How I got 5,000 unique visitors in 24 hours

As regular readers will know, I’ve been running this blog for a while now. Eight months and 20 days to be precise. That’s remarkably close to the amount of time a human baby takes to grow. It looks like I delivered a little early as yesterday the blog burst into life!

It was about 10am when I looked at my analytics to see my post from Friday on The Joy of Trailers already had 500 hits in just a couple of hours. My heart jumped – had I finally done it?

I speak with other movie bloggers quite often, sometimes in person but more often via electronic methods. One of them told me last year that the turning point for his website was getting a post mentioned on the IMDB Hitlist.

IMDB link a small number of external articles and blogposts a day on their front page. They’re valued spots and submissions can run into the hundreds every day. Generally a movie review or a top ten won’t make it, these have to be something interesting, something different.

I tend to post reviews during Monday to Thursday, then do a feature on Fridays. The occasional weeks when I’ve written non-top-10 features, I’ve submitted them to IMDB. Yesterday I hit pay dirt!

At the time of writing over 5,000 unique visitors have read my blog since 7am yesterday when it appeared on the IMDB hitlist. It will start to drop off now as today’s list is now out, but it was an incredible opportunity to introduce my blog to some new readers and I am so grateful to IMDB for plucking my post out of the pile.

Of course, my bounce rate soared. Just over 3% of those visitors went on to read another page, and between them they read an average of two more pages each. Even so, 3% of 5,000 is 150 potential new readers and 150 potential ambassadors who will plug my posts on social media if I entertain and excite them with my future posts.

Last year I was getting a lot of traffic from my own social media activities and visiting other movie and book review websites. This year I’ve reduced that activity and posted less, the direct traffic has reduced accordingly but organic traffic from search engines has grown in its place due to the library of reviews I’ve built up. I need to put those together, and retain any new readers from IMDB’s generous plug.

So, what have I learned and what am I going to do next?

1) I’m going back to daily posting on weekdays. It’s easy to get disheartened when blogging every day, especially when some reviews don’t get the interest I expect them to. This has given me new impetus.

2) I need to do more to encourage readers to read another post.

3) People like Darren Rowse are always espousing the benefits of guest posts and plugs by other blogs. Whatever your topic, you need to know who the leaders in your field are and take any opportunity to get them to notice what you’re doing.

4) A bit of luck goes a long long way.

5) You make your own luck – I’ll still continue to submit any posts that are a bit different to IMDB, and I’ll look for other opportunities to get mentions or guest posts.

6) You never know when a break like this is Going to come, so be prepared to make the most of it when it does.

7) it’s still luck. Don’t be disheartened if things don’t happen right away. Keep reviewing what you’re doing but above all, keep trying!

If you have any insight into building audience – and keeping it – please share in the comments.

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