Believe it or not, but I was a 100% sure that I’ll reach this milestone till the end of my 2nd month. Getting 3k visits on my very first month of blogging was not that hard and I had a strong belief that 6k is totally achievable.
What really bothers me is my next milestone of 12k visits on my third month, but that’s not the topic of today’s post. So let’s see where I took my 6k visits from:
On my second month of blogging I’ve published 11 posts in total and 4 of them were contributed by guest posters. Actually I have to admit that without those 4 contributions I’d definitely fail to reach 6k visits, so I want to say huge thanks to all the guys who suggested their guest posts!
Takeaway: guest contributors are really important for your blog growth. In fact, such A-list blogs as Problogger and Copyblogger almost fully rely on guest bloggers.
Speaking about the quality of my traffic… From the screenshot above you can already tell it was lame: 1.5 “Pages/Visit”, 2 minutes “Time On Site” and 78% “Bounce Rate” – those are not the metrics of a good traffic that sticks and converts. And my FeedBurner graph is just another proof to this:
I’ve started with 39 subscribers that I got on my first month and then I got only 43 more on my second one (with a peak at 90). That is really lame, especially considering the fact that I had 2 times more visits this month.
Takeaway: more traffic isn’t always better. You won’t grow your blog if your traffic doesn’t stick. So either focus on a traffic of a better quality or learn to convert the one that you get.
Surprisingly even for me, my hottest post this month was the one I’ve published back in August: “29 Brilliant Posts You Have to Read Before I Call You an Internet Marketer” with the second most closest “Satan’s Guide to Blog Comments“.
I’ve decided to take a closer look at my #1 post and it seems that it’s regularly bringing me from 20 and up to 80 daily pageviews mostly coming from social networks:
Takeaway: spending numerous hours on quality content will really give back. If you want long-term results – you’ve got to invest more time.
Another thing that impressed me is that my own post “Freddy Krueger’s Guide To Blog Redesign” that’s 2.1k words long and full of cool images got me less pageviews than a guestpost “8 Things You Do on Twitter That People Hate You For” that’s only 630 words. In fact, the “Twitter guest post” was published 10 days before the “Krueger post” and thus it had an advantage, but when I’ve compared their performance in a week from publishing, the “Twitter guest post” was still about 50 pageviews ahead.
Takeaway: it’s not always about the amount of effort you put into a post, but sometimes the actual idea behind it (or maybe a catchy healdine) can work pretty well.
The most interesting part of my report! Actually I was quite intrigued myself to see where did all this traffic come from:
Let me break that down for you:
- Direct – as far as I know, this is when people are typing your website address directly in the address bar of their web browser and land on your website. The amount of direct traffic I got is quite surprising actually and thus I think there’s either something wrong with the definition, or some source of traffic is being calculated as “direct”. (Maybe StumbleUpon?)
- t.co; hootsuite.com; twitter.com; facebook.com; linkedin.com – that’s my traffic from 3 major social networks: Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn. (I still didn’t have enough time to write a detailed guide on how I promote my posts to get all that traffic from social networks… I promise I’ll do it really soon!)
- stumbleupon.com – you know what this is, right?
- news.ycombinator.com; blogengage.com; webdesign-ne.ws; design-news.com; designbump.com – those are the places where I submit my best articles. (again, I’ve promised to share the full list with you in my future “blog post promotion guide” and I should finish it real soon.)
- leprosorium.ru – russian VIP community where my “Steve Jobs Artworks Collection” got submitted. ( thanks, Serge :) )
- avajae.blogspot.com; dragonblogger.com – mentions of my blog on the blogs of my new friends :)
- adv.blogupp.com – this “banner thing” in my sidebar; kinda traffic exchange system or something like that.
Takeaway: in the early days the only proven way to get high traffic is a wise strategy of promoting your posts on social networks and “news aggregators”. (unless of course you’re able to guestpost on blogs with more than 50k subscribers – those will bring you far more traffic for sure)
But let’s take a closer look at my Direct traffic:
It was quite stable till I published “3 Reasons You’re Scared To Link To Fellow Bloggers” and then it peaked. My only guess it that bloggers started to send this post to each other via instant messengers and that is how I got a peak of Direct traffic.
Speaking about my Organic traffic from Google – it was so lame that I won’t even post a screenshot here: 5 to 10 daily visits on average.
Takeaway: do not ever rely on search engines in your first months of blogging.
At the end of my report I have a confession to make: I actually PAID for a tiny bit of my traffic. But this is all legal and I think lots of bloggers do it all the time. What I’ve paid for is called StumbleUpon Paid Discovery:
full size here
As you can see I’ve only spent $30 and all I got was 600 paid visits and 70 free ones. This way my cost per visit is 4.48¢. Actually I was hoping that my posts will go viral and bring me a lot more free visits… but somehow they didn’t. However I will continue my experiments with StumbleUpon Paid Discovery and will try to throw in some more money into it to see if it helps a post to go viral. As you can see, I already have my “Steve Jobs post” scheduled.
One last thing. I’ve recently met a great guy, who is actually responsible for my success with reaching 6k visits milestone this month. His name is Jacques van Heerden and he’s the guy behind Creativeoverflow, An1ken and a number of other online projects. Why do I mention him? Well if you’ve seen my graphs, you may have noticed that there’s quite a nice spike at the end of the month. 3 days before the end of the month I was lacking a thousand visits to reach my goal, and then Jacques twitted my “Steve Jobs post”…
Those are just some of the retweets he got and eventually it helped me a lot to get a thousand visits in my last three days. Jacques, thank you, mate! :)
Takeaway: relationships with other bloggers are not just “important” but they are really “CRUCIAL”. In fact I could’ve failed in reaching my goal without a tweet from Jacques.
Hope you’ve enjoyed my report and learned something from it. Here’s the full list of my takeaways from this post:
Takeaway #1: guest contributors are really important for your blog growth. In fact, such A-list blogs as Problogger and Copyblogger almost fully rely on guest bloggers.
Takeaway #2: more traffic isn’t always better. You won’t grow your blog if your traffic doesn’t stick. So either focus on a traffic of a better quality or learn to convert the one that you get.
Takeaway #3: spending numerous hours on quality content will really give back. If you want long-term results – you’ve got to invest more time.
Takeaway #4: it’s not always about the amount of effort you put into a post, but sometimes the actual idea behind it (or maybe a catchy healdine) can work pretty well.
Takeaway #5: in the early days the only proven way to get high traffic is a wise strategy of promoting your posts on social networks and “news aggregators”. (unless of course you’re able to guestpost on blogs with more than 50k subscribers – those will bring you far more traffic for sure)
Takeaway #6: do not ever rely on search engines in your first months of blogging.
Takeaway #7: relationships with other bloggers are not just “important” but they are really “CRUCIAL”. In fact I could’ve failed in reaching my goal without a tweet from Jacques.
So yeah… this month was a success, but will I reach my next goal of 12k visits on my 3rd month? I guess the only way to find out is to subscribe to BloggerJET! :)