Last April was a crazy month for me. I was in Antigua Guatemala for a week, came back to Los Angeles for 3 days, flew to Santiago Chile for 10 days (that’s a 12-hour flight in case you didn’t know), came back to Los Angeles again for a week to finish rushing to Miami for a couple of days.
But that wasn’t all, I did all this in the middle of clients projects and, except for Guatemala, the rest of the traveling was strictly business (when I say business that includes drinks and cigars in the middle… I didn’t say I was complaining). On top of that, my blog has been experiencing some serious issues that required some special attention. Just so you get an idea, every time I publish a post, the entire site goes down, sometimes it will disconnect from the database or it will go completely blank.
Long story short, I decided to let it go even tough I’m kind of paranoid about my blog. I don’t post tons of content every week but the one thing I have is consistency, so stepping out of it will obviously have some impact. The second half of April SocialMouths had very little content published, had technical issues and very little promotion. I was also very inactive on Twitter for about a week. I expected to hit a dip but then try to get back to usual.
The impact this inconsistency had in the numbers:
- It dropped 6,000 pageviews comparing with the previous month (March)
- Pages per Visit dropped from 1.50 to 1.39
- And Bounce Rate went up 10% (This is the only digit you hope will go down…)
Outside my blog, I focus on 2 networks: Twitter and my Facebook Page. Growth is pretty steady even tough is 100% organic. Twitter grows at about 100 Followers per week and the Fb Page is also around the same figure.
During the month of April that solid growth dropped 75%.
Another number that has no importance other than some level of social proof is the AdAge ranking, I think I went down about 20 positions. Again, not important but it helps you visualize the kind of impact you have.
Will People Notice?
I was certain about taking a hit in traffic, it was obvious. The other thing I was sure about was that people will not notice. How important can your blog be for people to say “Hey, where is my weekly dose of SocialMouths?”
But people do notice when you’re not there. They do.
On one hand, it felt great to realize that people will notice you, that they are aware of you and your content. On the other hand, realize that you have to be more responsible towards your brand, your audience DO pay attention.
In this case people are more important, numbers are just numbers, they can represent social proof or some meaningless traffic but your audience, tribe, community or whatever you like to call it will sense that inconsistency.
Now, imagine if you disappear for a few weeks or a couple of months. People say frequency builds traction and that gets you more traffic, I’m not sure that works in every case. I have proven to get more traffic publishing less but one thing I can tell you is that your audience gets used to that frequency, whatever it is and when you break it, your brand has an impact on that people.
Put A Strategy Together
In this case I made the decision to observe what the impact was, I was aware. But you can plan your absence to at least keep publishing content. You could schedule everything in WordPress or you could invite guests/contributors to cover your butt during that time. The technology is in place and a little planning will put you on auto-pilot as much as possible.
Business As Usual
So what happens to SocialMouths? Well, there was a lot of testing, backing up, code reviewing and cleaning up. We now live on a dedicated server at Hostway that costs $100/month. There is a new design (hope you like), nothing too crazy but took the opportunity to spike things up a notch. And hopefully the technical issues are behind us, in fact…
Comparing loading times with @HectorCuevas a few weeks ago I got my ass kicked, his site was 2.2x faster than mine. But as I walked away in embarrassment I promised to come back. So last night after conducting 4 runs, I’m happy to report my site was 45% faster than his…
Hey Hector, chew on that baby!
There are still a couple of things being tweaked on the site so excuse the dust for now but there is a lot of cool stuff in the oven too. There is more content this week, one post from Martina Iring and some stuff from me.
Thank you all for the patience and I hope you keep enjoying SocialMouths!