This week’s Loop is a little off-topic, but might be of interest to some of you so I thought I’d throw it out there. I’ve been doing the whole blogging thing for a long time. Started back in 2006, about the same time I was working on the Moebius Adventures Core Rules book. And I’ve had a few blogs during that time. But one thing that always throws me for a loop is web traffic.
Maybe you’ve played with various ways of spreading the word about your blog posts?
These days I tend to use quite a few different methods:
- Facebook – pages and groups – Moebius Adventures page, Game Knight Reviews page, Game Industry News group, etc.
- Twitter – my Game Knight Reviews twitter feed
- Google+ – pages and groups – Moebius Adventures page, the RPG Design Network group, Game Knight Reviews page, etc.
- Stumble Upon
- RSS – RPG Blog Alliance and RPG Bloggers
Mostly I rely on G+, Facebook, and Twitter and handle posting through Buffer (if you haven’t tried it yet, it simplifies posting to multiple social media sites by a HUGE factor).
I’ve also toyed with these:
Here’s my weirdness from recent days…
StumbleUpon is a strange beast. I’ve put some stuff up there and it’s just disappeared into a black hole. And sometimes it brings me thousands of hits. But the problem with SU is the engagement time. The week of January 3 to January 10, I had more than 1,000 visitors stumble through for a total of nearly 14 hours on the blog (stats courtesy of Clicky.com). The downside? The average time per visit was 46 seconds and my bounce rate shot up to 76%. So though SU users might stumble through my site, only 1 out of 4 are sticking around longer than 10 seconds or so.
I’m not complaining – traffic is good. And I have the most traffic I’ve had in a long time on this site because of SU. I just wish folks would stick around a bit longer.
It’s not new either. I’ve seen it before at Game Knight Reviews as well. It’s a very hit or miss proposition and you never know what might spark interest.
What’s the truth about all of this?
Ultimately, I’m not convinced any of it helps.
Sharing to multiple audiences quickly becomes a huge pain in the backside, which is why I’m so happy for Buffer. It supports the big three and that’s good enough for me. I haven’t noticed much of an uptick from any of the other communities ever. (Reddit used to send me a fair amount of traffic, but I had some issues with running afoul of the moderators and occasionally getting sucked into the flame wars that can erupt there.)
So the focus shouldn’t be on WHERE you should put your posts, just POST and make sure it’s great CONTENT. The rest will follow with time (but spreading the word occasionally doesn’t hurt either).
I know it’s cliche to say that if you post great content, the users will come. And considering all the writing I’ve done for the last 8 years of blogging, I can say that’s a hit and miss proposition at best. So hedging your bets by spreading the word in like-minded communities where you can cultivate some long-term fans is a good thing.
Don’t rely on social media for your traffic. It’ll come or it won’t. You don’t have any control over what may suddenly explode into a million hits. Don’t get discouraged if you hear crickets from the audience. Write for yourself first. Enjoy sharing your opinions and ideas with others. Hopefully that’s enough and you’ll get a few new fans or even friends along the way.
But have fun and don’t get discouraged – because occasionally thousands of people may stop by your blog for 10 seconds each and do absolutely nothing.