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How my site traffic went from 37 monthly visits to 14,657 monthly unique visits

Discussion in 'General Marketing' started by Game Producer, Jan 8, 2007.

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  1. #1
    I've been reading these forums more than writing so I thought to add some of the lessons I've learned in building traffic. My site GameProducer.net is a daily game production site where I want what I've learned about making games, marketing, being entrepreneur, and so on. This post is over 1200 words long, so hopefully there's something useful for you in it :)

    I think one of the key things that contributed to traffic growth was setting a goal. I remember looking at my site traffic in the first days and I saw only handful of people visiting the site. I looked at the number 37 and I said silently to myself that "this is not good enough, I want the traffic to be massive". Back then, 10000 monthly visitors seemed like utopia to me. I thought it would be impossible to get 10000 different people to visit my site. I mean... there's like billions of websites out there, why they would want to go to my site? I decided to forget the "why" part for now, and just keep my goal "10000 visitors per month". I think that's the first lesson. Where ever you want to go, you cannot get there if you don't know where you want to get. Don't think so much "if you can get there" or "how can I get there". Just decide WHERE you want to go for now, you can figure out later the rest.

    Some months after the initial launch I got puzzled was the way to count traffic. I tried different system and all stats software game me different results. I decided to stick with Google Analytics since it gave smallest numbers compared to AwStat or others. I wanted to be sure that my goal would be met no matter how you calculate visits, and since Analytics is a fine system I decided to stick with it.
    SEMrush
    I read sites like problogger.net and one major hint was mentioned in many places: update your site daily. It sounded something I could do (since I like to write) and I thought that word "daily" would make me different compared to other sites: those gaming sites that were updated only few times per week or month. Some people recommend updating your site several times per day but I thought to keep it 1 post per day. So far it seems good for me. I really think that if you don't enjoy writing, then there's no point trying to update your site daily. You have to enjoy it, or people will see it. Nevertheless, I think that keeping site fresh - by updating it daily - was major contributor for getting traffic.

    Focus on quality (unique) content and providing value. This is important. If you have nothing to say, say nothing. Make sure that your content is somehow useful to others. My best interest is in practical tips & hints, so I focused on giving those. They might have been small hints like "use forum signatures" but not everybody is a professional, and you have to learn these lessons somewhere. I decided that I would focus on writing practical hints & tips for game producers (and since game producers need to know marketing, it was natural to write about it). The majority of my articles are totally unique written based on my own experience. Naturally I have news items and quotes from other blogs, but even then I try to give my personal touch when telling about them. For example: one guy (on other website, not mine) wrote an article where he listed "10 things about something". I told about this article in my site, but instead of quoting directly I gave link to the article, wrote the sub-headlines and commented how I felt about these lessons. Like for example, let's suppose he had said: "Lesson #3: Company X sucks because bla bla blah" then I would have written "Lesson #3: According to him Company X sucks, and I agree that Company X made a mistake in this case but I still they have good products N and M". This way I could provide unique content and tell my own thoughts rather than just quoting directly that "one guy made INTERESTING post, read here:". Providing value and unique content helps.

    Sales statistics: look whatever profession there is and you can rest assured that people will want to know "how much they make money". If you look at blogging, some people will ask "how much can you make with blogging". If you look at celebrities or professional sports athletics - somebody is asking "how much are they making". People want to see how much different jobs can pay. I knew this since I had asked the same question myself years ago. I decided to start putting sales stats of different games in my site and this worked well for all parties: those who gave sales stats got visitors (and some even purchased those games, so they earned some money), my site got traffic since people like to read those sales stats and lastly the readers got what they wanted: answer to question "how much money games can make". Whatever site you have (whether it's about blogging, writing, selling shoes) there will always be people who will want to know how much somebody can make in blogging/writing/selling shoes or whatever your site is about. I know that developers talk about my site and direct other people (via word-of-mouth and otherwise) to check those stats.

    Interviews: this is another good way to get traffic. I have made some interviews with major companies in the gaming business (and I'm adding more). While this takes longer than "normal articles" these have been one key reasons that cause other sites to link to my site. Major websites are interested to hear interviews. Let's suppose your website is about marketing. Can you get some marketing experts to give you an interview? I'm sure there's always somebody willing to give you an interview if you briefly explain what your site is, how many visitor it gets, and how the interview would benefit the other party. You might even give some incentive (like monthly link, banner ad or money to get somebody to talk). I never given links, ad slots or money to interview people since I know that there's people who will be glad to get interviewed. While some people have rejected my offers, I have got interviewed by some major characters in the gaming business. After you've got one major guy to be interviewed, it gets easier to get new interviews (since you can then mention "I've interviewed CEO of company X and the link to his interview is <here>" - this is almost like a testimonial for some companies).

    Promoting my site using news submission, forum posting and via press releases. Writing quality content no good if nobody knows about it. I submitted some featured articles (like interviews, new sales stats and some other) to major game sites and got lots of traffic from them. I also posted to several gaming forums. I also made some press releases. All these actions helped a lot in building traffic, and all of these are free to do. They just require some time, but are priceless when it comes to building traffic.

    Then some other tips & tricks that might have had impact. I think you shouldn't fill your site with ads because I think that might be a barrier for some people from visiting your site, or telling about your site. Some people are "selfish" and think that "because you have so many ads, I won't tell others about your site". I think ads are okay, but I also think that you shouldn't clutter your site with them. Other factor that might have helped is the fact that I founded a company. While owning a company is basically just having your name on some paper, many people regard "company owners" differently than "some dude's" blogging.

