Is it More Important to Be Popular or Taken Seriously?

I’ve operated this site now for 27 months and despite times of lengthy posting droughts, like earlier this year, or times of daily updates, I’ve managed to produce 225 entries. I think with this experience behind me, I can start to develop trends on what works or doesn’t work when it comes to people reading my articles.

From a statistical point of view, the entries from the first few months are both at an advantage and a disadvantage. They have lived on this site the longest, and have been searchable through Google for the most amount of time and the SEO clock has been ticking the longest. However, when they were posted, there were far less regular followers, which still makes up the core of views. This site gets a decent amount of hits based on what I’ve read for traffic numbers of many bloggers. The place that you don’t see great numbers is often in follows, likes and comments. Without having done any real surveys, I believe this is simply because the website has the words “porn” and “addict” in the title. I think a lot of people would be hesitant to publicly follow a site called “Child Molesters are Bad” despite the fact that we can all agree with that sentiment.

I further believe this phenomenon to be proven when you look at what the most popular postings in two metrics. First, there are the ones that are the popular articles based on “likes”. If you want to see a list of these, just head to the homepage and you’ll find them on the right side of the screen. You should actually do that to understand the rest of this article better.

The other metric to view to determine the most popular articles is based on “hits” which isn’t a public display option on WordPress, yet is the actual number of times an article has been read.

By number of hits, these are the top 10 entries in the history of this site:

  1. The Bond Between Sex Addicts and Those With Eating Disorders
  2. Spotting the Signs of Pornography Addiction
  3. The Day I Went to Jail
  4. Facing Triggers Makes You Stronger
  5. Statistics on and The Definition of Pornography
  6. Q&A: PMO and NoFap as Addiction Cures
  7. Q&A: What Does ‘Gaslighting’ mean?
  8. Practicing Empathy Has Been Huge to Recovery
  9. Mental Health Education, Not Gun Laws, Will Reduce Violence in Our Schools
  10. Q&A: Does Hiding a Porn Addiction Mean He Hid Affairs?

Of these top 10 most-viewed entries, only one, The Day I Went to Jail, makes it onto both most hits and most liked Top 10 lists.

So, considering that any entry has to be in the Top 4% of what I’ve written to make either list, which I think is a large enough sample size, what conclusions can be drawn?

First, I think people do want to read about the ins-and-outs of pornography addiction and want real information. Looking at the hits list, only the jail entry is an experiential piece and only the mental health education one is mainly opinion.

When I look at the most liked list, it’s much different. The top two liked articles both have the words “mental health” in the title and they are both experiential pieces talking about my life. In fact, 8 of the Top 10 most liked articles have the words “Me,” “My,” or “I” in the title. You can even make an argument that the other two are experiential mixed with opinion.

There are certainly other variables. Seven of the top 10 most liked articles have been written in the last three months, and liked by mostly the same people. This could suggest that I just have a following that is more apt to hit the like button at the moment.

Perhaps I’ve also consciously or subconsciously got better at writing click-bait like headlines. I look at the Top 10 most liked articles vs. those that are sitting in the 190s and there’s a big difference in the quality and excitement of headlines. Funny, sensational, cliffhanger-like headlines draw people in. It’s why the news media does it all the time. I mean, let’s be honest, when you read the headline and saw the photo for this post, did you think it was going to be about website data analysis? No, but it got you this far.

I think among those posts that are liked the most, there’s also a level of relatability. Tales of mental health issues, visiting other blogs, frustration with Facebook or loving my dogs are things that you don’t have to be a porn addict to relate with. When readers see themselves in the entries they may be more apt to like them.

I think that a similar correlation can be drawn on the most viewed articles. Clicking that you like those articles may “out” yourself as a porn addict, sex addict, someone with an eating disorder, a partner of a porn addict or somebody else you’re not ready to identify as publicly just yet.

I think another year or two of entries will help to establish whether my hypotheses are correct or if I need to rethink how people approach this website.

This is probably all “inside baseball” to those who don’t have a blog or website, but I’d love to hear from those people who have been blogging for a while. Do you find that there is a wide gulf between the entries that are most read and most liked, or is my experience an outlier?

