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What’s the “Right” Kind of Blog Traffic?

As I was reviewing my analytics this week, it struck me that the universal desire for basically all of us is to grow traffic.

We’d all like more traffic, all of the time.

Having that goal in mind drives more than a few bloggers to try black-hat techniques, or to bend the rules here and there.

Those with a longer term focus are usually more interested in slower, more lasting traffic-building techniques. They’re also aware that traffic isn’t just traffic—the traffic you want to come to your blog has certain characteristics.

The visitors you’re after are part of a certain group or audience united by interests, location, opinions, desires, and/or some other characteristics.

But sometimes really honing in on those qualities can be difficult—even if you have a clear idea of your ideal reader, and you’ve created a persona to reflect that.

So let’s look at what makes “good” traffic—the “right” kind of traffic for your blog.

It’s qualified

The right traffic meets certain criteria that your blog or content requires of it.

Those criteria might be personal (e.g. you’re targeting women, so you buy advertising space on a popular women’s interest site) or behavioural (e.g. you’re targeting golfers who want to improve their game, so you begin to participate in a pro golf tips forum).

By qualifying your traffic, you’re making sure that these new readers have a need that is met obviously and completely by your blog.

In basic traffic terms, this is why, for example, you target niche-related keywords with quality content rather than buying a typo domain and just sticking ads on it. Both options attract traffic, but only one of them actually meets the needs of the people who visit.

It’s invested

The right traffic has already shown a strong tendency to do what you want.

These people are invested in your niche—and their own needs within that space. You might target traffic that has already bought, signed up, commented, or pursued knowledge elsewhere in your market.

This is why you prefer to guest post or advertise on well-known blogs with loyal followings, rather than new blogs without a proven audience track record.

While there’s nothing wrong with guest posting on the newer blog, you’ll have more certainty that any traffic your blog receives from the more established and respected sites—which have large subscriber lists and sell products—is more likely to be willing to complete similar behaviours on your blog.

It’s like-minded

The right traffic has key values that are closely aligned with those of your brand.

If your blog is to hit a deep chord with readers, it needs to project the values they hold dear. The more readers see themselves in your blog’s brand, the more loyal they’re likely to become, and the more sharing and word-of-mouth promotion they’ll do.

If your content resonates with the wrong kinds of people, they’ll be promoting your site to their peers—who are likely to be more of the wrong kinds of people. Over time this can really take your blog in the wrong direction.

This is why you’re selective about the social media contacts you respond to, the off-blog discussions you engage in, the comments you delete from your blog, the outlets you allow to join your affiliate programs, the keywords you target, and so on.

It’s connected

The right traffic exhibits strong sharing activity, either online or off.

Not all blogs target readers who use social media. But the right kind of traffic is made up of users who are proactive about recommending your blog when the need arises.

They may not be what we like to think of as top-level “influencers” on Facebook, but they value the opportunity to share good things with the people they know and care about.

This is why you encourage readers to share your content with peers—via share buttons, an email-this-article button, or offline promotions that encourage word of mouth—and why you proactively and generously share your expertise yourself.

Is this traffic right for you?

When I’m looking at promoting my blog, these are the kinds of things I consider. Those assessments aren’t always conscious—often they’re subconscious—but they do motivate me to make certain decisions about traffic-generation opportunities.

What other factors do you consider when you’re targeting traffic sources? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what makes the “right” kind of traffic in the comments.

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. Ed says:

    Amazing. never knew we could go this deep into analytics. Have to give it some thought though :-)

    • Ben Troy says:

      uhmm, there are many ways to drive traffic, and each site should focus on 1 main to attract taget audience

  2. I completely agree with the thoughts in your blog post. Too many people are focused on getting traffic of no-specific quality. I’d like to think that I am writing content for my specific niche and that I am interacting with them where they tend to hangout online.

