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How I Overlooked a 1000 Visitor a Day Source of Traffic [And What I Did to Grow it to 3000 Visits a Day]

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of December 2011 Reader Questions, Social Media 0 Comments

Last week I was digging around in my Google Analytics stats and drilling down to look particularly at sources of traffic to my photography tips site.

I noticed a new source of readers that has been creeping up in terms of how much traffic it sends. Here’s the chart from the last few months.


It started as a trickle, but as you can see, in the last month there have been days on which traffic from this source has spiked up to over 2000 unique visitors. Even on an average day we’re up over 1000.

While it’s not the biggest source of traffic to the site by any means, it was a bit of a surprise and made me realize that I’ve not been as diligent in checking referral traffic sources as I once was.

Referrers are key

Before I reveal the source I want to emphasize my point: keep a watch on your referral stats. The source of this traffic doesn’t really relate to many of you who are operating in different niches, but the principle does. Be diligent in watching where traffic is coming from because there are almost always ways of growing traffic from these unexpected sources.

  • If the source is another blog, you can build the relationship with the other blogger.
  • If the source is a social network, you can get more active in that network, consider putting sharing buttons on your site, and educate your current readers about how to use it.
  • If the source is a search engine, you can look at what you’re doing right on that post SEO-wise and try to replicate it. You can also tweak the posts getting the traffic to make them rank even higher.
  • Whatever the source, you can look at the content that’s working out and produce more of it.

There are any number of ways of exponentially increasing growing sources of traffic, but if you don’t know about them, you will never be able to take action!

So what was the source of the traffic?

I know some of you skipped down here without reading the above section. You really should go back and read over it … but I’ll tell you now if you promise you will!

The traffic is coming from Pinterest.

Pinterest is a growing social bookmarking/network site (they call themselves a Virtual Pin Board) that is particularly popular in some niches like home decoration, weddings, craft, fashion, food, and more.

The traffic has literally arrived without me doing anything at all. I didn’t have an active account on Pinterest until the last week or so when I set up an account (connect with me here). I haven’t promoted the site there, or used their buttons (until this last week when I put it on a few of our hotter articles). The growth has been purely organic. I guess photography is one of those niches that Pinterest users are interested in!

Since finding out about Pinterest I’ve begun to participate there a little more myself, and have added a few share buttons to some pages that have been doing well for us. I’m taking my time as I don’t want to do anything spammy, but even since I’ve known about it and participated on this low level, I’ve seen traffic rise from a spike of 2000 or so visits in a day to over 3000—lucky I checked my stats!

As I say, this isn’t about Pinterest (although I’m sure some of you will find it fun and useful)—it’s about being diligent about your metrics, always being on the lookout for what’s growing, and working out how you can position yourself to be able to leverage that.

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. I just saw Pinterest for the first time, looks like a good site. And you are right about always monitoring your traffic sources. Not doing so is a huge mistake.

  2. I will check it out and I hope the links are do follow.

  3. Pinterest is my #2 referrer of traffic behind facebook. It’s viral nature is seriously fantastic for bloggers. I only expect it to grow significantly over the next few years. Looking forward to connecting to you there. :)

  4. Also worth noting: you can see what people have pinned from your site by going to this link (by substituting your own url at the end): http://pinterest.com/source/themoderntog.com/

  5. I’ve been checking Pinterest out, it’s a shame it’s not more suitable for some niches (writing based ones), but it’s pretty nice!

  6. I Just created an account on Pinterest. Lets see how will it work. Thanks Darren.

  7. Darren – I think you are on the right track with Pinterest. I noticed something similar, but I have to say that I am not getting that much of a difference in the traffic.

    Pinterest as a tool itself impressed me and I am on it everyday at least for half an hour, pinning images and blogs.

    You can visit me on Pinterest here – http://pinterest.com/praveenbr/

  8. Yea… you are right…pinterest is the best source to get more visiter…

  9. I have 2 blogs and one is strictly about smoothies. I don’t get much traffic to the blog since I just started but I have seen some traffic come in form pinterest and its generally a good source of traffic. Having nice pictures of smoothies helps this. People see a recipe they like an Pin it on their board. Others see the photo and pin it too. No work for me – just extra traffic!

