Stupid Blog Tricks and the Traffic Stats of the Damned

Vario Creative offers Traffic Analysis for Business WebsitesI was going through the traffic stats for the blog yesterday, which is always an enlightening experience.  The #4 content page was   /blog/index.php?tag=small+farm+animals – which is the link for all content tagged with “Small Farm Animals.”  I can only hope that’s because it’s spring and all the parents out there are looking for petting zoos.  Either that or the readership around here is even wierder than I suspected.

If this blog was owned by Clear Channel, we’d now be contemplating an “all small farm animals, all the time” format.  Heck, I’m honestly considering it anyways…except for the fact that I’d run out of things to post about quickly.

On the content side of the analytics, I’m surprised to find that my snarky “Nothing Like a Microsoft OS Upgrade” post is the top performing post; which is somewhat startling since it went up in late February.  That’s points to the fact that while getting traffic to your site is good, not all traffic has value for your site. 

Comparing our stats from the month of April last year, when we had 47 unique users (no blog back then…) we’ve increased to 947 unique users.  That’s a 445% increase in 12 months.  Who says blogging is a good business strategy?

I was reading Alan Mutter’s post about Mike Royko the other day and was struck by the import of it’s message to bloggers.

Unlike most of today’s columnists, who can’t get beyond scribbling self-absorbed drivel about the ho-hum things that happened to them in their cubicles, at the breakfast table or while getting their hair cut, Mike wrote about real things happening to real people in a very real way.

In the days before “crowd” and “source” became a single word, Mike effectively deputized the entire population of Chicago as his legmen, relying on readers to feed him the outraged and outrageous tips that enabled him in his prime to generate five gem-like columns a week.

Bloggers are columnists – not reporters, and the successful bloggers have tight niches, and those niches tend to be ones which might never be filled in print media.  The problem is that as bloggers, we don’t have a copy editor telling us we’ve got to get the opposing viewpoint, or suggesting that we ought to give the subject of our scathing rebuke the chance to respond, in print, in our own column.  We more likely don’t have anyone even checking our spelling or grammar.

Even worse, most of us never leave our cubible, like the columnists Alan refers to.  Rather than emulating Royko, we emulate Andy Rooney, and are more likely to write about the “what’s up with paperclips?”

Here are a couple of stupid blog tricks that will have an affect on your traffic:

1. Pull a “Dvorak”  – write a post that says “Mac’s Stink” or “Microsoft Sucks” or even “Apple Should Pull the Plug on the IPhone” Be sure to tag the post with the appropriate tags, then sit back and wait for the flames.

2. Speedlinking – Technorati ranks us based upon the number of inbound links we get.  Try doing a couple posts a week that have themed links in them, such as “web design best practices.”  Link to 6 or so blogs, all of which allow track backs, and you pump up your Technorati rating, while getting valueable relevant links that help with your Google PageRank.  At the same time, you get a flow of traffic from those other sites.

3. Play on the puerile – put misleading titles on your posts, which is the internet version of the old “Sex, now that I have your attention…”  Watch the traffic come in, then watch it leave, decreasing your depth of visit dramatically.

4. Adopt an all Anna Nicole Smith, all the time format.  Watch the traffic come in, then realize they don’t know how to read, then move to an all pictures format…

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