Value Added Blogging – The Art of Growing Traffic Organically One Reader at a Time

Would you like to have slow growth for real blogging success? Are you interested in pursuing quality (daily readers), or quantity (quick one time visits)?

I think the above are two questions that all bloggers and web professionals should ask themselves, and reflect upon, when determining the life-cycle, branding, and tone of their website.

The other day while I was out running I was thinking about some of the value added services that we provide at our small business here on Culebra and I thought it is a great way to get referrals, and repeat customers because people typically leave very happy. Blogging (or any online marketing venture) really is the same.

If you can add some value to the lives of your site visitors they will leave happy (fulfilled) and refer their friends to you!

Recently, I have read many good posts on social media networks and their ability to drastically build your site traffic at a rapid pace. Here are two articles that you might enjoy “How to Win the Hearts of Digg Users (and All Other Social Media Communities)” and “What are Social Media Marketing and Social Media Optimization?“.

At present, I can honestly say that I do not have that much time to focus on trying to build social media relationships that would lead to quality networking and marketing opportunities. But, I can strongly attest to the fact that every time one of my posts gets stumbled I do see a nice increase in temporary traffic.

For example, about a week ago I posted my list of ‘The Ten Most Inspirational Bloggers of 2007 and it was based on people who motivated or inspired me to try and ‘do better’ during this past year.

Well, the post got “discovered” and stumbled by Maki, and then also Leo Babauta and Muhammad Saleem (a power DIGG-er). Below you can see the spike that I got in traffic from this exposure:

Unfortunately, the spike in traffic was like a drug, it gave a short lived high but coming down was painful.

Next, out of some strange coincidence I received a gift that had a lot of meaning to me, so I jotted down (literally) the fastest post I have ever written, ‘10 Simple and Effective Ways to Let People Know They Matter‘ in well under ten minutes. I finished and posted it on a Sunday morning and my traffic (after the initial Maki stumble) had been abysmal.

Before going to bed on Sunday night I did a quick check of my Google Analytics to discover a massive spike in traffic! My new friend Ami, of Sri Lanka and Amispath, had ‘discovered’ and stumbled the post. You can see the spike in traffic in the graphic above, it was the most visitors I have ever had in one day. Look at the dropoff – Holy Smokes!

What kind of traffic are you looking for?

Like everyone else, I want as many people as possible (who find my content interesting and of value) to read what I publish on my site. For the next few months I have decided to focus on the slow growth model, and to increase my sites traffic more organically by having a ‘person to person’ dynamic, as opposed to ‘person to group’.

With respect to my site, and what I am trying to accomplish, it fits in better with my self branding and image. Pretty much, I equate the process of growing my reader base slowly like giving one solid virtual handshake at a time to each of my visitors. If someone leaves a comment I will respond by either commenting back on my site, emailing them, or by leaving a comment on their site.

Most of you reading this post might think that I am crazy. Possibly, you are thinking, why that seems like a lot of hard work? And the truth is, YES it is a lot of hard work, but no worthwhile venture for me has ever come easy.

Are you lucky enough to have the Midas touch? Are you able to breeze through any challenge and achieve success?

If you answered ‘yes’ to both of those questions then consider yourself extremely lucky!! Sometimes, everywhere I look it appears as though some people are able to achieve success without any effort.

Success seems to flow to some people like water. However, I realized long ago that I would have to work hard to achieve success with every goal, ambition, or crazy idea that I try to pursue.

Why should my desire to build a creative and interactive reader base be any different?

The primary reason why I am happy to build traffic slowly, organically, is because these readers will stick with you! They will check back regularly to see how you are doing and what you are posting about.

In fact, if you look at skellie’s website for example, her readers are an active part of her site. The end result is a great community atmosphere, and more of a ‘give and take’ experience as opposed to just being spoon fed information.

Essentially, like any venture, your dedicated readers are your repeat business and word of mouth traffic builders.

One of my goals for the year is to really make an impact online and I am happy to do that on this site, or by acting as a guest poster on other sites.

Social media can ABSOLUTELY add tremendous value to your site and help you to attract new readers, provided you have the time to invest in becoming an active participant. Unfortunately, some of the social media sites have been accused of having slightly unethical practices.

With respect to building traffic for MyTropicalEscape, I am not really that comfortable with paying for Digg votes in order to get a quick traffic spike (and accompanying EGO feed).

There has to be a happy medium?

Truthfully, I guess, I too, am looking for the happy medium between social media spikes and slow, organic traffic growth. The following are the ideals that I try to keep in mind as I work to establish my place in the blogosphere:

  • Remember that behind every comment, or email, there is a real person. Make the effort to comment back, email them, or leave a comment on their site.
  • Focus on quality (not quantity) in both post content and reader traffic. Also, when you look at your site stats don’t be deterred by the number of visitors but really study how long visitors are staying (i.e. bounce rate) and what content they are reading.
  • Create a true sense of community. I believe this is more difficult than it sounds but if you can establish a positive flow of dialogue between your readers then traffic is sure to grow.
  • Make an editorial calendar and stick to it so visitors know when to check back for the articles that they are interested in.
  • Strive to make every post count!

What do you think? Have I missed any steps, or opinions, for either the slow growth traffic method or social media tactics?

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