The truth about traffic on the Internet

Ahh, the Guardian got into a little dirty truth about traffic on TechMeme: there isn’t many people there.

Every time I get on TechMeme I get 500 to 3,000 visits. That matches what the Guardian and what Nick Carr are seeing.

But, truth is not many sites out there do any better. Yeah, when I get on Digg I get 20,000. When I got on the front page of the BBC a couple times in the past month I got 5,000 each time. But Valleywag? I get 100 to 1,000 visits (I’ve been on there something like 20 times including with some VERY sensational posts that would make anyone click and ask themselves “what the heck did that guy do?”)

Even when I quit Microsoft and was in 150 newspapers and TONS of blogs and such I got 200,000 visits in a two-day period.

Dave Winer? A few thousand per link, but sometimes only a few hundred. Wired? A few thousand. Stumbleupon? I got tens of thousands once, but not lately. Twitter? A few hundred, even when dozens of people put my link up.

I was on the Register one time and only got a few hundred visits even though a friend of mine claimed they had millions of visitors.

My own blog? Most links lately will drive a few hundred visits. My link blog seems to be a little bit better, but not much according to people who’ve been on it.

So, if you’ve gotten a good shot of traffic where do you find you get the most traffic?

Oh, and why does TechMeme get the hype? Because Eric Norlin said in his interview with me today that he reads it. If he reads it that’s good enough for me.

I don’t want a big audience. I want a smart audience. So far I’ve gotten exactly that from TechMeme.

If I wanted a big audience I’d go write a Paris Hilton blog or something like that.

193 thoughts on “The truth about traffic on the Internet

  1. Digg gave me some 40k hits when my blog is on the front page, but the traffic only lasted for 2 days and it broke my server for couple of hours. The same story was linked by Lifehacker and in a weeks time it gave me 20k hits, the good thing about lifehacker is it is still driving some traffic to my site. Stumbleupon also good in the long run, it drives traffic steadily.

    My conclusion is that get a link from a top blog in your niche and you will see traffic and more importantly those visitors will return. If you get on to Digg front page traffic only lasts for 2 days and then no one will return back.

    Although i never got in to Techmeme i daily visit it to see what’s hot in the tech world

  2. Digg gave me some 40k hits when my blog is on the front page, but the traffic only lasted for 2 days and it broke my server for couple of hours. The same story was linked by Lifehacker and in a weeks time it gave me 20k hits, the good thing about lifehacker is it is still driving some traffic to my site. Stumbleupon also good in the long run, it drives traffic steadily.

    My conclusion is that get a link from a top blog in your niche and you will see traffic and more importantly those visitors will return. If you get on to Digg front page traffic only lasts for 2 days and then no one will return back.

    Although i never got in to Techmeme i daily visit it to see what’s hot in the tech world

  3. I recently got 50,000 from a story that was posted to Fark.

    I hereby declare Fark to be the new King of teh Intarwebs!

  4. I recently got 50,000 from a story that was posted to Fark.

    I hereby declare Fark to be the new King of teh Intarwebs!

  5. fp: agreed, although when I was on John Edwards’ plane when he announced he was running for President I was linked to by some of the political sites and they don’t drive much traffic either. Newspapers drive very little, in my experience. I’d rather be on TechMeme than be in the Guardian, truth be told.

  6. fp: agreed, although when I was on John Edwards’ plane when he announced he was running for President I was linked to by some of the political sites and they don’t drive much traffic either. Newspapers drive very little, in my experience. I’d rather be on TechMeme than be in the Guardian, truth be told.

  7. Scoble: my biggest link so far remains scobleizer, my app went from about 1000 to close to 4000, 1 day. thats installed users not just clicks.

    cheers!

  8. Scoble: my biggest link so far remains scobleizer, my app went from about 1000 to close to 4000, 1 day. thats installed users not just clicks.

    cheers!

  9. In Bobbie Johnson’s defense, the only thing s/he seemed to be saying in that comment was that techmeme is just another webpub with an avid, though relatively small readership and a link there drives a little traffic (as a link here does).

    This whole tech blogging scene has traffic numbers that are a couple of orders of magnitude smaller than reasonably well visited political and pop culture sites.

