Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Quality of Entrecard Traffic

All traffic from Entrecard is human.  A large percentage of it is targeted in the sense that you can browse blogs that you are interested in, search for topics that may interest you, and choose not to visit those that are not up to your standards.

With these main aspects in place, the traffic from Entrecard is quite good, especially on this blog.  This blog is a mini-experiment to determine just how successful you can be using Entrecard.  Since April, I only used Entrecard to promote this blog, writing tips and covering news about the system.

To date, I've received more than 10,000 visitors, averaging 61 visitors per day, now averaging over 100-150/day - all from Entrecard (search engines is approximately 1.42%; direct traffic is 28.47%).  In these numbers, it is ranked within the top 150,000 blogs worldwide  and under 50,000 in the United States (in approx. 5 months time) - a figure that many bloggers can't attain after more than a year of blogging.

For those of you who think Entrecard traffic isn't that great - a huge boost in your blog's ranking alone can help advertisers decide whether your blog is the right place to advertise on, even if you aren't making the conversion rates that "normal" traffic would bring.   Myself, I would rather build a community with recurring visitors than quick traffic that never returns and brings in sales simply because your site is the first one that they happen to visit.  A community is more likely to stick together and support you than using any similar method, which won't contribute to your wants.

Now, when you take a look at the bounce rate (93.13%), it is obvious that people aren't interested in visiting multiple pages, but this can hold true for nearly all sites on the Internet, especially sites like blogs, with new content featured on the homepage (without displaying excerpts of content).  From this perspective, the traffic isn't that good, but had this blog not been promoted at all, through no other method could you attain levels this high in a relatively short period of time (with less than 50 posts to date).

People in the Entrecard network want to share their thoughts with one another, unlike the people you "pay" to visit your blog through AdWords.  Unlike AdWords, Entrecard is and can be completely free to use.  You never have to pay a cent to receive traffic, often targeted, with people who have spending power.  The traffic may not be as great as you want it to be — but that means that you aren't putting the time required into the system to see the return that it is promising you.

Think of it this way: You want to harness 1,000 new visitors to your blog.  However, you have a very limited budget, and you are only blogging on Blogger with a blog in the 'personal' category.  You are extremely limited as to how to do advertising, but Entrecard is the best way to promote your blog for the least amount of cash - who is able to pass by the opportunity for free advertising?  Within a month, it isn't that difficult to assess the savings by using Entrecard vs. PPC or CPM advertising methods.  It may take more time, but the long-term results are definitely more than running a short-term (monthly) ad on another site.

I don't know how most people feel about this, but advertising on other sites for free (minus time) using credits vs. $10+ each blog - there is an enormous savings there.

The 'Competing' Sites
I don't want to directly criticize MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog, but their services haven't accomplished what they were meant to do, despite "similar"goals to Entrecard.  Despite being members of these services, I cannot say the traffic is on par with that of Entrecard, and neither is the community backing or discussion - which are both kept on their sites rather than brought back to your site.

The core aspects of network sites: traffic and a strong backing.  Without these, the service can't grow unless it receives funding from another source.  While I don't know who backs BlogCatalog, I am sure they receive funding through advertisers/sponsors and some sort of developer program.  MyBlogLog is largely funded by Yahoo!, providing new features and support for the service.

Entrecard's traffic first started to display on Compete in October of 2007, versus pre-August for the other services.  If Entercard continues to grow at its current rate (between 60-110,000 new visitors each month), it will outpace MyBlogLog within the next month or two.  In total U.S. visits, it is only 40,000 away from becoming the leading network.  Unlike the other services, with growth at only slight increases month-over-month, Entrecard is seeing growth at between 6-35% or higher.

- Pages/Visit: 15 vs. 5.5 (MyBlogLog) and 5.3 (BlogCatalog)
- Attention: Up 21.7% over the past month, overall: 35.4% (only site in this category, total time spent on site as a percentage of the total time spent online by all U.S. Internet users.
- Unique Visitors: 1,063,725; up 6.1% (Entrecard) vs. 1,178,966 (MyBlogLog) and 680,192 (BlogCatalog)
- Rank: 1,480 in United States, growth of ~100 each month.
- Attention (Monthly): 8.3% vs. 0.0% and -26.5% by other services.
- Average Stay: 03:05 vs 02:45 (MyBlogLog) and 04:00 (BlogCatalog)

Simply from this raw data, you can see why you want to align yourself with the traffic and community around Entrecard rather than the others services - if the referring site doesn't have the traffic, there won't be any to "distribute" with your site.

Other Reasons Why Entrecard Traffic is the Best
  • People who visit your site directly through search engines are less likely to know about 'social networking' websites like Facebook, MySpace, and other tools, such as StumbleUpon and Digg than people using Entrecard.  After all, the owner and members of Entrecard heavily promote alternative methods of spreading word about your blog and have provided different ways to do this, including tips to integrate the Yahoo! Buzz/Digg button, SezWho for commenting, and more.
  • As a result of the first reason, I have had a high rate of people from Entrecard who have liked my content, thus deciding to StumbleUpon my posts.  Alone, this is one of the best values of Entrecard.  While the traffic isn't directly from Entrecard, it means that the members have "connected" with me, and sent thousands upon thousands of new, referred members to my site, for which I would not have received without the support of its members.
  • There is a "community" behind Entrecard.  Unlike other systems, Graham has made it easy to connect with others.  Although some have called it another "directory" or "traffic exchange widget", it is more than this.  People that have joined Entrecard are dedicated in their pursuit to create a blog that is better than others', but are also willing to help other bloggers achieve their goals, by subscribing, commenting, rating, or joining other blog's discussions.  These people will visit your blog each and every day, subscribe to your blog, and spread word about it, writing and linking to it on their blog.
There are many success stories with Entrecard, and no other system has yet to receive the same level that Entrecard has.

It is encouraged that you share your ideas on this topic.  What levels of

You can read more follow-up on the blog post.

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