Understanding the traffic on your blog – Conclusions
Using an actual blog as a case study, we looked at the quantity of the traffic in Part 1 of this series. In Part 2, we zoomed in on the quality of the traffic.
In this post, we will summarize our conclusions and practical tips.
The bottom line
A blog, just like any website, has two main types of visitors:
- The new visitors
- The returning visitors
New visitors stumble upon your blog by coincidence. They are first time visitors, mostly as a freebie from social bookmarking sites and search engines.
These are the people browsing in a bookstore. They took out one of your books, look at the front and the back, and flip through some pages. If they are not interested, they will put your book back onto the shelf.
Returning visitors, shown as “direct traffic” in our case study, on the other hand, are your core audience. This is your gold, your market value. These are the people really interested in your blog, who come back to check for updates. Analysis shows they stay the longest, and read the most posts.
In the book story, those will buy your book and read it. If they are happy, they will go the store and buy your other books. And check regularly when you published your new best seller.
The art of writing a serious blog, is your ability to create this network, this virtual social community of loyal readers. The best way to do this, is to take this mass of ‘new visitors’, who just are ‘browsing around’ the Internet and stumble upon your blog by coincidence, and turn them into returning visitors.
About search engines and social bookmarking sites
As the statistics show: the majority of blog traffic (77% in our case study) are new visitors coming in from search engines and social bookmarking sites.
In just a few seconds, they will make up their mind, if they will put your blog ‘back on the book shelf’, or if they will flip through it. Within a few seconds, you will need to get them interested enough to browse through your posts, as if they were flipping through the pages of a book. And hook them. Get them to actually read further.
If you did not get them in 20 seconds (visitors from social bookmarking sites) or 56 seconds (visitors from search engines), they will be gone.
How you do that? Easy:
- Write good quality and original content
- Write even better content
- Keep on working at improving your content
- Ensure your blog loads fast, and has a good basic layout
- Make sure people can navigate easily, can browse through your posts and search them
- Implement basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to increase the quality of traffic coming in from search engines.
While rather limited in traffic quantity, the incoming traffic generated by discussion forums, is of high quality: If you select your discussion forums well, and contribute to good threads, interject links back to individual blogposts, these visitors will typically stay long, and read more then just the backlinked post.
Discussion forums are an underestimated source of traffic, so spend sufficient time on forums.
Backlinks from other blogs and individual websites…
… are not high in quantity, but high in quality. When a blog or a site links back to you, it is a vote of confidence for your blog. The referring site’s credibility will roll off onto you. And as an other website will only refer to you on topics they tackle, backlink traffic is a major candidate to be turned into loyal traffic on your blog.
Stimulate backlinks with a liberal copyright scheme, and maintain regular contact with those blogs linking back to you. A social community amongst bloggers is a strong source of feedback, support and… traffic.
While in our case study, we were only active on Twitter and Facebook since six months, updating our social community on these social media with the newest blogposts, the traffic generated totalled already 1% (over a period of 30 months traffic on our blog).
The quality of the traffic is very high, though. So a social media are a definite MUST for a serious blogger.
And blog catalogs?
Unless if you find a blog catalog or blog directory specializing in the topics you write about, general blog catalogs don’t generate a lot of traffic, nor is the quality very high.
In general blog catalogs are only used to get a newly created blog some backlinks, and to get some initial traffic.
Picture courtesy BestPicEver