Recovering from Traffic Flatline – Another 7 Days

Last week I outlined my initial response to receiving no traffic to my blog for a full 7 days, something I have called traffic flatline.

Since my last post I have added some features to the blog to encourage interaction and retention of visitors. If you look at the right of the page, below the opt-in form you’ll see I’ve set up an RSS feed. It’s so long since I’ve done this that I had to go hunting for help and found some easy to follow instructions here. I’m not sure how many people are likely to use the facility, but if I don’t set it up I’ll never find out.

I’ve also added two other features. CommentLuv allows anyone leaving a comment to include a link to their own most recent blog post, and I have also installed the Select Sociable plugin, which produces the sharing buttons below each post. I also intended to have a tell a friend plugin but discovered that the one I planned to use has an out of date security certificate and opens a warning window when used. Not exactly what I was aiming for so I deleted it and have yet to find a recommended alternative.

To get traffic I’ve continued to post on forums and blogs. After publishing last week’s update I posted a link to it in my Facebook account and in a couple of Facebook Groups I am in. They are both internet marketing related so I was hoping the links would attract some interest. I monitored any comments to my blog posts and replied to those that were not spam.

I also emailed my list letting them know that my traffic had flatlined and invited them here to see how I was responding and what was working.

So if that’s what I’ve done what results am I getting?

Below are my Google Analytics stats for 18th November – 4th December. The patient is no longer dead, but hardly a picture of health!

Google Analytics of traffic results

The top three traffic sources are organic Google searches, then direct click throughs, then Facebook. The remainder come from blogs I have left comments on. There has also been one visitor each from Stumbleupon and the Warrior Forum. As you can see there was a peak of 22 visitors last Thursday after I announced my blog post to the Facebook groups and my email list. You can also see that traffic is still dropping to zero when I don’t maintain forum and blog commenting.

My plan for the coming week is to persevere with commenting and bookmarking. However these methods are less than ideal and may be dropped if I can get alternatives to work. One alternative is Facebook. My results show it can help build a spike in traffic and everyone says its a great traffic source and too big to ignore, so it seems wrong not to attempt to leverage it somehow.

I hope you’re finding this useful. If you’re shadowing what I’m doing or finding your own ways to grow traffic to your site it would be great if you would leave a comment below and let me know your story, thoughts or feedback.

I’ll post another update next week.

David

Recovering from Traffic Flatline – My Results So Far

Well after traffic to this blog literally flatlined I said in my last blog post that it was time to address the issue and take action. So what have I been doing?

Firstly I’ve started regularly visiting the Warrior Forum and leaving comments. This is something I used to do but had fallen out of the habit as I started to concentrate on other things. Before I started leaving comments I changed my signature that appears below each post to something that is intended to interest readers enough to follow the link and visit this blog.

I have seen a few visits from the forum so far and I intend to repeat this method on other forums. I’ve started a new notepad listing possible forums and blogs to post on and found a useful list of forums related to internet marketing here.

I’ve also been commenting on blog posts. To find relevant blogs I’ve used Google to search keyword phrases like ‘internet marketing’ and ‘get more traffic’. I select blogs from the side menu and have also been using the Past 24 hours timespan to find the more recent posts.

Another method I want to try is bookmarking. This week I set up a Stumbleupon account and have started to ‘Stumble’ some pages in a few niches that interest me. I haven’t Stumbled my own content yet, but intend to start with this post. The reason for this slow start is I want to avoid being penalised for only promoting my own material.

So that’s my initial response to my traffic flatlining. I’m sure the methods I’ve started with will get results but they are rather time consuming to implement. For this reason I’ve decided the next step is to expand into social networking for a more viral process. I’ll let you know my next actions and the results I’m getting next week.

What’s your experience with traffic (or lack of it?) Have you found something that works or is a definite waste of time? Leave your comments below and also let me know your blog address so I can come over and visit too.

My Traffic Has Flatlined!

Traffic was always a major problem when I was running blogs before and it’s still a major challenge.

I knew that I was going to have to address this issue, but till now I’ve been concentrating on completing my product and building my list with giveaway events. Then I received this weeks analytics for the blog.

 

AsĀ  you can see Google Analytics for the site shows there were no visitors for the seven days between 11th and 17th November 2012.

If you value the life of your business flatlining for a blogger is as catastrophic as flatlining for a doctor or surgeon. In fact Google should add a feature that produces that incessant beep that accompanies a flatline on a heart monitor. It shouldn’t be ignored.

