The Two Things I Did to Increase My Blog’s Traffic by 68% in One Month

What a difference a month can make. In last month’s report I shared that this site received 11,845 visits in that month, and 11,924 in the month prior.

This month this site received 19,982 visits. That’s an increase of 68.7%!

Welcome to Think Traffic’s monthly report #11. Let’s find out how this site managed to grow so much last month.

Technically this is the 10th monthly report, but I covered two months in the last report, so I’m going to keep up with the original numbering scheme. This is the 11th month since I launched the site, so let’s call this the 11th monthly report. This report covers the period from January 16 to February 15, 2011.

If you’re new here, these monthly reports are where I chronicle this site’s growth and share exactly what I’ve done to attract visitors. My hope is that you can use some of the strategies I’ve used to grow your own site.

If you recall last month’s report, we were talking about traffic plateaus. After peaking at 15,396 visits in month #8, we settled down to around 12k visits for the last two months. I wasn’t overly concerned, especially because those two months contained some major holidays.

I did however, resolve to write epic shit this year to take this site to the next level. I committed to publishing only the most helpful content I can and to do as much as possible to help you get more traffic for your website or blog.

The plan has worked wonders so far, and I’m happy to report this record traffic month to you now. There is actually another very important detail of this strategy, which I’ll share later on in the report.

First let’s dive into the details.

This Month’s Traffic Report

Here are the overall metrics for this month:

You can see the big overall visitors number of 19,982 here. Also notice that spike in the middle of the graph – that was Think Traffic’s biggest single traffic day ever (1,413 visits).

These weren’t just fluffy social media visitors either. These were quality visitors this month. You can tell that because other important metrics like time on site, avg. pages/visit and bounce rate were all improved.

Let’s look at some other stats as well:

  • New subscribers: 473 (+71% month-over-month)
  • New comments (including my replies): 486 (+79% month-over-month)
  • Retweets of new posts: 614 (+53% month-over-month)

8 total posts were published over the past two months (vs. 5 in the prior month), including no guest posts:

The Other Key to This Month’s Growth

I’m not going to dwell on a lot of other details this month because there are only two things you should take away from these results.

I shared the first, which is my plan to write the most useful, inspiring, valuable content I possibly can. I’ll be sharing tips about how you can do that to in my “How to Write Epic Shit” series, so watch out for more to come.

Beside writing epic content, there’s another major thing I changed about the site this month. It has nothing to do with my promotion strategy, the design, brand, publishing schedule or anything like that.

At the beginning of the year, I took a good hard look at this site and compared it to what I preach as being important for growing a site. I did a “site audit” if you will, and I found one major detail that needed improvement.

Even though I’ve stressed the importance of differentiation regularly here, I wasn’t really doing all I could to make what I write here different from the other sites out there.

And I realized what a mistake that was. Being different from everyone else in your space is imperative to your success.

You have to give your visitors a reason to subscribe or become customers. If you’re not different enough from the other choices out there, people will have no reason to choose you.

I had differentiated this site somewhat, by choosing to focus specifically on traffic as a topic, and by not talking about social media like everyone else seems to do, but I knew I needed to take it a step further and really articulate why this site is different and why you should spend your precious time here.

I already knew that my approach to building traffic is different (and frankly more effective) than some of the popular gurus. I spent some time identifying the specifics of those differences and released them in the post Why Every “Twitter Tips” Article You’ve Ever Read is Essentially Worthless (or Worse).

That post represents the true unique selling proposition of Think Traffic.

What we teach works. What the so-called “experts” teach is mostly generic recycled garbage that makes them more popular but doesn’t really help you grow an audience or build a business. You need more than typical advice if you really want to succeed online. That’s what I provide here.

Once I shared that USP and started reiterating how this site is different, you all responded by making this the most visited month ever. Thanks for your support, and I promise to keep the useful content coming.

How is your site really different from the competition?

