Will Facebook “Like” Buttons Bring More Visitors to Your Site? (Think Traffic Monthly Report #8)

  • November 23, 2010 by Corbett Barr
  • 60 Comments

Things have been rolling along here at Think Traffic. If you’re new here, every month I publish a monthly report that details exactly how this site is growing.

I’m happy to report this past month (the period from October 16 to November 15, 2010) was another record traffic month. Thanks for reading, subscribing to and contributing to Think Traffic every month. I hope you’re getting a lot from it and learning how to build a thriving online audience for your own website or blog.

I have a bunch of juicy info to share with you in this month’s report including some interesting data about those little Facebook “like” buttons you see on this page and all over the web. Read on for the details.

Full Stats and Results from Last Month

Here are the overall visitor numbers for this month:

We had 2,807 more visits than last month (+22% month over month). Almost all measures of traffic and audience engagement were up this month.

Other Stats:

  • New subscribers: 425 (-2% month-over-month)
  • New comments (including my replies): 386 (+111% month-over-month)
  • Retweets of new posts: 315 (+63% month-over-month)

6 posts (vs. 4 last month) published here this month:

Top Traffic Sources

The top 20 traffic sources of traffic this month were almost all also in the top 20 last month. Thanks to Pat Flynn for having me as a guest on his podcast. His Smart Passive Income Blog was the second biggest referring site and people who came over from his site were very engaged here.

How effective are those little Facebook “like” buttons?

Facebook sent 291 visitors to this site this month, versus 94 last month (a 210% increase). I believe the increase was due entirely to the addition of the Facebook “like” button at the top of every article (look at this article up near the title for an example).

I added the buttons on November 2nd (along with replacing the TweetMeme retweet buttons with the official Twitter versions). If you look at the graph below, you’ll notice that immediately after adding the Facebook buttons the site started receiving much greater spikes of traffic from facebook.com every time an article is published:

Facebook has two different kinds of buttons for sharing articles. One is known as the “like” button, the other is the “share” button. The like button doesn’t require a user to go to Facebook. When a user clicks on the like button, it simply places an entry on their wall with a link to the page they “liked.”

The “share” button (see the end of this article for an example) is a little more heavyweight. When a reader clicks on the button it takes him to Facebook to enter text about the thing he’s sharing. This type of sharing is more likely to attract clicks when other people see the entry in Facebook, but the button itself is less likely to be used because of the extra step involved.

I’ve made use of both buttons here by using the “like” button at the top of every story and the “share” button at the bottom. The “like” button also serves as a nice little secondary form of social proof.

The share button was already at the bottom of every article since this site was launched. Given that Facebook traffic was up this month by 211% (especially considering I added the like buttons midway through the month), it seems the top-of-page placement plus use of the lighter-weight button is much more effective than the share button was alone at the end of each article.

Try out either of the buttons here to see how it works in action.

If you have other experiences with the Facebook social buttons, please let me know in the comments. I’m curious how useful the buttons are in different situations (or for different subjects).

Get your own Facebook social plugins here.

Top Search Terms:

  1. think traffic: 507
  2. unique selling proposition examples: 144
  3. thinktraffic: 143
  4. unique selling proposition: 135
  5. most popular blogs: 95
  6. thinktraffic.net: 71
  7. website traffic: 52
  8. corbett barr: 50
  9. most popular blog: 25
  10. unique selling point examples: 25

Overall search traffic was up by over 30% this month and now represents over 15% of total visits to the site. I’m happy with the trend and am working in the background on improving certain key rankings. I’ll share more about that in a coming post.

Top Content

We got a lot of mileage out of the “ask the readers” post this month on traffic-building techniques. The original post and the follow-up post ended up in the top 3 most popular articles this month.

Contests can be a powerful way to bring visitors to your site. I used a contest for last months “ask the readers” strategically to encourage reader participation and sharing of the post, and the results were pretty strong. I’ll dig into the subject of contests more in an upcoming post.

Goals for This Month

The posting schedule of one to two times per week is working out well for me and seems to be suiting the site well. As I mentioned last month, by posting less frequently you can usually consistently produce better content and actually bring in more visitors. That approach seems to be working here.