No traffic means no one sees your optin form, reads your content or gets to like you. Ultimately that means you do not build a list, you make no sales and you have no business.

So it’s time to address the issue. One thing you must realise is that it’s not going to resolve itself. Don’t believe the ‘build it and they will come’ brigade. If it ever was the case on the internet it definitely is not the case now. If your traffic is lower than you want it to be then you have to take action.

So over the coming weeks I’m going to be trying different traffic methods and sharing my results. You’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t.

If this is of interest to you then be sure to visit regularly and check out my results. Let’s see if we can get this patient on the road to recovery.

David

P.S. The irony of no traffic and therefore no comments to last week’s blog post is not lost on me. And yes, this P.S. is an attempt to get you to take a look and leave a comment. But at least I’m showing you my blooper reel.

An Unexpected Problem Solved

Having mentioned the anti spam plugin Spam Free WordPress in an earlier post I have had to change it.

Earlier today I suddenly discovered that on each of my post pages the box for leaving a reply to the post was at the top right of the page instead of below the post. Even worse the incorrectly located box was overlaid by the image of my ebook. The whole thing looked a mess.

Initially I had no idea what was going on and almost slipped into the panic that most non-techy blog owners would be likely to fall into. However there is an alternative, better approach.

First you have to deduce what could have caused the problem. You do that by identifying if anything about the blog has changed recently. The only change I had recently made was to upgrade each of the three plugins on the blog. By deactivating each one in turn I found the problem disappeared when the anti spam plugin was deactivated.

To double check that the upgrade was the problem I then deleted and reloaded the plugin. The problem persisted.

You often have to use some logical detective work like this when there is a problem.

One of the great things about WordPress is the depth of resources there are for it. Most plugins have alternatives and considering how important it is to stop spam comments that’s just as well.

A quick look through the alternatives and the old plugin was replaced with Spam Destroyer. Hopefully it will prove a good choice and perform without a glitch. If it doesn’t I’ll let you know.

Steps I Took Before My First Post

Before I even wrote my first post for this blog there were several decisions and choices to be made. If you’ve not started your own blog yet or wonder what plugins to use I’m hoping this may be of some help.

The first decision was to use a self hosted WordPress site. WordPress because it’s easy to use and has lots of features that can be added; self hosted because it gives me more control and reliability. If you’re building a site on your own domain it cannot be taken away from you without warning.

The next decision was which theme to use. Ones I have used in the past now look a bit cluttered to me or are not what I wanted.

I had two criteria for the theme. Firstly I wanted to get momentum and didn’t want to spend a lot of time deciding on the theme when I could have been working on content or traffic generation. Secondly I was looking for a ‘clean’ theme. I took an hour to chose the Origin theme.

However I wanted to make some changes to the basic layout (for example the size of the header image) and did not find making the changes intuitive. In fact I almost went back to an old theme I had used before, but persevered and have kept it.

The basic message here is don’t waste a lot of time on the theme. Get on and remember you can always change it later.

Next I decided which plugins to use. This was based on my own blogging experience and recommendations some internet marketers had made on their own blogs.

I decided on the following basic plugins: The All in One SEO Pack to help make my content more Search Engine friendly; BackupBuddy to backup my blog related files and content so if any thing should happen to the site I will be able to restore it, and Spam Free WordPress which blocks spam comments.

That was all. I plan to revisit plugins at a later date and add others, especially when the blog is getting more visitors. Again notice I was wanting to get on, not spend a lot of time on this.

One last thing I did to set up the blog was to go into the Settings Menu and change the permalinks setting. The default is not very helpful as it produces page URLs that include just a jumble of letters and numbers. To make the page url more descriptive and seo friendly select the ‘post name’ format instead. If you’re reading this post on its own page you’ll see that the URL above gives you an idea about the page’s content.

At this point I was ready to start writing. Before I wrote my first post I put together something for the About page. If you’re not known online you need to start building recognition and trust and this is just a small but important step in that direction. Again I didn’t want to spend too long on this and was aware that I could rewrite and update it later.

Finally I wrote my first blog post. In fact take a look in the comments for that post and you’ll see I overlooked giving it a Category such was my focus on getting things started quickly.

Since then apart from adding post Categories I’ve only made two further changes, both related to the blog actually getting visitors. One was to set up a Gravitar so I would have my image beside any post comment replies, and the other was to add a means of tracking visitors, but that’s a topic for another post.

I hope this was helpful. If you’ve set up a blog let me know how you did it differently, and let me know if you think focussing on getting started quickly was the right way to go.