Can you tell someone how many visitors your blog gets every day?  Do you know how many people access your blog via a feed on a daily basis?  If so, great, but that's only the surface of understanding your blog's traffic.

If you spend time studying your blog's traffic, and especially the source (referrals) of that traffic, you can get a much better idea of where to spend your time online. 

In yesterday's post, I mentioned five different ways you can grow your blog, by leaving it.  One of the sites I suggested spending some time on, was a microblogging site called Twitter.  I spend a lot of time there myself.

But I also spend a great deal of time on another microblogging site, Plurk.  During the course of the day I will keep an eye on my blog's traffic, and especially traffic referrals, via a free tracking site called SiteMeter.  I can see that both Twitter and Plurk send me traffic on most days, but I wanted to get a better idea of exactly how much traffic is coming from these two sources.

So I turned to another free traffic service, Google Analytics.  What I wanted to see was which site sent more traffic to my blog for the month of June.

Some quick filtering showed me that for the month of June, Twitter sent me 7.89% of my blog's traffic, while 5.89% of my blog's traffic came from Plurk.

Which means Twitter is sending me more traffic than Plurk, and that I should probably spend more time there, right?

Well, not so fast. 

First, I only started using Plurk in the month of June.  And my activity there has ramped up since then.  If we check again for referrals from just the past two weeks for both sites, we find that Plurk has accounted for 9.06% of my blog's traffic in the last 14 days, while Twitter has accounted for 5.74%. 

Another important note is that I have far more followers on Twitter (1,545), than I do on Plurk (315).  So despite having almost a fifth of the followers, Plurk is actually sending my blog more traffic than Twitter does.  This tells me that the people following me on Plurk are much more engaged and interested in the interactions they have with me on Plurk, than my followers on Twitter are.

But I wouldn't have known any of this, if I hadn't taken the time to drill down and really look at my traffic sources.  I just assumed that since I had so many followers on Twitter, that it must be sending my blog more traffic than Plurk does.  Now that I know what's actually happening, I can better allot my social media usage on both sites.

What similar nuggets are waiting for you to unearth by taking a closer look at your blog's traffic?     

July 1, 2008

Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time, has helped advise, teach and consult with businesses of all shapes and sizes on how they can better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. While being passionate about the social media space, what truly excites Mack is the human connections that can result from the proper use of these social tools. His motto is "Don't focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate." His goal is to help his clients create those connections with their customers, and nuture them into relationships that help grow their bottom line.

His social media 'homebase' is The Viral Garden, which in 3 years time Mack has grown into an influential marketing/social media blog with a monthly readership of over 175,000. He is also a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs, as well as the marketing blog Daily Fix, and small business blog Search Engine Guide. His writings have been referenced in several mainstream publications and websites, including The Washington Post,, Ad Age, CNET, and The Boston Globe.

Mack is also a requested speaker and has presented at some of the top social media conferences and events, including South By Southwest Interactive, Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer, and Small Business Marketing Unleashed. He is also passionate about teaching companies how to use social media sites and tools more effectively, and offers training and seminars privately to companies, in addition to his public speaking schedule.

You can learn more information about Mack's social media training and consulting services here. If you need a social media speaker for your event, or want to know where Mack will be speaking next, click here. If you want to email Mack, click here.

Mack wrote this bio. The third-person thingie is just for fun.


Yep, good points, Mack.

I'd say that an important metric that people often overlook (since no standard analytics tool gives it to you out oft he box) is # of unique commenters, #/% of repeat commenters (blog-wide and on specific-posts), # of comments per post, and total # of comments. This gets to the more important metric of engagement rather than simply traffic.

I'd also say that while it's important to look at referrers, looking at time-on-page, pages-per-visit, and bounce rate is also important and especially so in relation to referrers, so you can see which are actually the most valuable. Stumbleupon may send you twice as many visitors, but if Twitter sends you visitors that stay twice as long or visit three times as many pages...

I forget who said it, and I'm mangling the quote, but it goes something like statistics without analysis are just trivia. If all you're looking at are the raw numbers, what are you really getting from them?

Which gets to the much larger and some would say more important issue of knowing what metrics are important based on your site goals and objectives. If you don't know what you're measuring, how do you know what stats to look at? And how do you use them to actually improve your site? To mangle the above "quote," even further, I'd say that statistics without action-taken from them are just trivia...

Came here from Plurk although I saw the link on Twitter as well. Honestly some days I land on your posts from Twitter and other days from Plurk.

Timing seems to part of it as well, my Twitter posts roll of my screen quickly. You don't have to switch to a new page to look at old posts on Plurk like you do on Twitter.

Nicholas, that's MY line. We used to run a seris of ads that said "Research without Insight is Just Trivia" still true today. Actually Mack, thanks for this. It reminded me to go to our Google Analytics Dashboard and see what impact various tactics are having. Since I started cross posting from Twitter to the Blog and from the Blog to Facebook we've increased traffic 32%.

@Katie - What's the saying? Always steal from the best...

I've modified my line... Statistics without actions-taken are worse than trivia - they're worthless!

Guys thanks for the comments! Katie are you using something to pull your blog posts and post them to Facebook? If so, what? I was using the Blog Friends app to do this on FB for a while, but of course that app was closed.

I am just brand new, but I have started leaving comments on other blogs over the past couple of weeks and noticed that the referring sites that I am receiving are from the blogs I commented on.

Don't you think the Twitter and Plunk thingy will be a fad?

It sounds like you may have gotten more traffic from Twitter in the beginning and now the new "craze" is out and everyone is going over to the new site which is driving your traffic.

"It sounds like you may have gotten more traffic from Twitter in the beginning and now the new "craze" is out and everyone is going over to the new site which is driving your traffic."

I checked and for the year, Twitter has sent 4.34% of my blog's traffic. So for the last month, it's almost double that. But I use Twitter more now than I did in January, in fact May was my most active month ever (based on number of tweets I left), and June was my second most active.

And no, I don't think Twitter is going anywhere. It's too early to tell on Plurk, but microblogging as a social media tool is here to stay, it seems. And since Twitter is the dominant player in this space, it's fairly well-established moving forward.

This article is really great for new blogger, I my self do some social networking to increase traffic on my site, this article is a great sample and it makes me more aware on what to do.

Wow, A great article for beginners. Really a must read. I think traffic through social networking will make people know about our work.

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