Given this is Thanksgiving week here in the U.S., I expect this month may have less overall visitors to the site. We’ll see in next month’s report. See you there ;)

For this next month, I’d like to expand my sphere of influence. Relationships are incredibly important for growing traffic. Several bloggers I know well regularly send traffic here, which is awesome. I’m going to reach out to other people I don’t know as well this month and start building new relationships in different spheres.

By the way, I love hearing from readers. If you’d like to say hello or ask me about anything specific that doesn’t fit in the comments so well, feel free to reach out anytime.

What Can I Help You With?

As always, I’m here to help you grow your online audience. What questions do you have about growing traffic? Please share in the comments. I’ll either answer them here or use your questions in future posts.

Thanks for reading. If you haven’t subscribed already, sign up for email or rss updates to get the latest from Think Traffic.

Written by . 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.


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MKR November 23, 2010 at 5:32 am

I never got any hits from the like button, so I assumed it wasn’t too useful until you had a certain level of traffic. Do you think it’s worth having on small sites?

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:22 am

It could be that either your users aren’t Facebook users (although not likely since Facebook is so popular), or that you simply don’t have enough traffic to attract button clicks. The thing is though, you have to start somewhere and the Facebook buttons are probably the best choice when you’re starting out (depending on your topic). One breakthrough article could definitely get that button working for you.

Onibalusi Bamidele November 23, 2010 at 5:39 am

Awesome report Corbett,

It’s really great to see how everything is moving for Think Traffic. I also love your podcast on SPI and you really deserve that much traffic from it.

Facebook also generate much traffic and I never realized the importance until recently, I hate facebook as much as anything but seeing the effect it can I have I think it is inevitable.

Thanks so much for the awesome report,
-Onibalusi

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:26 am

Love it or hate it, Facebook is said to be the #2 biggest site in the world now. The love/hate question would make a great discussion no doubt.

Tim @ Faith and Finance November 23, 2010 at 5:42 am

These stats are great – congrats on the growth!

Facebook is my largest source for visits now – almost 40% of my traffic! (granted, I get about 20 visits a day total)

Do you have any advice on turning facebook fans into regular visitors?

I’m still trying to figure out the best way to engage my Facebook fans – trying a contest today that ends at midnight…Free $10…we’ll see if it drives traffic..

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:35 am

Hey Tim, the best way to get those Facebook fans to become regular visitors is to interact with them regularly on Facebook. Don’t just post links to your latest articles. You need to make your fan page a special place and provide real value and make real connections there.

David Csonka November 23, 2010 at 6:05 am

Good morning Corbett!
I just wanted to point out that your explanation of the “Like” button functionality isn’t entirely accurate. At some point this year, Facebook duplicated the functionality of the “Share” button into the “Like” button. They have stated in their dev documentation that they are moving forward with the Like button as the default standard. I assume this means the Share button will be deprecated at some point.

Further, to get the full functionality of the Like button, you need to either use the FBML implementation of it (requiring the Facebook SDK) or you must set the width of the IFrame version of the like Button to > 400 pixels. By doing this, you get the ability to add a comment when you click the Like button. When the user adds a comment, a full share post is added to all of their follower’s streams, including a thumbnail image, post title, and their comment.

If the Like button is implemented as IFrame online, with a < 400px width, no ability to add a comment is presented, and the resulting post back to Facebook is just the short link on the users Profile.

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:15 am

Awesome, David, thanks for the clarification. I did notice the Share button was missing from Facebook’s developer’s page. I’ll update the article with a note about the changes. Thanks!

Matthew Needham November 23, 2010 at 6:42 am

Great update Corbett. I too have the Facebook Like Buttons on my site and have an increasing number of visitors to the site thanks to Facebook. I’ve kept with the Tweet Me Me button, primarily because it’s bigger and I do seem to get a lot more re-tweets than I do likes. But maybe because my content is more suited to retweeting than sharing on your personal Facebook page. (business growth advice).

Good luck for next month!

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:40 am

Twitter can definitely be a big traffic driver (it’s much bigger for this site than Facebook). It completely depends on your audience though.

