How Twitter increased my blog’s traffic by 300% in one week

by Mack Collier

As I blogged about on Tuesday, last Monday I spent a lot of time on Twitter, in an effort to see if my increased activity there, would boost traffic and engagement here.  I was very encouraged by the results I saw, so I decided to extend the experiment to the entire week.

Now that the week is over, I wanted to share with you what I learned.

First, I wanted to boost my activity on Twitter in two ways.  The first way was by sharing links on Twitter during the morning, from around 7am-9 or 10am each morning from Monday through Friday.  To help streamline this process, I used HootSuite to schedule tweets ahead of time, normally the day before.  Now the first time I did this was last Saturday (for Monday’s tweets), and it took almost 3 hours.  But by the end of last week, I had become better at the process, and that time was down to about 60-90 mins a day.

The second way I wanted to boost my activity on Twitter was by simply engaging in more conversations.  I have been on Twitter for 3 years now, and one constant has been that when I am on Twitter and talking to other people, I gain followers.  So along with sharing other links, I wanted to interact with others.

Now as part of sharing links, I also shared my own posts here.  Every day I would carefully schedule links to my post for that day.  On Monday, I tweeted the link to Monday’s post five times, the first was at 8am, and the fifth time was at 8pm, with 3 hour gaps inbetween.  For the rest of the week I trimmed that back to 4 times a day, and I think for this week I will try 3 a day.

Another key thing I wanted to know was, would tweeting links to OTHER people’s sites, and simply interacting on Twitter, would that alone be enough to drive traffic back here and to increase engagement.  This was difficult to track accurately, but I believe the answer is ‘yes’.  On every day I tweeted my first link to that day’s post at 8am (On Friday I did it at 9am).  But I started sharing links each day right at 7am.

What I noticed every day is that as soon as I stared sharing OTHER people’s links on Twitter, my traffic HERE went up.  Now part of that is no doubt simply a factor of people waking up and visiting blog’s more from 6am to 7am.  But on Monday (the first day of the experiment), this jump was especially pronounced, as I had 4 visitors in the 6am hour, and 38 visitors in the 7am hour, when I started sharing links.

Anyway what were the numbers?!?

Ok.  First, here’s how my blog did from May 9th-15th the week BEFORE I ramped up activity on Twitter last week:

# of posts for the week – 4

Average Traffic per day – 168 visitors

Average ReTweets per post – 59

Average Comments per post – 12

Average new Twitter followers per day – 37

Total new Email Subscribers for the week – 3

Now here’s the results from last week, and the % change:

#of posts for the week – 5 (25% increase)

Average traffic per day – 647 (285% increase)

Average ReTweets per post – 82 (39% increase)

Average Comments per post – 26 (117% increase)

Average New Twitter followers per day – 38 (2.7% increase)

Total new Email Subscribers for the week – 29 (867% increase)

Now here are some random observations:

1 – Starting on Tuesday, I began to notice that some of the bloggers I had tweeted links to on Monday and Tuesday, began to thank me publicly on Twitter, and began to RT *my* links.  No doubt part of this was their way of saying ‘Thank You’ for my RTing their posts, but also I think it helped get me on people’s radar.  When someone sees me RT a post of their’s, they probably thought ‘Hey that’s right I haven’t checked out Mack’s site in a while, let me see what he’s up to’.

2 – Once or twice a day, I noticed someone tweeting a link to a post I had written a few weeks ago, or a few months ago.  These people were normally Twitter users that I didn’t remember interacting with before.  This suggests to me that they had just discovered this site, and in doing some digging around, uncovered an older post they enjoyed, so they linked to it.

3 – I got multiple emails every day from people wanting to connect with me, either to have me write something for them, to do consulting work for them, one publisher even contacted me about possibly writing a book for them.  I would say the volume of these emails was up about 500% at least over last week.  I am sure this was a byproduct of my activity on Twitter, and by extension, the increased traffic and engagement here.

4 – Momentum is huge.  Look at the traffic for Saturday the 15th (no posts that day and a week before last week’s experiment).  I got 146 visitors that day(which over the lifetime of this blog, is pretty good for a Saturday).  Now look at the fact that I got 198 visitors yesterday, again with no new post that day.  That’s a 36% increase, and it no doubt comes from all the increased traffic and interaction here LAST week.

