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Why StumbleUpon Sends More Traffic Than Digg

I was digging around in the Google Analytics stats for Digital Photography School this afternoon and did some analysis of some of the most popular pages on the blog over the last month.

One page that has done exceptionally well and continues to bring in reasonable traffic even six weeks after it was written is 11 Surefire Tips for Improving Your Landscape Photography.

The post has had just over 93,000 page views from around 70,000 visitors since I posted i on 18 May. Here’s how the traffic was spread out over this time (you’ll want to click it to enlarge the graph in a new window):

Traffic-1

The Spike – Days 1-7

You can see very clearly that there was a real spike of traffic in the first couple of days. The day after I posted this tutorial hit the popular page on Digg. Here’s how the traffic came in over the first week (i’ve rounded these numbers to the nearest 50):

18 May (the day I posted) – 6,400 page views – largely from direct traffic (via RSS). StumbleUpon generated 405 page views.
19 May – 30,000 page views – 21,000 from Digg, another 2500 from RSS and regular readers, plus another 6000 or so from other sites like Delicious, Popurls and other blogs/sites linking up. StumbleUpon generated 575 page views.
20 May – 6200 page views – Digg sent 1550 of them, another digg like site (Wykop) sent 1200, direct traffic was around 900, other sites still sent a bit and StumbleUpon hit 1050 page views. (note, Google started sending a little traffic on this day).
21 May – 6600 page views – Wykop sent 2500, Digg sent 1100, direct traffic was 700, Google sent 200 and StumbleUpon continued to rise to 1300.
22 May – 3350 page views – Digg was down to 600 page views while StumbleUpon was at 953. Other sites and Google made up the rest.
23 May - 2250 page views – Digg sent 300 page views and Stumbleupon 800. Other sites the rest.
24 May – 2000 page views – Digg sent 150 page views and Stumbleupon generated 550.

OK – so that was the ‘spike’ and while StumbleUpon has generated more traffic than Digg in the last few days – Digg is still the clear winner after the first week:

  1. Digg – 24,410 page views (43% of all traffic to the post for this period)
  2. Direct Traffic – 8634 page views
  3. StumbleUpon – 5599 page views (9.5% of traffic to the post)
  4. Wykop – 4661 page views
  5. Delicious – 2523 page views

The Tail – Days 8-43

It’s usually at this point that a blogger would stop tracking how successful an individual post is going (in fact I tend to lose a little interest after the first 3-4 days) but out of interest today I decided to see what happened to traffic to this post since 24 May. It’s been 5 or so weeks – so how much traffic has the post generated and where did it come from?

Here’s how the traffic graph for this five week period looks (click to enlarge): [Read more...]

RSS-to-Email Comparison Review – Zookoda and AWeber

This is the third part of a three part series of posts on different RSS to Email Solutions. You can read Part 1 which reviews Feedburner’s system here and Part 2, a review of Feedblitz here. This post has been contributed by Brian Armstrong of Breaking Free.

Zookoda Review

Logo-3Zookoda is a breath of fresh air in the RSS-to-Email market. A slick Web2.0 interface makes it easy to use (although in a few spots it still feels like its in beta), and it comes with an impressive array of features in a free product.

Here are a few: true scheduling, email customization, importing subscribers without another opt-in or contacting the list, ability to capture additional fields (like first name), and extensive reporting and stats.

Zookoda really is quite brilliant. There were two negatives I feel obligated to mention however.

The first is that Zookoda subscribers don’t show up in FeedBurner stats. Whether this is Zookoda’s fault, an inability to communicate with FeedBurner, or that the two companies are simply too busy I have no idea. You can of course include an additional badge that shows your Zookoda subscriber count, which is one somewhat less-than-ideal work around.

[Read more...]

Seasonal Traffic and How to Capture It for Your Blog

Don’t Miss Seasonal Opportunities on Your Blog for Spectacular Traffic. Read to the bottom of this post for an example of how I’ve used the same content three times in 18 months to generate 50,000 page views on one post.

One of the skills that I encourage bloggers to develop is to think ahead about what events might be coming up that will impact the niche that you’re writing about.

The web is a fairly rhythmic place and every year there are waves of activity across search engines and other websites that are quite predictable.

For example:

  • In November and December every year millions of people go online searching for gifts in the lead up to Christmas.
  • At Superbowl time people go online looking for the ads that were featured during the game.
  • Every Thanksgiving the numbers of searches for Turkey recipes go through the roof
  • During the Olympic games (every 2 years for Winter and Summer games) people go online searching for results and medal tallies.
  • At the end of American Idol’s season (and other localized versions) people head online searching for results, inside gossip and related information
  • Everytime a blockbuster movie is released people hit the seach engines looking for reviews

The list could go on… and on.

