To be effective, my website/weblog needs visitors. Just as traditional advertising media price their ad space based on the number of viewers or readers they can deliver, my site is only as effective as the number of people who visit. Thus, my success will depend on doing whatever attracts visitors which brings me back to my hypothesis. I must promote my website to attract visitors and provide them with content that will keep them coming back.
It is common wisdom among marketing experts that the impact of advertising messages is cumulative. A person may need to be exposed to the advertiser's message many times before they are motivated to make a purchasing decision. Advertisers who place an ad once and quit because they are dissatisfied with its results, are wasting their money. Thus, anyone who hosts a website/weblog for the purpose of motivating purchasing decisions must be concerned with the number of return visitors as well as the total number of visits.
I assume that growing my website/weblog visitor traffic from a couple thousand per month to more than 20,000 per month is an indicator of success. It would be nice to be able to compare my results with others (see comments below). However, it is troubling that that growth has leveled off after spiking to almost 30,000 visitors in March. Inasmuch as I have not diminished my promotional efforts (Twitter, Triberr, and StumbleUpon), I suspect that visitors were more interested in my stories of Sea Scouting than in my experiences in the Army. It will be interesting to see the results when I complete my Vietnam stories and begin a new series sometime near the end of this month (August).
Of course, there are artifacts to deal with:
- I have incorporated a new promotional device (not reflected here) at the beginning of this month and it already appears to be outperforming the other three promotional systems. I'll report more on this in a later posting.
- The last postings on Vietnam will deal with highly controversial topics which may attract or drive away visitors.
- My next series will related to the upcoming election and may have a broader appeal than the topics I have written on previously. Then again, my views may upset some visitors. (I can't be all things to all people)
Have you noticed the pattern here? I approach weblog content thematically. It is my opinion that visitors will not be encouraged to return if there isn't a consistent stream of content. If a blogger posts random thoughts on random topics, the visitor has no expectation that the next one will be as appealing as the last, and there are far too many bloggers, far too many webpages for visitors to waste time checking back to see if you have something interesting for them this time.
For example, I'm guessing that you have read this far into this posting because you have an interest in blogging, that you may be attempting to improve the success of your own website/weblog. Well, this is just one of several postings that I've published on the subject. You can see the others by clicking on “Blogging” in the list of Categories on the right side of the screen. This series will continue next week with more details of the systems that I've been using to promote my website/weblog – Twitter, Triberr, and StumbleUpon – as well as the new one that I've recently added.