It’s been one month already since I launched Think Traffic, and I want to introduce an ongoing series of monthly reports here today.
Part of my plan for this site has always been to use its own growth and the techniques I use for growing it as a case study. What good is a blog about traffic if I don’t share all of the nitty-gritty details about how Think Traffic is growing?
So, I’m going to be completely transparent about Think Traffic’s traffic and publish a detailed report every month. The monthly report idea has been inspired by Glen and Pat who are both doing a fantastic job growing an audience and giving you an insider’s view of exactly how they do it.
Since Think Traffic launched on March 16th, I’ll be giving you a report each month from the 16th to the 15th. This month’s report covers the period from March 16th to April 15th.
My Goals for Think Traffic
I haven’t yet set any specific traffic goals for Think Traffic. I primarily want to help you build high-traffic websites and blogs, and connect with some great people. Since this blog is all about building traffic, I will of course be working to build its traffic each month, but I’m not going to set any hard targets just yet.
Speaking of traffic targets, I should say a few things about measuring traffic. If you’re focused on building traffic to your site, you should beware of directly comparing numbers like visitors per month or subscribers. This is because when it comes to building traffic, quality of visitors matters much more than quantity.
For example, I wrote about how out of 127,000 visitors from StumbleUpon, only 116 became subscribers to my other blog. On the other hand, a guest post from a big relevant site like Zen Habits which sent around 3,000 visitors increased my subscriber count by nearly 400.
Then there’s the issue of comparing traffic across niches. If you’re relying on Alexa or Compete stats, there can be wild differences in how accurate they are, depending on the topic a site is about.
For instance, Think Traffic already has a higher monthly Alexa ranking than my other blog, even though that site received about three times more visitors last month. If you’re comparing sites that are both about similar topics, Alexa should be more useful. Sites that are on topics related to marketing or tech will have higher rankings because visitors to those sites are more likely to have the Alexa toolbar installed.
Finally, don’t beat yourself up when comparing how your site is doing to how another site is doing, especially if they aren’t on similar topics. Depending on the niche or topic you chose, you may have much different ability to build traffic than other blogs or sites. In some topics it will just be easier to find new visitors and keep them coming back.
OK, Just Give Us The Results Already!
As I mentioned in my post How to Launch With a Bang, I’ve been happy with the growth of Think Traffic in its first month. The site has attracted far more visitors and subscribers than my other blog did, although this should be expected because I was able to leverage some of my existing audience.
- New Subscribers: 370 (29% email subscribers)
- Comments (including my replies): 262
- Post Retweets: 334
12 posts published here this month (including 3 guest posts):
- Welcome to Think Traffic!
- 17 Traffic Building Tips from Some of the World’s Most Popular Bloggers
- How to Use Interns to Build Traffic: Secret Tips from a Top Travel Blogger (guest post by Matt Kepnes)
- 10 Reasons Your Site Isn’t Getting Enough Traffic (and How To Fix Each)
- How StumbleUpon Sent Me Over 127,000 Visitors to a Single Post (And Why It Isn’t as Great as It Sounds)
- The 5 Most Effective Things I’ve Done To Increase Traffic In The Past 6 Months (guest post by Robb Sutton)
- How To Launch With A Bang (Inside the Launch of Think Traffic)
- Think Traffic Made the BIGLIST! Welcome Top Rank Readers
- Guest Blogging: 10 Reasons Why Your Submission Was Rejected
- 101 Essential Traffic-Building Resources
- Should You Respond to Every Blog Comment? (guest post by Matt Cheuvront)
- Are You Coming Through in Mono or Stereo?
Top Traffic Sources
Note that after direct traffic, StumbleUpon was the biggest source of traffic, but consistent with my previous article about StumbleUpon, that traffic also stuck around for the least amount of time of any traffic source.
Twitter has been an especially strong source of traffic this month, accounting for nearly 10% of all traffic (maybe more – I think the owl.ly and hootsuite referrals are also really from Twitter). Note that I’ve worked for the past year to establish myself on Twitter, so you might not get the same results if you’re just starting out.
