Analyzing the Traffic Sources of a Successful Blog

February 21, 2009

blog traffic sources

Collis Ta'eed recently took a tour through a large blog's traffic on his blog and the data is very interesting. When I say "successful blog," I mean it. The site, psdtuts, that Collis walks through gets over a million visitors per month.

The data is a great way to see the principles of web traffic and blogging in action on a very large scale. The data he compiled strongly supports the frequently discussed tenets of inbound marketing and the long tail of successful blog posts by demonstrating that:

  • Organic search traffic consistently outweighs social media traffic, even outweighing the initial surges from a successful Digg or Reddit submission.
  • Search traffic steadily increases month by month in almost a linear fashion, with each month bringing in more organic visitors.
  • In the past year, the monthly visits from organic searches has nearly doubled.
  • The traffic begins to take on a life of its own as the links get passed around the web; several foreign sites that Collis has never even heard of send thousands of visitors each month.

The traffic analysis also presents some interesting data relating to which sites are the best at driving traffic to the blog:

  • Twitter referrals are consistently growing. The traffic from Twitter is aided by the fact that the @psdtuts Twitter account tweets about every post to its more than 3,000 followers.
  • Facebook traffic referrals are close on the heels of twitter; the most interesting part of this fact is that there is currently no Facebook strategy in place. He doesn't post links in his status or anything; so this is all driven by other people.
  • StumbleUpon is the social site that sends the most traffic and it does so more consistently than sites like Reddit or Digg. Stumbleupon consistently sends 100,00 visitors/month; Digg only reaches that amount when there's a surge from a popular post.
  • A post on Reddit's homepage sends almost an identical amount of traffic as a Digg homepage score, and it is much more accessible. Also, Reddit is better at sending smaller amounts of traffic to somewhat popular posts; whereas with Digg it's almost all or nothing.

Thanks to Collis for opening up PSDTuts' numbers and allowing people to see the long tail benefits of blogging and the general trends of web traffic on such a large scale. Are these referral proportions in line with what your website or blog is experiencing? What is your biggest traffic source? I encourage you to check out Collis' new blog after only three posts, it's already one of my favorites.

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