Wednesday, April 20, 2005

[Traffic] How do you drive traffic?

Being listed as a "blog of note" on Bloggers homepage really boosted my traffic! Now that I have been bumped off the list I'm wondering what others do to drive traffic? Beyond submitting your site to search engines and participating in online discussion boards and leaving comments, what are the best sources of traffic to your site?

25 comments:

Rachael said...

A blogger that was mentioned in a newspaper article told me her readership (initially)shot up to 1100 readers a day. Since that isnt an exactly an option, I suggest checking out the post Debbie at Words To Eat By wrote on how to drive traffic...she makes some great suggestions (and a mean lookin' mint icecream cake!)

Amy Sherman said...

Funny because I have been quoted in oodles of newspaper articles. I see a bump, but not that big a bump.

Here is the link by the way to that post:
http://wordstoeatby.blogspot.com/2005/03/food-blogging-101.html

the comments are very helpful, though I have to admit, nothing new...

drbiggles said...

I drive in traffic with a fuel injected V8 jacked in to a 5 speed manual transmission baby! VARROOOM !!
No, I had to. Sorry. Couldn't resist.
How does one flog yer blog? You gotta get out there physically and on the Net. Leave decent comments at other's blogs. Forums are a great way to spread the word. I posted a few entries at my favorite BBQ forum and have been receiving a steady extra 30 readers a day. Make yourself some business cards to hand out. Talk to local shop owners, people working at the stalls in Farmer's Markets, restaurant owners, you get the idea. Attend cooking classes and meet people that way. Hold contests at your blog, I met some GREAT people that way. Most of all, it takes patience and time.

Biggles

Fatemeh Khatibloo-McClure said...

I think the critical distinction here is that, when you're posted on a site somewhere at random, the hits you get go through the roof, but they aren't "quality" hits - that is, they aren't people who are going to have "loyalty to your brand" (listen to me talk like a direct marketer).

So, in the long run, they don't have any benefit for you.

Better to slowly, gently build up hits that are quality... I find that a lot of my subscribers are forwarding my newsletter to other people (I can tell because the "came from" path is an email message).

I'd rather KEEP the people I have coming to Gastronomie daily, than keep seeing spikes that don't mean much in the long-term.

But, that's just my direct mail background talking.

Amy Sherman said...

Thanks Fatemeh, I too am looking for repeat visitors. I have just started a newsletter and will be curious to see how that goes. Has anyone used one of those "tell a friend about this site" buttons from Bravenet? I thought about it but chickened out. Go ahead Biggles--bbq my chicken!

Cate said...

Amy - where can I find info on the "Tell a friend" about my site? I think I'd be interested in that. I also started offering subscriptions through Bloglet on my site - thinking that would help. I had it at the bottom of my links list, but moved it towards the top yesterday, figuring that would give it more exposure. I know a bunch of people read my site every morning, and thought it would be easier for them to just subscribe, but none of the regulars have. Very strange.

drbiggles said...

Hey Amy,

Schooo, just had a vision of smoked chicken. Halved & marinated in fresh lemon juice, fresh garlic for 3 hours. Seared over mesquite. Tossed in to a hickory fired smoker for 2.5 hours. Juicy like it came from your oven, warm happy smoke flavor, NO BITTERness. Followed with bright lemon and a garlic finish. All the while juices run to your elbows from your fangers. Dark as well as white meat is tender, juicy and fills all expectations. Skin tender, full of flavor, not crispy but you don't miss it. Oh goodness me.
I'm sorry, where were we?

Amy Sherman said...

I madea tea smoked chiken once in a wok, came out pretty good...

Ok sweetnicks, the button is available on Bravenet.com which has a lot of other freebie services. I use their traffic counter and their newsletter.

Sam said...

I expect Rachael is referring to me, but what she says isn't quite accurate.

I actually told her that after the newspaper article, for the first time ever, I had got 1100 readers in a day. I never mentioned "per day" Before that my average was about 300 a day, or 400 max.

And of course, the 1100 was a huge spike, it dropped way back down, although not quite as low as it was pre-article.

I am not entirely certain where all my readers come from. I have almost 100 extra readers on top of my sitemeter stats who subscribe to my RSS feed I think, and I guestimate somewhere near half my hits come from searches for both text and images.

Like Fatemeh - i think the slow gradual build up is a better thing than spikes.
I don't know the answer to this except try and do everyhing you can to make your blog attractive, look good, be interesting, have information that people are actually looking for, include key words in your text and tags in your images so that you will pop as a result when people do a search for something you have posted about.

I wondered about creating a newsletter, but seeing as I update nearly every day - i don't see the point. People who like me on first glance will hopefully come back again soon after, and when they notice something new, they'll, even more hopefully, keep coming back.
Sweetnicks - why would anyone subscribe to something they visit every day? Just a waste of email bandwidth. I visit Amy and Fatemeh nearly everyday so getting their newsletter just isnt going to happen for me. A while back a signed up for a few newsletters and they often go straight in the trash.

I am sure I have repeat visitors though, because a large number of my visitors come from "unknown" which I equate as having come from a bookmark or something like instead of through a link.

Amy Sherman said...

I am only doing the newsletter because several people asked me if I would so I figured there was a desire. I got about 60 people subscribing in the first week or so I put it up. I post evry other day but not everyone visits that often. I plan on making the newsletter a recap with links to recipes I posted during the month and maybe restaurant review links too.

In two years the most hits I have ever gotten on one day was 1700. (thanks Blogger!) Average varies greatly but under 1000 per day. I know Chocolate & Zucchini gets 5-7,000 per day which just makes me wonder what I'm doing wrong! I know, I'm not cute and French...

