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What to do when you Get Slashdotted

Getting a deluge of visitors to your blog from a larger site is what many blogger’s dreams are made of but what should you do if you want to maximise the benefit of this occurrence as and when it happens?

Every month or two I tend to get a link from the megablog Slashdot to one of my blogs (something that is called being ‘Slashdotted’ by many ). I’ve posted previously about how it can be quite a rush although the financial pay off is sometimes not quite what you might think. After being Slashdotted last time I started thinking about what a blogger could do to capitalise on the the rush of traffic.

There are a number of things that you might want to consider next time this happens to you (whether the traffic comes from a big blog like Slashdot or any other blog that is a little higher up the food chain than you). Before I outline what you might want to do – let me say that some of these will depend upon what the goals of your blog are.

Attempt to capture a few of our readers – no I’m not advocating kidnapping but I am encouraging you to think about how you might convert a percentage of these many one off readers into repeat readers. There are a number of ways of doing this.

  • If you have an opt in email newsletter you might like to highlight it on the page that all your visitors are coming into. Write something like ‘if you’d like more news/tips/etc like this emailed to you weekly/fortnightly/etc sign up here’ (and put a link for them to sign up with).
  • Suggest other articles or categories on your blog that they might like to check out – the more pages they read on your blog the increased likelihood that they will remember it and return (if your posts are good that is).
  • Make a point of inviting their comment on your post – I have a theory that if you get someone to comment on your post you have a slightly better chance of them coming back to your blog later on to see if someone else has responded to them. If they do comment try and interact with them – get a dialogue going.

Capitalize Upon your Visitors – this may not be appropriate on all blogs but if you’ve got tens of thousands of new visitors to your site for a 24 hour period it might be worth thinking about how well optimised your ads are on the page people are coming to. You might want to consider adding another Adsense ad to your page, or adding an impression based ad to your site, or even adding an ad that points readers to one of your other blogs.

Last time I was slashdotted I added an impression based ad to the page using the
Fastclick
ad system (which I was already signed up for) and it netted me $100 over the 24 hour period.

Keep an Eye on the Logistical Impact on your site – One of the most common problems for sites that get Slashdotted is that they are hit by so many visitors at once that their server crashes. There is not a whole heap you can do about this as the weight of numbers can be pretty massive but you might want to look at the page everyone is coming in on and consider making some changes to image sizes (if you have them) and even the length of the post to try and reduce the size of the files that have to be loaded every time a visitor comes in. Sometimes deleting an image can help quite a bit. Otherwise you might just need to keep resetting your server as it crashes.

Also keep an eye on your comments section. Last time I got slashdotted the comments got way off track and became a complete side-track argument over something irrelevant to the topic. I ended up closing the comments due to the extra bandwidth that all those extra comments were causing on my page (there were hundreds of them).

Related articles and resources on the Web:
- What to do if slashdotted
- Slashdot FAQ
- The Slashdot Effect – Wikipedia

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. rob says:

    Snicker. You said “do do”. Heh heh heh.

  2. WR says:

    The “attempt to capture a few readers” tip is a great one. I never thought of trying to get the traffic burst “hooked” on your site. I had a site that was linked to from CollegeHumor.com a while back and that bought in 40,000+ uniques a day for a few days and a couple of hundred of them seemed to stick around.

  3. Darren says:

    thanks Rob – edited that one….

  4. Duncan says:

    Interesting use of changing the ad format, what I’ve found the couple of times its happened to me is that although traffic goes up the clickthru rates actually decrease, slashdot readers don’t seem to be as open to advertising as other readers (mind you I’m still grateful for them visiting) In some ways its better to get a link from a more targeted site or a site with a different readership, for example I got linked to Boing Boing once and the clickthru rate improved, same with the Register as well.

  5. Lis Riba says:

    Wasn’t from slashdot, but my traffic spiked after I was quoted in a newswire article. At the time, I was unemployed so used the opportunity to mention that, briefly highlight my skills (research and writing, as could be seen from the blog) and provide a link to my resume. Didn’t get any offers from that, but I figured it didn’t hurt to try.

Trackbacks

  1. What do to do when you get Slashdotted (Problogger)
    Another great article from Darren on what to do and how to capitalise on the extra traffic if a blog higher up in the food chain links to your blog.

    In the last week or so this has been happening …

  2. [...] Another great article from Darren on what to do and how to capitalise on the extra traffic if a blog higher up in the food chain links to your blog. [...]