Yesterday on my Digital Photography School blog I posted a ‘beginner’ tip that I almost considered not publishing because it was pitched at such a basic level. The post was titled How to Hold a Digital Camera.
What the post contained was nothing that anyone would consider ‘Rocket Science’ by any means but was on a topic that I see many people getting wrong.
I set the post to publish and then went to bed.
This morning I wake up to find that it’s one of the most popular posts on delicious, digg and has been linked to from lifehacker and gizmodo (among others). An hour ago it had 7000 visitors (peak) and now as the US heads towards sleep its tracking at around half of that per hour (and still rising on delicious and digg).
Some of the comments on those sites are not particularly flattering of the post (many of them don’t seem to have read it) saying that it’s too basic – but the way people are hitting the page and linking up to it I’d say that there are plenty of people who do appreciate a ‘basic’ tip.
A few take home lessons from the experience:
- Sometimes it’s worth stepping back from ‘advanced’ or ‘technical’ posts and remember that many potential readers are not at that level
- People love a ‘how to’ article – so do social bookmarking sites
- When your posts get popular they’ll also attract criticism – it comes with the territory – get over it and move on
- When you get an influx of visitors to a post like this consider how you might leverage the traffic (I added two links inviting people to subscribe to my RSS feed and email newsletter to the post as soon as I saw what was going on – it’s paying off with a new subscription to my newsletter being added every 2-3 minutes at the moment). Another option is to increase the prominence of ads if you’re more interested in monetizing the wave of traffic – I’m not as interested in that – I’d rather build readership.
- When you get a spike in traffic like this make sure you have something else ready to post as soon as possible for readers to look at (I posted an article on ‘how to photograph pets‘ while there is still a lot of traffic on the site). Keep the momentum going.
- Enjoy the traffic while it lasts – tomorrow things will be a little higher than normal but the spike in traffic will soon become a distant memory
Update – for more information on capturing traffic from sources like Digg and StumbleUpon and converting them to loyal readers read: