Tags and Traffic – an experiment

When we blog, we want readers. You can tell yourself “I’m just writing for myself,” but you know that’s a lie. You would write things in Word if you really didn’t want readers.

So it was somewhat of a disappointment to find out the total traffic to my blog yesterday: one. One poor soul wondered onto this poorer land of loneliness and read some nonsense about tags, and left without a trace.

What’s interesting is that this poor wonderer came across that post of mine through the tag that I put on the post: “tag cloud”.

That makes me wonder:

What tags would attract more traffic?

Popular tags? Less popular tags? Really really unpopular tags?

The answer is quite unpredictable, because popular tags are used by the greatest number of bloggers, and my post will just be a small fish in the sea. On the other hand, unpopular tags are read by fewer audience, and my post might be a big fish in the middle of nowhere.

So I am going to design an experiment to test the relationship between tag popularity of a post and the traffic to it. My hypothesis (alternate hypothesis if you will), is simply: difference in popularity of tags on posts will have an effect on the traffic to these posts.

My experimental design is also simple:

  1. Write a short, simple message saying “_____ is interesting. (read more)”, where the blank is filled with the tag. Thus all of the posts tested will have the same message, to minimize the effect of content on traffic. (Also this makes it easier for me to mass produce.)
  2. Find three of the most popular tags, three of the middle-popular tags, three of the least-popular tags from here, and make up three tags that are not on the list.
  3. Prepare 12 short posts using step 1. and 2., and post them at the same time (well, as close together as possible), to minimize the effect of time difference on traffic.
  4. Record and report the traffic to these posts.

Any predictions?


For the record, these tags are chosen:

  • Most popular: Politics, News, and Life;
  • Middle popular: Technology, Blogging, and Christianity;
  • Least popular: Israel, Hip-hop, and Stuff;
  • Not even on the list: Baking soda, Google, and Ecology.

Time is 5:13pm, Pacific Time.
Let’s begin!

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17 thoughts on “Tags and Traffic – an experiment

  1. Pingback: Politics is an interesting thing. « ZeroRatio

  2. Pingback: Christianity is interesting. « ZeroRatio

  3. Pingback: News is an interesting thing. « ZeroRatio

  4. Pingback: Technology is an interesting thing. « ZeroRatio

  5. Pingback: Israel is interesting « ZeroRatio

  6. Pingback: Hip-hop is an interesting thing. « ZeroRatio

  7. Pingback: Stuff is an interesting thing. « ZeroRatio

  8. Pingback: Google is an interesting thing. « ZeroRatio

  9. Pingback: Ecology is an interesting thing. « ZeroRatio

  10. Pingback: Tags and Traffic experiment - a follow up « ZeroRatio

  11. Pingback: Tags and Traffic experiment - 2hr mark « ZeroRatio

  12. Pingback: Tags and Traffic experiment - 16hr mark « ZeroRatio

  13. Pingback: How good should we feel when we take the bus? - an answer « ZeroRatio

  14. ..can’t leave this generalisation by itself.

    I’m just writing for myself otherwise it would be only depressing!

  15. Yeah, it was somewhat of an overstatement when I said every blogger likes attention. Perhaps it’s more appropriate if I rephrase that into: “no blogger who set their blogs as ‘public’ and ‘searchable’ would be sad to see more traffic”

    Thanks for visiting!

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