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When Was Your Biggest Day of Traffic and How did It Happen?

Reader Questions for the weekend:

  • When was your biggest day of traffic?
  • Where did the traffic come from?
  • What (if anything) did you do in order for it to happen?

Leave your answers in comments below or write a post about it on your blog and leave a comment here with a link to it.

What’s the Lowdown on Digg Bait?

Muhammad Saleem wrote a post over at CopyBlogger this week by the title – ‘Is it OK to Write for Digg’ and makes some really good points on either side of the debate. Here are a few key quotes from his piece with a few of my own thoughts:

“for it to be classified as “Digg bait” it really has to appeal to the community and it has to incite a passionate response from the users, whether the response be good or bad.”

Love them or hate them – but Digg users are a passionate lot (or many of them are). There’s something about their youthful exuberance that can make them either love you or hate them in a way that can send a blogger to ‘cloud nine’ or to the depths of despair.

“But Digg tends to become like crack for many writers and after they get on Digg once, there is an intense desire to try to keep getting on Digg. It is here that writers often start disregarding their loyal readers, start pandering to Digg, and run into trouble.”

I think this (and the following comments that Muhammad makes) is key. I’ve seen numerous bloggers go to the Dark Digg Side – lured by the temptation of tens of thousands of visitors in short spaces of time and writing posts that really don’t fit with their topic or help their current readers in an attempt to make the front page. My approach is that the vast majority of your posts should be written with your current reader in mind. Look after them – provide a community for them – give them useful content. While doing this there will be opportunities to write content with a broader appeal – but even then you will need to keep it on topic and appealing to your readership.

“Writing for Digg is actually less about substance and more about how you present the content – in other words, copywriting.”

This doesn’t mean you can’t have a post with substance that is diggable – but it does mean you need to pay particular attention to the form that you write in, your title and even the layout of the post.

I think some of Muhammad’s other points about a core and peripheral audience are great – use social media sites like Digg to expand your horizons and grow your audience – but keep your core readers right in your focus.

As with any other aspect of a blog – become obsessed with Digg and you’ll get things out of balance (read more on holistic blogging).

ProBlogger Readers Do it Better…. than Digg Users

Wendy writes a great post today in her introduction to Social Media Strategy and Socially Driven Content.

In the post she talks to bloggers about why they should learn about social media, what results they can get and how to start out in it.

What caught my attention was right down the bottom of her post where she did a little comparison to how Digg, StumbleUpon, Netscape and delicious readers interacted on her site over a 7 day period in terms of visitor numbers, page views per visitor and time spent on her site.

She then did a little analysis of ProBlogger readers over the same period (54 visitors). The visitors came simply by writing quality comments on my posts here (and she does write insightful comments).

The results speak for themselves.

While social bookmarking sites can potentially send a lot more traffic:

  • ProBlogger readers stay longer per visit (you stay 18 times longer than Digg users)
  • ProBlogger readers visit more pages over that visit (2.5 times as many pages than Digg users).

Wendy writes:

I’ve grown to really appreciate the Digg crowd (even though they are mean as all hell sometimes), but if I had to pick, I’d take those 54 ProBlogger visitors over a big Digg any day.”

I guess that goes to show what quality readers you all are!

Seriously though (and you are quality readers – but there’s a lesson here) it’s also a good illustration of the power of different types of traffic.

While Digg can send you a heap of visitors in a short period of time they rarely stay long, rarely go deeper within your blog and rarely comment. On the other hand traffic from another blog on a similar topic (even if it’s just a from a comment) can drive a different quality of traffic.

Not only will they stay longer, comment more and view more pages I suspect they’ll also subscribe to your newsletter and RSS feed in higher numbers but they’ll respond more to your income streams (ads and affiliate products).

More reading on different types of traffic:

How to Find Untapped Audiences Offline – By Letting Others Republish Your Content

One of the increasingly common emails that I’m getting from my Digital Photography School blog is along the lines of:

‘can I republish and article from your blog in my periodical/newsletter/magazine?’

It is an interesting question and one that I’ve had a change of heart on over the past few years.

Previously I was much more protective of my content and would rarely allow it to be republished (with or without permission) in any form unless there was some very tangible benefit from doing so (ie either payment or a very large readership of the other publication).

