I’m not entirely sure what has happened, but Twitter has certainly risen in popularity these past few months. It serves as an excellent networking tool, because you can communicate with people like Darren Rowse and Jason Calacanis on a very casual basis. It’s great for getting feedback from the online community and getting answers to your most pressing questions. Twitter can also be a great source of traffic for your blog.
Many people are curious to see how well Twitter can perform as a traffic-driving machine. I’ve already used the service to get content for What’s Up Wednesdays, meeting people that I may not have connected with otherwise. The interesting thing is that when you combine the real-time communication of Twitter with the power of StumbleUpon, you can actually produce a huge spike in traffic. And I’ve proven it.
Earlier this month, I wrote a post describing several handy Google search tips and tricks. The inspiration from this post came from answering a question on Twitter, ironically enough, and it was through Twitter that I managed to drive a huge amount of traffic to that post. Here is a screenshot from my Google Analytics account for site visitors during that period.
Shortly after the post was published, Gary Lee submitted the article to StumbleUpon. If the article is good enough, it will pick up a bunch of stumbles and I can reap the traffic benefits. To push it along in the right direction, however, I put out a brief tweet asking the Twitter community for a stumble. The net result was a huge influx of traffic.
On average, this blog gets between 200 and 500 site visitors each day. As a result of the submission to StumbleUpon and the help from Twitter, Beyond the Rhetoric literally enjoyed thousands of visitors each day for several days. This represents up to a ten-fold increase in visitors. The initial “dip” in the graph was over the weekend, a period where StumbleUpon users aren’t nearly as active. I don’t think the same effect could have been achieved by asking for stumbles on Facebook.
By its very nature, Twitter attracts the more web-savvy people on the Internet. Twitter users are much more likely to have accounts on services like Digg and StumbleUpon than the average Internet-surfing population. Facebook users, by contrast, are not necessarily quite as web-savvy. They are much more diverse in this way.
I’m not saying that you should spam all the people following you on Twitter with continual requests for stumbles and diggs. If you have a gem of a post, however, and the article has already been submitted to one of the social bookmarking sites, there’s no harm in occasionally asking for help from fellow Twitter-ers (tweeps?). Just don’t forget to be creative and keep things fresh.