So…one final experiment I want to try. I need you to “Like” this article. In a month, when views will slow down to a trickle (assuming it’s not one of the most “hit” articles), I can compare how many hits the article got to how many people liked it. In liking it, it shows that you are both supportive of my little experiment and read this far. The difference in # of people who “hit” this entry vs. “like” it should give the number of people who never got this far in the article.

Also, while I have you here, there’s a cool book I want to tell you about…

The banana book is winning again. Help a guy out….

14 thoughts on “Is it More Important to Be Popular or Taken Seriously?

  1. I’ve also got a significant difference. The posts with likes and comments are WordPress people. The popular posts without likes/comments are people coming in from search engines and Pinterest. The pin for one post went quasi-viral-ish, although the post itself is nothing particularly special, and it doesn’t get likes/comments. The posts that get search engine traffic tend to be on slightly more obscure topics, where there’s probably not as much competition to do well in search results. The most liked/commented posts tend to be the ones I see as my better posts, whereas the posts that draw the most search engine traffic seem pretty random.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, my guess is that almost nobody out there has written about the connection between porn addicts and people with eating disorders. Some of the top hit titles are also really basic and include phrases like “definition of pornography” that are probably very common search terms. This whole thing is a science unto itself.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I know what my most viewed post it but I have no idea what my most ‘liked’ post is. I know what post I like most, it’s the one with the big sum of 8 views I think.
    But to the point, before I started this blog I surfed the net too, looking for recipes and other stuff. When I found something very helpful or interesting I bookmarked the page but never liked or commented because I couldn’t be bothered with signing up or giving my mail adress or something like that. Even now when I find blog not on WP I don’t react because of the ‘extra’ step. Could be also a reason why people do not comment or like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There may be another way to do it, but if you go into the widgets section on the backend of your site, there’s an option to create a list showing your most liked posts. If you hit my homepage, you’ll see it on the right side. The higher the post, the more “likes” it has. I actually added a category to my blog entries called “Josh’s Favorite Entries” that people can access from my home page that has no other criteria that they were my favorites. Some did great, others not so great.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fascinating. I honestly have never paid much attention to the stats on my blog other than the occasional interest in why one particular post gets a lot of likes and others get very few. I started my blog merely as a release of thoughts and feelings, and it’s an emotional one. I think sometimes we find it counter intuitive to like something that is so, well, sad. I do notice huge numbers of likes on other blogs with fewer followers, but their content is often simply storytelling (often humorous) or inspirational. I know I ‘like’ other’s posts to show that I have read it and appreciate it. Personally, I haven’t been driven by likes and follows so much as the connection I make with bloggers. I have met a number of my followers, from here in the Pacific Northwest, to Atlanta, North Carolina, NYC, Miami, and all the way to New Zealand. Blogging has been a real positive in my life for the past 5+ years. I find the articles that talk about “successful” blogging kind of funny… like how long posts should be, or how often we should post. I follow no rules and some of my posts are ridiculously long and yet, people still read them. As far as the title of this post goes… I always believe it is more important to be taken seriously. 🙂


    1. It was really the difference in what was “popular” vs. what was actually read that surprised me the most. I’m a stats geek, and I’m a human behavior geek, so when it comes to behavioral economics, I’m in heaven. I think most behavior in people, especially groups, can be predicted using mathematical principles.

      But there are also the anomalies. For instance, I put the review of my friend’s book up on my page today and he linked it to Facebook, so a ton of people are coming over to read it. They’ll probably never look at a different page on my site and probably never be back, so from a statistics point of view, they kind of disturb the norm.

      When I was on my epic road trip this summer, as I was driving through different states, I was remembering where different people said they were from. I still haven’t met anybody from here yet, although I really like the Jim Jones/David Koresh way that you say “I have met a number of my followers.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OMG, yikes. LOL. If you have ever read the comments on my blog you know “my followers” aren’t going to drink any Kool-Aid. Most are hard-ass women who found themselves married to sex addicts. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Many don’t have blogs of their own, so they’re followers versus fellow bloggers (you can see I’m trying to rationalize my own verbiage, ha). You did make me smile though. I’m shocked by how many want to meet up. I’ve become very attached to my blogging friends. I should give you access to my blog so you can study my stats. I will never do it myself, but would find the results interesting. Perhaps I’m just lazy. Oh, and when I return home from work, your book should have arrived!