Cara Stein November 23, 2010 at 7:06 am

Thanks for the great info, as always! In particular, thanks for the distinction between the facebook share and like buttons. I’ve already got the share button at the end of each post, but it hasn’t been doing that much. I’ll be interested to see if the like does better for me as it has for you.

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:40 am

Cool, definitely let me know Cara. Note in the comment from David above that it seems Facebook is not promoting the Share buttons any longer.

TimB November 23, 2010 at 7:59 am

Excellent post again Corbett. Really interesting to see what effect those buttons had.

I was just reading an article elsewhere on the web about the importance of multi-platform traffic-building strategies. It went something along the lines of “it’s 2010 now, people aren’t necessarily sat browsing websites 100% of the time” and went on to talk about mobile marketing, social media, etc all being equally as valid as the traditional blog format these days.

Personally, I have only a small handful of blogs, including this one of course ;-) I regularly check for updated posts. Otherwise, I rely on a daily browse through Twitter and Facebook on my Blackberry to pick up recommendations by way of re-tweets or likes/shares from bloggers I respect.

I’d be interested to see the results of any of your other traffic-driving experiments on other platforms – or do we need to wait for Traffic School for that???

Cheers, Tim

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:43 am

I definitely learn about a lot of new content through social media. Twitter and Facebook don’t replace blogs and websites for me, but they’re certainly complimentary.

I’ll try to share some details about other platforms in upcoming posts. Thanks for asking. I like to hear what everybody would like to read more about here.

Shawn | PassiveJourney.com November 23, 2010 at 8:41 am

I just installed the “One Click Like/Share/Retweet” plugin, and it’s saved lots of time manually installing codes. It supports retweeting through Twitter, liking and sharing on Facebook, and sharing on LinkedIn. It’s surprisingly streamlined. Check out its look… http://www.PassiveJourney.com

Cheers!

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:43 am

Hey Shawn, be careful with those all-in-one type buttons. In my experience they don’t lead to nearly as many uses as the stand alone buttons.

Dave Doolin November 23, 2010 at 9:42 am

I just added a Facebook widget to my site; the Like button is coming soon.

Ironic, really. Facebook doesn’t interest me personally, but it’s important to a lot of people who read me, so I’m getting with the program.

Too early to evaluate results, but I’m inspired by your numbers, Corbett, to keep better track of what’s coming from Facebook.

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:48 am

Hey Dave, definitely let us all know how your experiment goes.

Murlu November 23, 2010 at 9:51 am

That’s some sexy traffic, Corbett.

The FB like button works so many wonders because people are so readily logged into their FB accounts that it’s not like hitting the retweet button on posts and having to authenticate – it’s such an easy action and with so many people on board with FB it just spreads and spreads and spreads – gotta love it.

Keep at it man, great work.

Everett Bogue November 23, 2010 at 9:55 am

The most upsetting thing about this article is that Pat Flynn guy bumped me as the top referrer to Think Traffic.

I guess that means I need to link to you more? Yes.
Will I ever recover from this humiliation? Doubtful.
Do I need to pay more attention to Pat Flynn. Definitely.

Pat November 23, 2010 at 10:09 am

Hey Everett! Sorry about bumping you this month…Corbett’s content and his guest appearance on my podcast was just way too awesome. :)

Cheers! :P

John Paul Aguiar November 23, 2010 at 10:12 am

I was thinking of moving to the “Like” button, since the “share” button takes that added step.. and it is a load hog too.

Might have to make the change now, seeing your results.

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:49 am

It’s a pretty easy change, John. It sounds like the “like” button is the way to go.

Steven November 23, 2010 at 10:20 am

Awesome stats and thanks for being 100% transparent about everything you are doing – it really helps novices like us!

I just got rid of my Facebook Like buttons yesterday. Now you are making me re-evaluate my decision. I thought it looked bad because I was only getting 4-5 “likes” per article and it made my site not look so active. What do you think about this Corbett?

Should I keep the buttons there anyway and hope they build momentum over time? Should I move the buttons to the bottom of the page so they aren’t immediately “presentable” but still there for those who like the article?

Thanks!

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Like I mentioned to someone above, you have to start somewhere. I wouldn’t say that 4-5 likes per article is too few. If you’re really concerned about it, you could always place the like buttons at the end of the article and not at the beginning.

