Increased Traffic through Promotion & Analytics

My name is Sean Thompson and I am an analytic addict. I have to admit it. In the days since publishing the giveaway.net site and it’s partner in crime, the giveitawaydotcom wiki (8 days ago at the time of writing) my family has had to share me with Google analytics.


With 715 page views on the site (with an average viewing time of over 50 minutes/visit) before the end of the first week, and nearing 1,000 on the wiki, I became a little excited.

I would like to share how I was able to get so many hits.

Make the “Hit” Parade
1. Tags
As you may or may not be aware, you can add “tags” to many of the creations you create online. Tags are words related to your work that help search engines (like Google or Yahoo) “find” it. Use as many as you can think of but be honest. There is no point in having people show up just to increase your bounce rate (the number of viewers who leave your site right away as they are clearly not interested).

2. Connect
Hyperlink to everything you can and try to be as many places as possible. I use a number of websites that I have produced and, by design, they are all related to the same topic; integrating technology across the curriculum to enhance learning outcomes. If someone comes across one of my sites they can click a prominent link or button (also by design) and find me somewhere else

3. Tweet it!
Use Twitter as part of your Personal Learning Network and share what you have made. Twitter is huge and there are some monster tweeters out there (tweeters who apparently have the job of tweeting) but it never hurts to share. Even if no one clicks your link your tweets themselves become part of your digital footprint (link to my blog post) and gets your name out there.

I am still learning not to direct message people to death. If you want a real “following” follow loads of people and make sure to share the work of others as well. Everyone hates a shameless self-promoter and will drop you like a hot stone.

UPDATE, July 15, 2012: I quadrupled my following today by going through the “follow” lists of people I follow and following all of them.

LESSON 1: People really will follow you back.

LESSON 2: By sending off a reply message to personalize the connection once I received a follow alert and asking to have my free tech website passed along, I had my first over 100 page view day since the add campaigns (explained elsewhere in this post) ended, at only the cost of my time. (Granted I am starting to feel more comfortable referring to myself as a true geek and no longer just a wannabe so I kind of enjoyed it.)

LESSON 3: Those who use Twitter to share with growing audiences like to help others who are doing likewise and will share your stuff. Return the favour, retweet!

LESSON 4: Twitter has limits to how many people you are allowed to follow. Both daily and by some sort of admittedly undisclosed ratio of followers to “followees”.
I’d love to see the algorithm that makes this rational!

4. YouTube it!
I made a YouTube promotional video to go along with this initiative and even included a final, extended slide at the end pointing out the links in the description underneath the video. You cannot link a video to a different sight as a a clickable link but you can add links to other YouTube videos you have made to increase interest and traffic of your stuff.

Put the link you want used at the very top of the details and it is visible even if your viewers don’t extend the details information view.


FREE tech integration resource/training/repository site link.

Vimeo ditto: Vimeo is YouTube-like but more professionally oriented.

5. Slideshare it!

If you use Power Point or Keynote slides to produce a video, definitely use Slideshare (probably ISSU as well but I cannot yet speak from experience here). The Slideshare version of my school’s promotional video (link) and brochure are being outdone by far on the the Slideshare site.
BTW, there are way more ideas and resources on the giveitaway.net site. If you’ve read this far you should probably go there.

6. LinkedIn

Get your Twitter feed everywhere you can, including LinkedIn. Blogs can also be showcased with the use of an HTML embed feature offered on an increasing number of sights (Google for the code and instructions). When you make something to share,

SHARE IT EVERYWHERE!

In my efforts to link everything I learned the power of this synergy. Inadvertently, the number of hits on my blog has taken off at a time when I anticipated a considerable decline (for reasons to boring to go into here THOUGH YIS COETALERS WILL KNOW).

********ADDITION********

Since I wrote the above I have experimented with Google AdWords and a YouTube ad campaign (same vendor now). For ¥11,380 (140 USD) I received 184 new page views on the giveaway site in the two days it ran (bringing it up to 1049 in two weeks). I thought that was pretty good but, compared with the 203 page views I managed for free through Twitter and Facebook it was pretty costly.

The Lesson: In the short term you can generate the same level of interest if you are engaging with social media as you can paying for hits through AdWords. AdWords, however, will keep the hits alive while Twitter and Facebook have a short shelf life (2-3 days in this case)

The YouTube campaign was noteworthy for two reasons. The number of hits was amazing. The promotional video I made for the site, encouraging people to click the link to it at the top of the details box, went from 8 views to 2561 in two days at a cost of ¥4,236 (50 USD). Very impressive. My Account details further claimed that I had received 319 website clicks. This was the point here, to convert viewers of the video to consumers of the website. This is clearly the winner. 1/3 more hits for 1/3 of the cost.

The problem is that my site stats don’t indicate that this is the case. I have contacted the Google people and will report back.

FOLLOW UP (July 4): Apparently the 300+ links clicked on my giveitaway.net site promotional video went to my YouTube page. I was told this happened because it was the first link in the details section. As I don’t recall placing it there myself I am asking if it was done “on my behalf” automatically and then asking for a refund or credit if this is the case.

In other news, Facebook has outpaced Twitter for hits to this blog again, in contrast to what I would expect (as the former is social, the latter, professional). Hmmm…I need more “friends.”

It takes time but if traffic is what you’re after follow this recipe and you WILL see an increase. I promise.

THIS JUST IN:
Unbeknownst to me, my WordPress widget offering people the chance to be alerted to new blog posts via email has produced the encouraging dividend of 114 flowers who, until just now when reconsidering my layout, were following in anonymity. I would recommend this widget highly. RSS feeds (Really Simple Syndicates) are, of course, important for those with Readers who follow loads of stuff but this email feature will help you reach out to those just wading in to the digitally connected world.

EMBARRASSING CONFESSION: 111 of those “surprise” followers were because WordPress considers my Facebook friends as followers. OOOps! (blush…)

ALSO: I was dead wrong about Facebook over Twitter. After more research and experimentation I just wasn’t a very good Twitter-er. Since that time stats for the new giveitaway.net EdTech Training Site/Repository tell me that Twitter has quadrupled the performance of Facebook.

As my hubris knows no end, I have written a short How-To eBook entitled,

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 9.11.26 AMDeepen Your Digital Footprint:
A Beginner to Intermediate GuideTo Increasing Online
Traffic and Web Presence

available on said site (perhaps I should make it a blog post here too..?).
Feel free to download a copy and tell your friends about it.

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About Sean Thompson

Sean has accepted a position as the Director of Technology at The Early Learning Centre, City School, in Bangkok. He is excited to be working with Giovanni Piazza and the rest of the staff to raise awareness of digital-age teaching and learning practice in this Reggio Emilia inspired environment. Sean is also an Apple Distinguished Educator, an International Baccalaureate Educator Network Workshop Leader and a Google Educator available for professional development at your school.
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