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How Our Traffic Grew by 118% in 1 month: The August Stats From the Buffer blog

Note from Leo: The below is an email Belle sent to the whole Buffer team on the 1st of September. It features our latest thoughts, ideas and questions about content and the Buffer blog. Since we default to transparency with our culture, we thought making this public could be useful for others too.

Quick summary

In August we published 18 posts on the blog, 6 of which were guest posts. After July’s 59% increase in traffic, August blew that away with a 118% increase. Our top post for the month hit 531,000 views, which is 1670% higher than our most-visited post in July. Wow.

How did the blog do overall?

Total uniques: 745,811 (compared to 341, 470 in July = 118% increase)
Email subscribers: Since moving to MailChimp on August 23, we added 766 subscribers. Hopefully by next month we’ll have our Feedburner subscribers imported into MailChimp and we’ll be able to track solid stats on this for the future.

Total posts: 18 (2 more than July)
Total posts republished: 3 (Lifehacker, FastCompany, news.com.au)
Total in-house posts: 12 (same as July)
Total guest posts: 6 (2 more than July)

Top 3 referring sites: Facebook, Twitter, Lifehacker (same as July)
Top 3 keywords: “body language,” “how to make yourself happy” “twitter symbols”

Which 3 posts performed best?

Ranked by number of unique visits, these are the three top posts from August.

 

10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science

3,470 tweets, 113k fb likes, 850 g+, 531,000 uniques

 

22 Tips To Better Care for Introverts and Extroverts

595 tweets, 2k fb likes, 3.4k g+, 21,000 uniques

 

8 Things You Don’t Know Are Affecting Our Choices Every Day: The Science of Decision Making*

568 tweets, 700 fb likes, 1k g+, 18,000 uniques

*Note: this post was written and published in July, but was one of the highest trafficked posts during August

 

Experiments from August

  • We switched to MailChimp for managing our email subscribers (thanks for the help here, Andy!).
  • We added a slide-in form to capture email addresses that triggers as you scroll down the blog (850 new subscribers so far).
  • Used HipChat to call out Carolyn whenever a product-related question was posted in the blog comments so she could handle those.

Questions and ideas that came up in August

  • Our top three posts this month were life-hacking topics, and 2 out of the 3 top posts last month were also life-hacking posts. This could be because our social media-related posts aren’t as high quality as the life-hacking posts, we’re not promoting the social media posts in the right ways, or our audience is heavily skewed towards life-hacking at the moment.
  • It would be great to have a better system for tracking which posts are picked up for republishing, and any other stats we can track from those posts that are outside the Buffer blog (we could possibly add specific buff.ly links into republished posts?). Would be good to chat to Michelle about what options we have here.
  • I got quite a few requests in August to republish posts. It might be good for me and Leo to work out a solid way of measuring which of these requests are worth our time (I know Leo has a good gut feel for this, but as we grow the content team, the more solid (if rough) structures we can put in place, the more consistency we can achieve).

Looking ahead to September

  • We had 2 more guest posts this month but the number of in-house posts stayed the same. I’d really like to increase this number next month to at least 15. This could be a combination of just pushing myself to be more productive and working on aggregation-style posts over several weeks in-between research-based posts.
  • Leo and I set some big goals for the blog, which we want to reach by the end of October: 25,000 email subscribers and 1 million uniques/month. These are our two biggest things to keep in mind when planning, writing and publishing content in September.
  • We’re going to experiment with adding some more of the Buffer team’s personality to the blog in various ways. One we’ve done already is a “note from Leo” at the bottom of my meditation post. I’m working on writing up the story of how I changed my name this week, and have a couple of other ideas for how to inject some of our personality into the blog.

 

Note from Leo: Let us know any more stats that we could share with you guys in the comments below!

 

  • Ian Nuttall

    Loving the openness as always, gang!

    Wise choice switching to Mailchimp. I can’t think of a better company to rely on for email marketing.

    I’m all for more personality in the blog posts and I reckon 1 mil/month is a cinch. ;)

    Here’s to a successful September – starting with my birthday tomorrow! :)

    -Ian

  • Keep it up, Buffer is taking over!

  • We other startups *so* appreciate the openness!

    It would be interesting to understand if the life hacking posts are driving signups to Buffer as effectively as social media posts.

    Kuratur retweets a lot of your life hacking posts that we feel are relevant to freelancers, self-employed and entrepreneurs. So we do see the connection to the audience.

    Thanks, again, for the great information.

    • Belle

      Good point – that’s definitely something I’m interested in seeing between the two high-level topics. So far it seems like social media posts serve better for getting conversions, while life hacking posts do a better job of getting shared and spreading the Buffer brand. It’s a work in progress though, we’re still working on understanding the metrics side of this!

  • jeremeyd

    Congrats on the huge increase guys! Belle, the content you guys have been putting out has been top notch. Keep up the awesome work.

    • Belle

      Thanks so much! We’re really excited to keep pushing this and see how far we can take it :)

  • Those numbers are nuts. Congrats guys.

    It looks like you’re getting a 0.1% conversion on uniques to email subscriptions. What kind of referral traffic conversion do you have to Buffer or click-through on the “Learn More” CTAs?

    Do you use those metrics at all to understand the ROI of content marketing?

    • Belle

      Good questions, Tyler! This is something we’re paying more attention to now, and we’re keen to experiment with different CTAs to see what works best.

  • Nick Zafiropoulos

    Thanks for sharing Buffer!

    I’m going to buffer this article right meow!

  • Gaz Copeland

    It’s really interesting the differences between the social shares across the 3 top posts. How some got way more traction on one network than another.

    In terms of the lifehacker posts.

    From my point of view my stream is full of social/SEO/ecom etc posts and a probably read 1 in 50 of the ones I see. I read almost all of your lifehacker posts however because not only are they really interesting they’re really DIFFERENT than the other stuff in my stream. Maybe that’s the same with other people?

    Nice work guys.

    • Belle

      Hi Gaz,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. It’s really interesting to know how you feel about the different kinds of content.

  • Peter Wallhead

    I’d really love to see your conversion rate from people reading a blog post and then signing up for a Buffer account via one of your various CTAs (and then how many of these people went on to upgrade to a paid account). At the end of the day this is the most important metric IMO.

    • Belle

      Hi Peter,
      We’re working on getting a better understanding of this at the moment, but right now email subscribers are our biggest focus so that’s where we’ll pay the most attention in the short-term.

      • Peter Wallhead

        And this is why I don’t work for Buffer (yet), because you guys know your own goals :)

  • Oh man I wish I spoke your language (technical) but my creative side makes me learn them just much slower then those that tech comes naturally for but I wanted to say congratulations on these rocking numbers!!

  • Love your posts and your insights. Thank you. Truly grateful. A queston. What plugin are you using for the form that slides in? And will you say it is effective?

  • Ramesh Shanmugam

    How to publish a blog post to get more traffic ? How to get SEO rank

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