If you use a URL shortening script, such as Yourls, you can see “live” the people clicking on anything you add to Twitter. The statistical information reveals that within a second of posting your Tweet you get almost all of the click throughs from what you post on Twitter. A minute or so later, almost all of the clicks have dried up. You can measure the life of a Tweet in seconds; it doesn’t last very long at all.
So why all the fuss about Twitter? A Tweet is clearly a single blast of a blunderbuss – you get loads of impact all over the place, but the effect doesn’t last long. Yet you can find all sorts of advice from so-called “gurus” telling you that Twitter gets you tons of traffic. If you want to get more readers to your blog, you need to Tweet, they say.
And these experts are right – and wrong…! True enough, you can get increased traffic from Tweeting your blog. But it’s not smooth traffic; you’ll get the occasional peak in traffic. Now that’s not to be sniffed at, of course, but it’s not going to achieve all you want for your blog.
Here’s the problem: along comes another piece of technology (Twitter) which appears to solve the problem of getting more traffic to a blog. Whoopee everyone shouts and before you know it there is ebook after ebook explaining how you can get shedloads of traffic to your blog if you use Twitter. The result is millions of people go “Hurray, here’s the answer” and off they trot to learn everything they can about Twitter and see those traffic numbers rise. Not.
Twitter does provide you with additional traffic; Twitter does get you a wider audience; and Twitter does boost your blog. But if, like many bloggers, you give up everything else you were doing to concentrate on Twitter you will see a fall in traffic to your blog – not an increase.
People are attracted, naturally, by the “easy way out”. Instead of having to promote a blog, the automation of Tweets of blog posts is immensely attractive. It seems to make life so easy – just post a blog item and then let Twitter take care of getting your traffic. And your analytics account will show a significant number of clicks from your Tweets, so it all seems to be true. Except that your traffic from other sources is drying up. If your Tweets bring in the same numbers of clicks, all you see is a change in the source of your readers. But that’s not always the case.
Here’s why. Imagine you have bought 100 items from a wholesaler and you have to sell them this week. What would you do? Would you set up a stall for five minutes a day at the end of the High Street and then pack up and go home? Would you perhaps run some adverts in the local paper, hit the phones to tell all your friends, get some publicity in relevant magazines, go to networking events and push what you are selling, attend an exhibition and so on and so on? The people who are successful at selling are the ones who put in the effort.
Similarly, the people who are successful in getting traffic to their blogs are the people who work at it. The people who tell you that all you need to do is post your blog headlines on Twitter are like the person who sets up their stall at the end of the High Street for five minutes a day. Yes, they’ll get some sales – but nowhere near as many as the person who does a plethora of things to promote their products.
Your blog is a product that needs promoting – so get out and promote it…! Don’t just write it and hope (which is what most bloggers do). If you really want more traffic to your blog then, yes, post a Tweet each time you write something. Hootsuite can automate this for you. But do more than this. To get traffic to your blog don’t consider Twitter as “the answer”; instead just think of it as an additional tool. You can also get more traffic to your blog if you:
- Tell people about it
- Email people about it
- Include it in your email signatures
- Link to it on all your online profiles
- Have it on your business stationery (the latest post can go on the back of all your letters, for instance)
- Send press releases about your blog
- Get speaking engagements where you promote your blog
- Put your blog address on all your product packaging
- Mention it in voicemails
- Place your blog address and some of your headlines on mugs, t-shirts, baseball caps, pens and so on
- Advertise your blog in other websites
- If you can afford it, advertise your blog in print, radio and TV
- Get your blog mentioned by authors writing books about your subject
- Set up a Squidoo Lens to promote your blog
- List your blog in online and printed directories
- Put up posters about your blog
- Have flyers published about your blog and hand them out in the pub
- Send out postcards to a mailing list to promote your blog
- Write “guest posts” for on other blogs
In fact, do anything you can to promote your blog; the people who get the most traffic never lose an opportunity to promote what they write. Yes, they do Tweet their blog posts – but it’s a minority sport compared with all the other stuff they do. Tweeting your blog will get you extra traffic – but only for a few seconds. If you really want to get more readers for your blog, get out there and promote it…!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+