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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Posting Frequency Phenomenon

You're a blogger. You've posted a ton of articles and built a decent base of traffic from a number of sources that drives a decent amount of traffic to your site which generates a decent amount of revenue.

Then one day, you stop posting. It could be for a number of're tired, you're burnt out, or your day job and the rest of life is so busy. Regardless of the reason, you stop posting altogether.

Over a two month period, what happens to the traffic? In theory, if a majority of your traffic comes from posts on previous hasn't lost any relevance, should your traffic suffer?

Well, this what I will explore in a couple of short minutes. I basically stopped posting in January and with the exception of a small post in February have done nothing in terms of this site.

What happened to my traffic? Let's look at the graph below.

It's been a pretty steady decline over the period of the two months in which I stopped posting regularly. In the last month where I did not post at all, it was a 10% overall decline. Since January 2nd, the total traffic has fallen almost 50% from the peak to yesterday March 23rd. There would seem to reason there is a lot of seasonality around the holidays (specifically with Wii posts), but there is no question that Google has sent less traffic my way.

The real question is whether or not the algorhythm that Google uses is taking recency into account and penalizing me for not posting. Or, if simply people are searching less for the results that traditionally bring traffic to the site. While not a fact yet, when I did post yesterday, I did notice about a 10% bump and uptick in traffic again. Not conclusive, but will be an intersting data point as I attempt to post more frequently over the next couple of weeks.

Of more interest though, is that my overall revenue from advertising has not fallen despite the shortage in traffic. Which seems to indicate that either advertisers are spending more per click, or the customers themselves are high revenue generating for me. It's possible to tell, but I'll need to download my Google Adsense data for the last couple of month to verify.

With all that being said, I have two hypothesis:
1. Even with older articles, sites that have more frequent updates are likely to get more traffic, even to that old content.
2. Even with the lower amount of traffic, for some reason more profitable (to me) visitors are coming to the site.

We'll discover a little more as to the answers over the next week or two...assuming the traffic comes back and validates hypothesis #1.