Getting Noticed

Last Thursday—October 4th—broke a record on this website.

On that day, talanhorne.com got its highest volume of web traffic ever, with 265 unique views. It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. Though it would hardly be a blip on the radar of any popular website. Google, Facebook, and Amazon get millions of visits every day.

Still, for me, it was an accomplishment. It left a good feeling inside and made me happy to be a blogger.

But it does present a problem, because I know exactly why my website traffic was so high that day.

Some Numbers to Chew On

I maintain this blog in two different places: at talanhorne.com and at my account on Steemit (which in turn publishes the content on Busy.org and other mirrors).

On Steemit, it’s not uncommon for me to get dozens or even hundreds of upvotes, but my own website has never been so consistently well visited. Twenty unique visitors a day is a good haul for me.

This is bad news for someone who is trying to make a name for themselves as an author. If I had thousands of unique visits a day, and maybe a hundred thousand flesh-and-blood followers on Twitter or other social media, I would be able to leverage that in my search for a good agent and publisher. Numbers like those don’t go unnoticed.

And if you can prove that you already have a huge online following, it is not nearly as hard to get a book published.

So, if I know exactly how I was able to expand my site visits twenty-seven fold in one day, why would I not proceed to do that every day? Or even try to improve on that result?

Well, I’ll tell you.

He’s Going to Tell

Lots of people claim to know how to bring traffic to a website.

There are quite a few sites that are themselves dedicated to explaining this practice. Apart from that, there are seminars, books, college courses, and a host of other avenues where promises are peddled and guarantees are hastily made. They all pretend to know the secret to attracting people to your website.

But if any of these “experts” really knew and could teach people how to draw eyes to their websites, then every site on the internet would have millions of followers.

Most of these gurus’ advice boils down to, “Make your content interesting.” Which, when you think about it, is unhelpful. It’s true that you can’t make bland content go viral. But the problem of increasing web traffic is ultimately one of marketing, not content.

How did I so quickly spike my site stats? Easy: I placed a link to one of my posts in a highly visible and opportune place on the internet.

Regular readers will remember my post explaining how to fix Barnes and Noble’s business model. Well, as B&N’s shareholders consider whether to sell the company, its business model has come under particular scrutiny.

I posted my link in the comments section of a popular article detailing B&N’s potential sale, and the seed was planted.

Of course, I’ve posted this link several times before in all manner of articles referencing B&N. But this time, a dialog started to form around the comment I left. As that dialog grew, and more commenters started commenting on my post instead of the lead article, this brought even more eyes to my website.

The Joys of Dialogue

Ever since I started this site, I’d dreamed of a day that it would generate this kind of dialogue. I’ve experienced of this on Steemit before, but I’ve always held a secret hope that my own website could become a forum for these kinds of discussions.

This is, to me, an ever greater blessing than simply upping my numbers. I enjoy being the host of a serious discussion.

But I doubt I can take it much further than I already have. As effective as strategic linking, and other marketing practices, can be, it’s a full-time job.

To get the kinds of numbers I need, I would have to sacrifice a lot of time—time I could be spending writing books or other activities. And since I already have my day job, and my investments, and my writing, and my blogging, I just don’t have room for the additional career of marketing and promotion for a website.

Yet I cannot deny the power of subtly spreading influence. Maybe I should devote a little more time to it.

Conclusion

This is something I need to consider in depth.

What do you think? Should I make an effort to popularize my website? It could be helpful, or it could ultimately be a waste of time.

I can only hope that I won’t need it in the long run, but I have to admit I’m not an expert on the subject.

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