One tool for looking at what people are searching for at any given point in time is Google’s Hot Trends page which shows the latest popular searches.

However as bloggers wanting to capitalize on these mini frenzies of online activity around different topics a tool like Google Trends is limited in how useful it is. The problem with it is that it gives information on what people are searching for today and not what they’ll be searching for in a few weeks or months time.

You see, with 4th of July upon us, one of the keywords people are searching for online today is ‘fireworks’. It comes up 17 times in the top 100 list as I’m writing this (update – a few hours later fireworks appear in 38 of the top 100 terms). The term spikes on July 4 and at the end of the year (just before New Years) every year. Here’s Google’s Trends graph on the term ‘fireworks’ (click to enlarge in a new window).

Fireworks

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FeedBurner offer Pro Features to Everyone

Exciting news was announced for any blogger using Feedburner to manage their blog’s feeds today. They’ve made two of their Pro level features (MyBrand and Total Stats) free for everyone.

This is great news – I’m particularly excited about the Total Stats package which I’ve been able to use for a while now and which gives some nice extra metrics on your feed – particularly stats on the number of people clicking on specific items in your feed.

MyBrand allows you to match your feed address to your domain name.

Those previously paying for these services won’t be charged as of June.

Get more details of how to turn these features on at the Feedburner Blog.

How to Keep Momentum Going on Your Blog with a ‘Points System’

Jason left a comment a couple of weeks ago on my previous post asking how many posts readers have posted on their blogs in a week that caught my attention.

In his comment Jason talks about a ‘points system’ which he’s developed for helping him to keep his blog achieving the momentum that he wants it to.

His daily goal is 50 points and different tasks get him different amounts of posts. I’ll let him explain (note – I’ve slightly reformatted his comments):

“I work full-time on the side as well. The way I get things done is by using a point system.

Some days I don’t feel like writing, some days I don’t feel like commenting, some days I don’t feel like networking, or whatever… I have to reach at least 50 points per day.

  • 10 points for a long blog post
  • 5 for a short one
  • 2 points for a comment on a blog I’ve commented on before
  • 5 points for commenting on a site I’ve never commented on before
  • 1 point per comment on my own blog
  • 10 points for installing a new module/plug-in, etc.

Works well for me. I think I may have created the system, or sub-consciously remember reading about such a thing somewhere.

I just know that the point system keeps production going while I also work a full-time job.”

What a great idea. I’m sure some readers will find it a little too complicated for their free flowing style – but if you’re in a dry patch and need a little self discipline, or like Jason have limited time to throw into your blog I think that this is a great plan.

I’m sure there are plenty of other tasks one could put on such a list. Here’s some off the top of my head (feel free to add more):

  • 2 points for emailing another blogger with a link to a relevant post
  • 3 points for an IM conversation with a blogger in your niche
  • 2 points for answering a reader’s question via email

What would you add?

RSS-to-Email Comparison Review – FeedBlitz

This is the second part of a three part series of posts on different RSS to Email Solutions. You can read Part 1 which reviews Feedburner’s system here and a review of Zookoda and Aweber here. This post has been contributed by Brian Armstrong of Breaking Free.

FeedBlitz Review

FeedblitzlogoFeedBlitz is a paid service that you can tie into FeedBurner (although they are entirely separate companies). Your FeedBlitz subscribers will count toward your Feedburner stats.

Unlike FeedBurner, they offer more extensive scheduling and customization of the emails, plus importing an outside list of subscribers is a little easier. But the fun stops there. I’ll explore each feature in a bit more detail.

I was excited to see that FeedBlitz had more scheduling options than FeedBurner, but I was a little disappointed after I actually tried it. It is not true scheduling in the sense that you find in most applications (Outlook Calendar, Google Calendar, etc) because it isn’t flexible at all. It basically give you four options: email immediately when posts are made, once per day, once per week, and once per month. As stated above, this is not the type of flexibility I was looking for that would allow me to make a post say every three days, or Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It is nowhere near as good as Zookoda’s scheduling, for example.

Second, I tried FeedBlitz’s email customization. While it is very flexible, it’s not necessarily easy to make something that looks good. After about an hour I managed to get something basic that included my logo and looked ok, but it never looked quite as good as even the basic FeedBurner email that you get by default. It was a little frustrating to say the least, but if you were really a pro (or hired one), you would probably appreciate this level of flexibility.

[Read more...]

RSS-to-Email Comparison Review – FeedBurner, FeedBlitz, Zookoda, AWeber

This first part of a three part series of posts has been contributed by Brian Armstrong of Breaking Free (read more about him at the end of this post).

Most bloggers have heard that providing an email subscription option is a good idea.

