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?

Ryan Beale May 23, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Great data here, Mack! Thanks for sharing!

@RBeale
.-= Ryan Beale´s last blog ..Chronology of The Facebook Privacy Debacle in 2010 =-.

Phil Gerbyshak May 23, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Timely advice Mack. Working on my strategy and this couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for me. Saving for later too.
.-= Phil Gerbyshak´s last blog ..Twitter Strategy Made Simple =-.

Jason Whitesel May 23, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Thank you Phil for sharing this link (via Twitter is how I got it BTW). As a new “social media’ite”, this is great info. This can be a very confusing topic, but it’s broken down perfectly even for the novice, like me.

Again, thanks Phil.

Mack Collier May 29, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Thanks Jason, and Phil thanks for sharing! BTW, Jason it’s confusing to me as well, part of the reason why I wanted to do this experiment!

Jonathan Saar May 23, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Thanks for taking the time to track the statistics Mack. For a somewhat new blogger these are valuable and inspirational. Couple of questions. Is Hootsuite the best platform for scheduling tweets? I use twitterfeed on some of my favorite blogs (like yours) and that helps automate things for me. I love the graphs as well. Is that a plugin for your blog that provides that? I am looking forward to trying some of my own experiments very soon. I have treaded cautiously which may be even to a fault. As you have said before, its all about getting business eventually and it sounds like this has taken place as a result of this effort. Take care.
.-= Jonathan Saar´s last blog ..Help Social Media Research in Multifamily Housing Industry =-.

Mack Collier May 23, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Hey Jonathan. Hootsuite is the only service I’ve used to schedule tweets so I can’t compare it to anything else. I know the newest version of TweetDeck from last week added the ability to schedule tweet (if you have a TweetDeck account), but I saw they were having some problems with the servers, probably from so many people trying it out.

As for the graphs, all I did was take the hourly traffic from SiteMeter at the end of the day, and captured it with the Snipping Tool that’s part of Windows 7, and that’s it.

Lisa Petrilli May 23, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Mack,

I’m honored and touched that you would include me in this post – and I just can’t thank you enough for your amazing support of my blog launch. Thank you from the bottom of my heart – and please know that you have been a tremendous inspiration to me. :)

You’re quite simply my hero, Mr. Collier, that’s just all there is to it…
@LisaPetrilli
.-= Lisa Petrilli´s last blog ..You’re Just Not That Into Me (the introvert’s guide to attending a conference) =-.

Mack Collier May 24, 2010 at 8:26 am

Thank you Lisa! I am truly amazed at how well your blog is doing! I suspected that you would do well, but your results have been spectacular! This just proves that it’s never too late to start a blog, if you are a good writer and engage your readers, it rest will take care of itself!

Jane Boyd May 23, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Mack

I found all of this really, really interesting. I have been spending more time engaging in conversation and have noticed results from this over the last while. Twitter is increasingly a big driver of traffic to my blog. I love that you shared the stats…very helpful. I think I will do a similar experiment and see what happens. One thing I am wondering about is the whole issue with time zones. I have audiences in multiple time zones. I would assume this is the same for you. Were you influenced my the different time zones at all when it came to scheduling your tweets and blog posts? (Perhaps you addressed this – but maybe I missed it…) Again, thanks so much. Some super learnings here that we can all benefit from.

Jane

Mack Collier May 24, 2010 at 8:28 am

Hi Jane! I know I have a truly global group of followers, so I decided to schedule tweets basically from 8am to 8pm my time. That way I would hit other areas of the world at least once.

Sean Williams May 24, 2010 at 9:31 am

Hi Mack – I had a similar experience (although the scale is smaller) — I noted that when participating in Twitter chats, I picked up followers and my blog traffic in general rose. I still don’t see a 1-1 relationship between follower count and traffic, though. I’m still working through the first year blogger issues of finding my voice, grappling with post length, incorporating multimedia, etc. The Twitter angle does seem to be a blend between broadening the network through discussion and broadcasting content. I’ve characterized my social media involvement as an experiment — and the evidence continues to support that characterization.

Mack Collier May 24, 2010 at 10:42 am

Sean last nite during #blogchat I did a little experiment. After the first hour, I asked everyone to go check their blog stats, and see if their traffic went up over the last hour, from participating in #blogchat. One blogger told me their traffic stayed the same, everyone else said their traffic jumped.

Simply interacting on Twitter drives traffic to your blog.

Srinivas Rao May 24, 2010 at 9:51 am

Mack

One of the things you mentioned here was that you promoted your own posts that you had written more than once. I’ve seen people do that every now and then, but I wasn’t sure about what the limits would be in terms of doing that. It’s something I guess I will have to test out for myself.
I’ve been getting insane value from everything you’ve been writing lately.

Cheers,
Srinivas
.-= Srinivas Rao´s last blog ..Henri Juntilla on Gaining 1500 Subscribers and Launching Passionate Living (RT to Win a Copy) =-.

Mack Collier May 24, 2010 at 10:45 am

Srinivas I wasn’t too excited about tweeting multiple links to my posts each day, but it seems to have worked. I tweeted links to my posts 4-5 times every day, and saw a traffic jump every time I did. The only time when it tailed off was at the end of the day, I normally had the last tweet at 8pm my time.

Twitter truly is global now, so I think it only makes sense to tweet links more than once.

Casey May 24, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Excellent information, Mack. Thanks for sharing. I’m curious to see how 3 tweets per day vs 5 impacts blog traffic.

–Casey
.-= Casey´s last blog ..A Mobile Marketing Case Study For Retail =-.

