Online Marketing, Blogging, Social Media… It’s All About Traffic

Let’s get the promotional stuff out of the way. In 2013, I was part of a group of 33 bloggers who was asked a question about how to increase blogger engagement. A few months ago I was part of another group of people that includes some fairly big names on a website called First Site Guide. We were all asked to give our 3 best blog monetization tips. I’m included with some fairly well known bloggers, few of whom know me; that’ll change one of these days (gotta have hope). Then about a month and a half ago I wrote in this space about trying to market my latest book on leadership titled Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy.

Freeways and Purple Buildings
Rick Hobson via Compfight

With all of that, you’d think I would know what I was doing. In a way I do, but in a way I don’t. Let me clarify that one. I know what I need to do to make more sales. I actually know what it takes to drive more traffic to my blog and my websites. After all these years, there’s lots of that kind of stuff I know.

However, what I wasn’t sure of was just how much more traffic I might need to make a dent in selling things online. You know, marketing online isn’t all that much different than real marketing, or offline marketing if you will. In both, it’s all about one or two things.

One, who you know that might be able to help you with things you’re not good at for the mutual benefit of both.

Two, the numbers, as in the more people you can reach, the more traffic you can drive, the better the opportunity you have to be somewhat successful.

The one thing I’ve never really known is just how many numbers you need online to make real sales. I have made a few sales over the years but, being more of a consultant offline than online, I’d never put together any numbers on my own.

Who did I get some numbers from? None other than my old buddy Lynn Terry of Click Newz. I asked her to take a look at the sales page for my book in her private Facebook group to see what I might be missing. She gave me some tips, then asked me how much traffic I’d had. I gave her the numbers and she said “That’s not nearly enough. You can’t make any real sales until you can get at least 3,000 to 10,000 people to your site.

In other words, it takes a lot of traffic, targeted or not, to make any real money online. And those numbers are pretty high.

Truth be told, the only numbers I can get are from Google Analytics, which are slightly suspect. My host, 1&1, doesn’t have Cpanel, which means I can’t look at any traffic figures from them unless I pay an extra fee; sigh. I don’t have a compelling reason to move to anyone else (so don’t even mention whose hosting your site because I’m not switching) because, no matter what people say, they’re as good as any other shared hosting company these days. For anyone who doesn’t believe me, just ask someone how many times Hostgator has gone down in the last couple of years and then ask me how many times 1&1 has gone down in the same period… to which I’d answer “none”.

Rushing to get home on Interstate 405
Creative Commons License Matthew Rutledge via Compfight

I know an argument someone will make is “what about niche marketing and niched blogs. Whereas you have a better chance of attracting the people you’re trying to reach, it’s still about the numbers, about the traffic. My book was on leadership, so I reached out to people interested in leadership through my business blog, a couple of groups on LinkedIn concerning leadership, and my articles there on leadership. For me, the traffic wasn’t bad; for making sales, there just wasn’t close to being enough traffic.

Now, that doesn’t mean if you hit upon something that no one else is doing that you won’t make any money at all. What it means is if you’re hoping to make enough money to sustain yourself by selling things online, you need thousands of people stopping by who are interested in what you have to say, then in what you have to sell. Even if you know how to monetize your site, as my buddy Peter wrote in his post called The Truth About Blogging For Money, it’s about getting the right traffic, marketing the right thing, and touching the right nerves.

That’s mainly why I wrote 3 years ago that if you’re going to make any real money blogging you probably need to change your focus to “service” as opposed to product, even if you’re creating the product. Maybe if your product is teaching other people how to make money you’ll get some sales, or teaching almost anything with the right market. Otherwise, you need to decide whether you want to offer writing services, consulting services, training services, etc. That’s really what it’s all about.

Even Ryan Biddulph, who wrote the book and has the website about Blogging From Paradise, admits in the book (yes, I bought & read the book) that most of the money he makes is from freelance writing, although he’s starting to do well selling his books these days. Another famous guy, Darren Rowse, aka Problogger, became the first millionaire blogger by setting up forums and other sites with other marketers and becoming more of a comglomerate instead of purely blogging (selling photography equipment he wrote about didn’t hurt, as he made a lot of money that way, but it was the other stuff that took him over the top).

Let me be clear on this; all of that still takes a lot of traffic, but maybe not as much traffic to make enough money to live off if you pick the right thing you want to do that people will pay for. It’s something to be considered in any case. Give it some thought, and if you agree or disagree, let me know.
 

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Disappointed By Your Videos Viewer Count?

Early this past year I did my first video and popped it up on YouTube, then onto this blog. It was very short and just an introduction, and I knew I had to get better at it. To date I think I’ve done 9 videos, and I think my last one wasn’t all that bad, even if it wasn’t totally for the masses.