  3. Graham Lutz says:

    I have been focusing much more on “good traffic” as opposed to “more traffic” – For instance, Pinterest can end me hundreds of visits of a single picture, but the bounce rate is a million percent and the ones that don’t bounce hardly ever stay. Where as a link from another evidence based health blog brings significantly fewer people, but they spend 5:11 on the site and visit 9 pages.

  4. Tina says:

    Darren,

    I’ve been wrestling with the same question – I’m a new blogger and by no means qualified to answer your question, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve been wondering the same things. While I appreciate all traffic I do seek like-minded readers because I do want to engage them. I’m not blogging to talk to myself but because I have ideas that I’d like to bounce off of others and grow. I guess time will tell if readers who are interested in the same things find me, I’m trying to get my name out there and guide folks back to my blog – I sure hope they do though because I’m looking to connect! :)

    • GjiVan says:

      This is exactly why we need to understand our readers and the way they are using our blog. Surveys are the option for this. You can create a survey and ask ur readers if your content is useful or not, the more positive the results, the more relevant is the traffic.

  5. This is something that I had to learn for myself over time. When I started my blog, I just wanted traffic, any traffic. I wrote for a couple of popular blog and loved the huge spike in traffic that came to my site, but I wasn’t prepared and didn’t keep many people and my traffic numbers dropped down again. What I didn’t realize at the time was that this was good – my blog kept the people who were interested in what I was offering.

    I love an opportunity to introduce my site to new readers, but I don’t get broken hearted when a campaign doesn’t double my traffic. Instead, I appreciate every new reader who has discovered my blog. I want to connect with dog lovers and I keep that goal in mind when I plan a campaign and schedule content.

    Kimberly

  6. It’s passionate. I blog about how people new to online business can grow their business by helping others. I would like the traffic to my blog to also be passionate about this.

    • Ben Troy says:

      right, we should drive traffic from audience who have interests in common and care about our niche, if traffic isnot suitable, the bounce rate must increase much and that is a bad signal for pagerank , seo .

  7. Andy d. says:

    I think that quality traffic is better then quantity. Their are so many things that can be done like what you said here. Just take the time to experiment and find what works for the site.

  8. I like the like-minded note Darren.

    Birds of a feather flock together. Connect with high energy individuals and seek high energy readers. Avoid people who come from a low energy place – i.e., get rich quick types, low energy complainers, etc – and you build a loyal and responsive leadership which vibes with your vision.

    Thanks Darren!

    Ryan

  9. I think we can also get analysis from comments. If we are getting related comments then our traffic it true and related to our website.

  10. The right traffic doesn’t necessarily pertain to high traffic because low traffic that converts ten-fold is better than any number of visitors who don’t make any business inquiries or purchases. That’s why it’s important to target visitors who are more likely to embrace the site’s brand.

  11. Remembering back to when I had no traffic at all, I believe all traffic is good! :-)

    One perspective on the ‘right’ traffic is to understand which kind of traffic monetizes better (if you are monetizing your blog).

    For instance, I have found that Linkedin traffic monetizes much better than Facebook traffic.

    • Ben Troy says:

      I think the relevent traffic is most valuable, not all the source is good , to build niche site or large authority site, one should crearte strong link juice , premium links from bigger relevent sites by guess post, comment or exchange friend links , etc …

  12. Hi Darren,

    I agree that targeting the “right” kind of traffic is what we should all be really after instead of numbers that don’t mean anything in the long run.

    The same goes for offering a once-off freebie in exchange for an opt-in. Unless it’s some of your best content you’ve done to date, it will attract more “useless” traffic with “fly-by-night” opt-ins. I’ve read an interesting statistic that suggests that almost 50% of online marketers has an additional email address specifically for opt-ins to get freebies and then they unsubscribe when done. I can’t confirm the accuracy of this thus not putting in any references but this wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    I’m not saying there aren’t any success stories of using this tactic, but consider this:

    If you offer something like a free email course, a mutli-part video course, etc showcasing your own work that actually offers a lot more value than a cheap eBook, delivered to them over a reasonable period of time, the readers still coming back to you after the completion of the course would be probably THE most targeted reader you will ever find. They obviously liked what they got in the course and if you play your cards right, they’ll stick with you and even invest in your paid services or products much more likely than freebie seekers.

