed are unlikely, don’t let it waste your time everyday, just get rid of it.

6. Forums

Web forums are a great place to network and help others, but if you’re not careful you can spend way more time there than you intended. Some forums really become addictive when you get an email notification anytime someone replies to your post in the thread.

How to kick the habit

Like many of the other items already discussed, forum use should be limited to a specific amount of time. Additionally, only opt to get email notifications on threads that are important where you really don’t want to miss a response, and unsubscribe once you’ve received the response that you need.

7. Rankings

PageRank, Alexa rank, Technorati rank. All of these are helpful for knowing where you stand and motivating yourself for continued growth (plus for selling ads), but don’t put more weight in them than they deserve. Rankings can never tell you whether or not a blog is successful, so don’t obsess over your rankings to the point that it hurts your productivity

How to kick the habit

I think one of the most important things you can do here is to simply recognize that these rankings are meaningless unless you allow them to be significant. Once you see that they really don’t make or break your blog, chances are you’ll stop worrying about them. Focus on creating the best blog that you can and the rankings will take care of themselves.

8. Email/IM

Communicating with other bloggers is an important part of networking, but for many of us the amount of time we spend on these activities keeps growing and growing out of control.

How to kick the habit

Organization is really important to reducing the time spent on email. If you get the same questions over and over again, you can either develop templates to answer these questions (then cut and paste into your email) or set up a detailed FAQ page. Using folders effectively will also help you to manage your inbox more efficiently. Probably the most important thing you can do is limit the amount of times each day that you check your email. Learn to work with it closed rather than open. Also, don’t feel like you have to respond to every single email you receive. You may want to consider putting a brief statement on your contact form that you get more email than you are able to respond to. Darren Rowse recently wrote an excellent post about some improvements that he made in this area.

Your Turn:

What are your blogging addictions? How do you overcome them?

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49 Responses to “8 Addictive Habits of Bloggers”

  • SEO Genius

    I am almost guilty of all of them!

    I tend to check for comments quite a lot 😛

  • Craciun Dan

    A good post, like most of the others I read on this blog since I’ve discovered it. This one particularly caught my attention due to the fact that most of the habits here are also available to me. Well, probably all the newbies have the same ‘addictions’. The other two left out but pointed out in several comments would be regularly checking both the blog’s comments and AdSense account.

  • Ashley Ladd

    I obsess over comments and traffic. I still have to learn how to do the Digg and RSS feeds. Obviously I’m a blogging newbie. That’s one reason I’m here, to learn more.

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