The reasoning goes that most internet users don’t know what RSS is, and don’t care. Just ask your parents! They need another subscription option, and email fills that role beautifully.

By the way, I believe we as bloggers have ourselves to blame for the RSS confusion, but I’ll save that story for another day.

Today I’m going to give you an overview of what RSS-to-Email services are out there, and help you pick the right one for your blog.

As a side note, I have yet to find a perfect RSS-to-Email service that does everything I could possibly want. I believe a real opportunity exists for one of the services below to step up and really meet the needs of this market! If I could find a service that did all of the following I’d be in heaven, as would many bloggers:

  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Branding/Customization
  • Import subscribers without requiring another opt-in
  • Free
  • Some basic support (by email, or a forum for example)
  • Subscribers count in FeedBurner stats

Without further ado…

Feedburner Review

Flamocon 190HIt was only natural that Feedburner, with it’s dominance in the RSS arena, would offer an RSS-to-Email service. It turned out to be a breeze and is a excellent, if rather basic, service.

If you already have a FeedBurner account, just click “publicize”, “email subscriptions”, and then “activate”. You’ll have three options but just stick with the standard FeedBurner for now (FeedBlitz is discussed below, and RMail is so basic that I wouldn’t recommend using it over FeedBlitz).

[Read more...]

Links that Don’t mention the iPhone – Speedlinking 2 July 2007

I’ve come very close to simply marking every unread in my RSS readers as ‘read’ today because something close to 50% of posts that I’m reading are about one thing – the iPhone.

While I’m a big fan of Apple and think this looks like a great product – I’m over it. Maybe it is because we can’t get or use them here in Australia for six months – or maybe because I just think that the blogosphere has become a little obsessed by the whole thing – but declaring this to be an iPhone free zone from here on (well for a while anyway).

I didn’t mark all my RSS feeds as ‘read’ – and while I’ve waded through hundreds of posts about that product which will now remain nameless I did find a few others well worth reading. Here they are:

Des is writing a series on his 5 Favorite News Readers and has written about Newsgator Online, BlogBridge, Bloglines so far.

Blogging Tips shares 10 mistakes that many new bloggers make

David shares a few reflections on How Speedlinking can Help you

Neil gives a few tips on how to use conferences to build your brand both as a speaker and attendee

CommonCraft have produced a good introductory video into Social Networking. Enjoy.

My Weekend Blog Strategy

In my last post I asked ‘What do you do with your blog on the weekend?

Having asked the question I thought I’d give a quick answer myself to shed a little light on one strategy (of many) that I’ve been using.

I ask questions

You’ve probably noticed it if you’re regular reader of any of my blogs – but over the last few months I’ve decided to make the weekends less about me producing content and more about the community discussing an issue.

I don’t do it every weekend – but posing a question for readers to ponder seems to be working for me. There’s a few reasons (7) that I like it:

1. It Lengthens the Window for Conversation – here at ProBlogger I’m on a 2-4 posts per day posting schedule. The downside of posting more than once a day is that stories get pushed down the page reasonably quickly. This means that the conversation that is happening on a post has a real window where it happens before quickly dying off. Posting a question on the weekend gives a conversation space to happen and lengthens the window that it can happen in. When I post a reader question like this I try not to post anything else for at least 12-24 hours. The result it lots of participation.

2. Readers are in a Different Mindset on the Weekend – I know for myself that the weekend leaves me in a different frame of mind. I do things slower, I’m more interested in connecting with people, I’m more relaxed and willing to have conversation etc. This means conversational posts have a better chance on the weekend. Instead of just getting quick and blunt comments I notice comments left on the weekend are often longer and more thought through (of course there are always exceptions).

3. Increased Reader Community and Participation - I am becoming more and more convinced that when a reader participates regularly on a blog that they are more likely to feel a sense of ownership and belonging to that blog. This means they’re more likely to comment again and keep on visiting. This is what I’m wanting to put more and more time into on my blogs – building communities around topics rather than just building my own perceived expertise. I want to build a community that is known for it’s expertise. The best way to build a true community is to give people a space to share, connect and learn together. Taking this approach on the weekend allows me to step back a little and the community to step up to the plate and show what it knows.

4. Increased Blog Stickiness - Visitor numbers tend to drop on my blogs (and they do for most websites and blogs that don’t have a specific weekend focus – such as sports blogs) however I’ve noticed that the page views per visitor tend to increase a little on the weekends. This might be partly as a result of readers being a little more willing to surf more pages as they have more time – but I also think it’s because of my reader questions and the way that that means more page views. For starters, just leaving a comment means at least two page views – but secondly, these discussions draw people back later in the weekend to see what others have written.

[Read more...]