Is your blog being found by search engines, referrals, or direct (bookmarks, or someone types in your blog URL)?

I have two blogs, and interestingly enough, readers are finding this blog, by referrals, almost exclusively. (A lot of my referrals, become “direct”, due to bookmarking.)

My second blog, Observation Mountain.com , is being found mostly by the search engines (keyword phrases), and by a much smaller amount of referrals.

This blog is, what would be considered a niche blog, but Observation Mountain.com, isn’t (it’s a more of a blog on off-beat subjects).

But, the traffic on Observation Mountain.com (OM), is almost 50% higher than this blog. (so much for having to have a niche blog, to succeed)

The small amount of money I have made by using Google AdSense and affiliate ads, is mostly attributed to my OM blog.

On both blogs, I try to use keyword density (to a degree). But obviously, it’s working better for my OM blog. Plus, …keyword phrases, for most blogging information, is a pretty saturated market.

For both blogs, I post approximately 20 days out of the month, thus insuring that my blogs get crawled on a regular basis.

Having watched the trends for both blogs for several months, I attribute the numbers to this:

When I am commenting on other blogs, I intentionally use the URL for Blogging Without A Blog (about 90% of the time). Hence, readers are clicking on my comments, and coming to visit this blog, i.e. creating referrals. Thank you!

With regard to Google AdSense, for this blog, I feel most of my readers, are bloggers, or aspiring bloggers. You are not “ad clickers”. You are blogging, or wanting to learn, and are on my site for content about blogging. You understand why the ads are on my site, plus, you know the ad is only going to lead to you being asked to “buy” something. That’s not why you came to my site. You want to gain whatever information you can from my site, and move on. It’s back to blogging, and/or micro managing your site. Time is of the essence.

On my OM blog, the posts are more casual. My readers are probably just enjoying, leisurely surfing the web, sipping their favorite beverage. They may read a few pages, click a few ads or links, and move on to their next search. A search engine may have brought them to my site, due to a search for a product review for Ecos Laundry Detergent, or they may be a parent , looking for help, and found my post titled: Children With Autism – Help for Parents

At times, I am both types of web “surfer”.

What I do find interesting….. is that what works for one blog, doesn’t necessarily work for the other.

With that being said, I believe your stats can reveal a lot, thus giving a blogger insight into how to drive more traffic to their site.

To put all of this in perspective, what I found is this:

1) Having a niche blog, doesn’t necessarily mean it will be more popular, than a non-niche blog.

2) Leaving meaningful comments on other blogs, definitely drives traffic back to your blog.

3) Keyword density will work well for some subjects, but not for others…it all depends how saturated the subject market is.

4) Your stats reveal more information, than just traffic counts

HINT Not sure where your traffic is coming from? Check your stats.

Listed below, are four statistical programs, and how you can find out if your traffic is coming from search engines, referrals or direct traffic.

AWStats has a section that reads:

“Connect To Site From”
“Direct address/bookmarks”
“Links From a Newsgroup”
“Links from an internal search engine”
“Links from an external page”: i.e. referrals
“Search Key Phrases”
“Search Key Words”

WordPress.com stats lists

“Referrers” (which also includes direct traffic)
“Search Engine Terms”

Webalizer lists:

“Top Referrers”
“Search Strings”

Google Analytics lists, under “traffic sources”

“Direct Traffic”
“Referring Sites”
“Search Engines”
Google also provides a graph (traffic sources overview), with percentages.
And, provides maps for greater breakdown

If you use a statistical program that is not listed, take time to review the information they are providing, to determine how visitors are finding your site.

Today’s Lesson:

If you blog about a subject, that lots of others blog about (saturated keyword market), your best bet is to start visiting other blogs, and leaving meaningful comments. This will help others to find your blog, and develop a steady readership. (Make sure you are providing great content, not only in your blog, but also in your comments!) Using keyword density is still important, but your posts may not be indexed in the first three pages of a search engine, and may never be found. Using social networks such as Digg or Del.icio.us, may also help to bring some sporadic traffic to your site. Submitting your blog posts to blog carnivals and/or blog registries are time consuming processes, but may help to also increase your readership.

