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Archive for April 4th, 2009

A few retweets can really boost your blog traffic.

I tweet a link to every blog post. I have nearly a thousand followers (987 as I write this) on Twitter, but most of them, of course, don’t click the link .(The truth is that only a small slice of your “followers” are truly following at any moment and only people who follow just a handful of people can catch up on all our tweets. Most of us see just occasional snapshots of our tweeps’ writing). I do, though, get a few dozen hits directly from Twitter most times when I tweet a link. That’s probably a good percentage and I’ll take it.

Most days my blog averages about 250 page views,  a bit higher if I posted that day (I post about 3-4 times a week). It’s modest traffic, but not bad for a niche blog by someone whose job doesn’t allow him to write very often. My busiest day (1,953 hits) was the day we reduced the staff at The Gazette. I wrote separate posts on the staff reduction and on my new title, which was announced that day. Those two posts became respectively the third- and fourth-most-viewed posts I’ve written since starting this blog in December. I hope not to write again about either of those topics.

Yesterday I had 852 views on the blog, the most I’ve had in the past month. Part of that was because I posted three different entries. Multiple entries always increase traffic.

But when I look at the referring sources, I can see that something else is driving my traffic. GazetteOnline usually is my leading referring source, even if I have tweeted a link to my blog. I’m featured on the home page of GO, and more people generally click to the blog from there than from Twitter or Facebook (where my tweets appear as my status updates). Twitter is usually my second-leading referral source on days when I’ve tweeted a link to something new.

Yesterday, though, I got far more links from Twitter: 177 referrals from Twitter and Facebook and only 28 from the GO home page (and a handful from other GO pages). Even today, though I haven’t tweeted a link since yesterday, Twitter remains my leading referral source and I already have more views by 7:30 a.m. than I did all day Thursday.

The reason: I was retweeted by 18 different people who together had 24,713 followers. (Jay Rosen alone has more than 13,000.) You can’t control retweets. People tweet a link to your blog only when they find something of value there. But Twitter is an unquestionably valuable tool for driving blog traffic. When I wrote the post that got my most traffic ever, explaining Lyle Muller‘s and my new roles at Gazette Communications, I thought it was a pretty routine post. I only wrote it because I needed to do my weekly column for The Gazette. But it got lots of retweets because lots of tweeps in our region and in the industry were interested in what was happening here and in turn it got linked from other blogs (links help drive traffic, too). It has 1,248 views and counting (may get a few more because I just linked to it again).

Friday’s primary post, Leading your staff into the Twitterverse, has 512 posts as of this writing, already 10th on my all-time list and it’s just been online almost 24 hours. I should add that the nine posts above it all got boosts from linking and retweeting, too.

If you want to build an audience for your blog, take the time to connect with some people on Twitter and be sure to tweet every new post. That alone will give you a bit of a bump. And when other people start retweeting, you’ll see your traffic take off.

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