However over the last year I’ve begun to see the benefits of allowing my content to be republished – particularly in offline publications.

My reasoning in this thinking is simply that it opens up new audiences and potential reader relationships that you might previously have not had.

One of the challenges that many bloggers face is that after a year or two of running that they often hit a ceiling in terms of readership. Every other blog in their niche knows about them and has already linked up and as a result most active blog readers in the niche have already made a decision about whether they’ll follow you or not.

The main way that you can then grow traffic is to break into untapped and un-reached audiences. There are a number of ways to do this that include:

  • build your SEO ranking and find new readers searching for information on search engines
  • break into a related niche by expanding the topics that you write about and appealing to other blogs on related topics
  • finding new offline sources of traffic

It is this last point that allowing the republishing content can help you with.

Let me offer just one example (of many from the last months):
[Read more...]

How to List Your Blog in MySpace News

MySpace have recently launched their News service (complete with some very nauseating flashing ads that I’m seeing right now).

Loren from Search Engine Journal posts that blogs and news sites wanting to be considered for this new index can submit their link here.

This is a worthwhile endeavor for any blogger wanting to promote their blog as MySpace is bursting traffic and any new service that they add has every chance of sending the sites that they link to with some significant traffic – especially considering that their news service has a voting/social bookmarking type system attached to it.

Their FAQ doesn’t really outline what requirements your blog needs to meet to be included in the index other than that it should be topical, that it should publish regularly, that it has a a core audience and that other news sources link to the site.

Being ‘Discovered’ vs ‘Slow and Steady’ Blog Growth

Reader QuestionsKumiko asks – ‘I was studying John Chow’s traffic patterns through Alexa and noticed that his popularity really surged after four of his articles were listed on Digg and his traffic went through the roof. He was ‘discovered’ through these and his traffic levels have never really looked back. And receiving a link in one of your posts has done wonderful things for my own traffic!

What were landmark posts or actions that you did in order to receive the traffic that you have now? Was there a single post or link that sent your traffic sky-high and made you a ‘pro-blogger?’

Good question – although not the easiest one to answer as there have been many such moments in the 4 or so years that I’ve been blogging.

Before answering the question from my own perspective let me make a more general observation.

Being ‘Discovered’ vs ‘Slow and Steady’ Blog Growth

Every blog is so different and for some the process of ‘being discovered’ that you write about above is definitely a factor (usually after a big blog or social network site links up).

On the other hand there are also many popular blogs out there where the rise to success was much more slow and steady.

For this second group it is the accumulation of good blogging over a sustained period of time that gets them discovered – one reader at a time, one day at a time and one post at a time. I suspect this second group represents the majority of bloggers.

Speaking Personally

If i were to plot my own blogging experience on the spectrum between being ‘discovered’ and the ‘slow and steady’ approach I’d have to say that it’s differed for me from blog to blog. Here’s how it’s been on three of my own blogs:

[Read more...]

The Ultimate Guide to Getting Lots of Link Love

This Guest Post was written by Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home.

Good link love, bad link love, do we really care who links to us? A savvy blogger would say yes and no. Based on the 80-20 rule of business – 80% of your traffic will come from only 20% of your links (by my stats, it’s less than 20%).

Of course, links from A-Listers and high Google Page Rank sites are a worthy pursuit. But why should we care about the 20%, those links from anyone, especially the sites that will likely only send us a couple of visitors a week?

Quite frankly, there are four compelling reasons to care about “little links”:

  • Little links can turn into big links. One of my top referrers of all time, Steve Olson, linked to me in the fourth post he wrote. His blog has grown so big that this post still sends me consistent traffic to this day, and we’ve become great friends in the process.
  • Technorati. If the A-Listers only had links from A-Listers, they wouldn’t BE A-Listers!
  • The long tail of referring domains. If I added up all of the referrals from domains that sent less than 4 people a week to my site, together they would be my fourth largest source of traffic.
  • Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first. (Rather shallow of them don’t you think?!)

I don’t advocate spending tons of time in the pursuit of mass quantities of links from small sites. I do advocate spending a little bit of time each month cultivating links from a wide variety of sources, regardless of the amount of traffic potential.