However, I have to say that I was kind of shocked when I looked at the numbers of people YouTube said had seen it. Actually, for the longest while it showed only one person had seen it, and I was surprised by that because a number of people had told me they had looked at it. Today it’s up to 4 views, which is still way down. Then I looked at the numbers for my other videos and only one of them seems to have kind of popped. What’s strange is that another video of mine only shows 4 views, yet I know more people than that viewed it because I put it up on Facebook and it was probably one of the most commented on posts I’ve ever had, if not number one.

Then I started to realize something. If you post your video anywhere else YouTube can’t count it. I started doing some research about it and it seems to be true based on a number of people writing about it. Even Google, in its own subversive way, indicates that those numbers won’t show.

Well what the hey? How are we supposed to know how effective our videos are if we can’t get an accurate count? Are we supposed to drive everyone to YouTube instead of our own sites just so we can find out how many people are really viewing our submissions?

Although I’d already been thinking about this for a couple of weeks, it was a post on Adrienne Smith’s site titled How To Get More Views On Your YouTube Videos that got me to think about writing on the topic. I asked a question about the post, where she’s promoting a guy named Paul Wolfe that’s put together something telling us how to get more visitors to our YouTube site. Her response to me was that getting people to your YouTube page could help get more visitors to your blog or website.

Love Adrienne but frankly, seeing the numbers I do, I’m not sure that’s going to occur any time soon. To date I have 13 subscribers to my page, and to be truthful I didn’t learn until the beginning of November that one could subscribe to a YouTube page; shows how little I’ve paid attention to the video aspects of social media other than one’s webpage. I’m not sure how many of those people have turned around and visited any of my blogs, and to be truthful I’m not realizing that I’ve missed out because I’ve never given the URL on any of my videos to this point, and seeing I’ve done videos for 3 different sites that’s a major thing to overlook.

Now that makes 2 questions I have no answers to; how many people have visited my site(s) because they’ve seen a video and how many people are watching my videos when I post them elsewhere. Man, I hate not knowing stuff like this, but there seems to be no way around it.

Do I decide to stop doing videos then? No, that’s not the answer. Do I stop posting videos on my blogs? No, I don’t think that’s the answer either. I think if one wishes to get some kind of idea on how a video might have performed one has to look at other analytics. In this case I went to Google Analytics to take a look at this post on my business blog celebrating Post #900 there.

I only wrote 2 paragraphs on that post and then popped in the video. According to Analytics, people have spent an average of 4 minutes and 54 seconds on that page. I know almost no one needs that long to read 2 paragraphs, so this tells me that there had to be a good number of people watching the video, based on the number of people that actually visited based on those same analytics. The video is just over twice as long as the time on that post; no, I’m not about to dig deeper. lol

This is one of those times where the numbers one gets aren’t even close to accurate, but you have to be prepared to push past it. If I didn’t have other ways of checking my statistics, I’d think no one cares about my videos and would stop making them. Course, it’s not like I’m getting Bieber numbers, but maybe one day… 😎

And I wish I could figure out how to get YouTube to stop on a picture without my having that goofy expression on my face all the time!
 

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Guest Posts, Comments Or Interviews; Which Drives More Traffic To Your Site?

I don’t often talk about driving traffic to one’s blog unless it’s a little research project. That’s what this is, and since you see the title, you know what it’s about.

David Peralty is Huge on the Internets
John Federico via Compfight

In the last few months I’ve written one guest post that got a lot of attention, did an interview on another blog that did pretty well, and of course I’ve commented on lots of blogs as I often do. Last night I was sitting around thinking “I wonder which of these things drives more traffic to a blog.” Since this is the only one of my blogs that can address each of these criteria I have to use it for this test. The results are somewhat shocking, at least to me, and might be to you as well.

The study period is June 1st through August 31st. This actually works really well because I wrote the guest post on May 31st and the interview was posted on June 1st (this link now goes elsewhere; the link will explain why lol). Comments are of course an every day thing, and one might think this skews the results, which it would if I was taking all blogs as one. Instead I’m only taking one blog, that being Pete’s Wassup Blog. Why? You’ll see.

The source that brought me the most visitors in this time period was of course Pete’s blog, with 147 visitors coming from there. As a matter of fact, he’s #10 after all the search engines, where 5 different Google’s have sent the most traffic overall. I comment on Pete’s blog often, and we of course have banter here as well. I think that could have an effect since we’ve been doing it for years and I’m sure a lot of people have seen my name because his blog is popular.

Second is the guest blog post, which was on Ileane’s blog, with 89 visitors, and that link is sitting in 14th place. This obviously means the interview comes in third with 53 referrals and sits in 18th place. That all 3 made the top 20 is pretty amazing in and of itself. Just for historical perspective Twitter sits in 11th place, a site called Business2Community, where I was quoted by Ari Herzog and left only one comment, was 15th, and a site I’ve never heard of and have no idea what they do called Gaia Online was 17th; all other referrers were search engines.