My challenge to you this month is to consider your site among the sea of competitors out there. How is what you offer truly different from the competition? “My content is better” isn’t enough of an answer. Like I’ve said before, great content is just the cost of admission.

You need to identify a real unique point of difference and articulate it to your visitors. Tell them why they should choose you over the other options.

Try that and see if your traffic explodes shortly after.

Top Traffic Sources

Here are some of the guest spots and interviews I did for other sites last month, and some of the recognition this site received:

Top Search Terms:

  1. unique selling proposition examples: 412
  2. think traffic: 405
  3. unique selling proposition: 222
  4. website traffic: 169
  5. unique selling point examples: 132
  6. thinktraffic: 100
  7. website unique selling point: 83
  8. personal introduction: 73
  9. most popular blogs: 62
  10. best sales pitch: 49

Top Content

Questions? I’m here to help!

One of the things I enjoy most about running this site are the conversations we have in the comments and on Twitter, Facebook or email.

As always, if I can help answer any questions you have about what I’m doing here, or about your own site, please don’t hesitate to ask. Public conversations are preferred over email so everyone can benefit, but feel free to ask in whatever way you prefer.


Thanks for being part of what we’re doing here. I really appreciate it.

Don’t forget this month’s challenge. How is your site different from your competitors? Share your answer in the comments or ask for feedback.

Published by

Corbett Barr

Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.

66 thoughts on “The Two Things I Did to Increase My Blog’s Traffic by 68% in One Month”

  1. Impressive growth this month! And it’s still 17th day of the month. I must say that your USP is what has kept me coming back. Week in week out, you talk about traffic tips and generation and that’s what I need cos my blog is entirely new. Less than 10days.

    Thanks so much for your articles. They’ve proven helpful. Enjoy your day.

    1. Hey Tim, thanks for making the note about the 17th of the month. I forgot to note in the post that the “months” I report on here are from the 16th to the 15th of each month (I launched the blog on the 16th of March last year).

      Good luck with the 10 day old blog. Glad to have you coming back.

  2. Good post. At the start of this year I refocused my blog. Well, I really put a focus to it. I’ve been working on tuning that focus. These two tips will definitely help me with that. I do think differentiating yourself is key. I will now keep that in mind. I very much appreciate experienced folks like you sharing your knowledge and expertise.

    1. @beariatric I can tell you from experience that having a focus to your blog will help immensely. Save your readers from content overload and cater your best subscribers.

  3. Whatup, Corbett!

    This is an EPIC post. It’s very useful, AND IT IS DIFFERENT!

    Usually this type of post would contain super secret ninja throws and nunchuck techniques. Instead, the way you got a MONSTER increase, month-over-month, was simple:
    1. Write EPICly (I’m making that a word)
    2. Focus on your Unique Selling Proposition. And reiterate it.
    * I’d add that guest posting / mentions on other sites) also give a big bump – a la, and
    (I actually found you from the podcast you did with Pat.

    but not easy. ha ha!

    Thanks for a phenom post. I will apply this, and let you know next month by how much I beat your 68% month-over-month traffic growth. 😛


  4. I’m here for the words like “shit” in the titles…it takes balls to put that out there, and to me, shows that you are being yourself. I like that, and you have me as a reader because of the word “shit”. Go figure…lol

    Congrats on the increase. It’s always nice to be able to tie growth back to specific steps.


  5. Great post Corbett! I always love to see real figures whether it be monetary or analytical data like you have here. It’s a real behind the scenes look at how real world successful people are doing this and proving it works.

    I especially love the “Why Every Twitter Tips Article You’ve Ever Read is Essentially Worthless (or Worse)” and “How To Write Epic Shit” posts. I’m sure your next post will be something like “How I increased my traffic by 300%”. Always awesome tips! Keep up the epic work man, cheers!

  6. That’s really cool that just two simple strategies, and they truly sound simple can make sure huge changes in your traffic. We get so overwhelmed with all the advice, you the 101 tips.., 5 tactics, 25 strategies, and so on…when they’re really not much to it.

