How do new blogs attract readers? Does Twitter live up to all the hype about being a great promotional tool?
There’s no question that Twitter has become a wildly popular service. It’s now a more popular search term on Google than Britney Spears. For all its popularity though, people still constantly ask me what Twitter is useful for, especially people who aren’t trying to promote or sell anything.
There are plenty of self-proclaimed experts who tell you (on Twitter by the way) that Twitter is the secret to becoming the next top 100 blog or big celebrity.
The truth after 30 days of blogging is that it’s not as useful for attracting an audience as you might hope, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using it.
First, some background
This blog launched about 30 days ago. On the same day it launched, I started tweeting from a new account. Since then, @freepursuits has gained about 400 followers.
I’ve faithfully tweeted at least a few times per day, and have posted a total of 147 updates. My updates are generally on the same topics as the blog (flexible careers, lifestyle design, freelancing, entrepreneurship, work-life balance).
Whenever I post a new blog entry, I announce via Twitter that there’s a new post, and occasionally I repeat the announcement later the same day.
Where do readers come from?
Twitter isn’t the top source of readers to Free Pursuits. In fact, it’s barely in the top 5. This is despite the fact that aside from blogging, I’ve spent more time on Twitter than on any other potential source of traffic.
Facebook has proven to be the most useful tool for promoting this blog so far. I have fewer Facebook friends than I have Twitter followers (and I reserve Facebook for real life friends), and yet Facebook accounts for 5x the number of blog visitors than I get from Twitter.
Here’s a breakdown of the top sources of traffic to Free Pursuits:
- Facebook: 25%
- Other blogs: 12% (from trackbacks and comments)
- Search engines: 11% (Google is by far the biggest source)
- LinkedIn: 6%
- Twitter: 5%
Keep in mind that Free Pursuits currently has a modest audience of hundreds of visitors. As the audience grows these traffic sources will likely change places dramatically. Twitter will definitely move up in rankings.
Also, there are other metrics that matter of course. Twitter visitors compare favorably to other sources in the areas of pages per visit, time on site and bounce rate. I won’t go into the details of what those metrics mean, but you other bloggers out there will know what I’m talking about.
Should you expect Twitter to be a silver bullet?
I’m definitely not a Twitter expert, and I’m sure there are plenty of things I could be doing to get more from the platform.
For instance, I could be out actively following hundreds or thousands of people in the hopes that they will follow me back. That seems to be how so many “internet marketers” out there have amassed upwards of 10,000 followers.
What is the quality of that audience though? If someone with over 10,000 followers follows you back, what is the chance that they will ever read your tweets?
Would I have spent so much time using Twitter, if I had known that it wouldn’t be a major source of readers? Definitely. Traffic is not the only benefit of using Twitter.
There’s a lot of talk in the blogosphere about other benefits of using Twitter. It has also been a great way to find out what other people think about topics covered at Free Pursuits. It has also been a great way to meet influential people in the space.
I’m still expecting that eventually Twitter will become a top source of new blog traffic. For now, I’m willing to keep tweeting and see.
Follow FreePursuits on Twitter and become a part of the experiment!
How useful is Twitter for you? Tell us in the comments!