    Thanks for an excellent post Darren. highly appreciated.

  13. Marc Ensign says:

    You always know the right thing to say and the right time to say it. I was just looking at this stuff over the weekend and how I can improve my blog to better bring in the right traffic. Still figuring it out. Thanks Darren.

  14. I’ve never really understood people who just wanted traffic – any kind of traffic. If it’s the wrong kind of traffic, It doesn’t add to your earnings at all – they won’t be interested in the ads that show on your sites, in your affiliate links or your products. And the wrong kind of traffic also tend to bring in a lot of spam. It’s just not worth it.

  15. Hello Darren, In my opinion the right kind of blog traffic will understand my content and they will give a feedback for my blog post.They will connect with others good members and will discuss with them on the subject and of course they will provide their knowledge.

    Sharing something useful should be the motto for both blog owner and visitors.

  16. Greg says:

    The best kind of blog traffic in my opinion would have to be from the Search Engines. People are actually looking for something and one of your articles pops up. They are more likely to go to your website because they are searching for info.

    They are also more likely to subscribe as well because of this.

  17. For someone who writes some personal blogs, and a little bit of something about my interests in the SEO reseller business, I’d definitely want traffic coming from my friends, my family, and those who are in the big world of search. It would be really amazing if I would be visited by the big names of the industry. I know that a lot of people are, too.

  18. GjiVan says:

    Initially,People reach your site either through referral or search engines. I can’t say about the nature of traffic cz it depends on how you wanna use it. But according to my blogging experience, i have learned that, it’s the relevant traffic which generate more sales, subscribers and leads. They are getting what they are exactly searching for and they are eager to pay for the value you are giving them. So, before posting any articles, I generally target the exact matches and competition while doing keywords research which brings relevant organic traffic plus long tailed traffic too.

  19. Warren says:

    I think it is an experience thing. When you first start out online you’re looking to build up your traffic levels to show yourself that what you’re doing actually matters. Once you’ve finally managed that you expand your goals to include things like sales, leads, subscribers, etc. and then start digging down into Analytics to find ways to improve or increase the “right kind of traffic” :)

  20. Interesting article – I’ve always thought that quality is better than quantity when it comes to web traffic. Of course, big numbers are great, but it needs to be the right kind of people, otherwise what’s the point?

  21. The analysis given in the article practically covers all aspects. I would just add one more feature I look for in the target audience – it the broad demographic profile. I have an Avatar, an imaginary person that represents my ideal visitor and I target my traffic sources to locate people who are in similar situation as my Avatar.

    Sanjay Johari

  22. We are in the early stages of creating our blog, we would love our traffic to grow. However, it is the quality of that traffic that will be most beneficial to the success of our blog, and in return our website. We create what we like to think is quality content, that our readers will find entertaining or of some use. If we can continue down this path, and users read and share our content then I will be far more happy with our achievements.

    I’d much rather have 100 visits to my blog a month who find the content relevant and sharable, than 10,000 who land on my blog and immediately bounce.

  23. I’m still looking to building up traffic to my blog and have more interaction from commentors on it. Hopefully in time to come it would be able to reach a bigger crowd.

  24. This is similar to getting traffic to a business website. The traffic numbers only matter if that traffic is actually converting and if the website is successful. A large amount of traffic that isn’t taking any action is just as bad as no traffic at all. It’s important to target keywords that are most relevant to your business. The wrong keywords will deliver the wrong traffic.

  25. Melody says:

    I think everyone above me has said my thoughts here – but I too would rather have a smaller number of visitors who are engaged, leave comments, read content, and share content, than pure high traffic count. I notice that sometimes the big spike in visitors also has a spike in bounce rate, and they spend less time on my site, High five for a right on article! People love to boast, my site got “xyz traffic this month” but it’s just a number!