    Thanks for making this blogging stuff more easy to understand.

  7. Nice read…

    I took this approach for my new site and I concentrated on the design first (content next). My site was picked up and added to the thesis showcase page which brings me on average about 60 hits a day and also a few subscriptions.

    That was design alone. Amazing

    1. Hey Lee, that’s a fantastic example of why good design matters. If you’re looking for every advantage possible, you have to start with a killer design. Well done!

    1. I haven’t been doing a whole lot of typical content promotion lately. Over the past couple of months, I’ve mostly just tweeted my articles a couple of times and posted them to the Facebook page for Think Traffic.

      A lot of what I consider “promotion” is actually networking with other bloggers and entrepreneurs. Those relationships sometimes turn into links or other opportunities that drive traffic here.

      I do also have plans for some new content promotion strategies that I hope to share in the next month or so, so stay tuned.

  8. When you say to differientate yourself, do you mean that in terms of post topics or something built into your blog design or strategy? I can see differientation built into the design a bit in the about section at the top right. On the other hand in the post you mainly talk about unique posts you’ve written recently. So, it kinda seems like your advice is to write unique epic shit. Is that what you meant or is it be unique as more generally applied advice?

    1. It’s actually both, Kelly. Great question.

      What I mean specifically is to develop an overall unique selling proposition for your site. Answer the question your readers will have: “why should I read your site when there are 1000s of other choices out there?” (and just having great content isn’t enough)

      Then, once you’ve answered that effectively, you have to communicate it through your design and your content on a regular basis.

  9. I got some brainstorming to do.. Congrats on last months success bro. I really have to start thinking about differentiation since it’s clearly working for you. It’s just so hard when you’re not looking at it from your visitors point of view.

    I might have to step away for a few days and come back to it – and be super critical. As a matter fact, writing a post about my own audit might be a good idea, too.

    Thanks for the report Corbett
    talk soon

    1. Absolutely Hector, sometimes you really need to take a step back. Take a real vacation from your site for a while and see what you can come up with through fresh eyes.

  10. Corbett, first of all, congrats to you man. The huge month is well merited, and when you take the time to produce an article like this one explaining how you made it happen, it just makes it all the more meaningful.

    Continued success to you and this blog. I thought your reads this past month were exceptional and sparked quite a bit of conversation– which is everything in my book.



  11. I’m happy you post with such honesty. It’s one of the biggest reasons I keep coming back (or rather keep reading and following RSS). It’s good to follow the growth and get inspired by it! Keep it comin’!

  12. that’s another epicshit report . so you’re saying that just because you wrote “only the most helpful content I can and to do as much as possible to help you get more traffic for your website or blog.” you saw further growth? no tricks, no gimmicks?

    now, the second question: how much does it count you to get out there and connect with others, besides twitter/facebook to help actively promote your LINK to their tribe?

    I’m asking because to me, there are 3 key elements in a epic shit (viral) post

    1. Research phase, before you write
    2. The blog post write
    3. The active promotion where you share the link with contacts you don’t know, or they hear from you first (the rest is just passive promotion like your own tribe/Twitter/Facebook fans, etc)

    What do you think?

    1. Hey Codrut, you’re correct. No gimmicks, just quality content and differentiation, combined with a little promotion and lots of connecting with readers and peers.

      For your second question, in my experience, the kind of active promotion you’re talking about does more harm than good. Sending unsolicited links to strangers is a quick way to get on those people’s shit list. I never promote unsolicited links from bloggers who email me. You have to genuinely get to know someone first. It’s like dating. Don’t ask for too much too soon, and make sure you’re really interested in the other person.

      I hope that helps. Be patient and try to form real relationships.

  13. Nice post. Maybe it is outside of your purview, but I would love to see some of your insights into how to most effectively blog about products sold through an online store, especially if those products are not inherently interesting, at first glance, at least, to most people. Maybe I’m asking for something unreasonable, but it can’t hurt to ask, especially given your recent success.