Francisco Rosales May 25, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Hey Mack,

I have been observing this kind of things and results in the different approaches to using Twitter, some of the findings are very similar to those you describe, specially in regards to self-promotion and the reciprocity triggered by promoting others.

Posting about it crossed my mind a couple of times and I guess I wasn’t sure on what approach to take. I think what you did is great and hope you don’t mind if I follow your example.

Thank you.

tlmaurer May 25, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Mack:
I applaud your work on these metrics and for gererously sharing them. So few people take time to make a plan, then see if, and how, it actually works to improve their visibility. Unless we all do this, things that are bad will never improve.

crockstar May 26, 2010 at 8:52 am

Great Stuff here Mack!

I’d be willing to bet this post will help increase traffic a lot this week as well :)

Thanks for sharing.
.-= crockstar´s last blog ..Major Lazer and La Roux – LAZERPROOF [New Mixtape] =-.

Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny May 26, 2010 at 10:10 am

I’ve resisted having more than one twitter account before today, but now I think I need to reconsider. Because I have personal friends mixed in, I don’t want to offend them by tweeting the same link over and over. Need to sort out in my head how to handle that. When I’ve tweeted the same post over and over, my traffic goes up too. Thanks for the data to support the “aha”.
.-= Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny´s last blog ..LoL! best funny facebook fan pages: Dear Pringles, I cannot fit my hand inside your tube of deliciousness. =-.

benwaynet May 26, 2010 at 10:25 am

Interesting that you said you tweeted the same link multiple times a day. Maybe its the way I use twitter, but they would bug me if I was following you and saw the same link/tweet over and over again.

But this post gives me something to think about with my own tweet stream.

thanks,jb
.-= benwaynet´s last blog ..How To Track Google SERPs =-.

Mack Collier May 29, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Hey Ben. I RTed the posts I wrote here 4-5 times a day. BUT….I averaged well over 100 tweets a day, and averaged sharing about 30 links a day that were NOT mine. So if you were closely following my tweets, you would probably see that 5% of them were self-promotional.

Now if I had left 10 tweets a day and 5 of them were about me, then yeah, that’s a lot.

Jack May 30, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Twitter has been a very effective tool for me for all of the reasons that you have listed above. I have been very pleased with it.

The key thing is engagement. Engage, engage and engage. When you do good things happen.
.-= Jack´s last blog ..Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #13 =-.

Hulbert Lee June 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Mack, I know this is an old post, but everything you wrote her is golden! I just came from a blog called John Chayachinda (a person who commented on my blog). On his post, he was writing about Twitter so I clicked on the link and was glad to have come here. It’s ironic because all morning I have been trying to figure out how to get more traffic through social media, something that I am not really good at. Thank you so much for writing this post as well as adding in the graphs and statistics and all. Even though I was hesitate to subscribe to this because it said, “Helping companies…” and I’m not a company, I still think your blog is useful to regular bloggers. Subscribing now… thanks again!
.-= Hulbert Lee´s last blog ..Kim Maglinti – Blogger and Creator of Mindset Success Coaching (Interview) =-.

Mack Collier June 3, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Hulbert thanks for reading and subscribing! A lot of the posts here ARE aimed at companies that are brand new to social media, but I try to frame the content so it can just as easily apply to individual bloggers. Take today’s post on setting up Google Alerts. That is useful for all bloggers, whether or not they blog for a company!

Thanks again!

Mike August 9, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Mack, I would like to know more details on your blog activity since May. Are you still using Tweets to drive traffic?

Joel Gray October 22, 2010 at 7:51 am

300% is quite enormous, that’s great. I am glad you have shared it to us. Thanks.

smashblogtips May 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm

wow thats great, twitter is one of the top most traffic source, you just used very well

arcanysj September 29, 2011 at 9:41 am

Whoa, that was really great figures. Got started incorporating twitter in my campaign and I must say this article really is a life saver. Now its time to do some application from learning. online marketing and search engine optimization

arcanysj September 29, 2011 at 9:43 am

Whoa, figures are really impressive! Got some quite handful of tips here,now its time for some learning application. Thumbs up!

http://www.arcanys.com

MargieAnalise February 22, 2012 at 12:56 am

What a great post! In fact, I’m going to RT it tomorrow morning! I’ve been in need of a more strategic approach with regards to Twitter, so this post is so timely for me! I’m going to implement your strategies this week, and look forward seeing more traffic enjoying my blog :)
Thanks again for the awesomeness!
Margie

Mack Collier February 22, 2012 at 6:59 am

Thank you Margie! I am doing the same thing again this week and while traffic isn’t up by 300%, it’s solidly up over last week. I’ll probably do a recap post on Monday. ;)

Steven September 4, 2012 at 5:03 am

I know this is an old post but I just wanted to comment to say that this post really connected with me. I am in the process of building my Twitter account and building followers, interacting with people and this post is an ideal guide. Thanks

Mack Collier September 4, 2012 at 8:25 am

Thanks Steven! The one thing that stays constant is that retweets breed retweets. And a great way to get retweets is to:

1 – Create useful content

2 – Share useful content from other people

Also, I think there’s a sort of ‘tipping point’ for sharing content. On my posts that have gotten a lot of RTs, I’ve noticed that there was an initial flurry of RTs, then it was like the ‘big guns’ started RTing the post. I wonder if it was almost as if everyone else was sharing the link so it was ‘cool’ to do so? Not sure, but most of my posts either have a few RTs or a LOT of RTs. Not much in between. Good luck!

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