      2. I don’t feel like I have followers. I feel like I have tolerators.

        That’s cool about the book. My publisher contacted me this morning and said for a self-help medical book in a new marketspace, they are very pleased with how it is performing and I may have some news on it actually having a limited run in hardcover in the next few days.

        You should have BE read the question, and then you read the answer in my voice.

        Anytime you want me to analyze your stats (which sounds way dirtier than it should) I’m game. When I was in jail, I fell in love with behavioral economics. Predicting how people behave using rational logic makes people less scary.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m really interested to read your book. I’m pretty sure every sex addict in my husband’s 12-step group started with porn and escalated. At some point porn just wasn’t enough. For my husband that was in his mid-late 30’s, but for him the escalation included willing women. Once he realized there were women who were up for this type of thing (having sex with a married man–and it didn’t cost him a dime), he just kept going. Some of the men went from porn to massage parlors, to strip clubs, prostitution, etc… even bankrupting their families. Earlier on in my blogging so many people came on with their “assumptions” about sex addiction. That it had to be this way, or that, for a person to be a sex addict, and apparently according to these complete strangers, my husband was just a run of the mill cheater, not a sex addict. The audacity of anonymous commenters on a blog never ceases to amaze me. The media can really do a number on people. I’m glad for books like yours and hopefully it will get the coverage it deserves so people can hear the facts instead of just the sound bites, or worse, hear nothing at all.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The thing with me was when I went in chat rooms to find women, I didn’t want ones who would willingly flash or do anything like that. I wanted the type of woman who seemed like she’d never do that and then go to work on my masterclass in manipulation. Quite often, I was able to break them down over 2-3 hours with various techniques. There was no challenge in willing for me since my sickness was all about power and control.

        I don’t know if you’ve ever heard any of my podcast appearances, but I feel like I say it on every one. The world has a stereotype of a porn addict as a pimply-faced 19-year-old guy in his mom’s basement who has never kissed a girl in real life. In all my time in recovery, having now met probably 150-200 porn addicts, I’ve never met that guy.

        I’ve dipped my toe into Reddit as a tool to promote the book and there are a lot of those anonymous morons out there. There are some nice people, but they get drown out by the trolls.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Interesting. I have not listened to your podcasts… it’s not something I do much but have had a number of podcasts recommended to me. I need to remember to bring my head phones to work. There probably are a lot of pimply-faced 19 year olds watching porn (there’s a lot of everyone watching porn), but at that point is anyone even thinking addiction? Even alcoholics… is a 19 year old who regularly drinks to excess even contemplated as an alcoholic? Often, it takes a while to hit bottom, much less rock bottom. Plus, with porn/sex addiction, it’s quite easy to hide, and so accessible. It’s just so much easier for people to believe it’s some kid in a basement. Good on you for setting things straight. And yes, sex addiction is also about power and control. My husband admits that there was something quite broken in the women he chose, that’s why he chose them. They were vulnerable and easily manipulated. He wasn’t looking for a real relationship (he already had that), he was looking for a fix. And yeah, Reddit. I don’t often partake. Someone posted our new offices on Reddit to maybe a thread called Room Porn? The comments are ridiculous. People commenting about our business knowing absolutely nothing about us. Crazy. Trolls, indeed.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I really don’t listen to many. I have about four favorites and check in when I’m driving the car for a longer distance and happen to have the aux cord.

        Technically the definition of addiction is about repeated compulsive behavior that can’t/won’t be stopped despite repeated negative consequences, so yeah, kids can get addicted. There are people in their teens who get treated for video game addiction, eating disorders, drugs, sex…I met several who were 18 or 19 in both my rehabs. Getting addicted is easy. Getting healthy is different and I don’t know that they really had the brain development to do that, yet.

        Your husband is absolute right. The fact is, while I was looking for an “unbroken” woman to break on the chatroom website I used, truly unbroken women didn’t go on their at 2 in the morning to have chats, no matter how benign they thought it would remain.

        People throw the word porn around too easily these days. I see a lot of Food Porn websites, which makes me laugh since “food porn” is an actual genre of real pornography.

        Liked by 1 person

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