  14. Hi Corbett,

    Well congratulations for your blog’s growth. Your epic post series and your theme post for your blog have really done a great job, as I think many other people like me have printed your article and read it anytime when they need an inspiration.

    I have a question to ask. Why haven’t you targeted a specific keyword with your blog like Glen Alsopp did with Viperchill (viral marketing). He receives 110000 visitors each month only by ranking on the first page of the Google search on that keyword. Why didn’t you do that? Any special reason behind it? I would be very thankful for knowing the reason.

    Thanks and Cheers,

    1. Hey Paras, great question.

      First, I think you’re mistaken on Glen’s stats for the term “viral marketing.” According to Glen’s annual report (the last time I believe he released traffic stats), he had received a TOTAL of 3,390 visits from the keyword for all of last year. Not sure where you’re getting the 110,000 figure from.

      Search engine traffic can be valuable to many types of sites, but it’s less important for a blog in the early days than quality links from other relevant sites. I haven’t focused on search traffic here much because I have wanted to write quality content for people, as opposed to writing for the search engines, which are sometimes conflicting goals.

      I do have a long-term keyword target in “website traffic,” which I’m currently ranking on page 2 in Google for. That term sent 169 visits last month as you can see in this report.

    2. Great point on the SEO aspects of a site. Unless you have some low competition long-tail keyword, SEO is more of an “over time” strategy. Networking with other bloggers and going where your readers and customers are is the best way to go, especially in the early days.

  15. I always enjoy reading the traffic reports or income statements from bloggers. I’m wondering if you are happy with the bounce rate for the site? Mine is around 72% for the past month, but I thought that was too high. Maybe I’m wrong and that’s about average or above average.

    Any thoughts on what is a good number to look for, and how to improve it?

    1. It really depends on the topic your site is on, and where your traffic is coming from. In my case here, I’m comfortable with the bounce rate because it is in line with what I’ve seen from other sites on similar topics.

      You can improve the bounce rate in several ways. Perhaps I could write a post about it. Here are a few common ways to improve bounce rate: 1) by getting visitors from higher-quality sources who are more likely to be interested in what you write about, 2) by doing a better job within your content of leading visitors to a new page when they’ve finished with the page they arrive at, or 3) by publishing more engaging landing page content.

  16. This is great, honest and useful to ALL Bloggers! I noticed this month that attempting to add value (to my business) was not well received. I offered FREE Social Media advertising on my Blog with orders for Work wear & Hi Viz and no one was very interested. (Bizarre) BUT I wrote a pretty exciting post about Viewdle and Social Media and Big Brother and everyone loved it!! (It’s a scary but wonderful new technology) I don’t have an issue with writing, I love that aspect of Social Media, but it’s getting super connected that I find difficult, hence loving this Blog and all your help. Thank you very much!

  17. Awesome Corbett! It’s another peak on your blog traffic! It prove your ways does works, and I once again need to say, is my favorite blog!
    Recently I wrote a blog post (which spend me longest time to come up with compare with all my previous blog posts), and it successfully hit the peak of my blog! I gain 3 times more traffic than usual for that couple of days, and once again prove content is the king. 😀
    Will keep learning and keep improving. 😀

  18. Corbett,
    Thanks for the report – – One thing you mention that is of interest to me is the topic of “epic shit”. In particular, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what differentiates various types of posts from others. For example, how would you determine what is “epic” if two articles are helpful, about the same topic, and useful? I ask because I want to really figure out why some blogs like those you mention are so popular while others covering the same topics and are just as helpful are not as popular?

    1. Whatup, Shane:

      I look forward to Corbett’s reply to your great question.

      If I may add 2 cents:
      The greatest lessons are gained not from what experts say, but what they do.

      In reading posts on sites like,, and, (Seth is in his own class)… you’ll notice a few things.

      1: The posts are very opinionated:
      There’s a funny quote that says: “The middle of the road where you have the best chance of getting run over.”

      2: The posts are about real experiences, and very specific:
      They give real life examples, not general theory.

