This is a small howto aimed at small blogs, really small blogs when looked at globally, who would like to feel the love. So I decided to share what I learned from having recently driven a 840% traffic spike to my blog with a single entry and increased comment count from zero to 10. I know the comment bit isn't much, and I do realise that traffic spikes aren't exactly the kind of traffic people want, but hey, if you can get 10% of those people to become constant readers that's still nice. If I manage that I will some day write a blog about how to do it.
If you'd like to wake up to a graph like that, keep reading, but beware if your traffic is already high this might not work and if it does will bring your server to its knees.
This is probably the single most effective way of getting a lot of readers to read your stuff. If you follow the right kind of people on twitter and in general keep up with the web you will soon find that there is a buzz about something, then it dies away. You want to write something about the buzz in the middle of it.
When something is buzzing people want to read as much as they can about it, they want the information. This is something newspapers have thrived on since the dawn of time, their whole business model is catching the latest buzz and adding in their own two worthless cents. It doesn't matter if you write something of value, it doesn't even matter if it's good, people will read it.
This is perhaps the most surprising thing I've learnt. When I wrote about what Adobe AIR is good for the traffic spike was 150 people and there was a single comment. When I wrote about what it isn't good for there were 400 readers over two days and more than 10 comments, that's a THOUSAND percent more comments.
Obviously when you're writing about something people in general hate you should write some positive things about it. The reason I believe traffic works this way is that people are more interested in reading something that goes against everything else they read or they just see the title and go "Meh, more of the same". This also might be why conspiracy theories are so succesful, people give more value to anything that doesn't follow the herd, but still manages to make a good point.
Whatever you write about, it's paramount that your blog makes a good point. Don't just sputter idiocy, but make an effort to write something people will connect to and will want to give others to read. If a reader comes in, reads your blog, and thinks they've wasted their time they won't tell others to read it. But if you create something of value they'll want to tell their friends and whomever.
Digg is something I've always been neglecting as a silly thing that isn't really good for anything. But it's surprising to notice just what kind of power it has - even just being dugg 10 times will increase your traffic by a hundred people ... and to many of us that's a lot. On a similar note you should probably also tweet a link to your post and if it's any good it will get retweeted and go at least a little bit viral.
Perhaps to many successful bloggers out there all of this seems a little straightforward and even silly, but there are a lot of blogs out there who fail at these simple things. The biggest issue many bloggers seem to fail on is being relevant and interesting, they don't take blogging seriously you might say.
So if you want that traffic spike now and anon and would like to feel the love, follow these rules and perhaps if you follow them regularly enough those traffic spikes will come so frequently nobody will dare calling them spikes anymore.
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