Barron November 23, 2010 at 10:23 am

Guess tinkering with the RT + FB buttons earlier this month wasn’t such a big waste of time after all! Interesting tip from David in the comments, about making sure the width of the iframe is at least 400px to utilize the full functionality. Never realized that.

Love reading these reports Corbett!

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Cheers, thanks for reading Barron.

Phill Turner November 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Number and graphs are sexy!

Especially when they give stats like those.

Great job, perfectly explained.

I got 260 clicks on 1 website in a day from those lovely like buttons you are so right. They don’t happen every day but when they do wooosh.

Phill

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Awesome Phill, that’s a lot of clicks!

Trever Clark November 23, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Hey man – interesting stuff. Facebook has consistently been in my top 5 sources of traffic, even without a like or share button. I just have a link on my sidebar that connects with my fan page, and on FB itself, I use the Networked Blogs app. I’ll definitely be trying out the like and share buttons going forward though.

Also looking forward to a future post on contests. I’ve got a couple of ideas for contests myself, but I’d love to hear your take. Cheers, dude!

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:56 pm

That’s interesting that you’re getting so much traffic from Facebook already, with just a fan page. You must be doing a good job with the fan page. Nice work.

Vishal Sanjay @ Dumb Little Blogger November 23, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Again great going buddy, I cannot fail to avoid your traffic report, I too get a lot of traffic from Facebook, but not from like buttons, but from share buttons, you may see less number of share using that, but thats really more effective. And I believe most of your traffic comes from other blogs linking to your site, which me and many others lack, but you’ve succeeded in building a successful brand, thats were you gained.

Jonathan Manor November 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Hey corbett!

I want to know what you think about forum traffic? I spend a lot of time on writing forums trying to promote my fictional blog. Also, would you have any idea how to promote a blog that’s specifically fictional work?

Trever Clark November 23, 2010 at 9:19 pm

If a blog is fictional, does it really exist?

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Hey Jonathan, not sure what you mean by “fictional blog.” You mean it’s a real blog, but that you write fiction on it, like stories?

Craig November 24, 2010 at 5:59 am

I usually don’t get a lot of traffic from Facebook. But I wrote one article about a bank product and I forwarded the article to a contact at the bank. For the next few days I had a big surge of traffic from FB. Ends up my contact “liked” my article and his audience was now seeing and liking my article as well.

Lesson – If you write about a product or site, let them know about it so they can help promote. Tap into their audience when possible.

David Damron November 24, 2010 at 6:11 am

Hey Corbett–

So, I have tried (a lot) to get the Facebook like button to properly work at LifeExcursion. I know you aren’t a developer really but can you check out the one I have on LifeExcursion and maybe look at the coding via ‘Inspect element’ with chrome (just right click in the area).

I have tried the iframe and the xfml versions. The iframe is currently whats showing. When I use xfml it shows 143,000 likes which is definitely not accurate.

Any ideas? If you know of anyone that may be able to help, reply their twitter name please.

Appreciate it.

David Damron

Corbett Barr November 24, 2010 at 11:16 am

Hey David, it looks like it’s showing up fine to me. Did you figure it out?

Sinea November 24, 2010 at 9:30 am

Corbett, I am utterly amazed. I do NOT speak html but I wanted a like button on each post so much after I read this that I googled the instructions, went on blogger and took a chance. VOILA! I now have a like button on each post.
SO, I tested it out to see if it was working. The button has been there for 1 hour and I have 4 likes posted on one article. Someone actually took the time to check it out. Feels great!

Corbett Barr November 24, 2010 at 11:16 am

Awesome, congrats Sinea!

IamDavid November 24, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Hey Corbett,

1) What was the motivation to switching to the official twitter button?
2) I would like to learn more about networking. My growth is slow and steady, thanks to unique content, a great design, a love of writing, and a purpose with the site, but it would be great if someone influential would take notice of me to help me get to that next level.

I have tried numerous set ups with social buttons. Everything from sociable to sharbar, to my current digg digg. I currently have twitter, stumble, and Facebook share.

