How You Can Rock the House With Your Traffic
I had a very interesting experience yesterday. I was checking out my usual
blogs and I ran across a stats update from
Caroline Middlebrook. She was kind enough to post her statistics
for the month of December. I read her post and felt some emotion. The first
emotion I felt was jealousy. She has only been blogging for 4 months and she is
pulling down some absolutely huge traffic numbers.
Secondly, I felt the adrendaline rush I always feel when my competitive juices
begin to flow. I want to do better. I want greater traffic. So, I thought it
would be important to compare her numbers to mine. Then I can improve my
numbers. The interesting thing about the web is you can repeat many things
others are doing and you can be successful.
Evaluating Google Analytics Reports
The first thing I want to look at are her Google Analytics traffic. She is
showing 15,838 visitors. Interestingly, I am not far behind in this category as
my stats show 14,636 unique visits in December. The December numbers are
historically lower on my website because of the topical nature of my website's
categories. They normally lean more toward spring and summer. These numbers
would be significantly lower were it not for the addition of Entrecard toward
the middle of December to my website.
Caroline's traffic was generally under 1,000 visitors each day, with a spike of
close to 2,000. That is very impressive in my opinion. I would have to guess
that the spikes have to do with articles she has written that struck a nerve
with her huge subscriber base. The Google dashboard shows my greatest number of
visitors topped out below 700 for any one day.
Ken's Traffic Visitors
As you can see toward the end of the month my traffic began to increase due to
greater concentration from me of social networking. And the holidays were over.
76% of My Traffic is From Search Engines
An interesting stat is the traffic sources overview report from Google
Analytics. My traffic is on the left and her traffic is on the right. You can
see that I bring in 76% of my traffic through the search engines. Where
Caroline shows 78% of her traffic is coming from referrals. We will talk about
which traffic is better in a few moments. My referral traffic is miniscule
compared to Carolines. My referring sites now represent 17% of my traffic. I
know that the number for referrals has risen in December because I have
actively been commenting on other blogs, dropping Entrecards and consistently
writing in forums.
Ken's Traffic Sources
Caroline's Traffic Sources
The direct traffic report shows my numbers are less than half of the 2,927
visits that were recorded by Caroline. This is the traffic that comes from rss
subscriber feeds and people bookmarking your site. I think that number is huge,
because in my opinion those are your community numbers. That is your Rock Star
following. Those are the people that will follow you when you are up and
continue to come back when you are down.
Monetize Your Website
Which traffic is better to be receiving, high referral numbers or high search
engine numbers? Well first it is better to receive any kind of traffic than no
traffic at all. But, if you are trying to monetize your website then it is
important to be receiving high referral traffic. When I started with my website
I focused exclusively on getting traffic from the search engines. It is obvious
I have been very successful with this goal. But, I don't really get a lot of
repeat traffic. Most of my nearly half a million page views from 2007 were
people looking for an answer to a very specific question. It might have been a
question about C# programming, weightlifting or some landscape details. They
stop, get their question answered and then they are back surfing the web for
other answers. They haven't been encouraged enough to become part of the
In 2008, I am going to concentrate on building the community traffic that
Caroline has. I am going to work on getting repeat traffic and getting other
successful bloggers to send traffic to me. One of the things I will not be
doing is just exchanging links. It is my opinion today that exchanging links
really don't work. But, building community and mentioning other websites in
your posts each day does work. It sends traffic to the other websites and gets
Commenting on Other Websites
Caroline has posted many times on getting traffic by commenting on other
websites. People read the comments and many well written comments will begin to
get you traffic. Read my article,
Drive by Commenting, to find the type of comments that won't
give you the community traffic I am talking about here. Adding comments to your
website will help with your community. I have comments installed on my website,
but I think there is something wrong with it. I have had a couple of people
mention that there is a problem, but they have never followed up with what kind
of problems they are experiencing. So, if you try to comment here and run into
a problem please send me an email and tell me what happened so I can fix it.
Later on Caroline talks about where her referral traffic comes from. It is
amazing to me all of the social networking sites that are sending her traffic.
When Caroline first became involved with her blogging site she quit her job and
worked full time on her website. She spent a lot of time going to social
networking sites, commenting, asking questions, following up with personal
emails and generally befriending many people throughout the internet. So, the
traffic she receives today is a result of the work she did in September,
October and November to build community.
Ken's Top 5 Traffic Sources
If you compare my traffic sources you can see that my second highest traffic
source is from direct traffic (rss subscribers?) with the traffic from
Entrecard close behind. The Entrecard traffic is really cool as I have only
been involved with Entrecard for a couple of weeks and it is already my number
5 source of traffic. Another interesting phoenomenon with Entrecard is I am
getting referral traffic from some of the other sites that I have interacted
with using the Entrecard system. As you are dropping cards you tend to read
some of the articles and it just makes sense you have to comment on some of
them. So, commenting is very important in driving traffic to your website. It
is up to you to make it interesting once they get there.
Entrecard and StumbleUpon
Besides Entrecard, the only other major source of traffic is coming from
StumbleUpon. They have sent me 115 visitors who each spend nearly a minute on
my site on average. I received my first stumbler only in the last two weeks,
which means this will soon be a wonderful source of traffic. If you are a
stumbler feel free to vote on my articles. The Entrecard card droppers are
visiting nearly 1.26 pages each visit and are spending close to 40 seconds on
my site each visit. These aren't just card droppers. These people are serious
The final numbers I want to comment on are the advertising prices. You can
currently get a 125 X 125 banner ad on my website for $3 for 30 days. That same
banner ad on Caroline's site is $50 per month. She has definitely done a better
job in monetizing her site. Either I have sold my space too low or she has done
a much better job in selling her space within the internet community. It is
obvious we have similar traffic counts, so this is an area where I need to work
on making people comfortable advertising with me. I also see a need for me to
widen my right nav bar or remove my left nav bar to get more advertising to pop
"above the fold."
Are You Monetizing Your Pages?
That's the tale of two blogs. Hopefully you will be able to extract some
goodies out of it all to benefit your website. Are you getting enough traffic?
Are you looking to improve your traffic numbers? Are you monetizing your pages
as well as you should? I think this article answers those questions and will
help you if you take the time to think through these issues. I wish you the
best in 2008.