    I’ve been meaning to be a little more active in pinterest. Now I think is the time!

  10. Takeshi says: 12/17/2011 at 3:20 am

    Looks like it’s invite only??

  11. Definitely, Pinterest looks like a traffic growing platform of near future for mid content bloggers.

  12. Thanks for the excellent tip Darren. I like a lot of people I suspect have never heard of Pinterest. Those second tier Social media sites, as you have discovered, can really help to generate a ton of traffic. Not only do you get traffic from the new followers, but I suspect the Pinterest peeps more than likely use the major Social Media sites, and will hopefully share there as well.

  13. Pinterest is great for image based websites ..because it allows you to bookmark images and categorize them ..to bad that they have problems with the servers and database all the time.

  14. This is really a timely post… I totally agree with not overlooking traffic from referrers… Google analytics is really helping us… Thanks Darren

  15. I think blogs related to this pininterest niche can be benefited from this.

  16. Thank you for this, Darren! I only recently discovered Pinterest within the last few months because I was getting traffic from there as well. But I was stumped as to how to leverage it. I know your post isn’t about Pinterest, per se, but I will be following you on there to see how are going to harness it and use it to your benefit. Thanks again, I’m always excited to see your personal posts on here.

    • You can add a Pinterest button to your blog encouraging readers to follow. You can pin photos from your own site.

      I have some old pins that just yesterday started being repinned & repinned & repinned.

  17. The same thing just happened to one of my crafts websites (although the traffic numbers are much smaller than yours). Unfortunately, the pinterest site is closed to new subscribers. I suspect when they open it back up, the bookmarks will become diluted and the traffic numbers will sharply decrease.

  18. 1000 a day from one source. I wonder when i will reach this level

  19. I found Pinterest in a similar manner and did sign up, though it is a site that is better for more “visual” blogs than mine (though I do post photography from running in various areas of the world). But more importantly, I do find keeping track of referring sites very helpful, I’ve found a pretty active community on Reddit this way and have been able to more proactively generate traffic from tapping into this audience.

  20. Interesting post. The only caution I would add here is to be mindful of the fact that a certain / particular traffic source that works for blog/site A may not necessarily work for blog/site B. There are too many dynamics / attributes involved to conclude as such.

  21. Great post thanks for sharing only way i know how to get traffic to my sites is thro my TE’s i own and PTC sites but the traffic does lack the converting power i’ll be keeping a close eye for other sources i may have been missing

    any tips for good cheap or FREE traffic stats simple to use but still going to tell me everything i need ?

    thanks again for your post

  22. You bring up something that many of us bloggers overlook. As my site is growing in the number of visitors, every now and then I’m surprised at where the traffic is coming from and it important to be aware of it to know who my main audience is.

  23. Interesting…my wife loves Pinterest but I thought it was for more “arts and crafts” sorts of thing. I’ll have to check it out!

  24. I totally think networking with other bloggers is a great way to up the traffic. Okay, I have a very unpopular blog that I’m growing.

    But in the past month, just by commenting on other blogs, I have increased traffic from 100 to over 300 a day. I know it sounds meager to bigger blogs, but it’s a huge deal to a small, personal blog about stuff many people are not interested in.


  25. Hey Darren
    Funny, I was just telling a potential client of mine who is a wedding portrait photographer about Pinterest:)
    Now I have a good story to add to what was previously an educated perception

  26. I like pintrest but I’m curious about the “request an invitation” style of signup. I’m seeing more sites do this. Is this a marketing thing? Are they trying to make it seem a little more exclusive (like a lineup outside of a club that isn’t full). Or is there something else to it?

  27. Darren,

    thank you so much for sharing that useful link for the social bookmarking site. I never knew about them until you just mentioned it. I’ll head on over and take a look now. Thanks again :-)

  28. As a stats addict i’m constantly checking mine. Once I got huge amounts of traffic to my astronomy website from Greece. I tried tracking it down, but everything was in Greek! So I couldn’t capitalize on that. But on hindsight, I think I’ve missed quite a few opportunities in the past.