Sam said...

so you see amy - you are more popular than me. Not one single person has asked me for a newsletter!
a monthly round up is a nice idea, and if I did one - that would be my method too, but i do too much already. I am running out of time!

remember if you use sitemeter to count - it gives you a total approx half that what I think Clotilde and others use (or so I have been led to believe), some of the other blog softwares count page hits as what we call 'visits'. So look at your page hits and it will make you feel happier.

seriously though, I am intrigued by the same subject, we should ponder over it more and compare stats next time we get together.

Sam said...

stats and strategies!

Amy Sherman said...

...perhaps over sammies!

My blog has been around a long time compared to many food blogs. I'm at this almost 2 years now. But it does seem like some folks have a better handle on this than others.

Another idea. In addition to adding the "add me to your Yahoo page" button. You can also get added to the directory for Yahoo.
http://submit.search.yahoo.com/free/request

Cate said...

Responding to, "Sweetnicks - why would anyone subscribe to something they visit every day? Just a waste of email bandwidth." from Sam... they get an e-mail with just my new post, so it saves them having to visit the site every day. :)

Sam said...

but sweetnicks
is the email containing html?
or do they just get a text version.
all the ones i get are text but then the email i use for that purpose doesn't accept html so maybe that's why i don't get it?

Owen said...

I think you are all doing this right. I've been at it at least as long as Amy - technically 3 years - and I am averaging 100 readers a day - not 1000 - 100. Peak was almost 300.

On the other hand, I'm doing this for me exclusively - I do what I like and want to do and if other people like it welland good, but I won't change to please them. I'm not good at making my blog look good. I do mess around with the design because I like doing tricky things like a three column layout that resizes automatically as you change the window size and has a header and footer - all with CSS.

So I'd say you are all doing very well indeed. Clotilde at C&Z has goten a LOT of publicity - not a little - she's in every article. She does all the little things to build an keep audience. I think all of you are doing the right things by posting interesting stuff frequently - that's what it is all about.

My understanding from the bloggers I know in other areas (family and politics and business) that I know is that the only other techniques to build traffic are to be controversial and to go out and be controversial in comments on other people's blogs. One of the reasons I like food blogs so much is precisely that it is a supportive community - despite recent comments on Sam's blog(!)

I've also noticed that about half of my 100 per day are regular (they come back almost every day) and the other half are from google or MSN or yahoo search - almost none from any other source...

drbiggles said...

Hi,

I'm not convinced shooting for spikes is such a bad thing. Well maybe the word bad is a little harsh. I've received a handful of my now steady readers showed up due to a spike. A spike meaning a mention in magazine, newspaper article, posting on forums, hosting or participating in contests, that type of stuff. If it hadn't been for those spikes of activity, I would never have been introduced to maybe 5 of the blogs I visit now on nearly a daily basis. Due to that huge Chronicle article I met someone with whom I've been introduced, bumped in to a few times and now we're going to meet for lunch tomorrow. All due to the irregular spikes. I find them exciting and fun. I'm a fan of the spike.

Biggles

paul said...

As someone once said, links are the currency of the Web. Post, link, comment and people will visit.

Your only as good as your last post and that's what typically will hook people to bookmark you and come back. I've been blogging longer than most so I know that when I don't post for awhile, my traffic plummets. Newspaper articles make nice spikes, but if I don't keep posting nice pretty pictures and tasty stuff, it goes back to normal.

That said, popularity feels good when I get it, but it's never really been a goal. I'd take traffic more seriously if I had advertising or some other benefit to having high traffic.

Cate said...

Sam - sorry, missed your reply to my reply to your reply.... got that? :) When they subscribe, they get my post and whatever pictures I included in my blog entry. No, it's not going to look at pretty as if they went to my site and saw it, but for some, it serves as a reminder and they can then follow the link if they want, or just read the e-mail. It's through Bloglet.

Derrick Schneider said...

I had a thought on this subject on the way home. Back when I paid attention to my numbers (I had to stop; I got addicted to second-guessing them and fretting about them), I noticed spikes when I hosted food blogging events. Of course, right?

But the key part of my revelation was that the people coming to visit are other food bloggers or devoted food blog readers. I mean, who else really reads about 40+ molasses recipes, let alone 35 terrines? I also noticed spikes when I made something that generated an interesting comment in the round-up. I got a gazillion emails and comments and questions about cassoulet after the bean IMBB. I don't know much about cassoulet--I had never even made it--but I think the tower of black bean tuiles resulted in some eye-catching comment and people followed the link and found the cassoulet there as well.

Who knows how many of these people come back, but they're the ones you want to attract in the first place. The readers are more likely to add you to their list of bookmarks, the bloggers are more likely to put a link to you on their own pages. It's like an unreliable pyramid scheme of link propagation.

Just a thought. Of course, good luck finding a slot in any of the food blog event schedules.

Rachael said...
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Rachael said...
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Rachael said...

I've noticed lately that what time of day I post, makes a huge difference in how many visits I get. I typically post at 8 am, but if I don't, the numbers drop quite dramatically. Odd, but true.

Jono Tosch said...

Thanks everybody, this is great. I read most of the comments, and I think I can add one thing: do some research (on Google) and find out what people are searching for--and then blog it. Sometimes you'll come up against steep competition ("nachos" currently brings up 4.2 million results), so climbing to the top page of that query could be hard going. On the other hand, there are some recipes that people love but which don't have a staggering amount of competition. And lastly, if you keep your writing fresh and varied (i.e. use a various and unpredictable vocabulary), your posts tend to generate more traffic. I don't know, though. I'm still trying to figure out how search engines determine ranking. Help!

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