Boosting Your Blog Traffic, pt. 2: A Little Help From France

May 13, 2007 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Blogging, Web 2.0 | Leave a comment
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On the 23rd of April, I published a little post about the results of the first round of the elections in France, titled Elections in France: the results. It was nothing special, and I do admit that my resolution of coming up with one post per day is not showing an utterly favourable effect on the quality of my posts. What the heck.

A week later I began noticing that this post attracted a tad more attention than it had attracted while it was ‘fresh’. The obvious reason: People were expecting the results of the second run-off of the French elections.

On Sunday the seventh of May, the day of the second round of voting, I noticed in the afternoon that the traffic on this particular post was going up to something like 70 (which is a lot for one post on my blog). I was about to leave home to meet a friend, so as a kind gesture I included a link to a page on LeMonde.fr where the results could be expected. Since most visitors were probably British or American – neither nationality known for their proficiency in foreign languages – I don’t think this was of very much use to them.

When I came back some time past 9pm and checked my blog I gasped: 1002 hits on just this post! And it did not even contain the results! I felt a bit sorry for the people who had come to this page in vain, so I quickly began editing and updating it. But the traffic had since long begun to falter, and no more than 78 more hits came in over the following five days.

What does this mean for the blogosphere? It means, the hype about grass-roots journalism not withstanding, that blogs are no good for current news. On the contrary, it shows that current news events, just like allusions to sex and a bit of pornography in your tagging, can be instrumentalized to boost your blog traffic.

I did obviously not instrumentalize the elections in France consciously, but it is easily explained how I could have done that: The majority of visitors came in not via wordpress tags, but via search engines. How? Because the original post was two weeks old and thus old enough to have entered the search engines.

This was the first boost. The second wave of traffic was ushered in by the startpage wordpress.com, where blogs and posts of the day are featured. It needs a bit of a foundation in terms of traffic to get onto this page, but once you’re there, you’ll get even more. Or as the German proverb would have it: ‘Der Teufel scheißt immer auf den dicksten Haufen’ – ‘The devils picks the biggest turd to crap on’.

The post ended up in the top five posts, and the blog in the top 20 blogs of the day, with my ugly mug appearing somewhere on the wordpress front page for a little while (as a thumbnail, but my mug nonetheless).

So: If you want to use a current event to increase your blog traffic, be sure to have a suitably titled post published two weeks ahead of the time of the event, so that search engines can list it, and then hope to enter the wordpress.com top 20.

This involuntary traffic operation had one positive sideeffect though: 217 people in the past seven days were directed to my ‘End Guantanamo’ page. And every visitor on that page COUNTS! This effect can partly be assigned to the End Guantanamo banner you can see on the side-bar, but mainly to the workings of another public opinion tool like digg.com.

Which one? I’ll tell you tomorrow. And this time, it wasn’t me who submitted the page:-)

P.S.: This post is part of a series. Here is the first part.

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