If you were to walk out your front door and travel to the mall there are probably at least a half a dozen different routes you could take. The same is true for the people who come to visit your blog. They can follow a link from an email, a link at Facebook or Twitter, they can type your URL in the address bar or maybe they have a bookmarked and they just click on that icon. All of this traffic has a different meaning for your blog and today we’re going to talk about Direct Traffic.
When you’re looking at your analytics stats you’ll see that Google breaks your blog traffic down into three categories: Direct, referral and search engine traffic. Direct traffic is sometimes hard to figure out, but basically it comes from two sources: People who type your URL into their address bar and come directly to your blog, or people who already have your blog bookmarked so they can just click on the link… and come directly to your blog.
Notice what they both have in common?
Both of these visitors already know about your blog. The first had to have at least heard the name or URL of your blog mentioned or they wouldn’t have been able to accurately type it in their address bar. The second had to have visited your blog at least once or they wouldn’t have been able to set the bookmark. Either way, you’ve already done something to establish your brand, otherwise these people wouldn’t be seeking you out.
Why is direct traffic so important?
You’ve already done something to win over the people who come to your blog directly. They liked your content the first time they were there or they heard something good about you from someone else. You didn’t have to compete for a keyword in the search engine index to attract these people, they were already on the way.
Direct visitors are already sold on your blog when they hit the front door. They choose to be there and all you have to do is keep them coming back for more. And because they like you and trust you enough to bookmark your site or follow your RSS feed, these are the people who will share your blog with their friends. Not just an individual blog post, mind you. They’ll talk about your blog as a brand.
How do you get more direct traffic?
- Obviously, the first thing you need to do is over-deliver on top-quality content
- Put a link at the bottom of each post encouraging readers to subscribe to your RSS feed or bookmark your blog
- Make sure you have sharing buttons on your site so your followers can easily spread the word
- Pick a domain name that’s easy to verbally share and remember
- Encourage comments – people love to come back and see what everyone else is saying
- Get out there and socialize – comment on other blogs, get involved with your Facebook community, let your followers know how much you appreciate their loyalty