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100849054_c58402c370_o.jpgHave you ever written a popular post, that created a huge spike in your traffic statistics, only to see your numbers plummet after several days?

Today’s Lesson

I call that “spikey” traffic.

It does one of three things.

1) It distorts your actual visitors statistics by increasing your averages

2) It may help to bring regular visitors to your blog.

3) It can teach you how to write better posts

To elaborate on each point:

By having a huge spike in your traffic for one month, by month end, your statistics may show higher. (dah!) The next month when your traffic is back to “normal”, or only steadily increasing, by month end, you may show a decline in visitors. This can be discouraging, as your first thought may be “Oh no, my visitor counts are dropping”, but you forgot about the traffic spike.

The second point works to your advantage. Some of the spikey traffic may have found your blog due to a particular post, and a small percentage of those visitors are sticking around.

The third point becomes a learning lesson. Go back to the post that created the spike in your traffic. Determine why it was popular. Did you use keyword density? Did you write about a current event? Was it Stumbled? Dugg? Or, other?

Today’s Assignment

Have you experienced “spikey” traffic?

What was it about the post that created a spike in your traffic?

Do you think you can duplicate that which created the increase in traffic?

Do you notice your traffic leveling off at a higher level, than it was before the spike?

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  1. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:


    I had a spike last night. Too early to judge and I cheated by using Stumble. But in just over 24 hours, it got 395 visitors.

    It’s too early to judge whether it had value but I suspect not. It is though interesting to consider how you can both create a spike, and do it in such a way to capture visitors.

    I’m on a fast learning curve at the moment, trying to get used to RSS readers, but one thing I should have done is have the subscribe button a little more prominent (which I’ve since done). It may have generated more subscribers in a reader, it was way donw the page, and I must admit that I’d forgotten about it!

    The Stumble campaigns are really fascinating, and it think could work really well for niche topics.

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Blog Survey: Why Bother? Survey To Reveal Your Motivations

  2. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – my traffic has spiked a couple of times using StumbleUpon.

    And although it has gone down after the first few days, it’s never gone right down. I’ve been lucky enough to retain some of the traffic.

    I seem to get resources post stumbled most and the bigger ones the better. But I can’t write them too often as they’re so time consuming.

    Ian – I wouldn’t say StumbleUpon is cheating. People have to be choosy about what they vote on, as it affects their credibility. I wouldn’t vote a bad post.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Internet Branding: Did You Screw Up Too?

  3. I experienced a spike recently when one of my posts got stumbled. Traffic was significantly higher for a few days, culminating with a day that brought me 1200 visitors, roughly 100 times my usual traffic! Of course it dropped back sharply after that, although some of those stumblers seem to have become regulars because now I consistently have more traffic than before the spike.

    Can I duplicate it? I expect that as I continue to blog, I will occasionally write posts that get stumbled. But it’s hard to predict what posts will be popular–I’ve been surprised in some cases. I think one thing that helps you get stumbled is to stumble other blogs. You create a reputation with other stumblers and get on their radar. Of course, you can easily spend way more time on this than you should. It’s all a delicate balancing act.

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..The Problem With Voting In America: Too Many People Do It

  4. DebNo Gravatar says:

    The same can go for the opposite. Last week I had a huge drop in my hits. Some of my regulars didn’t stop by for several days. I didn’t get any comments on one post and then it took several days to bring it back up. It is so hard not to micromanage this stuff. I’m back on track again, but I was really depressed about it. I know that sounds stupid, but you are so close to your work that you feel it is a reflection on you. In addition, when you have regulars that aren’t dropping by it’s like you’ve lost a friend. This is a crazy business.

    I’ve been seeing the word stumble a lot. Is this a WordPress term? What exactly is a stumble?

    Deb’s last blog post..My Wedding Dress

  5. NezNo Gravatar says:

    My blog is quite new, but I did experience a one day spike due to one of my posts being stumbled, which of course proves that content IS “ruler of a sovereign state”.

    The fact that traffic went back down to normal the next day means that I still have work to do.


    Nez’s last blog post..?I Work for the Government?

  6. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hunter – I have stumbled at least one of your posts, but I’ve noticed others have too. If you search some of your post titles on Google and click on the little speech bubble thing beside them you can see who has been stumbling you.

    You write good posts so I’m guessing you’ll receive a few more of those traffic spikes.

    Deb – stumble upon is a social networking group a few of us are just joined. It’s quite addictive:

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Internet Branding: Did You Screw Up Too?

  7. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ian,

    Those spikes are crazy, aren’t they. Yes, they can sometimes be self created, or someone may Stumble or Digg a post of yours. Only time will tell if it resulted in an increased reader base.

    Having an RSS feed button in a conspicuous place on your blog is very important. Some visitors prefer reading blogs via a feed, and if we don’t give them that option, they may never come back.

