I was digging through this blog’s stats this morning in Google Analytics, and I noticed something interesting. As I mentioned here a couple of weeks ago, one of my goals for 2013 is to blog more often. A big reason why is because I want to increase the traffic here, and so far in January traffic is up a bit, and that’s to be expected from a more frequent posting pattern.
So what I want to do as the traffic increases is understand which traffic sources are driving that increase. One of them is Twitter, which is by far the social site that sends me the most referral traffic. I started looking at the individual posts in 2013 that have received the most traffic from Twitter, and I noticed something: They received almost all of their referral traffic from Twitter in the first 2-3 days, then almost nothing.
Here’s the number of Twitter referrals for the most popular post so far this month, ‘Done’ is Better Than ‘Perfect’ When it Comes to Blogging, which was published on Jan 1st:
As you can see, good for 3 days, then traffic volume falls off a cliff.
Here’s the traffic pattern for the 3rd most popular post (#2 was one that I linked to for multiple days as a #blogchat topic and it skewed the results a bit I think), which was The Biggest Mistake Companies Make When Engaging Their Fans Via Social Media published on Jan 8th:
Same pattern, traffic for 3 days, then it dies. There was a bump back on the 14th, and that was the same day the post was listed as a link on a New York Times article and a few people RTed the post on Twitter, I am assuming after they found it via the NYT link.
Finally, here’s the 4th most popular post, Should You Remove the Dates From Your Blog Posts?, on Jan 14th:
Two days, then flatline.
There’s a few takeaways I have from this:
1 – These stats suggest that when we are on Twitter, links have a very short window to get our attention. I don’t think that’s a huge revelation.
2 – If we want to leverage Twitter as a platform to draw attention to our writings, then it pays to focus on fewer topics versus more. If we are only paying attention in short bursts on Twitter, then it helps if you are consistently giving us the same or similar topics to look at.
3 – Since our attention spans are so short, it means we can cover the same topics repeatedly. This is where I think you can really leverage Twitter as a channel to drive big referral traffic back to your blog. By blogging frequently, and by frequently blogging about the same or similar topics. Notice from the above graphs that the 3 posts were published on the 1st, the 8th and the 14th. Pretty spread out, but what if those same posts were published three days in a row? The spike in traffic from each would overlap and by the 2nd and 3rd days, referral traffic as a whole from Twitter would be pretty high.
4 – If you plan on having Twitter be a driver of traffic to your blog, you probably need to publish a new post at least every 2-3 days. If we assume that the average blog post has a lifespan of 2-3 days on Twitter, publishing a new blog post every month isn’t going to do much for your referral traffic from the site.
So that’s something to think about. I think for me what I would like to see happen is to find a way to not only extend that average lifespan to say 3-4 days, but to also chain together posts that bring in higher amounts of referral traffic from Twitter on a more regular basis.
I would also be interested in hearing what the rest of you are seeing with the referral traffic from Twitter to your posts. Are you seeing most of your traffic coming in the first 2-3 days as well? Do you see a longer range? Shorter?