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Making the Most Out of Your Spike In Traffic

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Recently I asked if your business was ready for sudden attention. I wanted to follow up on that post with some thoughts about what you should do when you get a new influx of traffic. It’s not enough to do business as usual is you want to retain your new visitors. You need to improve to meet the new challenge.

If you’re consistently working to bring in new traffic to your site you’ll most likely notice a steady growth most of the time. Plotting your traffic over time will probably show a linear increase of even better it will graph as exponential growth. But during certain periods of time you may see a sudden spike in traffic lasting a few days or even over just a few hours. Maybe you managed to make the front page of Digg and while your post is there on the home page a flood of traffic arrived at your site. Maybe a prominent magazine is featuring your site for a month. It could be your recent link bait campaign has been successful. No matter what the cause spikes in traffic are common if you’re actively promoting your site.

You might think that once the promotion has paid off and the traffic starts arriving the hard work is done. In truth it’s only beginning. Some of your new visitors will likely come back again. The only reason they hadn’t visited before was that they didn’t know you. But most of your new visitors will have a look and leave unless you give them a compelling reason to stay or come back again. They were interested enough to check you out once and will probably come back one more time, but you need to make sure that next time leads to another next time and another next time after that.

If your most recent blog post makes it to the front page of Digg or gets a lot of bookmarks at del.icio.us people will visit your blog. It’s not the time to rest though. That’s a lot of potential eyes on your writing and if you want to turn those eyes into loyal readers you need to follow up your dugg post with a few more of your best work. That spike in visits isn’t permanent. It’s an opportunity to capture those new visitors, but in order to do so you need to put out better quality than you have been. You need to put out your very best to keep them coming back. Make your next day’s post better than the one that brought all the people in and make the one after that even better.

If you’re link baiting campaign is successful and you’re drawing a lot of industry traffic to your new web tool you can’t rest on your laurels. One visitor seeing your tool will probably realize that a similar, but improved tool can lead all your traffic to his or her site. Hop on over to your favorite search engine and type ‘seo tools’ or something similar. How many results do you see? Can you tell which of the sites was the first to create those tools? Every good idea will get copied.

As soon as your new tool starts to bring in traffic is the time to start thinking about your next tool or ways to improve the one you’ve just created. Just as quickly as your link bait tool brought people to it, those people might be off to your competitors new and improved tool.

Spikes in traffic aren’t lasting. The traffic spikes and then settles back down to a level close to where it was before. That spike is also an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to turn what could be an up and down spike into a new plateau. The moment you receive a spike in traffic to your site is the moment your site is reaching for a new plateau. It’s up to you to improve the quality of your blog, your tool, your whole site if you want to stay at your new plateau.

The new visitors you’ve gotten are an opportunity for you to meet the new greater expectation those people bring with them. Don’t think it’s time to rest after all that promoting pays off in visitors. Your new visitors amount to an opportunity. And opportunity does not automatically lead to success. Opportunity is the opening of a door that can lead to success as long as you can open it wide enough to step inside. A spike in visitors to your site is no time to rest. It’s time to work harder to make your site better and to keep your new visitors happy and wanting to come back. It’s time to make the most of your spike in traffic.

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Steven Bradley is a web designer and search engine optimization
specialist. Known to many in the webmaster/seo community by the username
vangogh, he is the author of TheVanBlog, which focuses on how to build
and optimize websites and market them online.

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