What Kind Of Traffic Can You Get Without Pictures?
My site is like any other site on the web. In the early days, it is alone and silent. The tumbleweeds are tossed in the wind and with nothing around to stop them, they just roll on by. But my site is a little different in that it’s also a little like one of those roadside stands beside interstate 40, with the Stuckey’s and the pay $5 to see the buffalo up close. The tourists drive by on their way to California, and sometimes stop in to check things out. Only instead of looking for an ice cream cone and a picture with the Buffalo, you can hear them mumbling, “she’s nude? Where?”
All sites start out with the tumbleweeds, and it’s anyone’s guess as to whether they eventually become Disneyland or the field with the world’s largest ball of string. Although I suppose if you want your site to be in the Disneyland category, it helps to fill it with lots of E-ticket attractions.
This site came online the evening of March 31st, and in looking at my stats for the month of April, my very first, fledgling month, the first lessons I learned, which I pass on now to you at absolutely no charge is this: Make sure you set up your Analytics code correctly or your stats are going to be a little off. I thought I did everything right, but it turns out the code was only on the home page, and not on the permalink pages. That’s all set now, so I should be able to show accurate graphs and everything for May.
For April though, I do have basic AWStats, which my hosting company, Tiger Technologies, includes for free. I got the most traffic on April 2nd, which is a little sad when you think about it, because that means it’s all gone downhill since then. But it also makes sense, since as it turns out, “look! nude!” is fairly compelling anchor text.
First, to give some scale to those pretty bars:
Speaking of anchor text, most of my traffic is not from search, although I expect that should change over time as I create more content and more of it is indexed. Mostly, I’m getting visitors from links. It seems that people think of links as valuable for PageRank, but they forget that links also bring you traffic. If you have links from relevant sites, particularly if the links describe you in a compelling way, you’re going to get great visitor value from them. If the link isn’t relevant or descriptive, readers will have no reason to click over.
Of course, if the anchor text is misleading, you may got a lot of quick hits, but the visitors may not stick around or come back. Which leads me to one of the links that brought me the most traffic all month.
Yep, the meaning of my blog, the inspiration. Dave Naylor. You might assume that a site that brings you a large portion of your traffic must have a large, engaged audience with an interest in your site’s subject matter. But it could also be that the entire blog post is “Vanessa Fox nude. No really this time is. PS, I told you it was vanessa fox nude.”
Which is something to consider about link bait. You want to catch people’s attention and get them to visit your site, but you want to bait them in such a way that they want to stick around once they arrive, otherwise it was all sort of pointless. Well, I hope that some of Dave’s readers stuck around a little and weren’t too disappointed. Otherwise, that would be 933 sadly disappointed people.
(A short aside: some people have asked me about the domain name for this blog and look at me crazy when I answer, well, it was Dave’s idea. A while ago, Dave claimed to be getting referrers for the phrase, and managed to parlay that into ranking #1 for it. A few other people started talking about it, which of course meant they started ranking for it too, so I eventually grabbed the domain name, just to keep it out of nefarious hands. After all, I know how it goes, you’re in a bar hanging out, drinking, and as you’re chatting about stuff, you’ve got your blackberry out grabbing domain names as they occur to your vodka-influenced mind. Or maybe that’s just me. And then when I was thinking of starting the blog, I figured I already had a good domain name for it, especially as blogging is an honest look at your soul and all that. Unless mostly you lie. And while it is true that if anyone should rank #1 for vanessa fox nude it may as well be me, it has of course, backfired a little on me, because now lots of people are ranking for it.)
But 933 isn’t the most visitors another site sent me. Matt Cutts sent me 1114. Thanks Matt! Jeremy Zawodny sent me around 900 visitors, which just goes to show that getting involved with the blogging community (in this case, a meme) brings not only fun, but also links!
You can link bait, you can participate in community activities, you can do all kinds of things to get visitors. But the best way to get visitors is to have good content, because then you also keep visitors. (75% of my visitors stayed for less than 30 seconds, just long enough to realize pictures were likely not forthcoming.)
My most popular entry so far was when I ranted about not watching your damn video. It got linked from lots of places, all of which sent me some readers. Techmeme sent me several hundred visitors, as did Digg. Speaking of Digg, they would have sent me more, but my posts have a tendency to get buried over there. In fact, four posts of mine have been submitted, all buried. I have no idea why. Even my post on getting buried got buried.
What else brought me traffic? Blogrolls, blog mentions, forums, articles. Stumbleupon brought me around 150 visitors. And twitter brought me a hundred or so, both from the link in my profile and from the few times that I twittered about writing a new post. (I’m currently at 174 subscribers according to Feeburner. I need to get one of those fancy badges, if only I had the three seconds to figure out how to do it!)
What about search? Well, your site needs to be indexed and ranking well for popular queries to get much search traffic. And that can take some time. So, as you might imagine, I didn’t get much search traffic in my first month. However, I did get some!
Yes, mostly Google. As I mentioned earlier, Google started indexing pages pretty quickly, with Yahoo coming in soon after. But what phrases am I being found for? Well, 406 people have found me by searching for vanessa, where I’m at about position 15. I’m around 4 for vanessa fox and (woo) number 1 for vanessa fox nude, which I’m sure would make my mother quite proud. I even got some traffic from nude, which means searchers must have really been trying out lots and lots of results.
(Interestingly, Google, Yahoo, and Live all have this site number one for vanessa fox nude. However, Ask doesn’t seem to have the site indexed. But what is number one for vanessa fox nude? www.vanessafox.org/2007/04/25/my-social-networking-dream/. What’s that URL you might ask? And you might click on it and notice it redirects to this site. That was a domain that I set up briefly to see if my posts were getting buried on Digg because the diggers took the URL to mean that the site was porn. (Apparently not. That post, submitted under the non-porn like URL, was also quickly buried.) The URL is the only one from that short-lived domain with links to it (from Digg). And Ask has picked it up, but not any of the URLs from this domain. I don’t have any profound theories as to why. Just thought it was interesting.
What else? Mostly not much. I did get someone looking for daven nude, not that I would try to capitalize on that or anything. Nu uh. Someone wanted to know what it takes to get buried. Dude. It’s not hard! And someone was looking for an rss icon.
Only time will tell how things will progress from here. I have a fairly small set of visitors so far, but that might change if I start ranking for something other than my name (and nude!). And that might happen if I start writing substantial content about things people are searching for. Although since this blog has no real theme and I just randomly babble about whatever comes to mind, I may not have a large set of content about any one thing any time soon. Oh, and I suppose the content should be interesting. I’ll try to work on that. I can’t promise anything though. If I really wanted to get some traffic going, I’d probably add some pictures. But I think I’m OK without traffic. For now anyway.