October’s over and November is in full swing. It’s time for another Think Traffic monthly report. If you’re new here, each month we recap the traffic/growth stats for Think Traffic and share what we’ve done and what we’ve learned.
We do this every month because we hope our transparency will help you build a bigger, stronger, more engaged audience for your own site. There’s a lot of snake oil and misinformation out there. Our goal is to always give it to you straight, warts and all.
Luckily this month there aren’t many warts to show. We shattered some records for Think Traffic, which I’ll get to below in just a minute.
Before we dive in, let’s talk about what we’ve been up to lately.
I’ve been building this little business of mine for over three and a half years now. Over the years I’ve started three major blogs (Think Traffic, Expert Enough and my former personal blog, which is now merged into this site).
My main business goal from early 2009 hasn’t changed much, but the scope of things has. When I first decided to start blogging while on sabbatical, I knew I wanted to build a “lifestyle business.”
Traditional thinking says there are two kinds of businesses out there. There are “get big fast at any cost” businesses and there are “provide for a great lifestyle” businesses. This is of course an oversimplification, but there is validity to this spectrum.
I’ve seen both sides of the equation, and having built a VC-backed company before I knew this time around I wanted to maintain more control over my personal life. I haven’t been interested in sacrificing my lifestyle purely to pursue revenue growth.
But things have changed a little recently, and I’m asking myself a lot of questions. The lifestyle part of my goals has mostly been satisfied for the past few years. We’ve lived in Mexico every winter for the past four years. We’ve traveled extensively to other parts of the world. I’m in complete control of what I do each day and which projects I decide to work on. The dream of living my ideal lifestyle has been accomplished and anything I don’t pursue now (within some financial limits) is by choice.
Now I’m wondering if this is it. I’m starting to think bigger, about fun, about challenges, about stability, about impact.
Some of this is simply the entrepreneur’s curse. I don’t think any of us are happy with routine. We became entrepreneurs because we like challenges and seeing our ideas become reality.
I don’t have any profound answers for you today. I’ve just been thinking about the bigger picture recently and wanted to share some of those thoughts. I have no regrets about what I’ve built so far at Think Traffic, but at the same time I’m re-imagining the future and what’s possible as we build out Fizzle and other projects.
Dreaming big is fun, and I think the line between lifestyle business and businesses with more impact isn’t so cut-and-dried, or at least it doesn’t have to be.
I’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below if you have some ideas or examples of what happens after the lifestyle part of this kind of business has been accomplished.
Now let’s do the numbers. This is the report for October, 2012.
October Analytics for Think Traffic
Here are the traffic stats for Think Traffic from Google Analytics for the month:
We attracted over 97,000 visits to Think Traffic in October, compared with 67,999 visits last month, or an increase of 44%. This was an all-time record for Think Traffic, and was the biggest one-month percentage increase in visits since February of 2011.
We’re really happy with the results, but the raw numbers don’t actually matter much because the source of all this traffic isn’t all that valuable.
This month was the perfect illustration of how not all traffic sources are created equal. I’ve talked about this before: traffic quality is much more important than quantity. Smart, engaged, relevant visitors will beat out fly-by-night social media visitors anytime.
In this case, most of the extra traffic for October really came from one source: StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon (SU) is a service that lets web browsers “channel surf” to new and interesting sites and content. Traffic from SU is incredibly fickle and low-converting.
I’ve written about SU in depth before: How StumbleUpon Sent Me Over 127,000 Visitors to a Single Post (And Why It Isn’t as Great as It Sounds).
Like I said, we’re happy to have the visitors. It’s just not something to get overly excited about. You’ll see in the chart below that the SU visitors only visited 1.07 pages on average and spent just 49 seconds on the site, both well below the average for all vistiors.
The point isn’t to avoid StumbleUpon traffic, but to point out that the number of visitors a site receives doesn’t matter much if those visitors are low quality. SU traffic isn’t worth chasing. Your time is better spent trying to create engaging, useful content.
You should also avoid comparing your site’s top-line traffic numbers to another site’s. The comparison will rarely be apples-to-apples unless you can see the full picture.
Here are the 7 posts we published in October:
- The Value of Free (Guest Post by Mike Yasieniuk)
- 56 Guest Posts and Counting: How to Keep On Top Of It All? (Guest Post by Timo Kiander)
- Successful Entrepreneurs Focus Better and Quit More Often
- Beyond a Blog that Matters: Building a Business that Performs (Guest Post by Barrie Davenport)
- How to Grow Your Audience and Make “the Bling Bling”
- Think Traffic Monthly Report – September 2012
- 5 Ways to Grow the Audience You Deserve Without Guest Blogging (Post by Gregory Ciotti)
Thanks to Mike, Timo, Barrie, and Gregory for the posts last month.
Top Traffic Sources
Here are the top 10 pages for the month:
The post that attracted all the StumbleUpon traffic is up there at the top. It’s one I originally posted on my personal site, now part of the Think Traffic archives: Need Some Motivation Right Now? Read This IMMEDIATELY.
That’s everything for this month.
Next month we’ll have some new information to report on Fizzle, because we’re opening the doors to new beta members later this week. Sign up on the Fizzle home page to be notified if you’d like to learn more about what we have cooking over there.
In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on growing beyond the original intent of a “lifestyle” business. What do you plan to do after you accomplish your personal goals for your business?
Cheers for now. Thanks for reading.