Now, I’d be irresponsible if I said that my results will be the same for everyone, but I have to say that based on what I’m seeing it seems that commenting really does drive traffic more than anything else. Maybe it’s because it’s something you do more often and thus always stays fresh. Maybe it’s because people get intrigued with what you have to say, or see a link via CommentLuv and decide to follow it back. I’m not really sure.

However, I hear some people saying “hey, what about that first month, June, when everything took place? What did things look like then?” Glad you asked. For just June Ileane’s blog ended up in 10th, Pete’s blog was 11th, and the one where my interview was sits all the way down in 29th.

Yup, seems commenting is the best thing for me; what do your blog stats show?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Synergy Of Business And Blogging

Well now, this is something a little different. Michele Welch of New Biz Blogger has put together a free ebook for everyone to enjoy that contains articles from 31 bloggers on the general subject of blogging for business.

The name of the ebook is The Synergy of Business and Blogging, and it’s around 100 pages of tips that anyone might enjoy reading. I’ve already read it (y’all know I’m like that) and I think you’ll find it pretty good overall. Michele put it together very well indeed, and there are specific topics so you can decide if you want to jump to something you’re most interested in. The general topics are:

First Steps

Search Engine Optimization

Tools & Tips

Traffic Generation

Blogging

Social Media

Technology

So, this is a very good deal. A free ebook, about 7MB so if you have slow download speed it could take a bit, and if you happen to download it from the link above or here, and you happen to get to page 67, you’ll see yours truly with a feature article as well. I’m really honored to have been selected to be a part of this collection of folks, which includes our buddy Sire (whose article is just before mine; how’d that happen?), Jimi Jones, Kristi Hines, DiTesco, and Dennis Edell, folks who have commented on this blog.

And a short post at that; y’all have made out for a Monday!

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Traffic From My Campaign

As you know, last week I decided to take a shot at writing two posts a day, with the second daily post highlighting a product of mine. I thought that waiting a couple of days and then looking back at how it all went as far as traffic and analytics went would be an interesting thing to see.

I have to say that “interesting” really is the correct word for it; “well” definitely is not. Whenever you try something new, you need to have at least a couple of things you want to track as far as seeing what happened. In my case I wanted to see three things: one, would anyone actually read the product posts; two, would my traffic go up because I had two posts a day for a week (okay, six days); three, would I send any traffic to my other sites, where all my products ultimately reside.

Let me start with this; I never expected to sell a single product. If I’d gotten lucky maybe one or two sales might happen, but I wasn’t expecting it. That’s because this blog really isn’t for that type of thing. What I expect I’ll do is run the same exact series on my business blog, almost word for word, and see if it generates anything there, though that blog isn’t nearly as popular at this one.

Now, a quick look at my three things. The first was whether anyone would actually read any of the posts. Well, I think I knew someone would read them, but how many folks. It turns out not all that many. None of those posts made the top 10 visited articles for the week, though 5 of them made the top 20. That’s not so bad until you see the numbers overall.

That’s because now we have to look at the second thing, overall traffic. And my overall traffic was down for the week, even with two posts a day. It dropped precipitously after Monday, and by Saturday, I was showing visit numbers lower than normal. Okay, it was a holiday week in the U.S., so I’ll try to take that into consideration to a small degree, since most people still have internet access during holidays, but even I wasn’t as active online as I normally might be. I will say this, however; those folks that did read the product posts spent more time reading them than my normal average except for one post, so that’s a bright spot.

That brings me to the third thing, which is if I drove any traffic to my other sites. On this one I’d have to say that the word “drive” is ambitious. A couple of people came over and looked at a product, but left almost immediately; average page view time was 16 seconds. That’s on the business blog. On my SEO website, only 3 people clicked on the product, and it averaged 0 seconds; how does an analytic show 3 visitors and no time on a site? Well, it did; freaky.

What can I take away from this? Actually, I’m not sure. Do I go with my entry premise that almost no one would really care about my particular type of products on this site? Actually, I think I can say “yes” to that one. Is this an indictment against 2 posts on one day as being too much? I’m not as sure on that one, but it’s possible that it could have felt like overwhelm. Some folks might have seen two posts, been unsure which one to click, and just avoided both of them. Maybe Chris Brogan’s thought on multiple posts a day doesn’t work, but I can’t be sure about it. Will this type of thing work better on my other blog, where that’s really the audience I want to reach for at least some of these things? I’m not sure about that one either.

Hmmm, maybe this one wasn’t as scientific as I had hoped it might be in the long run. Too many extenuating circumstances to get a clear thought on it all. Then again, it gave me something to write about, and once again proves that one can find inspiration anywhere. You have any thoughts on it?

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