This is a guest post by Danny Iny, an author, strategist, serial entrepreneur, and proud co-founder of Firepole Marketing, the definitive marketing training program for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-marketers.
Traffic spikes are awesome!
If youâ€™re like most bloggers, you watch your stats daily, if not several times per day. And if youâ€™re like most bloggers, you know how awesome it can feel to have a massive influx of traffic.
Sometimes that rush of traffic is created by your targeted efforts â€“ maybe you published a guest post on an authority bog, or youâ€™re running a pay-per-click campaign, or you produced a piece of exceptional content that went completely viral.
Other times, it seems to happen out of nowhere â€“ maybe a big blogger randomly links to you, and suddenly the floodgates open.
Either way, when you see that traffic dot shoot up, and up, and up, it can be exhilarating â€“ you might even be tempted to sit there and hit the refresh key over, and over, and over again, to watch it keep on rising.
Sometimes, that traffic sticks around; the initial spike lasts two or three days, and when it comes back down to earth, it doesnâ€™t come as far down as it was before.
But other times, it comes all the way back down, and youâ€™re back to square one, wondering â€œwhere did everybody go?â€
The traffic spikes are sexy and seductive, but once youâ€™ve had a couple of them, they lose that appeal. You realize that they arenâ€™t that hard to manufacture; write a guest post for a big blog, or if you really just want to see the spike, spend a few hundred dollars on AdWords and youâ€™ll get one.
The truth is that the traffic spikes donâ€™t matter â€“ not even a little.
Traffic Spikes and Traffic Ramps
See, anything you do to get more traffic to your site is a kind of marketing, and the smarter marketers out there know that when you measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, there are two important numbers that you want to track:
1. The Bump: This is the extra business that the campaign brings in the door. It is immediate and measurable, and what most business owners are after when they track their marketing.
2. The Ramp: This is the growth to the businessâ€™s regular operations, after the spike is over. This is harder to track, but so much more valuable, because it keeps on contributing to the businessâ€™s bottom line.
The traffic spike is sexy and exciting, but not important â€“ what matters is the ramp. After all, steady traffic and regular visitors are the real lifeblood of your blog!
Converting Spikes into Ramps
The real trick in growing a blog isnâ€™t just to get people to see your blog once, but to get them to keep on coming back for more â€“ in other words, you want your visitors to â€œstickâ€.
It isnâ€™t that hard, as long as youâ€™ve got your bases covered. Here are the bases:
1. First base: Get the right visitors. If itâ€™s the ramp that youâ€™re after, then all spikes are certainly not created equal. The spike you want is made up of visitors who fit your customer profiles, and at least potentially interested in what you have to say. To find these people, first figure out who they are, and then where they hang out. In the blogging world, this means finding the authority blogs that your audience follows.
2. Second base: Prime the visitors. Before these people are sent over to your site, you want to make sure theyâ€™ve already been given a good impression of you. This doesnâ€™t happen when you run ads, so youâ€™ve got to guest post, or get the blogger to link to you with a favorable review.
3. Third base: Reward the visitors. When the wave of track crashes on the banks of your blog, you need to put your best foot forward to greet them. Make sure you have the most compelling, relevant and high quality content you can waiting for the new visitors. This might mean creating a special landing page just for them, or writing a post that follows on from the message that originally sent them over.
4. Home base: Invite the visitors to stay. Itâ€™s sad to see a blogger get the right visitors, prime them, and reward them with good content when they arrive, but make it difficult for them to subscribe for updates â€“ but it happens!
Speaking from personal experience, there are a few otherwise excellent blogs that Iâ€™ve visited, enjoyed, and left frustrated when I couldnâ€™t find an email subscription option. Everyone has their favorite way of following a blog â€“ make sure that the different options are available on yours, and that there are many clear opportunities for new visitors to opt in (tip: if you arenâ€™t already doing it, then add a WP Greet Box to the bottom of each post saying â€œif you liked this, then subscribeâ€).
Thatâ€™s it â€“ four bases to cover, and if you cover them well, youâ€™ll convert those short-term spikes into indefinitely rewarding traffic ramps.
Whatâ€™s your experience with spikes and ramps? Do you have a favorite way of converting a first-time visitor into a loyal subscriber? Please share it in the comments!