Today I was asked about a post from a few months ago on Savvy Affiliate that did a little analysis of the Alexa graphs of four blogs (including ProBlogger) which had surges in traffic that were the beginnings of sustained traffic growth.
In the post Scott observed a surge in ProBlogger’s Traffic as can be seen in the following graph.
This surge happened in April 2006 and as I rarely look at Alexa (or take much notice of it as I find it a bit flakey – I don’t trust the actual numbers but the trends that the graphs reveal are interesting) I hadn’t really noticed it before.
But because Scott has posted about it I thought I’d dig back into my archives to try to identify what the cause of the surge was.
While Alexa don’t give a lot of detail when it comes to dates I’d estimate that it happened in April of 2006. What exact date it was I’m unsure.
So what happened in April 2006?
As I look back over the archives of that month two factors jumped out at me. Which of them (if any) was the reason for the surge in traffic I’m not sure – but here they are:
1. I handed my blog over to Guest Bloggers – for two weeks in April 2006 I took a holiday (our last break before our baby was born) and I handed the blog over to a number of guest bloggers. While I did have a few advanced posts set to go off over the month it was largely others who wrote the blog for half of the month. The number of posts on ProBlogger for the month were lower than any other month for the year and comment levels were fairly normal.
2. I switched to Full Feeds – my gut tells me that this was actually a significant factor in the surge (although at the time I was scared that I’d see a lot less actual visitors to the blog because more people would stay in their feed readers). I don’t remember exactly the result on traffic at that time but it initially was a little lower but did grow from this point (and subscriber numbers leapt up).
What didn’t happen in April 2006?
My initial thought when I saw this surge was that it happened on a day that a ProBlogger post hit the front page of Digg or that it happened on a day that I wrote a post that got ‘discovered’ on a bigger blog. However as I look back over the posts of that month there were no such instances that I could identify.
From what I can see, there was no big spectacular event that was responsible for the surge. It may have been something to do with some fresh voices, it could have been connected to going to full feeds (which did bring about a rise to my subscribers at the time) or perhaps it was just the accumulation of numerous events over time that added together at this point to see a rise in traffic (or perhaps Alexa really is screwy and it’s some sort of anomaly – maybe a handful of new subscribers all using Alexa toolbars started following ProBlogger that day).
Lessons from the Experience?I guess the lesson is pretty obvious – switch to full feeds, let others write your blog and go on holidays! :-)
PS: Seriously though – what I do find interesting about the graph is the latest surge which happened the day that my new design was launched. I guess it’s paying off so far – although it’s still a little early to tell.