5 – Email subscribers increased by almost 900% last week.  But I think this was mostly because of two key changes I made her on the blog.  First, last Sunday I moved the email subscription to top of the sidebar, so it’s the first thing you see on the sidebars.  Then at the end of every post I ran last week, I asked readers to please subscribe to the blog.  I’m sure both of these tactics are a big reason for the huge jump in email subscribers.

6 – My number of Twitter followers per day only increased by one last week.  But my guess is if you have a smaller number of followers that you would see a bigger gain from employing a similar strategy.

Now let’s break down what happened each day with the traffic here:

Here’s the hourly traffic for Monday:

The hours marked 1,2,3,4 and 5 are when I linked to Monday’s post on Twitter.  Notice the traffic spike from 6am to 7am.  At 7am I started linking to OTHER people’s posts.  Then at 8am I linked to MY post for the first time that day.  Notice the 5 big spikes for the day were all during hours where I linked to my post.

Also, notice how traffic is steady from 7am – 3pm, even in the hours when I wasn’t linking to my post.  I think this is mostly because during those hours I was active on Twitter, either linking to other people’s posts, or interacting with people on Twitter.  I think that interaction drove traffic back here.

Now let’s look at Tuesday’s hourly traffic:

For Tuesday I only linked to that day’s post here 4 times (the hours that are numbered in red), still starting at 8am and ending at 8pm.

The big difference in Tuesday’s traffic versus Monday’s is that the two biggest traffic spikes did NOT come during hours where I linked to my post, but in hours where SOMEONE ELSE linked to my post.  As I mentioned above, by Tuesday some of the people I had linked to earlier in the week, started RTing my posts.  I believe the spike at 11am actually came from Jay Baer RTing my post.  This is where you begin to see momentum becoming a factor.   I think you can also see this in the fact that there wasn’t a drop in traffic at the end of the day like there was on Monday.

I forgot to take a screenshot of the hourly traffic on Weds (sorry guys!)  So let’s move on to Thurs (hours I linked to my post marked in red):

In looking at Thursday’s traffic notice two things:

1 – Again, the biggest hour for traffic was NOT when I linked to one of my posts.  For Thursday the biggest hour was 3pm when @Brett from Mashable linked to my Lady Gaga post from Weds.

2 – Notice the spikes appear a bit less pronounced.  This is mainly because traffic during the 7am-8pm hours was around 40 or more, whereas in previous days it was 20 or more.  Again, momentum seems to be coming into play here.

Finally, let’s look at Friday’s hourly traffic (hours I linked to my post marked in red):

Overall, traffic for the day was down, but hey, it’s Friday.  Notice again, five hours had spikes, and two of them weren’t hours in which I linked to my post.  So I think we can see a trend here, on Monday it took me linking to my own posts to move the traffic needle, but by the end of the week, my Twitter network was helping me RT my posts, and they were creating traffic spikes as well.  This is a big reason why starting Monday I am going to scale back to linking to my posts three times a day, instead of 4.

And finally, here’s the daily traffic for the last month, with Monday through Friday being the last five days on this graph:

That jump at the end of the graph tells the story, doesn’t it?

And I know some of you might be thinking ‘Yeah Mack, but you have 20,000 followers on Twitter, so no wonder you had great results!’  True, I have a lot of followers, and I love them to death.  But you don’t have to have as many followers as I do to get success from engaging on Twitter.  Look at what Lisa Petrilli did in her FIRST week of blogging.   Her first two posts averaged over 125 RTs and 75 comments each.  That easily bests what I saw last week AND, she ‘only’ has 2,700 or so followers.  But Lisa is very engaged with her Twitter network, so that network helped her get the word out about her posts.  Plus the fact that both posts were amazing didn’t hurt ;)

The point is, even if you only have 100 followers, you can still leverage Twitter as a tool to build your blog IF you are active on Twitter.  Active interacting with others, engaging in conversations, and linking to valuable content.

As a matter of fact, we’ll be discussing strategies for using Twitter to grow your blog at tonite’s #blogchat on Twitter.  See you there at 8pm Central?

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