If you are getting ample traffic, from search strings, continue to concentrate on keyword density. It’s working. Commenting on other blogs, will help bring additional traffic to your site, as well.

Today’s Assignment

Find out where is your traffic coming from:

Search Engines?
Referrals?
Direct?

Drop me a comment…let me know your answer. :)

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  1. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    I think meaningful comments drive meaningful traffic. And I say this because I couldn’t give a hoot about what that means financially.

    I suppose I would be lying if I said (and most people won’t say this because they’re worried about rep) that I didn’t hope for someone to reciprocate and visit my blog.

    We do. As people first, and bloggers second.

    Everything else you recommend is absolutely correct.

    And it should always be based upon content.

    I know I need to learn about keywords, tags. SEO and stuff like that, but it all comes down to the primary purpose about why we blog.

    It’s about you. And me. And self-fulfilment.

    A sense of that is perhaps lost if we don’t write with gay abandon, oblivious as to the SEO consequences. If our goal is primarily financial, then we have to sacrifice, in a sense, a little of our soul.

    If we want fulfilment, then we have to be true to ourselves.

    And ignore Google rules.

    I’m an optimist. I think the real people will win in the end. Perhaps not financially – because there will always be someone who skirts the “real people” rules to their benefit.

    But perhaps in terms of what you gain as a person.

    Blogs, the Internet etc are the TV of the noughties.

    We are all niche channels. You tune in if you relate. Many will flock to the mainstream and be taken in during the early forays while the rules are being written.

    My advice? For what it’s worth, be true to yourself! At least you will sleep at night and have nothing to fear.

  2. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Ian,

    Since we are speaking of where our traffic comes from, I believe you were a referral from Catherine’s site. I like the way that works. I feel referrals can become regular visitors, whereas search engine visitors, may be on our sites for one piece of information…and it’s possible, we may never see them again. Hopefully it doesn’t work that way, but….

    Amen to optimism, and being true to yourself.

    Can we ignore Google’s rules, completely? I don’t like to think I have to rely on rules to succeed in blogging, however, I do want my blogs to be found….so I walk the line, at times. I try to remember to use “tricks” like keyword density, but most of the time, I am so enthusiastic about sharing, I just start writing, throwing caution to the wind.

    If what I write can help someone, or make their life easier, or answer a question, or inspire someone to leave a comment, and share their beliefs, than I feel I am succeeding in blogging. Can you put a price tag on that? I don’t think so.

  3. AsakoNo Gravatar says:

    Can we ignore the Google rule? That is a great topic.

    I agree with Ian in some sense, when you worry too much about Google, that can hinder the quality of your content. The proof is easily obtained. We do some Google search and see what comes up on the first 5 pages (most people do not view more than 2-3 pages). I have to say some of the sites up there are totally unqualified just filled with keywords.

    But then, I am also frustrated that people do not get to read good contents because of Google.

    By the way, Barbara, are you also using WordPress for Observation Mountain? Are two sites done completely the same?

  4. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Asako,

    Yes, we could ignore Google’s rules, however, our blogs may not be found for quite some time.

    Should we “worry” about things like page rank? I don’t think so. I have seen many blogs highly indexed, and they have a 0/10 page rank. But, that’s a topic I’m researching…so, more on that at a later date.

    My biggest complaint about what I find on the first few pages are sites with outdated information (2002). When I am researching for this blog, I want the most current information possible, so I always try to find the publish date. It’s maddening, at times.

    Good blogs will eventually find their place in cyberspace. It’s just a matter of time, and persistence.

    Yes, my Observation Mountain blog is also WordPress. I use a theme by Brian Gardner on that one too, The only difference is the content. That blog is so “off beat”, for lack of a better word, my readers are probably showing up only to read the post, that took them there…whether they want to read a product review, find out how to get a split screen on their computer, read about wood recycling, or….. I am a little more conscientious about keyword density on that blog, because it is so “off beat”.

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  9. mansiNo Gravatar says:

    Driving traffic through referrals i snot what i find most useful unlike using the right keywords.

    mansiĀ“s last blog post..Destiny