Once you start tracking your blog statistics with a web analytics package you may start to get a little bored seeing similar results all the time.
How do you break out of this slump? You break out by creating a spike in your blog analytics. It’s not only good for your site overall, it’s fun to watch it happen and see the results.
The question is how to go about creating a traffic spike? I know some of you are probably saying to yourselves “easier said than done.” That’s only partially true, it’s really not that hard if you commit a little effort and time, and it can help your blog get to the next level. The general solution is to create a blog post that generates this spike, now let’s get to talking about how it’s done.
1. Choosing Your Statistic
The first thing we need to do is choose which statistic we’re trying to improve to create a spike. With a blog we have a few solid choices like:
- Page Views
What I’ve generally found though, is that when you create a spike for one of those, you usually see a spike for all of them. But depending on which one you pick, you can alter your strategy. For example, if you want to spike your visits, you’ll need to create a post that brings traffic to your blog from many sources such as links, your RSS subscribers, word of mouth, and search engines.
If we were trying to get a comment spike, you’d want to create a post that will drive people to comment. This could be a controversial topic, or a topic that asks for opinions or help from your readers. For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on a visits spike.
2. Choosing Your Post
To create a visits spike, you need to create a post that will draw attention and lead traffic to your site. The types of posts that generally draw the most attention are:
- Breaking news – Get a scoop on an unreported story and you’re bound to get attention. This is hard to do unless you’re well-connected in your industry.
- Hot topic – What are other bloggers or sites talking about? Post a fresh opinion on the subject.
- Controversy – Is there anything controversial you can say? Don’t take this one too far, but a controversial opinion or subject can generate interest.
- Instructional Post – Are you an expert in your topic? Posting a great instructional article is well appreciated and usually earns traffic.
- Review – Do a detailed review on a product or service in your area of interest. If it’s good and helpful it can drive traffic your way.
- Predictions – Posts that make predictions are often an interesting subject for people.
- “Top Ten” List – Lists for some reason tend to do really well in getting link love and attention.
The key with all these types of posts though is that it must be good, timely, and original. If you do that correctly, then all you have to worry about is letting people know about it.
3. Where To Get Traffic
Once you’ve got a great post that you think deserves traffic, it’s time to let people know about it. You can get traffic to your post from the following sources:
- Links from other blogs and websites – Let bloggers and webmasters who would be interested in your post know about it. A kind email asking them to check out your post is all that’s required. Don’t ask for a link or any favors, just let them know you have a post they might be interested in checking out because you know they follow that subject. If your post is good, you’ll get links out of it.
- Social news sites or memetracker sites – These are sites like Digg, del.icio.us, or Memeorandum. These sites tend to lean towards technology posts, but there are sites like these out there for various topics. If you make a great post, don’t feel shy about submitting it to these sites to see if catches on. Getting on the front page of Digg, on the del.icio.us popular list, or a lead story on Memeorandum means lots of traffic and a sure spike.
- Your RSS subscribers – If you’ve developed a solid set of RSS subscribers, then they’ll see your post when it comes along in their feedreader. If your post is good, they’ll probably come visit your site or start the next process, which is word of mouth.
- Word of mouth – A great blog post means people will email it to friends and coworkers or tell them about it directly.
- Search engines – It may take a little longer to get the spike, but when creating your post keep some keywords in mind that you hope to get good search rankings for. Placing the keywords in the title of the post as well as the body can really help you achieve some good rankings, especially when other sites link to your post with your post title. If you can get a high ranking for a good term, you’ll see a spike when that occurs as well as consistent higher traffic as long as you keep that ranking.
What’s great about each one of those methods is that they often can snowball. If you can get links from a couple of top blogs, it can start the traffic flowing which can lead to making the front page of a social news site, which helps word of mouth and it all just keeps building. If your post is great, you’ll probably see each method above happening.
4. Taking Advantage of the Spike
When you get your spike, you want to make sure it helps you out in the long term. Here are some tips to take advantage
- Thank any bloggers who linked to you – Send each blogger an email, and maybe even link back to them in some way. It will allow you to network and build relationships that can pay off in many ways over time. They may link to you again, they may provide you with a breaking story, or perhaps you’ll be doing business at some point.
- Build your RSS subscriber list – Make sure your RSS subscription options are prominent so you build your subscriber list. Each time I get a spike I see a noticeable jump in my number of subscribers. Make sure you follow up your spike post with some similar topics in the next few days to keep those subscribers around.
- Respond to comments – If visitors leave comments, reply and engage in the discussion. It will make your visitors come back and feel more interested in your blog.
- Monetize it – Depending on what your blog is like, there may be an opportunity to make money off your post directly either through ads, affiliate links, or selling an item directly. Keep this in mind, it’s something you might want to think about before your spike occurs as well. But if it’s too obvious, it might be less likely that a spike ever happens.
Have fun with it, and let us know here if this advice helps you get a traffic spike.