How to grow your blog traffic experiment: Blogger Communities

how to grow your blog traffic 2

Just over a month ago I began a public experiment descriptively titled How to grow your blog traffic.

What I proposed to do was spend a fortnight dedicated to pursuing one method of growing your blog traffic. I’d share the results in full as well as the details of my effort so you could see which method by itself or in combination with others, might be worth trying on your own blog.

As embarrassing as it might be to share my grey, holey, saggy elastic, raggedy ol’ undies as it were in the shape of my minuscule traffic stats, the whole premise of this blog is to provide value and do good stuff online so I’ve sucked it up and bared all because that’s what’s most helpful.

Increasing your blog traffic

I’d love my daily blog traffic to be at a level that I need more that one hand to count. I’ve googled, binged and yahoo’d my way around the internet learning about how to go about increasing it.

I am in this blogging game for the long term and understand that growing my readership is primarily dependent on the quality and relevance of my content. That is where most of my focus is.

But I’m also curious about which methods for promoting my blog and engaging with readers would work best to support that long term organic growth.

There is so much advice about how to go about increasing a blog’s visitor numbers but I’m not sure which ones would be the most effective, how much of my time and effort they take and what I could expect the results to be.

Many of the articles I read on the subject feature blogs that have gone from a few hundred to a few hundred thousand. But is that the norm?

It’s harder to find articles that show progression from 0 up and even harder to find ones that tell me how much time and energy I need to put into each method.

I hope to fill that gap with this series.

Overview of experiment

The Blogger Communities experiment involved the following parameters:

Target Join several blogging communities and undertake activity within those communities.

Criteria Activity in those communities had to be genuine, supportive and add value to the community itself. For any single nomination or mention of my own blog I had to like/follow/visit or otherwise support the blogging efforts of a minimum of 3 other bloggers.

Related goals Support other bloggers, increase other bloggers traffic, build relationships with fellow bloggers.

Results

The results from this fortnight’s experiment about how to grow your blog traffic through Blogger Communities was a real mixed bag. To be fair, I was a mixed bag during it as well. I didn’t apply myself as consistently and strategically as I should have and so I didn’t make the most of the opportunities that were there.

Even though my performance was a little better than utterly half-arsed I’ll run you through what actions I took and what the results were in respect of my traffic and other things so you can draw your own conclusions.

The first graphic below shows my traffic during the course of the experiment – WTF? Yep, it freaking dropped. Hahaha! A couple of comments are in order here – firstly, gah. Secondly, while I was participating in a few different communities I wasn’t interacting directly with other bloggers as much as I had during the Commenting on Blogs experiment. I think that had a real impact. Though it’s not all bad news if you read on good folk.

google analytics data 30 jun white cc

While my traffic didn’t increase, my follows did. This lines up with the types of blogger communities I was participating in. A few notes about these stats though. The percentages are a bit misleading because the numbers involved are so small. For instance my Facebook page likes went from a whole 21 to 31. I only joined Google+ partway through the experiment and my page ended up getting a whopping 11 follows. But at least SOMETHING’S heading in the right direction!

follows 30 jun

The lesson I took away from the experiment was that blogger communities are fantastic in terms of support and education.

But the groups I joined were follow-focussed and I received exactly that. It was more of a business transaction and so after following, few people visited because that wasn’t what they were after through the interaction.

I’m going to continue visiting the blogs I enjoyed and over time will likely see visit backs.

The communities

Some of the communities I participated in I had joined a while ago but had been inactive there for some months.

The blogger communities I took part in for this experiment were:

  • Mom Bloggers Club
  • Top Mommy Blogs
  • Bloggy Moms
  • SITS Girls
  • Triberr

These are all U.S. based networks.

I am part of local communities as well and continued to participate as per usual in those. They are:

  • NZ Bloggers
  • Kiwi Mummy Blogs
  • Go-to-Girl: Social Media and Marketing

I didn’t see these latter groups as being part of the experiment. I suppose because my association with them is a longer term one.