    Hi Catherine,

    I know you are a Stumbling addict, and I can see how that happens. Last night I spent over an hour Stumbling dozens of sites. Finally, I had to say “enough”.

    Resource posts are great, whether they get Stumbled or not. You have written some great ones, but like you said, they are time consuming.

    Hi Hunter,

    Aren’t those spikes a rush? They do bring in visitors that may not have known about your blog previously. Although it’s great to have posts Stumbled, or Dugg, often a well written post, will draw traffic in via search engines. Although that traffic isn’t spikey, it does seem to be more consistent. From experience, (especially on my OM blog), I have old posts that continually get traffic. It all adds up.

    Hi Deb,

    Yes….we do hate those drops, don’t we? Blogging traffic can be so fickle. I do know you did a guest post. Those always draw in a surge of traffic, but a lot don’t stick around.

    We do miss our “regulars” when they don’t comment. I know I do, but I also know they all have full time jobs/families that are their top priority (as is mine). Loyal cyberspace friends always come back, although it may be a few days.

    As a new blogger, it is tough when you put so much time into your writing, and you feel like no one is listening. Comments tell us they are, as do our traffic counts.

    When I first started blogging, I used my imagination and just pretended I was speaking to the masses. My traffic numbers told me differently, but I believed, in time, I would be heard…and slowly my blogs are growing. I remind myself that there are millions of blogs out there, time is of the essence for most, and in time I will be found. When I look at my stats for the last 10 months, I have seen a steady increase in growth, so that pleases me. Spikes in traffic numbers do help the averages, but I don’t depend on those.

    You’re right Deb, this is a crazy business, and one to easily get addicted to. But, you have so much to share, please do not let a drop in your numbers discourage you. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a good blog. Darren, at Problogger has been at it for five years, and he started out just like you and I.

    Stumble Upon is a social media network. If you look in my top right sidebar, you will see a small green and blue “SU” in a little box. If you click on that box, you could do a “review” of this post. It gets sent into Stumble “land”.

    You can join Stumble Upon for free, and upload their toolbar. In short, what you can do is hit the “Stumble” button (in the toolbar), and it will take you from one site to the next (commercial free 🙂 ), based on the preferences you set when you join.

    In the toolbar, it will also show “I like it” with a thumbs up and a thumbs down. When you are on a site, you can give it a “thumb”, and that site gets a “brownie point”, so to speak.

    Stumble Upon offers a lot of options. It’s something I don’t totally understand. Currently both Catherine and I are trying to find out more about it, including the “rules”….if you misuse it, you can be banned. When I feel confident enough to write a post about it, I will, but in the meantime, you might want to check it out. But, be forewarned, stumbling gets addictive.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Honorable Mention For A Mom Who Blogs

  8. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Nez and Catherine,

    Your comments came in as I was answering comments…didn’t want you to think I forgot about you..

    So, Nez, what did you think when you saw that spike? You have it right….content is what it’s all about.


    Thanks for stopping by again. See you in Stumble land:)

    Barbara’s last blog post..Spikey Traffic Distorts Visitor Statistics

  9. NezNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    When I saw that spike, my first thought was, “What happened?”, but thanks to Google Analytics, I can see which post was being visited and from what source.

    Down the line, I see using my stats to help me understand what my readers like, and guide me as to what kinds of posts I should write (especially when I’m stuck for an idea or have “blogger’s block”.)

    Nez’s last blog post..?I Work for the Government?

  10. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:


    That is shocking when you see a spike, isn’t it? And, you’re right on the mark, your loyal readers will “guide” you along.

    Also, remember it is your blog, so if you’re feel like writing something out of the ordinary, that’s ok. I wrote two silly poems about blogging-both in the early hours of the morning. They weren’t popular posts, but did get some hits.

    I call that bloggers blogk. Haha!

    Barbara’s last blog post..Spikey Traffic Distorts Visitor Statistics

  11. […] currently discussing RSS on Are You Part of This Bungling Band of Bloggers? by Catherine Lawson and Spikey Traffic Distorts Visitor Statistics by Barbara at Blogging Without A […]

  12. I love how each of your posts end with an assignment for the day.

    Yes, I get so stoked on a spike and it’s hard to watch the traffic die back down. But the leveling off at a higher level than before helps.

    See, I feel better already just by doing the assignment. I’m subscribing.

    sterling | bizlift’s last blog post..Go Big: Free Enterprise Tools For Small Biz

  13. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sterling,

    Isn’t that crazy how those spike can skyrocket the traffic, and plummet the next day. Now when my traffic spikes, I know to what to expect, so am not as disappointed as I was when I first started blogging.

    You have aced the assignment. 🙂

    Barbara’s last blog post..RSS Feed Reader Numbers – A Farce