Lets look at some concrete ways to get more traffic to your blog. For this post, we’ll use my blog as an example.
What we’ll measure and analyze:
- Top traffic sources to my blog
- Spikes when I post content
- Tips to increase blog traffic
That which gets measured, gets improved
Make it a habit to consistently analyze your blog traffic via Google Analytics to find ways to improve. Lets take a look at my blog and analyze what works best for me.
Top traffic sources to my blog
Here is a breakdown of the top traffic sources to my blog from July 21, 2012 – August 20, 2012:
Source: Percentage of visits
- Google/organic: 49.93%
- Direct traffic (type in my URL in the browser): 16.73%
- Facebook: 11.87%
- Stumbleupon: 5.33%
- Y Combinator (news): 2.12%
- Yahoo: 1.81%
- Twitter: 1.63%
- Mobile Facebook: 1.40%
- Bing: 0.95%
- Google/referral: 0.84%
From the above, I can clearly see that Google drives almost 50% of the traffic to my website. But I’d like to take this a step further and analyze which traffic source brings me the most targeted and relevant people. To figure this out, I like to use the average time on site metric.
Source: Average time on site
- Facebook: 03:52
- Y Combinator (news): 03:18
- Google/organic: 02:11
- Direct traffic (type in my URL in the browser): 02:06
- Mobile Facebook: 02:03
- Google/referral: 01:44
- Stumbleupon: 01:07
- Twitter: 01:34
- Bing: 00:55
- Yahoo: 00:46
Our quick analysis shows that Facebook is my top source for targeted traffic, while Y Combinator is in a close second. Y Combinator is actually only 2.12% of my traffic; what would happen if I focus heavily on promoting my content on Y Combinator News?
Lets make a comparison with my traffic exactly one year ago from July 21, 2012 – August 20, 2012
- Google/organic: 62.38%
- Direct traffic (type in my URL in the browser): 17.48%
- Stumbleupon: 6.69%
- Yahoo: 1.81%
- Facebook: 01.00%
- Bing: 0.97%
- managementconsulted.com: 0.87%
- Google/referral: 0.76%
- theyec.org: 0.67%
- search/organic: 0.51%
It’s clear that my content ranks well on search engines; however, my social traffic, traffic from Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels, is very low in comparison. I can continue doing what I’m doing to rank well on search engines, but to increase social traffic, I’ll need to change my approach.
Over the course of a year, my Facebook traffic went from 1% of my total traffic to almost 12% of my total traffic – a pretty big jump. The change is due to the face that I now make a concerted effort to post each new blog post on my Facebook profile. However, my Twitter traffic is still virtually non-existent. This is due to the fact that I’m virtually non-existent on Twitter 😛
We’ll analyze ways to increase social traffic in the Tips to Increase Blog Traffic section of this post.
Spikes when I post content
I previously only posted 1 blog post per week. Each new blog post gives me the following spikes in traffic:
Below are my site-wide averages for traffic
- Day before blog post: 321 visits
- Day of blog post: 487 visits
- Day after blog post: 329 visits
On average, I receive a 50% increase in traffic when I write a new blog post, which is pretty significant.
If I change my posting schedule from 1 post/week to 3 posts/week, how will that affect my traffic? Will I continue to receive a significant 50% boost in traffic with every blog post?
How will my traffic be affected week to week with a 3 posts/week schedule compared to a 1 post/week schedule?
To answer the above questions, I’m switching my posting schedule from 1 post/week to 3 posts/week. I’m curious to see how my traffic changes and if indeed a more consistent posting schedule results in greater overall traffic from week to week.
Tips for how to get more traffic to your blog
It’s clear that Google is the main traffic driver for my blog. I’ll continue to utilize the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress to optimize my content. Furthermore, an increase in my posting schedule will only help me rank better on search results. Here are some additional steps that I’ll take in the coming months to increase my blog traffic.
A focus on social
I’m pretty consistent on Facebook, though I only have a Facebook Profile but no Facebook Page. I’m considering starting a Facebook Page, but if I can’t be consistent on Twitter, then I doubt I can be consistent on a Facebook Page.
Which leads me to Twitter. I believe Twitter is my biggest opportunity. There was a time a couple of years ago when I was very consistent on Twitter and it drove a significant amount of traffic to my website. Looks like I’m going to be more active on Twitter and participate in relevant startup conversations.
I am a consistent contributor to Personal Branding Blog and the YEC. I’m going to leverage my success on these channels to contribute consistent content to other noteworthy channels. At the moment, I’m working on content to submit to my contact at the Huffington Post. If I can become a regular contributor on the Huffington Post, then I’ll instantly get visibility to a market I’ve never tapped before and be able to leverage that success to get on other online publications.
I have an email newsletter list, but I haven’t actively used it in a while. I blame my focus on my lifestyle businesses, but I should make an effort to communicate with my subscribers at least once per month. Actually, that’s a great goal – communicate with my email newsletter list at least once per month. The goal is to build the type of vibrant community that Baker built at Man vs Debt or Sam built at Financial Samurai.
So, these are concrete goals that I’ve set for myself. If you’re a blogger, analyze your traffic and set realistic goals that you can reach every month. I’ll report back soon with an update on how these next steps have affected my traffic.