Stumble = useless. It slows down my site, dosent have “lazy loading” and nothing gets stumbled. I might remove it, it could be just my traffic is to small at around around 120-190 a day to see results.

Facebook share or like = I am testing out share, it’s effective. Will try out the like button. My assumption would be like will be more effective b/c it has one less step and friends can also like what was liked (considering the Iframe size Dave talked about above).

I will probably just end up with Facebook like and Tweetme at the top and bottom of each post.

Jacob Sokol November 25, 2010 at 9:27 am

First time i’ve read and engaged in one of your monthly mission slash take over the world statements. Major Flavor!

I may get excommunicated announcing that i’m the blogger who doesn’t read many blogs. You are really putting a cramping in my style with this great content. Thanks a lot. I’ll send you the doctor’s invoice.

Eric | Starcraft 2 Strategy November 27, 2010 at 9:02 am

Thanks for sharing your data and analytics with us. I just started a Starcraft 2 blog and after reading this post am going to absolutely use some social network sharing. I’ve been completely neglecting it, except for some twitter announcements when I have a new blog post.

Nina Yau November 29, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Hi Corbett, Nina Yau here from Castles in the Air. I *think* this is the first time I’m commenting on Think Traffic, but just wanted to give you a shout out and say I’m quite impressed with your report! Way to go, love the details, the thought processes that goes into the hows and whys of driving traffic to one’s blog, particularly in the form of Facebook Like buttons.

I’ve found that the official Twitter button combined with FB Like button is a powerful social media combination. Yes, social proof does help but of course, what makes a reader coming back time and time again is killer content that truly rocks that person’s world. :) Keep up the great work!!

Jodi Kaplan November 30, 2010 at 9:15 am

A question from the PHP clueless couch: where does the button code go?

Caleb December 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm

You can place it in your singlepost.php page right underneath the calls for the post title, after where it says php the author..

..but a simpler way for doing all this is to just install one of the many plugins that does it for you :idea:

Manisha Sahu December 5, 2010 at 11:18 am

Its really good to found some of the great bloggers who can actually let us know about how to bring traffic to web site. I’m a facebook user and didn’t know even that a Like button can bring so much of traffic to my website. Really appreciable.. Great work. Thanks for sharing this article.

Caleb December 6, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I never thought about that extra step for the FB Share button, but I do realize how ppl hate going thru multiple steps for ANYTHING online. But just to be on the safe side my site has all the social options in several different places until I see where the most usage is coming from ;)

Christina Crowe December 15, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Hey Corbett,

Wow – I had no idea that the like button was that powerful. I noticed that you can also share with your like button after the post is liked – which probably doubles the affect. I’ll have to see if I can set mine up the same way.

By the way, congratulations on the traffic! I enjoy following your blog’s growth. You’re doing very well, and I’m sure your blog will continue to grow over the months to follow.

Christina

Sashiko Yuen December 23, 2010 at 11:16 am

I just added the like button to most of my posts. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. Fingers crossed!

Trent Dyrsmid June 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

How do you quickly count comments, replies and retweets for your traffic report? Is there a plugin or some time-saving trick for this?

Thanks!

Blogger gadgets November 27, 2011 at 3:13 am

This is the first time I cam across your site. And I am impressed in the way you explained the the Facebook LIKE button with proof. At the moment I am using only the Facebook share button. But after reading your post I am thinking to add LIKE button at the top of my posts too.

Thanks for sharing nice tips.
Good luck.

David Csonka November 23, 2010 at 10:30 am

Glad to be of assistance Corbett. Facebook changes their mind more often than my fiancee, so keeping up is bound to be a challenge for everyone.

Corbett Barr November 23, 2010 at 10:49 am

Whoa guys, there’s plenty of me to go around ;)

David Damron November 24, 2010 at 6:08 am

Bloggers can be so competitive sometimes…..haha

David Damron
LifeExcursion

Jonathan Manor November 27, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Yeah, I write short stories, and a zombie series on it. I still write on my personal development blog over at The Titan Project. But I started writing fiction on http://jonathanmanor.wordpress.com.

It just gives me a certain outlet. I’m really wondering about what you think about forums and if they’re a good utensil to build traffic. I spend a lot of time on forums.

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