      3: The posts are personal:
      It’s much more authentic when the writer is describing things (s)he did that worked or didn’t work.

      4: The posts are thought-provoking, not just interesting:
      Whenever a post goes beyond making you chuckle…
      Whenever a post goes beyond making you envious…
      Whenever a post makes you take immediate action
      It is epic.

      5: The author of the posts DID EPIC SH*T first.
      Then, they wrote about it.
      So – they’ve earned credibility.
      I could give the exact same advice that Corbett is giving.
      It’s not super-secret, or rocket science.
      But the fact that he established an authority site in such a short amount of time is EPIC.
      So when he talks, we listen.
      It’s not only the words. It’s the credibility of the person behind the words.

      I think tactics are a dime-a-dozen. A Nigerian saying goes: “More than one road enters the market.”

      You could probably try very different tactics than I would, to write EPIC SH*T. And yet, we may both end up writing EPICly.

      If we’re writing about the EPIC THINGS WE’VE DONE.

      Just my 2 cents. Great question, and I look forward to Corbett’s reply.

    2. Thanks!! That was far more valuable than 2 cents though :)

      I agree. And I’m sure corbett will as well that it’s one thing to talk about something and give a good list, but it’s another thing to deepen it with personal perspective and “move” someone. I guess I’d call epic shit being authentic.

    3. Hey Shane, great question and discussion you’re having here with Bolaji. Obviously the definition of and formula for creating epic content is an ongoing topic here at Think Traffic. In one sentence, to me “epic content” is content that inspires people, changes lives or is insanely useful. It’s impressively great content. Not just good or great content, but impressively great content. It’s content that is undeniably better than 99.9% of everything else on the same topic.

      As for how to create content that is epic, that’s something we’ll be exploring here over the next few months 😉

  19. Thank you Corbett for sharing this information with us. I still need to learn a lot to accomplish getting more traffic into my baby blog. Now I am starting to understand the rollercoaster we ride when blogging. We just need to be patient and persistent.
    Have a great 12th month!

  20. Hey Corbett,

    I am so thankful for the value you provide through this site.

    The blogosphere is crowded with a ton of recycled garbage like you said.

    You always provide useful and powerful information that I can implement immediately to create real results. THANK YOU!

    How is my site different than my competitors?

    It’s different because there aren’t many (if any) sales reps in my marketplace blogging about what they do. But that’s not enough.

    To step it up, I am focusing LESS on what I do, the company I work for and the services my company provides and MORE on “how the services we provide can help local businesses”.

    So, bottom line…I am focused on providing more value to my readers..the businesses in my marketplace.

    I plan to do this with my blog by focusing on providing information that helps the businesses in my marketplace (Philadelphia PA, Southern New Jersey and Delaware).


    By educating them on the services we provide and how those services can reduce the roadblocks to achieving their business goals. Too many

    1. Awesome Tim, that sounds like a formidable plan. In addition to the education / services you provide, don’t forget to enlighten and entertain your readers once in a while as well.

  21. This provided some very interesting reading and information, thank you. It is both reassuring to see where one is doing something right (for a change) and to garner new ideas where I can improve. Better still is when I find the answer to something that has been troubling me but I didn’t know how to fix!

    I have come to the conclusion it is important to have as many technical skills as one can learn ,while still learning everything else. I am tied up a lot of the time because I haven’t learnt basic html ~so every time I need to use that for anchor text or whatever, it seems to take me a lot of time.

    What are the most important technical skills you would suggest for any newbie to learn first?

    1. Don’t get too wrapped up in technical details. Set up your site once and then focus on content and promotion. The little technical things aren’t nearly as important as your content or getting the word out about what you’re doing. Yes, you need a good design, but you can use a template in the beginning.

  22. One very powerful differentiator that I’m striving after in my niche (personal development) is that a lot of PD posts consist of what I call “vague encouragement”. It’s usually (though not always) good advice, very worthy, but it’s the kind of thing that people nod at and then go back to doing what they were doing before. It doesn’t change your life.