So without further ado, here is the world’s greatest list of posts dedicated to the fine art of Link Love. Note I didn’t say longest, because there are a lot of long lists out there (which can get quite overwhelming). These are the BEST posts on the subject written within the last year… [Read more...]

A Strategy for Relationship Linking

The following post has been contributed by Liz Strauss from Successful Blog.

Blogging is more than writing and sharing information with the masses. Publishing a post only starts the heartbeat of growing blog. Yaro Starak says Don’t Be An Insular Blogger, never linking to or talking about other bloggers. Mike Sansone can be heard repeating “Link out at least once in every post.” It’s number 4 on his Blog Posting Mantra.

Linking out is a great strategy for attracting incoming links and traffic. Even more it’s a great way to establish quality relationships that grow as your blog does. Use this strategy to find bloggers that you will have long-lasting linking relationships with.

  • Define your brand values. Know what your blog is about and have values. Every established brand has values. That’s what draws us and keeps coming to a brands that we love. Figure out the key values of your blog and identify blogs that share the same values as yours. You’ll have a lot in common. as people.
  • Have a standard of quality. Write down the traits you hold as a standard and look for them before you link. If you’re want a long-term relationship, go for quality and relevance before traffic. A quality blog that’s a friend for months or years has lasting value after a spike in traffic is long forgotten.
  • Look for bloggers who have differentiated their blogs. High-quality, one-of-kind blogs have huge growth potential and the bloggers who run them usually have plenty of marketing savvy to share.
  • Keep current with relationships you already have. Visit and link to the blogs that have been your friends all along.

Relationships make for stronger, more relevant links. It’s relationships that will see you through when other links break or fall off. Linking for traffic or for incoming links is a short-term strategy. “It’s called link love,” Phil Gerbyshak just said to me. “Link because you love the blog, the information, the post, the ideas that are being shared.”

I couldn’t agree more.

I want relationship not a one-link stand.

Read more of Liz’s work at Successful Blog.

5 Ways to Tap Hidden Money Making Opportunities With Your Blog

This Guest Post was written by Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home.

Although Darren writes frequently on the ways to monetize a blog, it’s no secret that many of his tips work best on a product-focused site such as his Digital Photography Blog. This leaves many of us who write content-focused blogs scratching our heads sometimes, wondering how we can translate the monetary success of a product blog into our own content blogs.

The fact of the matter is, you can’t. Making money off of a non-product blog takes a completely different approach, and much of the earning potential of this kind of blog is created indirectly.

Darren goes into great detail on the indirect methods of making money from blogging in this rather timeless post. The points he covers include consulting, book deals, business partnerships and speaking opportunities among others.

These opportunities are open to pretty much any writer on the planet. But the way to really leverage them to your advantage takes good blogging skills as well as good old-fashioned business and people skills:

  • The Ability to Sell – The most successful people in business are sales people – but I’m not talking about just selling products. Visionary leaders sell us on ideas, beliefs and indeed they sell us on ourselves, by influencing our thoughts and actions.
  • Solid Networking Skills – Not many people get to the top alone. I’m fond of saying that groups of people function at the level of the ‘lowest common denominator’, meaning that many times we do the bare minimum that we can get away with. Make it a point to know successful people for the simple fact that it will force you to raise your own standards (the doors they can open aren’t bad, too!).
  • The Law of Reciprocity - Add value. Give to get. Successful bloggers know they have something to offer, and ensure that their focus is on giving rather than getting. When you give a lot, the receiving part is a natural part of the cause-effect equation.
  • Get Uncomfortable – Becoming well known is something that many people aspire to, but in actual practice, pushes us to the absolute limits of what we feel we are capable of. Andy Wibbels has said it far more succinctly than I could, “If I don’t feel like a fraud at least once a day then I’m not reaching far enough.”
  • Strong Branding – Developing your own unique voice is critical, because millions of blogs are a dime a dozen. No matter if your readers love you or love to hate you, it is most important that you develop yourself as a “brand” and build on that foundation congruently.
  • Determination – Otherwise known as motivation, inspiration, etc. When it comes right down to it, finishing a big project can get downright boring at times. It’s easy to lose steam when results seem months or years away. Sometimes it takes a good old fashioned pep talk from a friend to stay on track until that book deal is within reach.