    No value judgment there. That’s just how it is. (I’m here because I clicked through from Dave Winer, whose blog, Scripting News, I read quite regularly).

  10. In Bobbie Johnson’s defense, the only thing s/he seemed to be saying in that comment was that techmeme is just another webpub with an avid, though relatively small readership and a link there drives a little traffic (as a link here does).

    This whole tech blogging scene has traffic numbers that are a couple of orders of magnitude smaller than reasonably well visited political and pop culture sites.

    No value judgment there. That’s just how it is. (I’m here because I clicked through from Dave Winer, whose blog, Scripting News, I read quite regularly).

  11. The problem with things like TechMeme and the Technorati 100, is the fact that it’s reserved for elite’s, not saying this is bad, but most of the good stuff comes from the bloggers you stumble upon whilst browsing the web, and anyway would you call things like lifehacker and gawker blogs? I think we have to separate the publishers like Gawker Media and TechCrunch away from blogs and give them a new name.

  12. The problem with things like TechMeme and the Technorati 100, is the fact that it’s reserved for elite’s, not saying this is bad, but most of the good stuff comes from the bloggers you stumble upon whilst browsing the web, and anyway would you call things like lifehacker and gawker blogs? I think we have to separate the publishers like Gawker Media and TechCrunch away from blogs and give them a new name.

  13. Stephane: I really don’t care about non-English sites. If you want to participate in the technology industry learn to write English. If you want a Japanese audience, learn Japanese. I don’t mind it at all that TechMeme isn’t bringing non-English sites.

  14. Stephane: I really don’t care about non-English sites. If you want to participate in the technology industry learn to write English. If you want a Japanese audience, learn Japanese. I don’t mind it at all that TechMeme isn’t bringing non-English sites.

  15. Bobbie Johnson: your article, according to my friends, isn’t driving much traffic either. So what makes you more authoritative than TechMeme? Or more interesting?

  16. Bobbie Johnson: your article, according to my friends, isn’t driving much traffic either. So what makes you more authoritative than TechMeme? Or more interesting?

  17. I’ve gotten (relatively) huge traffic spikes – 3,000 to 10,000 hits in a day, up from what’s normally ~100-200

    What I’ve found is that when that happens, it makes little difference. In a couple of days, traffic returns to normal, and almost none of those people leave comments, click ads, or so much as bother to explore the site. They read the linked article and then go.

    Search traffic seems to bring the most activity. People who find the site through Google tend to click around a bit before leaving. RSS subscribers seem to be the best metric for an engaged audience.

  18. I’ve gotten (relatively) huge traffic spikes – 3,000 to 10,000 hits in a day, up from what’s normally ~100-200

    What I’ve found is that when that happens, it makes little difference. In a couple of days, traffic returns to normal, and almost none of those people leave comments, click ads, or so much as bother to explore the site. They read the linked article and then go.

    Search traffic seems to bring the most activity. People who find the site through Google tend to click around a bit before leaving. RSS subscribers seem to be the best metric for an engaged audience.

  19. Great summary of some of the TechMeme traffic issues, though TechMeme is clearly catering to an “elite” audience and it’s also premature to think TechMeme will not grow to be *the* key tech news provider in a year or so. It’s the best way to sort through the mess and as Gabe improves things it’ll get even better.

  20. Great summary of some of the TechMeme traffic issues, though TechMeme is clearly catering to an “elite” audience and it’s also premature to think TechMeme will not grow to be *the* key tech news provider in a year or so. It’s the best way to sort through the mess and as Gabe improves things it’ll get even better.

  21. and one more thing because i just noticed this behavior as i did it…i just cruised over to Techmeme saw Techcrunch, Winer etc talking about this topic- i have work to do and an appointment to get to looking at all the headlines clicked on one that had an interesting headline that i hadn’t seen the blog name before and decided that if i am still interested in the topic later i will read Techcrunch and Winer later in my reader.

    The power of Techmeme is the aggregation and discovery for the user.

