This year, I've set a personal goal to increase traffic on this site.
Not so I can sell advertising. Not so I can brag about my visitor count. I'm trying to build a platform upon which I can amplify my voice and share stories about which I'm passionate.
As a result, I've begun to look at my viewership statistics in a way I never before imagined.
Often, I'll submit my more technically-minded articles to Hacker News. It helps me see discussions in new ways, but rarely leads to meaningful traffic.
On rare occasion, one of my articles will become somewhat popular and make it to the front page. This means a huge spike in concurrent traffic for me, and a wonderful way for the WP Engine team to prove the stability of their hosting platform.
Despite grabbing 10k views in a day, though, these Hacker News spikes rarely - if ever - yield anything beyond mild entertainment for my afternoon. The traffic wanes just as quickly as it appeared, and my viewership settles back on normal levels.
My objective is not to gather high-numbers of one-off readers. That, ironically, would be easy.
My objective is to gain real viewers. Repeat readers who not only check back frequently, but who:
- Comment on my articles
- Share content with their peers
On a good day, my site averages 300-400 unique viewers. A popular post (excluding those gone "viral" on Hacker News) will pull in 1000-1200 uniques. On the other hand, I have fewer than 10 articles with more than 10 comments from readers.
While I might be bringing in readers, they're passive and my target is a much more active demographic.
What about a blog post makes you feel strongly enough to leave a comment?
If you're reading this, you're probably in my target reader group. If you have left a comment previously, you're definitely in that group. So, unscientifically, what prompts you to leave a comment and engage in the conversation?