Guest Posts I Wrote For Other Blogs:
- Hey Gen Y, Please Don’t Take the Easy Way Out (Life Without Pants)
- 5 Surefire Ways to Get Freelancing Clients When You’re Just Starting Out (Men With Pens)
Other Promotional Efforts and Notables:
- I started interacting in forums / social media at Problogger.com (subscription required), Sphinn, BlogEngage and Third Tribe Marketing (subscription required). Problogger and BlogEngage have sent especially high-quality traffic so far.
- Think Traffic was included in Top Rank’s BIGLIST of best online marketing blogs on the net. Read my post about the honor.
- I submitted Think Traffic’s design to The CSS Gallery List, which submits your site to hundreds of CSS design galleries for $20. If you have a nice looking design, this can be a great way to get traffic and links from some well-established sites. Think Traffic was featured in at least 10 design galleries through this submission.
- Pat Flynn included us in a list of 10 Killer Reads From Around the Web, and 372 visitors stopped by here on Pat’s recommendation. That shows you how much traffic a popular site like the Smart Passive Income blog can drive to relevant links.
- You might also notice that the blog Man Vs. Debt set a number of readers this month. That comes from a footer link Adam Baker added to his site after I did some design work for him a few months ago.
Top Search Terms:
- think traffic: 46
- thinktraffic: 16
- linkdomain:thinktraffic.net -site:thinktraffic.net: 14
- 101 site traffic: 7
- high traffic website: 5
- where does your traffic come from: 4
- how to launch my website for proper traffic in initial stage: 2
- post to stumbleupon: 2
- thinktraffic.net: 2
- *thinktraffic: 1
Search traffic hasn’t been a focus for Think Traffic yet, but it will become important over time. We’ll keep an eye on things from month-to-month until later.
You all should take some time each month to examine which content on your site has generated the most interest. It’s useful to know what’s doing well and what isn’t, by measuring total visitors, comments, tweets, and time on page. You can also measure more goals like subscription rates by using more advanced features of Google Analytics.
For Think Traffic, the most popular post overall was the 17 Traffic Tips from top bloggers post I ran on launch day. That post did well because it was tweeted 120 times, and because many of the bloggers included in the article helped to spread the word.
You can see that “list” type posts have done very well overall, as the top 4 posts this month are all used a list format. List posts are highly digestible, shareable, and give the reader a sense of accomplishment in reading them. The danger in writing too many list posts is that you can do well in social media, but have a hard time converting those members to subscribers because the posts lack depth. I will try to vary the content formats next month and include other “deeper” posts as well.
Goals for This Month
OK, I know I said I didn’t have any goals for this site earlier. That isn’t completely true. I do plan to set some monthly goals, but they aren’t based on results.
Instead, I plan to set goals for the actions I can take that will help build traffic. I can’t specifically control the results (# of subscribers, visitors, etc.), but I can control the things I do that I know contribute to growing traffic (writing quality content, guest posting, interacting on forums, etc.).
If you’re seriously trying to build traffic to your site, I would suggest you do the same. Invest in the process of building traffic, not the results. Worry about the things you can control. If you pay too much attention to the results (checking stats every day for instance), you’ll just discourage yourself unnecessarily due to the day-to-day fluctuations, and you’ll waste time that you could be using to connect with people and create valuable content.
That being said, here is what I want to accomplish this month:
- Publish 2-3 high-quality posts each week that provide excellent value to you.
- Write two special post types I have planned (stay tuned to see what I’m referring to).
- Have two guest posts published at other blogs.
- Answer nearly every comment left here at Think Traffic.
- Run two high-quality guest posts at Think Traffic from up-and-coming bloggers.
- Read fewer blog posts, but comment on far more of what I read.
- Spend more time interacting with people in the forums I mentioned above.
Questions? Ask Me Anything
My biggest goal for this site is to help you build traffic to your own sites. Hopefully using this site as a case study will help accomplish that. To that end, if you have any questions about what I’ve written or done so far, feel free to ask anything. I’m more than happy to answer in the comments.
Remember as always: if you want to build a popular site, you have to create great content and connect with real people. Ruthlessly focus your efforts on those things that work, and stop spending precious time on things that don’t.