  22. and one more thing because i just noticed this behavior as i did it…i just cruised over to Techmeme saw Techcrunch, Winer etc talking about this topic- i have work to do and an appointment to get to looking at all the headlines clicked on one that had an interesting headline that i hadn’t seen the blog name before and decided that if i am still interested in the topic later i will read Techcrunch and Winer later in my reader.

    The power of Techmeme is the aggregation and discovery for the user.

  23. I’ve been on Fark, Shoutwire, ebaum’s world, etc and they send decent traffic.. but their traffic sucks.

    They don’t buy, they don’t click ads, and they don’t leave comments (preferring instead to comment on the site they came from, not mine)

    The only benefit of this traffic is that it usually generates a few other links on other websites.. which helps with SEO

    As far as good traffic, yahoo site of the day was by far the best. many hundreds of thousands of visitors who actually clicked ads and commented!

    Kim Komando reference actually saw a good increase in converting traffic too.. so does local news shows whenever they mention me (plug: I’m on channel 4 in Detroit tonight at 11 talking about internet slang)

    I’ve been on Scoble’s link blog too. I got a couple hundred visitors.. but no comments / ad clicks, etc from it.

  24. Might just be my own user behavior- i read scobleizer in my feed reader and the majority of the time if i see you on techmeme (which i basically check every 2 hours or so) i probably already read your post and i am looking for bloggers who are starting,following or joining the same conversation- or what Techmeme is even better at i am discovering new topics and bloggers that i would probably not have found in my own feed reader (which yes includes you link blog among others).

  25. I’ve been on Fark, Shoutwire, ebaum’s world, etc and they send decent traffic.. but their traffic sucks.

    They don’t buy, they don’t click ads, and they don’t leave comments (preferring instead to comment on the site they came from, not mine)

    The only benefit of this traffic is that it usually generates a few other links on other websites.. which helps with SEO

    As far as good traffic, yahoo site of the day was by far the best. many hundreds of thousands of visitors who actually clicked ads and commented!

    Kim Komando reference actually saw a good increase in converting traffic too.. so does local news shows whenever they mention me (plug: I’m on channel 4 in Detroit tonight at 11 talking about internet slang)

    I’ve been on Scoble’s link blog too. I got a couple hundred visitors.. but no comments / ad clicks, etc from it.

  26. Might just be my own user behavior- i read scobleizer in my feed reader and the majority of the time if i see you on techmeme (which i basically check every 2 hours or so) i probably already read your post and i am looking for bloggers who are starting,following or joining the same conversation- or what Techmeme is even better at i am discovering new topics and bloggers that i would probably not have found in my own feed reader (which yes includes you link blog among others).

  27. Just last week, I posted a chart showing the “stickiness” of TechMeme and Scobleizer visitors vs. Spikiness (like Digg and StumbleUpon). While you won’t get the huge spikes of Digg, TechMeme visitors, in my opinion, have more value, because they are engaged and will more likely both return or sign up to RSS

    Tech Blog Link Power: Spiky Visitors or Sticky Visitors?
    http://www.louisgray.com/live/2007/10/tech-blog-link-power-spiky-visitors-or.html

    As for traffic, one has to decide why they blog in the first place. If it’s for conversations, then it doesn’t really matter all that much how many visitors they have. If it’s to sell ads, that’s another story. I hope most bloggers are out there to be educated, to share a story and to communicate.

  28. Just last week, I posted a chart showing the “stickiness” of TechMeme and Scobleizer visitors vs. Spikiness (like Digg and StumbleUpon). While you won’t get the huge spikes of Digg, TechMeme visitors, in my opinion, have more value, because they are engaged and will more likely both return or sign up to RSS

    Tech Blog Link Power: Spiky Visitors or Sticky Visitors?
    http://www.louisgray.com/live/2007/10/tech-blog-link-power-spiky-visitors-or.html

    As for traffic, one has to decide why they blog in the first place. If it’s for conversations, then it doesn’t really matter all that much how many visitors they have. If it’s to sell ads, that’s another story. I hope most bloggers are out there to be educated, to share a story and to communicate.

  29. I’m the author of the Guardian blog post you mention.

    Sure, there’s a quality over quantity issue. Most of us would rather have good, intelligent readers than a swarm of abusive visitors. But I think it’s not wrong to have a correction before the scale gets too out of whack.

