In The Day I Looked Forward to Casinos, Drugs, and Penises, I discussed the after effects of a massive traffic spike:
A few weeks ago, this blog was hopping with comments and massive traffic. It was exciting. I threw myself into the joy and spent way too much time monitoring the blog and rejoicing in the sudden popularity.
And, as I knew from past experience, it soon died down. My blog stats leveled back out from the week long record breaking spikes, comments slacked off to a few “can you help me figure this out” and “I agree with you” responses. After two weeks, I knew things were back to normal and I found myself looking forward to casinos, drugs, penises, mortgages, software, hosting, website design, and all the other services promoted by comment spammers.
Yes, the day had come when my biggest thrill was hitting my Comment Spam Prevention panel in my WordPress blog and clicking the DELETE ALL COMMENT SPAMS button.
Pitiful indeed. The day when marking comment spam gives you a thrill is the day your blog traffic spike is history and you can sing the After Digg Blues with me.
The Addiction of Traffic Spikes
Blog traffic spikes are addictive. Once you taste the thrill of a traffic overload, you want more. You have to have more.
You research which blog titles and topics are at the top of Digg and other social site submission and bookmarking sites. What are they blogging about that gets all the attention? You write down all the hot topics and play with ways you get blog about them, too, without ticking off your current readers.
You play with titles, finding plenty of articles that tell you exactly how to write a “Diggable Post Title” listing the Top Ten, 25 Must Have, or The Best 50! Or really go overboard and aim for that 101 ways! That’s a big eye catcher.
You start researching all types of lists and topics to put in your Top Ten list, and once you come up with one, hit Publish, submit it everywhere and tell everyone about it, then sit down with a cup of coffee and start hitting the F5 Refresh key on your blog statistics page, waiting for the numbers to change.
And they don’t. ARGHHH!
Oh, there they go. One visitor. Three visitors. Twenty-five visitors. Look at the number climb. Fifty! What? Forty-five? Oh, no, they’re dropping. Come on, keep going. Up! Up! Up!
Three days later, nothing. It all drops down again to status quo. Oh, maybe you picked up one or two new readers and in a month or three you’ll slowly start to notice the line arching up more than flat or down, but you want more, more, more!
Ah, welcome to the blog traffic addiction. The fast lane to blog burn out.
Recovering From a Traffic Spike
The after effects of a traffic spike are terrible. You watch the numbers go down, down, down. At some point, you realize that 98% of those who arrive from the traffic spike spot won’t be coming back.
It’s depressing. It’s humiliating. There was such a high with “they like me, they really like me” as the numbers reached upwards. Now on the downward drop like a stone, you realize that they didn’t like you for you. Not the real you. They were just in it for the excitement. The show. Show’s over.
When you exhaust yourself in the battle to be first, tired from the grasping effort of forcing yourself to come up with attention-getting content, you look around your blog and wonder why. Why do this? What does it matter? Honestly. In the long run, what does it all really matter. They ain’t coming back. You’re stuck with the one to two percent who might stop by once in a while, but the hundreds and thousands are gone, never to return.
There are three ways bloggers go from here, but only two paths. The younger, desperate blogger will keep grasping at the straws of big traffic dreams, until burn out happens, and it will. That’s the first path many bloggers take.
The second path is the one that finally gives up on all the buzz and adrenaline of traffic spikes and sits down to focus back on what is most important: the readers. The ones who keep returning. The faithful. The enduring. Those are the best ones to serve, the ones who deserve your attention. It’s time to pay them back for all the times they hung in there while you chased traffic spike dreams. Now is the time to write to them and for them.
You’ll find then that you will write better and wiser now that you’ve calmed down and settled more into your blog’s purpose and focus.
I Don’t Look at My Blog Stats
Personally, I hate traffic spikes. I hate it when the chart spikes up through the roof. Makes me nervous. Makes me anxious. More than anything, it makes me feel responsible.
How can I make all those new visitors happy? How can I meet their needs? How can I keep writing for them if they keep coming back?
Then the guilt sets in, the lack of worthiness. After all, I’m just a little blogger blogging my little blog, what could I write that would be of such interest? And how will I ever write anything better ever again?
I’ve said over and over again in interviews that label me an A-list blogger or some overblown exaggeration label that I’m not, that I’m just little ole me doing a little blogging.
If one person visits my blog, I’m happy. Wow. That’s exciting. If two people visit, then that’s a conversation that can happen without me being involved. They can talk to each other. If ten people visit, well, they can talk to each other, too, not just me, and that makes me happy. I can handle writing for ten people. I can get to know ten people. I can count to ten easily, can’t you? Ten is safe.
If 100 shows up, I’m worried. How can I ever write for 100 different people with different needs and wants? I’m nervous.
If 1000 shows up, I pass out. My nerves can’t handle that much responsibility. I can’t look at the blog stats. And I don’t unless I have to. They make me crazy. I do my best writing when I write for the ten. Multiply that number and it just blows the brain cells ability to confront that large of an audience. It’s just too much responsibility.
So I focus back on the one to ten folks and ignore the blog statistics. It’s much safer and it means I’m writing for you, the one I most want to get to know and help.