It’s September 1. It feels like a good time to talk about traffic again and issues in getting traffic. Once again, I’m looking at Fan History’s traffic. This time, it is for August 2008.
I spend a lot of time on Twitter. I love twitter. I love the community. I love reading about the business end of running a startup, running a blog, running a website. Lots of time is spent talking about the whole traffic issue, linking to people’s blog posts about getting traffic. They tend to emphasis breaking traffic down into several areas and then talk up promoting your project in various areas. I’ve broken these categories down into the three following areas: Microblogging, social networking and social bookmarking. You’re supposed to interact on these spaces to help build up an audience who will be interested in what you have to say. I’ll explain how Fan History does that below each chart.
Have I mentioned I love Twitter? I do love Twitter. (And you can find me on Twitter at purplepopple.) I’ve set up various accounts on Twitter to aggregate Fan History’s recent changes page for the English version, and the Spanish version. I get some traffic from Twitter because I mention Fan History once a day. It would probably be more if I had more followers or if our recentchanges twitter account was promoted more. Unlike a number of other services, I am an active participant on twitter because I love the community and I learn a lot from it.
pownce is a newer service. I post to pownce from ping.fm but I’m not checking it or following it much. Not much of a surprise then that I’ve gotten one hit from them. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a service I want to invest my time in with the goal of generating traffic.
friendfeed is about community to a degree. I have my friendfeed set up with pretty much every service I use. I have probably five friends on it. If you follow me, I follow you. I check it once a day. If you’re following my friendfeed, you inevitably get slammed with links on some days when I’m busy promoting Fan History. I’m just not involved with it the community that much. I get more hits from there than I do from Pownce though.
I used to be a big fan of identi.ca. There appeared to be a great wiki community that looked like they were going to use it because the creator was a big name in the wiki community. People’s usage of identi.ca seems to have trailed off, with folks going back to twitter or trying out different services. I post there because of ping.fm and check it once a day. My followers list is pretty small. I’m not surprised at the lack of traffic from the service.
Social bookmarking is something I don’t really do. I’m kind of locked into the whole traditional bookmarking thing. I love mine. And I love sage, a Firefox plugin.
Still, it seems to be everyone’s goal to hit it big on digg as a way of generating a traffic spike, pushing down less then desirable mentions on search engines and making people more familiar with your site. So I and others affiliated with Fan History use digg to promote Fan History. We don’t really advertise digg submissions, don’t ask that people digg our submissions. Rather, we tend to go for bulk quantity submissions as we have over 475,000 articles on Fan History. When we’re actively doing bulk submissions on Digg for fandom oriented articles, we can get some digg traffic but those 10 to 20 hits take a lot of work. It sometimes doesn’t feel worth it.
FanPop is almost a social networking site for fandom. I used to promote Fan History on it a lot. I didn’t do that much in August because in July, digg traffic made it not seem worth the effort of doing that. Unlike digg, we couldn’t submit everything and the kitchen sink. We had to submit in very specific categories after finding the right spot. Still, it was a pleasant surpise of sorts to find that FanPop seemed to consistently give us three to eight hits a day. It is something worth looking at and going back to and adding more links to our content there.
delicious is a popular personal social bookmarking tool. It is a really popular social bookmarking tool inside fandom, where Fan History operates. There are probably over a thousand links to Fan History content on the site. It just doesn’t generate much traffic for us. A lot of times, it feels there really isn’t much of a community behind the site and bookmarks are trapped behind locked doors of people’s own links. We seem to get the occasional hit if we add a hundred or so links but on the whole, it really isn’t worth our time to use as a way to generate traffic.
stumbleupon. One day in August, we got 68 visits as a result of stumbleupon. A friend e-mailed me to tell me we made it after he stumbled across Fan History on stumble. We submit there but the stumble bump had very little connection to our attempts to use stumble to promote our content.
LiveJournal is one of the major homes to fandom on-line where people frequently refer to other content located elsewhere. As such, Fan History spends a lot of time using LiveJournal to promote our content. We’ve also found that using LiveJournal helps with our SEO and, unlike digg, we can get traffic from LiveJournal months after the initial plug. It’s fabulous. When I get together with other people, I tend to plug LiveJournal as an awesome source for traffic because of that. Our traffic looks pretty consistently high as a result of LiveJournal referrers. That happened with us plugging Fan History on LiveJournal a total of maybe only eight days out of the thirty-one. LiveJournal is also a place where, unlike many of the services mentioned in this post, I’m actively involved. I use LiveJournal. I post regularly on LiveJournal for my own private use. I engage others on the service. It’s like twitter for me. … Only as opposed to discussing the business end of what I do, I discuss the fan end.
InsaneJournal and JournalFen are LiveJournal clones. JournalFen has an established community of fan fiction and fandom people over 18. I’m not really involved there these days. It just isn’t my community. When we get traffic from JournalFen, it tends to be connected to Fandom Wank. As Fandom Wank can be a major reputation hurter, we’re not generally aiming to be mentioned there.
We use InsaneJournal like we use LiveJournal. It just isn’t used that much because it doesn’t have the depth of communities that LiveJournal has, doesn’t have the audience that LiveJournal has and doesn’t generate comparable traffic. Those things limit the usefulness of InsaneJournal.
MySpace generates a few hits for us here and there. Fan History mostly gets plugged on MySpace groups and in my profile. We’re not expecting it to be a major traffic source. It would be nice to get a bigger audience there but just not sure how to do it. And I’m not that interested in slogging through the service to become involved.
FaceBook is similar to MySpace. I promote it on my profile. It gets fed my comments from ping.fm that also go to twitter. The lack of a good search tool probably hurts our potential to get more traffic as a result. I use FaceBook to keep track of my friends, for occasional wiki things, for event finding. I’m not involved in the fan community located there.
We occasionally promote Fan History on bebo and orkut. Neither has been a particularly useful traffic driver and the fan community tends to fall outside my comfort level. So while that community is large, I don’t know it well enough to try to capitalize off of it.
LinkedIn gives us a few hits. Most of these are off my profile page. LinkedIn is another one of those sites I don’t always understand so trying to leverage it for more traffic can be a bit confusing. I’m not really involved in the community there either.
blogspot links are not ones that we create. We tend to get them after we plug Fan History on LiveJournal or after we e-mail a blogger and ask for a plug. blogspot doesn’t offer an easy way to contact people. That makes it hard to ask for plugs for Fan History. If it was, we’d probably spend a lot more time making such requests.
The services where I’m most active as a community participant are the ones where we get the most traffic. It is probably why LiveJournal will continue to be our primary tool to promote Fan History.