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Do Your Visitor Numbers Look Like This?


“Darren, I have been blogging for 6 months and have tried to build traffic through social media, networking and buying reviews. I have attached a screen capture of the last 2 months of traffic (above) where you will see I have some good days in traffic, but it always flat lines days later.

The spikes all come from social bookmarking campaigns, links from other blogs or paid reviews – but my normal days of traffic are no higher than months ago. Help!?”

The above excerpt came from an email from a ProBlogger reader recently who is faced with a problem that many bloggers struggle with.

It’s literally a roller coaster ride – both in terms of traffic numbers but also emotions as you watch with hope your traffic rising on a good day only to see it flatline the next.

Like the blogger above mentions (he wished to remain anonymous) the spikes in traffic can come from any number of sources including:

  • a post being featured on a social bookmarking site
  • a paid review on another blog
  • organic links from other sites
  • being mentioned in mainstream media
  • a seasonal burst of traffic from search engines

Tomorrow I’m going to write a post that gives 20 practical tips on how to combat this spike/flatline trend but today I want to start with one ‘lesson’ for those of you who have traffic charts like the one above. It’s a lesson that our blogging friend above has already learnt.

Getting a Spike in Traffic is only Half the Strategy

If there’s only one thing that I’d like to get across in this post it is that we need stop seeing the sudden burst in traffic as the ultimate goal and to start seeing it as a stepping stone to sustained blog growth.

This is a lesson that some bloggers never seem to learn – so recognizing the problem is actually a breakthrough.

I know the temptation to see the spike as the end result and have fallen for that temptation myself on numerous occasions – however to pop open the champagne to celebrate your good fortune at this point is to miss an incredible opportunity – the opportunity of recruiting a percentage of the readers coming into your blog as regular readers.

How to Build a Sticky Blog

With our first lesson in mind tomorrow I want to move us forward by looking at the concept of making our blogs ‘sticky’ (you can read the next post in this series here).

The word ‘sticky’ might be a strange one to associate with a blog but it’s a good one because it describes the idea of making readers ‘stick’ to your blog beyond their first visit. It’s all about making spikes in traffic have a lasting impact rather than give cause for momentary celebration.

I hope you’ll join me tomorrow when I propose 20 techniques for building a sticky blog.

update – read the next post at 21 Ways to Make Your Blog or Website Sticky (I thought of an extra one to take it to a list of 21 instead of 20).

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Like many, I see a similar issue.

    When I link to my soccer blog in soccer forum boards, I get a nice amount of traffic and postivie responses in the forum commets.

    But casual readers don’t seem to make the link that there is a steady stream of such articles and they can get them all delivered.

    Instead, I get this classic spike-and-valley effect.

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  3. It looks like my stats at first. I call this a volatility stat. You often find that kind of chart looking at a new IPO, or small cap stock in the stock market.
    Then , as your blog keeps on posting quality posts, the volatility quiets down …..and ends up being a smooth straight upwards line

  4. Stickiness is so important. It’s one of the key factors talked about throughout The Tipping Point and Maki over at Dosh Dosh just talked about it too in terms of how to lower your bounce rate.

    Really looking forward to reading about improving the stickiness. Thanks Darren.

  5. if our blog view as Sticky at some social networking, surely it will drive more traffic to our blog, but the question is How it can be …..? waiting for the next article

  6. My advice would be forget the traffic, forget networking, forget social bookmarking, forget everything except content!

    If you write good content, they will come, and your traffic will increase!


  7. Looking forward to the article. I certainly recognise that shape and realise what I do needs to be a lot stickier – throwing widgets at a site certainly isn’t the answer!


  8. My chart looked similar in the past… I would like to read those 20 tips to learn more about how to combat this.

    I think that an important goal of each blogger is to minimize the bouncing rate.

  9. I started blogging a month ago exactly…i am currently getting an average of 500 visitors a day…I am pretty happy with it as of now…but ur tips are great and i am looking forward to ur next post..


  10. My story is almost similar to the blogger you listed here. The only difference is that my visitor curves does not got that high and fall back. But it’s like Mount Everest and the Himalayan range.

  11. Daily updates help, as do getting people to subscribe to feed. When you update daily, the subscribers WILL read it.. we just need to get more people to commit to our blog, in simple terms. ;)

  12. Internal Link Building within posts can greatly improve the bounce rate or a site or blog. Make sure to use the actual titles as anchors for the links.

    Thanks Darren,

  13. I have just modified my internal links and was able to reduce the bounce rate of visitors who tried to search for my previous post.

    I used the archive technology of blogger before but now after reading an html book. I was able to do it myself. And i am gonna read a javascript book so that i can create great plugins and forms.


  14. You should always leave a door open, and remind the reader that something is going on tomorrow, too. Maybe a new, interesting article, a contest or some tips and tricks.

  15. Katie Liljeberg says: 08/24/2008 at 6:26 am

    Sticky blogs….it’s all about the content. Quality over quantity.
    Excellent info! I find your blog very helpful and full of useful content.
    Thanks, Darren

    Katie Live

  16. Getting spikes is nice but you should sustain them and get some new readers and then your going somwhere.

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