I published my blog stats and income report for the year 2009 the other day. I continued my web site traffic analysis based on traffic sources. I sorted my traffic based on three sources: Blog commenting traffic, social media and the search engines. The post lists my traffic sources and the differences on the quality of the traffic based on the referrer.
Total Visitors per Traffic Source
Since this blog was launched on 20th of May 2009, my blog has got total of 18610 visits. Based on Google Analytics, my traffic sources were as follows:
- Search Engines 10956 (58.87%)
- Direct Traffic 3783 (20.33%)
- Referring Sites 3,692 (19.84%)
- Other 179 (0.96%)
Here's the breakdown based on my own analysis (direct traffic via bookmarks or RSS feeds is not included):
Blog commenting and being active in social media sites has other benefits, but search engines CRUSH the other two on pure traffic volume:
- 662 visits via my blog comments, from which 486 were unique. 291 of all the visitors stayed on site (didn't bounce).
- 1588 visits via social networks. 952 unique visitors and 400 didn't bounce.
- 10955 visits from the search engines. 8698 unique visitors. 2569 read more than one page.
These are just my numbers, but if one would shoot for sheer traffic volume, e.g. for a niche site, it would be OK to forget social media and blog commenting as a way to gain traffic and only use them to build couple of links and then put all effort and focus on SEO.
Blog Commenting Traffic
Traffic-wise, two of my blog comments in stand out: the one on this post at Problogger and the other on this post at Entrepreneurs Journey, with the two delivering several hundreds of visitors combined, which goes on to prove that my advanced blog commenting strategy worked.
The first comment was a spot on addition to the original post with an in-comment link to additional info here on my blog and the latter, in addition to being a valuable comment, benefited from being the first comment for that post.
For effective blog commenting:
- Comment to add to the discussion first, everything else is a bonus
- Spam comments will not send you any traffic, so forget it
- Be among the first ones to comment (if the comments are displayed with the oldest on top)
- Leave meaningful and value-adding comments
- Use your real name
- Always adopt to the blog comment rules of the blog
- Link back to your site from the comment text only if it is really relevant, and if the comment policy allows such links. Make sure the comment itself is beneficial even without the link, which is for additional information.
Social Media Traffic
The sites I counted as social media traffic were: Twitter, Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Blogengage, Delicious and Facebook + a whole load of tiny streams of traffic from other social networking sites. This is somewhat limited view on "social media", as blogs, video sites, forums and all can be considered to be social media, but this is what I used this time. Here's my breakdown of the traffic (as requested by Phaoloo at Ask Zemalf -post.):
- Twitter: 913
- Digg: 185
- Reddit: 180
- StumbleUpon: 154
- BlogEngage: 72
- Delicious: 35
- Facebook: 32
From the social networks, I'm most active on Twitter. BlogEngage has been great source for the couple of months I've used it. Facebook I've kept for for friends and family I know well, which explains the relatively small numbers from that (vs. Twitter for example).
Time Spent on Site
The visitors from blog commenting and social media did spend more time on site than the ones from the search engines, with blog commenting being the clear winner.
When someone spends more time on your blog, e.g. actually reads the whole post, views multiple pages, leaves a comment, the blog is doing better. And the likelihood of that visitor subscribing increases.
Bounce rate is a term used in web site traffic analysis. It essentially represents the percentage of initial visitors to a site who only read the one page they land on and "bounce" away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site. The formula used to calculate bounce rate is: Bounce Rate: Total Number of Visits Viewing One Page / Total Number of Visits. - Wikipedia
My blogs average bounce rate for the studied time period was 73,93%, which is horrible, and I didn't go into deeper analysis why it's so high at this time. The bounce rates for the different traffic sources were:
- Blog commenting: 56,04%
- Social media: 74,81%
- Search engines: 76,55%
- Search engines (and SEO) is SUPERIOR on traffic volume
- Social media is great way to build relationships, but traffic-wise it might be disappointing
- Blog commenting is OUTSTANDING in terms of gaining laser-targeted traffic in addition to other benefits, like getting exposure on other blogs and forming relationships with other bloggers
Even that search engines ruled bringing in the majority of the traffic and in the end social media is more of a relationship building than traffic building method, the analysis also showed that blog commenting is outstanding when it comes to keeping the new visitors:
- The bounce rate for the traffic that came via blog commenting is 25% lower than the traffic from social networks and the search engines.
- The time spent on site is 20-30% higher for blog commenting traffic than for the social media sites and the search engines.
Unfortunately I didn't have advanced blog tracking in place, e.g. how many RSS subscribers my blog received from these three sources. And one must consider how much to invest on the efforts. I did spend way more time on blog commenting and social media than I did for search engines.
However, I'm guessing that the subscription rate is higher for blog commenting than for the other sources. And new visitors from social media are more likely to follow me on Twitter for example. If someone has had sophisticated tracking in place, it would be really interesting to see proof of this, so please, leave a comment if you do.
Also note that there are many great ways to increase blog traffic I didn't utilize during 2009 to full extend:
- Guest posting (writing posts to other blogs than yours) is the most important one and reportedly the best way to get referral traffic, in addition to getting incoming links
- Podcasting and video have the potential to deliver traffic in thousands, even millions, and your regular readers will appreciate non-text content as well.
- Being active in related forums is huge for some bloggers
- Article marketing is similar to guest posting, giving you exposure outside your blog and providing links for SEO and some traffic as well
Now that you've seen my data and analysis, it's time to continue this on the comments:
- What is your experience or example on effectiveness of different blog promotion techniques and traffic sources?