This is a graph of Machiine.com’s web traffic over the last 12 months (April 2012 – April 2013). You will notice that while the number’s aren’t huge, they show steady growth. I’ve posted on 3 blogs over the last 4 years and noticed some similarities between all of them. Here is a summary of what I’ve learned about blog traffic.
If you have a blog you write content on, it’s probably because you’ve learned something and want to share your experience or knowledge with others. It’s encouraging to see that the time you spend on writing the articles is paying off. Conversely seeing little to no growth in traffic is über discouraging. If you are at this point, before you give up, read this article. I hope it will encourage you to continue. Maybe it’s not the way you write, but the types of articles you are writing. This tutorial will walk you through the steps to grow your traffic.
Step 1 – write articles you would want to read
The articles that get the most views on this website are the ones that I wrote because I wanted to read them. Like when I setup my Apple TV to a computer monitor. I wished there was a tutorial showing me how to do this (for one thing I didn’t even know if it would work). So after setting up the Apple TV I posted what I did for other people who might also need it. The first question you need to ask yourself – are you writing articles that you would want to read?
Step 2 – vary the kinds of articles you are writing
With all the blogs I’ve written I’ve noticed subtle differences based on the type of content created. One blog I created was all about Real Estate technology. It was a little boring to me (which is why I don’t write about it anymore) but I learned that when I varied my posts and wrote topical pieces I would attract new readers. If you are writing a blog about your experience at a big corporation for example, it may be hard to get new readers. People may not be looking for your blog yet because they don’t know it exists. If you post an article every once in a while about a topic that interests you and that also is being talked about in the news you will notice an increase in traffic for that article. Hopefully attracting new readers.
Here are the stats from a post about a topic I found interesting about Google dropping support on IE8. You can see in the screenshot below it ended up getting lots of attention for 24 hours. Notice that topical articles don’t often bring in traffic in the future. (People only care about these types of posts for a short time)
Step 3 – write posts that keep new visitors coming back again and again
These types of articles are going to be different depending on the type of blog, basically these types of articles are subjects that don’t get old. If your blog is on Real Estate then you may want to post articles on topics like “5 easy ways to improve curb-side marketing”. These kinds of posts don’t tend to bring in tons of new visitors, rather they bring in a few every so often. You can see in the following example that since I posted the article GIT pull from a php script cause an error about 6 months ago there is steady stream of small traffic.
Step 4 – be consistent
Anyone who follows this blog knows that I really suck at this. But I still know it is important. If you are able to attract new visitors to your blog and they like what you are writing about, then they will want to know when to come back.
You can see on the image above that I clearly stated when visitors can expect the next post and what the topic will be about.
Step 5 – keep going
It’s easy to get discouraged writing a blog. Putting many hours into writing posts, wasting time with spammy comments, and getting little to no traffic. The biggest secret of all is to keep going. Google puts all new sites into a Sandbox (lasting 3 to 6 months). With so many new websites created every day Google doesn’t know if the site is real or not. So they wait for a few months before they start giving it priority on Google search results. If you don’t know this it can be frustrating when looking at your analytics.
Take this blog for example. The first 6 months to a year of writing articles I got nearly no traffic. Fortunately for me, this blog was about writing articles that I would find useful and I am actually passionate about. So that really helped motivate me to keep writing posts. It is easy to give up. If you are writing articles to share useful information with others that you’ve learned (like this one), it is very rewarding to see that it is helping people. So I encourage you. Don’t give up. Keep writing your articles and use the strategies outlined above and your traffic will grow.
If you have any other tips that you have found with growing your blog’s traffic, please post it in the comments. Other readers and I will be very appreciative.
I help people build better web apps and make a difference in the world. I enjoy sharing what I am learning and find interesting. I live on the Left Coast of Canada with my wife. Follow me on Twitter.