Anyone who has ever started a blog knows that one of the biggest challenges is getting traffic to your blog, and traffic is essential if one hopes to monetize their blog. There are various recommendations on the web regarding how best to draw traffic to a blog, and after reading through several of these, it’s easy for a new blogger to feel overwhelmed and confused by the conflicting information.
A few years ago, I listened to Bill Belew speak at the HDCWC meeting in Apple Valley. At that time, he recommended multiple short posts (100-150 words long) per day to generate traffic. He shares similar information regarding the success of mutiple short posts per day at Search Engine Journal. Another site suggests longer posts (300-350 words) two or three times per week are best, and one claims that Google considers posts of less than 200 words to be “thin content”. Another site recommends a combination of regularly scheduled quality content on your own site paired with guest posts on a blog that has more traffic than your own. There are sites that list specifically how long a tweet, facebook comment, and a blog post should be in order to be most effective. These list the best content length for a blog post at 1600 words. When you’re looking for a definitive answer, all of this seemingly conflicting information can be very confusing.
Even regarding the topic of page rank, there is disagreement. There are those who say it’s vital to get traffic to your site, but is it really? One site posted an experiment in which he achieved a Google page rank increase from 0 to 3 in only a month without any content. This was achieved through commenting on other blogs. The result was that even with a page rank of 3, he only had traffic that equaled 50/month. One would anticipate that a site with a page rank of 3 would have more than that many visits per day. Apparently, page rank isn’t as important for generating traffic as I had been led to believe.
In an effort to determine what is effective, two blog owners from the High Desert Blogging Community have agreed to participate in a month-long experiment to determine if regularly scheduled, quality content is enough to increase traffic. Both of these blogs are food blogs with a page rank of ZERO. During the month of February, each of the sites will post on a regular schedule to see if regularly scheduled posts improve traffic. To help motivate our bloggers, we have decided to turn this into a contest.
The winner will be selected in three categories.
1. The site that has the most visits during the month of February
2. The site with the most increased traffic during the month of February
3. The blogger who does the best maintaining the schedule of their posts. We are being very strict about this, too.
Extra posts can be completed on either site if the blogger feels that it’s necessary, but they don’t count toward the scheduled posts unless they are published on one of the regularly scheduled days. For example, if a blogger says he or she will blog on Tuesday and Friday, but they blogged on Wednesday and Friday instead, this will result in that blogger losing a point for not blogging on schedule. Yes, they blogged twice that week, but the experiment is for regularly scheduled posts. This also means that the posts have to be published at a consistent time on that day of the week as well. It doesn’t have to be published at exactly the same time, but within a certain hour on each of these dates, the post needs to be published.
This may sound rather harsh, but this is the reason. We want our readers to anticipate our next post. That will bring them back, or maybe, encourage them to subscribe to our blogs. Think of it this way. If you get a physical newspaper, you expect it to be on your doorstep in the morning. You anticipate it being there. What would happen if one day your paper arrived at noon or just before your evening meal? What would happen if you got no paper for three days and then four of them on the next day? I would consider cancelling my subscription.
A few other rules: All posts are set to automatically share to a FaceBook page, but the blogs have been doing that regularly already.
At the beginning of the next month, we will review what happened to the traffic on these two sites and announce our winner in each category – which brings us to the question of what the winner gets.
For each category that a blogger wins, they get to post a guest post on the other’s site. Granted, that guest blogging on another site with a page rank of zero might not bring tons of traffic to the winner’s blog, but it will expose his/her blog to the other bloggers’ readers. When two blogs have small followings, I’m pretty sure that most of their viewers will be from different groups.
Our beginning data is as follows:
PattyCakesPantry.com had a total of 422 views in the month of December and a total of 584 views in January. Our blogger has agreed to post twice per week on Tuesday and Friday for the month of February.
KitchenHospitality.com had a total of 142 views in the month of December and a total of 287 views in January. Our blogger has agreed to post three times per week on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday for the month of February.
Leave a comment below to share your thoughts or experience for improving traffic on a blog. You can also speculate which website will be the winner in each category. Based on the December and January traffic reports above, I’m anticipating that Kitchen Hospitality will win the category for the most increased traffic. Anything can happen, but Patty Cake’s Pantry better get that guest blogger account set up. Of course, we’ll have to wait until the final numbers are in to declare a winner.We won’t have the final results until March 1, but be sure to check back mid February for an update on our bloggers and their success with trying to improve their website traffic.