The effort involved

In the communities and groups I joined I needed to take an additional action to receive whatever thing I did in return. To a certain extent that replicated the previous experiment because in some instances the conditional requirement was that I comment on other blogs.

On average I spent around 20 minutes a day dedicated to:

  • Looking through forums for threads to join
  • Joining the discussion and taking part in the required activity
  • Looking for groups to join
  • Joining the group discussions

In respect of the U.S. mommy groups I found that updates could be infrequent and many threads and groups had not had replies for months or years.

I started a ‘follow me’ discussion as well to see if that made a difference after a week there was still no reply.

I got good value out of the groups as this is where a number of my new followers came from but I’d either have to put a lot more energy into creating more discussions or use these as an occasional way to promote my blog to a new audience.

SITS Girls has a very active Facebook group which was the main way I connected with other bloggers as the forum page was faulty during the period I was wanting to access it. This was still a good source of followers.

I have a confession to make about Triberr. I joined but couldn’t figure out how it worked! The concept of Triberr is this, you link up with some relevant groups (you need to request to join their ‘tribe’ or create your own). Then you share posts and support one another by tweeting your tribe-mates posts.

I’m keen to see how effective it is so I’ll put some time aside to work the sodding thing out!

The next experiment

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be getting my tweet on. Yup, I’m gonna hit Twitter and see if I can convince anyone to head over to Lifeblooming.

I was utterly crap at it last time so I’ll also give Triberr another go. It is tweet focussed so it’ll fit in fine.

Let’s see if I can get the traffic moving in the right direction again!

Feel free to give me advice, suggestions or outright sympathy haha!

Also, do feel free to point out crappy bits of the blog or ideas for improving it – I am ALL GOOD with critiques my friends! You could always drop me an email or FB message if you’re more comfortable with offering constructive but critical comments that way. I have a few ideas I’m working on in regards to the content which I’ll run past you soon too. In the meantime thanks for visiting! XXX

Comments

  1. Jennifer says

    First, I clicked on your post BEFORE I realized that it was yours! Don’t get discouraged with your results. I often will find blogs I think I can get into and only add them to my feed. I think there is more of a residual effect with this method and it is a GREAT way to connect with people who you really click with. It’s a lot of weeding through them to find the good ones.

    • Lisa says

      I think you’re right about the residual effect. That was an interesting lesson – I had a perception that all communities were very active within the forum or community site itself. But with some of them while connections were made on site, most of the interaction took place offsite.

      I think that’s an important distinction to be aware of if you’re joining for strategic purposes (i.e. to gain support in some form for your blog).

      Thanks for the comment! I’m all good. A tad impatient perhaps but also curious from an analytical perspective about what to add and take away from the blog to make it better or how to promote it effectively – it’s all a journey of discovery!

    • Lisa says

      Yeah the communities are really a means to an end unless you find a particularly active forum. I’m not saying people aren’t there for genuine interactions or to support others but reciprocal follows are an attractive little activity available through the communities.

      The trouble is with seeking traffic from other bloggers is that bloggers are so busy! It’s hard to find the time to blog and do all your blogging activities let along the time to read other blogs!

  2. Diana zee says

    Hello again! I think we’re on the same boat, or at least rowing next to each other. I just started my blog a month ago and am having the same frustrations. I want to grow my reader base but these mom blog communities just don’t seem to work out the way I want them to. Maybe I’ll just stand outside with a big sign asking people to like my page, I’d probably get the same results. Haha. Loved this post. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one out there feeling this way. Thanks!

    • Lisa says

      Hi Diana! We can call out to each other as we navigate the blog-sea!

      I know – I must have had an incorrect expectation about the communities. I understood them to be great for gaining blog support and mates. I translated that into blog mates and visitors. What I got was blog mates and followers. Good stuff but just not quite what I was hoping for. I wouldn’t kick it to the curb though! Followers are fab!

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