A week ago today I posted some thoughts about the tools I am currently using to discover and understand the traffic I get here at my blog. Several of you commented on that post and offered some helpful suggestions (i.e., W3counter — thanks Dan Grossman) and encouragement, all of which were much appreciated. Since that time I have also been carrying on an email dialog with a friend and fellow blogger about his experience, and in today’s post I want to relate his statistical success story and see if we can draw some lessons from it. At his request, I won’t mention who he is or link to his blog, but you may, I think, find his story as interesting as I do.
Since a picture is far more eloquent than I am, take a look at this chart of the traffic at his blog for the last half of this month. (The chart was created using StatCounter, which offers free analysis of the last 500 page loads and even more if you opt to upgrade to their paid service).
The results he is now getting, I think you’ll agree, are impressive. How did he do it, you ask? Is it luck? Is it a fluke? Will it continue? Could you or I duplicate his results? All of those are legitimate questions, so let’s look at some of what went on in his case. I’ll leave it to you to decide the answers to those questions for yourself.
First, his is a technology blog. He writes about Java primarily, but not exclusively. However, his blog is focused. He has something specific to write about. Here is the order of events as he relates it:
- I decided I had something to blog about
- I wrote one post, then another, then yet another
- It occurred to me that I must be missing some vital connection between the nodes in the blogosphere
- I went looking for aggregators and found javablogs.com
- my hits rose to 392, then fell to below 200
- someone decided to dzone one of my posts — (Dzone is a site for developers that is like Digg where users rate links.)
- the rest is described in those pixels (meaning the pixels of the barchart above)
I conclude from his experience that it is important to have a focus, to post regularly, to take an active role in trying to promote your blog, and then to have the good fortune to have something you say be discovered by the community. Once your blog has been found to be a valued resource or maybe even just an interesting one, people will come back to see what you have to say. I can’t predict whether my friend’s traffic will stay at its most recent high levels. Time will surely tell about that. However, it does seem to be true that once people find your site and get something of value there, they are certainly more likely to come back again in the future.
My blog’s current traffic levels on its best days are at about the same level as my friend’s at the beginning of his chart before his traffic began to really take off. My highest number of page views so far (since I installed the WordPress Stats plugin on May 6th) was 69 on May 22nd, which as it turns out was the day after I posted the video contained in “The Curse of Aging,” a link that continues to get a number of hits.
What conclusions do you draw from my friend’s experience and his statistics? Feel free to let me know in the comments to this post.