    Bottom line
    In summary I could say that providing value along with setting a goal is the key factor to success. Unique content like sales stats and your own articles, interviews, promotion (news, forums, press releases etc.) will go a long way.
     
    Game Producer, Jan 8, 2007 IP
    LTEli, JeffC, MTbiker and 12 others like this.
    SEMrush
  2. charlesartist

    charlesartist Peon

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    #2
    good points, game producer. Now, you should try social bookmarking next to take your site to the 20k+ uniques/month level. Digg, Delicious, Myspace are all great places with lots of people interested in whay you have to offer.
     
    charlesartist, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  3. RossCheal

    RossCheal Active Member

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    #3
    nice i think i will have to work to this post
     
    RossCheal, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  4. Angelus

    Angelus Active Member

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    #4
    Good luck with your site, nice article. You made some good points...

    p.l.u.r.
     
    Angelus, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  5. qwestcommunications

    qwestcommunications Notable Member

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    #5
    Do you mind in telling us how long it took to go from 37 uniques to over 14,000 uniques a month?
     
    qwestcommunications, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  6. minute

    minute Peon

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    #6
    I thought that was an awesome post. Thanks for all the 1200 words.
     
    minute, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  7. Game Producer

    Game Producer Well-Known Member

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    #7
    Thanks people.

    I actually don't know the exactly how long it took (since I started Analytics tracking in June 06 and have no statistics before that), but it took definitely no more than 6 months. I believe it could have been something like 3-5 months.
     
    Game Producer, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  8. mondala

    mondala Active Member

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    #8
    Great post gameproducer. Great niche site you have there and excellent strategies, very impressive. All the best!
     
    mondala, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  9. lipskin

    lipskin Peon

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    #9
    Nice post. I had the exact opposite happen. I had a site that had about 10k uniques per month. I let it sit around and rot for a couple of years and it went down to about 100 uniques. Now that I've completely redone it and started adding fresh content every day it's up to 1k/month.

    I'll definitely be keeping your ideas in mind!
     
    lipskin, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  10. nialler

    nialler Peon

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    #10
    Very well written guide, thanks
     
    nialler, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  11. JeffC

    JeffC Well-Known Member

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    #11
    I was expecting this to be a sales pitch, but was happy to read some actual info. Thanks for the post!
     
    JeffC, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  12. AndyG

    AndyG Peon

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    #12
    Some great tips and a nice site you've got going there. Thanks for the tips!
     
    AndyG, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  13. codeber

    codeber Peon

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    #13
    some useful tips there
     
    codeber, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  14. colevans

    colevans Peon

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    #14
    Great tips - thanks for posting them...
     
    colevans, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  15. Jim bob 9 pants

    Jim bob 9 pants Peon

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    #15
    A very valuable post there. I hope I can write one similar in 3-6 months
     
    Jim bob 9 pants, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  16. northbeach23

    northbeach23 Banned

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    #16
    Thanks for the very informative tips.
     
    northbeach23, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  17. gbdpro

    gbdpro Peon

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    #17
    Great tips, thanks for sharing.
     
    gbdpro, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  18. NYDAz

    NYDAz Peon

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    #18
    GameProducer, let's say if I had a 280 pages websites !

    Updating daily just the index it's ok ?
     
    NYDAz, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  19. Game Producer

    Game Producer Well-Known Member

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    #19
    Well, what I meant by updating would be "adding new content every day" (and somehow showing that you have added new content, like have a link list of "new stuff for the day" or something). Updating index is fine, but I really recommend adding pages. I just noticed that my PR5 website is filled with older PR3 and PR4 subpages which will make fine places to sell permanent text links... I didn't made this in purpose, but I'm glad they are there. :)

    In my case it was about adding one new blog post every day.

    One guy PMed me this question, and the funny thing was... that when I had 10,000 unique visitors I didn't make a dime :)

    I didn't even *thought* that I could make a dime. Well, I knew that websites are monetized but I was so concentrated on making our computer game that I didn't see the opportunity. I tried some CPM program and made whooping 1 cent after displaying banners for days and that really didn't work for me. I tried Google ads but kind of hated them because they took biiiiig space (and were ugly) and I made only like... $20 or $40 per month with Google ads. I tried to optimize but the more I optimized the more ugly my site got.

    Then I happened to find Text link ads, and tried it. When I first saw $166 (or what was it) in my paypal account I was amazed - "where the heck this came from?" I thought. All I did was one post where I had mentioned TLA referral link once (if I remember correctly). Then I made some longer posts about TLA and put some TLA banners and made $400 in 40 days. Today the income from TLA is smaller (but I still get something around $200 per month - which is somewhere around $2400 per year). All these figures come from my memory and I haven't checked exact details, so there might be some miscalculations - but I suppose these are quite correct. My other income stream is the Insiders service: it's a forum for serious game producers combined with a press release distribution service. The cost is $150 one time fee and I see few people joining each month (something around 1-4 per month) - and this service is dramatically underpriced - and I'm seriously considering making the fee higher.

    At the moment I'm reading the Link sales forums very carefully and I'm planning to sell text links directly to my site in the nearly future (I'm also going to update the site layout) instead of TLA being the middleman (and getting 50% for each link sale).
     
    Game Producer, Jan 8, 2007 IP
  20. z-jack

    z-jack Peon

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    #20
    It`s really one of the most useful and practical tips I have ever seen. Well done, pal!
     
    z-jack, Jan 9, 2007 IP
    dynashox likes this.
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