    OK, so there are a maximum of 5,000 top level tech-heads who might drive past you after seeing a story on Techmeme. They’re pretty high quality traffic (not exclusively, though). But there are still only 5,000 of them – I’m not sure it’s enough of a critical mass to drive forward any kind of ecosystem apart from one based purely on something (a) ladder-climbing (Techmeme as popularity contest).

    Don’t get me wrong – I like Techmeme; I use it a lot. I just think we’ve got to keep our toes in touch with reality; the constant chatter about it seems out of line with the actuality of what it does.

  30. I’m the author of the Guardian blog post you mention.

    Sure, there’s a quality over quantity issue. Most of us would rather have good, intelligent readers than a swarm of abusive visitors. But I think it’s not wrong to have a correction before the scale gets too out of whack.

    OK, so there are a maximum of 5,000 top level tech-heads who might drive past you after seeing a story on Techmeme. They’re pretty high quality traffic (not exclusively, though). But there are still only 5,000 of them – I’m not sure it’s enough of a critical mass to drive forward any kind of ecosystem apart from one based purely on something (a) ladder-climbing (Techmeme as popularity contest).

    Don’t get me wrong – I like Techmeme; I use it a lot. I just think we’ve got to keep our toes in touch with reality; the constant chatter about it seems out of line with the actuality of what it does.

  31. Robert, I am not certain how you measure your traffic here. I rarely hit your site; I read the feed daily, however. The only reason I am here now is to leave this comment.

    It seems like a lot of my web time is spent reading off-site. Only when I read “smart content” am I compelled to respond. I wonder if that traffic is measured . . .

  32. Robert, I am not certain how you measure your traffic here. I rarely hit your site; I read the feed daily, however. The only reason I am here now is to leave this comment.

    It seems like a lot of my web time is spent reading off-site. Only when I read “smart content” am I compelled to respond. I wonder if that traffic is measured . . .

  33. We made techmeme on our site for the first time last night, and thanks to the 4 people who clicked on the link. For us though it is more about arrival than numbers, being on techmeme is a milestone, one to be celebrated and enjoyed. But realistically if you google our site and techmeme, we have as many links, we are as popular in technorati, they have a page rank of 7 while we hang out at page rank 0. In the mean time we have made one of our milestones, it all works in the end. And there is a certain amount of humor on this one. Digg, Reddit, etc have been good, but the best refferal source has always been google, closely followed by live. Love web 2.0, we still need web 1.0.

  34. We made techmeme on our site for the first time last night, and thanks to the 4 people who clicked on the link. For us though it is more about arrival than numbers, being on techmeme is a milestone, one to be celebrated and enjoyed. But realistically if you google our site and techmeme, we have as many links, we are as popular in technorati, they have a page rank of 7 while we hang out at page rank 0. In the mean time we have made one of our milestones, it all works in the end. And there is a certain amount of humor on this one. Digg, Reddit, etc have been good, but the best refferal source has always been google, closely followed by live. Love web 2.0, we still need web 1.0.

  35. As someone said earlier, the sites mentioned are all blogs. It’s the mainstream media sites that drive traffic, though of course they are less likely to link to a blogger. When I’ve had a link from a couple of the ISPs here in the UK (an audience 1/7 that of the US) I’ll ge a few thousand clicks; from a retailer, again ditto, a few thousand. A recent link from cnet.com resulted in over 70k clicks over a two week period. But from the blogs? As you say, digg/slashdot/stumbleupon ok, everyone else – well, it’s the long tail.

  36. As someone said earlier, the sites mentioned are all blogs. It’s the mainstream media sites that drive traffic, though of course they are less likely to link to a blogger. When I’ve had a link from a couple of the ISPs here in the UK (an audience 1/7 that of the US) I’ll ge a few thousand clicks; from a retailer, again ditto, a few thousand. A recent link from cnet.com resulted in over 70k clicks over a two week period. But from the blogs? As you say, digg/slashdot/stumbleupon ok, everyone else – well, it’s the long tail.

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