    I’m a former technical writer, so I’m in the mindset of telling people step-by-step exactly how to accomplish a specific goal. My recent posts haven’t been as focussed on that, so it’s something I need to refocus on in order to stand out.

    1. I like that approach, Mike. Specific and measurable goals are always attractive. Don’t forget that you need to articulate (perhaps in your brand/tagline) this concept as your point of difference.

  23. Hi Corbett congrats on the growth. I’m a big fan of epic shit hence why I am here. And speaking of that…

    So you ask what makes my site different. Let me tell you.

    What I noticed with a lot of internet marketing sites is as you mentioned before, it’s the same old rehashed crap that gives little to no value, especially for the intermediate and more advanced folks. And that’s where I come to kick their ass.

    After reading your post on epic shit (I love to say and write that) I was inspired to take my content to another level. So what I’m providing is some serious detailed insight into how I am building out an entire network of niche sites (currently 8 in total with more coming online), the metrics I have in place, and reporting on the successes and failures of all of them.

    I’ve implemented an online networking strategy that ensures I get my content in front of the right people, and that I can learn more about what they need to go to the next level, and then provide that. It takes the guess work out of it for them and me.

    So far it’s working like a charm. My traffic is increasing, the amount of sharing of my content is starting to skyrocket (compared to previous), and I’m getting a crap ton of awesome comments. And what’s better, I’m making the right connections and it’s bringing me more money as they are purchasing my services, and soon the products I’m in the process of creating.

    So in a few words, thank you for inspiring me to write epic shit. It’s truly the only way to go and stand out.

    1. Awesome, Robert, that sounds like a really interesting thread you have running. You’ve touched on another important concept here as well, which is that having a running story or theme for many months can be a great way to create epic content. Pat Flynn has done it with the Niche Site Duel series, and it sounds like you’re taking that concept even further. I’m headed over to check your stuff out now. Thanks.

  24. I haven’t read your blog thoroughly yet so it would be stupid if i’d say that you content is marvellous but i am in love with your blog’s design.

    It is terrific.

    If i find your blog interesting, rich in content and what i want, you are getting features on my blog. 😀

    The design is amazing… lovely.

    BTW, i got nearly 42K visitors last month but mine is tech blog, so that is kind of normal, isn’t it?

  25. Loved both: your article and inviting others to discuss their sites. I am a newbie, and looking for all sorts of helps, answers from everyone.
    I don’t know how, but Thesis gallery members are one of a kind: helpful, knowledgeable, have something to contribute and open minded too. I might join this group but other than the last two traits, have nothing more.
    I have a site I planned to use “prevention” but someone asked me to use “insurance” due to SEO viewpoint.
    I like to play with fonts but web curbed the habit. I used a borrowed theme, no tweaking and laid it out.
    Just as the world uses Yoga, Past Life Regression, Hypnosis (all Indian inventions) I tried to introduce Accident Prevention.
    I can’t stand injuries, trauma (my driving force) + I want to contribute to humanity (20% to charity) …
    I got visitors, criticisms, comments, but the flow I longed for is missing. I wrote articles at eZine, Bukisa, Technorati but not enough clickthroughs. Sale is welcome but not essential, discussion is.
    Even if your visitors simply comment or criticise my site, I will get some feedback. Accident prevention is possible, but want to know what others think about it.
    Thanks for allowing all newbies to write about their sites for discussions.

  26. It’s encouraging to see a sight do so well (as in have numbers of people traffic your site). I have just started my first blog and I see the numbers of a few people crossing through my blog, but not many. I am okay with that, I know it takes time.

    I think the hardest part is distinguishing myself from other blogs. Fniding exactly whats makes my blog different is not easy to pin point, I may think it’s different, but I am biast. How do you take an honest look at your blog? Is it a matter of asking for feedback or comparing other blogs to see how different your blog is?

    Thanks for bringing up the discussion about being different and having a unique draw in; it has got me thinking.

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