  29. Great article the source of such traffic will always greatly depend on your content, this is what will bring the traffic to your Blog.

  30. I think you are rehashing this in your book, 31 Days to a Better Blog. Its almost the exact same material that is available there but its good to read more about it again!

  31. I just heard about Pinterest from you.
    Wish me luck with this social bookmarking site

  32. I got a invite there, but I thought its another site like Digg. Just going to log up there.

  33. Great info. I am going to use pinterest to drive traffic to my blog.

  34. 1K visit/day..? its so cool…I’ll learn how to get to this level..

  35. Thank you for this post Darren and your insight on Facebook images from the webinar – extremely enlightening. I appreciate that you’re always thinking about the ‘why’ and then testing the theory.

    My Pinterest chart shares the same progression as yours (wish my raw visitor numbers were as high but I’ll focus on the trend!). I’ve been watching it but hadn’t understood or researched why it was happening until reading your post. I clicked on where the links were coming from and realized that people are pinning images of fabrics from my shop which of course includes an automatic link to the source of the image. All organic and unplanned. Pretty powerful stuff. It’s giving me all sorts of fun ideas on how to leverage the exposure.

  36. its always important to see who is sending you the traffic.

  37. Hmme…
    I’ve yet reached 1000 visitor a day..
    That my first target…

  38. Hello Darenn,

    I read your blogs about 11 Lessons I Learned Earning $119,725.45 from Amazon Associates Program. I really love reading your blogs.

    I look into your site that is DPS, I see a link their, the Camera store that links to amazon astore, how much percent is that working on sells? or does that strategy helps you a lot in sells?


    God bless

  39. Just last week I had a client walk into my portrait studio and she had a couple ideas she wanted me to expand on for her. She had been looking at Pinterest before showing up to her appointment. I had actually never heard of it until then.

  40. Pinterest is absolutely hot for sites that have a lot of images. But beware, it’s completely addicting as well. My brother-in-law calls it “Sinterest.” Ha!

  41. I have been using Pinterest and find it may give me some more traffic on my blog. I feel however you have to be in so many places at once promoting your blog, it gets a little crazy! I find it hard to be everywhere at times and I do put so much time into it. I enjoy what I do and have a love for NYC and photography which comes thru I believe, but it gets a bit crazy at times. I have the FeedJit on my site, which helps me see where traffic is coming from. I wish if a site wrote up about my blog, they would let me know because otherwise I can’t see where it is coming from. I did have a editor pick for the site bloggers.com which landed me on their front page this week so that was a great surprise.

  42. Thanks for the pearls.

    Yes, Pininterest does look like a decent site. Of course the problem with betas, is that the rest of us may or may not get an invite. Personally, if I don’t get one, I may end up forgetting all about it. Even if I do, it may only be a temporary traffic push. I remember how good del.icio.us was for me — at least for a little while.

  43. I have just created a account there and looks like its gonna suite me, thanks Darren

    • Rahul,

      feel free to post a review on how it worked out for you after you get some good experience with it :-)

  44. Yeah i’m getting more traffic from social media than Google now its gone crazy. Stumbleupon has been huge. It makes a massive amount of difference which category you share the content to

  45. WOW~! Love pinterest, Darren!~ I requested an invitation from your profile. I can instantly see the appeal and think it will be a great hit. I can also see I will have to step up my product photos a bit more like for Etsy if anything it going to get pinned. It looks like a fantastic place to quickly grab material for other social networking sites, too. (That said from the outside looking in – I’m sure sharing will be the natural choice once inside).

    As always, YOU ROCK~! Thank you~!

  46. I’m on pinterest Darren and I was one of those people pinning your photography tips last week. That’s the first place I go now for inspiration for my photography.

  47. I’ll try to request an invitation. I’ve actually requested one before because I got traffic from it on one of my blogs. But so far I’m still not in.

  48. “Thanks for joining the Pinterest waiting list.” – How long does it take to get invitation?

  49. Thanks for the info. I sent an invite in to Pinterest too.

  50. Wow! That much of traffic from a single social bookmarking site. I would have never expected that much of traffic even from Stumbleupon. I’m gonna check it out right away!

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