Last week I pulled the plug on my site to prove a point.
Ok, I didn’t REALLY pull the plug.
I’m reading Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. In the book they refer to a set of doctors who were trying to prove their credibility. The doctors were trying to prove that ulcers were caused by bacteria. One of the doctors drank a vile of bacteria, to demonstrate ulcers could be cured by antibiotics. This past week, I stopped posting to watch my stats drop like a rock.
In the example graph above, you can see the chart taper off. This is when I stopped posting. This is where you see my stats drop. This is where I start losing visitors interest in my site.
This is an obvious cause and effect test. I stop posting, I start losing traffic – no real secret here. But there are two points that I noticed, which really weren’t the case a little over a year ago.
The Social Effect
Traffic to my site didn’t fall off the grid. Google analytics tells me I lost 37% of my visits compared to the week before. However, I’m still at a 28% increase for the month compared to the last. That thirty-seven may seem like a lot – and it is – but the main drop is in traffic coming from twitter and stumbleupon. A lot of the spikes in my traffic are attributed to broadcasting my posts out into social media. I was still getting a steady flow of traffic organically, directly, and from referring sites/projects I’m associated with.
The Commenting Effect
Notice that slight blip on the radar near the end of the graph? I had commented on a popular blog that day.
So what, you say?
Well, it shows a fairly interesting metric. Just how important it is to get out there and comment on other blogs, forums and sites that interest you. This week I attended one of Chris Brogan’s first webinars to an open audience. He was doing a recap of blogging for small business and it was quite entertaining. Someone raised a question in the Q&A session if it was OK to post a link back to your blog in comments. Chris tends to feel it’s on the spammy side of internet eticcate. I tend to agree, but I certainly have posted links back to my sites when I’m passionate about a topic that I may have already wrote about.
So I didn’t unearth anything mysterious here. I didn’t post anything for a week and I lost visits. What I found interesting was the traffic I lost mostly came from not posting to social media. Organics and linked referring sites still maintained traffic.
It was also proof that increased traffic does not mean just posting to your blog. If you want more uniques – get involved more in social media, comment on sites that are relative to your content and guest blog on other sites.
What else have you found useful to increase traffic to your site?