Over the last couple of days, a select few websites may have noticed spikes in the number of their web visitors. Most will know where the traffic is coming from, and will hopefully have been prepared for the onslaught. They will all have been featured as part of Forbes Woman’s “Top 100 Websites for Women” and along with the boost in their profile, I know of at least five that are going to have more returning visitors now that I aware of them.
But sudden boosts in traffic are not always necessarily a good thing. The ladies at Jezebel frequently send their readers to view other websites, particularly those that open themselves to ridicule, and while their hapless victims may think that their last blog post has made them temporarily popular, what they may not know is that they have been targeted as a figure of fun, rather than as anyone possessing even a modicum of authority.
WordPress makes it relatively easy to decipher the intentions of visitors: they come from a certain website, look at certain pages, and then bounce to different destinations. Nevertheless, I still can’t help but feel that sometimes people arrive on this blog by accident, having been looking for completely different information. I don’t begrudge them their stumbling; it is the search engines who have sent them this way. Still, I do wonder how much more of a problem it would be if I were actually selling anything over here.
It is one thing to have your blog ready for prime time; it is quite another to convince casual visitors to come back. Naturally, you can’t always anticipate a bigger, more popular website might send eyeballs your way, but keeping those erstwhile surfers coming back is a different proposition. It is always a good idea to see which posts proved to be most popular amongst them, and to possibly do an update or follow-up in the hope that they will become regular readers. Alternatively, they may be suitably enamoured of your regular content that they return of their own accord. Either way, it is a tightrope that many minor bloggers need to learn how to navigate.
From my own experience, having experienced spikes from content that is both relevant to certain events at a particular point in time, and having been the recipient of the largesse of a much bigger blog, I recommend sticking at what you are good at. Don’t make any wild detours into topics that might alienate your regular readers, but do keep an eye on any topics that might interest passing trade. While I have not blogged specifically about Kenya in many of my recent blog posts, I do keep myself abreast of recent developments and update legacy blog posts as necessary. For me, it is not so much a question of traffic, but that I know that there are now people looking to me to provide them with information. Having picked up the baton, I would feel guilty to drop a subject simply because it was no longer in the headlines.
In the end, the readers who will continue to return to your blog will be those who feel you have something to offer them. The niche or businesss sector that you are targeting will already be of interest to them and if you can provide them with compelling content, they might come back to see what you have to say. Occasionally, one of your posts may hit the areas of interest of a disparate group of readers: that is when you will get your spike. But don’t despair if your numbers fall off rapidly after a day. Given the fragmented nature of the web, it is a rare blog or website that gets generalist surfers every single day.
[Image by Rogiro]