The Best and Worst Sites to Help Build a Loyal Following for Your Blog

What would you rather have on your website?  An enormous amount of traffic or a loyal following of readers?  This is a question that a lot of websites deal with on a daily basis.  In reality, most of us would probably prefer both; and for some, this is probably the case.  The problem is that a lot of us end up wasting a lot of time and energy submitting our websites to social media sites that have little affect on either.  Last week, I decided to dig a bit deeper into my site’s statistics to figure out which of my site’s top referrers actually provided the most loyal following.  The results were both interesting and surprising.

When you get some one to visit your site, it’s very important to keep them there.  There are a lot of user interface strategies out there to help you in this but it’s always best if your readers truly enjoy being on your site.  The best way to find out if your readers enjoy your site is by figuring out how long they stick around once they visit.  Of my site’s top referrers, take a look at which one provides readers who actually stick around.

  1. DESIGNM.AG: 3:44 | 4th in visits
  2. SPOON GRAPHICS: 3:24 | 16th in visits
  3. VECTIPS: 3:08 | 13th in visits
  4. NOUPE: 2:47 | 11th in visits
  5. BITTBOX: 2:55 | 3rd in visits
  6. VECTORTUTS: 2:43 | 9th in visits
  7. TWITTER: 2:03 | 7th in visits
  8. DESIGNFLOAT: 1:10 | 5th in visits
  9. DIGG: 0:59 | 12th in visits
  10. STUMBLE UPON: 0:23 | 8th in visits

* List is in minutes and seconds.

Now take a look at this list.  Look at Digg, Stumble Upon, and Design Float.  The 3 of them provide quite a few visits to my site monthly, but visitors from those sites don’t tend to stick around for very long.

On the other hand, blogs such as, Spoon Graphics, and VECTIPS provide more traffic (in some cases) but their readers end up spending a lot more time on my site.  This means that I may be able to increase traffic and loyalty at the same time by visiting and submitting links to other blogs instead of social media sites.

Feel free to comment.  I’d love to hear what you guys think about this.  It is an interesting topic and I would love to get a discussion going on how we can improve loyal readership on our sites.

Grant Friedman

Grant Friedman is a graphic design, blogger, and author. In addition to being the founder of this website, Grant is also the editor of Psdtuts, one of the world's most popular tutorial websites.

  • Marco

    Agreed – Although SU gives loads of traffic, they don’t stick long and just “go away” after they’ve seen the page.
    You should also include PSDTuts+ and SmashingMag – They gave me loads of traffic and followings, since it’s like “targeted traffic”.
    Keep up the good work!

    March 2, 2009 at 4:10 AM
  • Corey Thompson

    Nice post. The stumble upon one doesn’t surprise me.

    March 2, 2009 at 4:40 AM
  • Ann Storer

    I seem to get most of my visits from sites like Vectortuts, Flickr groups, and Twitter. I’m happy with the traffic I get from them because they tend to stick around, comment, and even occasionally donate. I started my website to have conversations with other designers, share cool stuff, and learn, so I’m much more into having loyal readers than gobs of people that won’t hang out and talk to me. Though it would definitely be fun to experience a “digg effect” just once… :)
    Cool idea for an article, can’t wait to read the responses that will follow.

    March 2, 2009 at 4:53 AM
  • Melinda Stanley

    Great post!

    March 2, 2009 at 7:24 AM
  • Steven Snell

    Glad to see that is sending some decent traffic. Thanks Grant.

    March 2, 2009 at 7:51 AM
  • Nicholas

    What a great post!!! This past week I have been doing the same in looking at my stats. Wondering what I could do to have visitor loyalty, comments being posted, and more importantly being suggested on the social media arena. Any ideas? Well, of course I believe that just doing some hard work in writing content is more important right now. At we are a small group of college students that love design. Although, I am the brains behind the operation I get deeper into who is looking, who is learning and who wants to keep coming back.
    Again, thank you for your post.

    March 2, 2009 at 8:02 AM
  • Chris Spooner

    Glad to hear Blog.SpoonGraphics is helping out with some traffic. Just goes to show the difference between targeted, niche-specific visitors and the more generic audience that comes from social networks.

    March 2, 2009 at 9:59 AM
  • [Re]encoded

    I do not think you can discount traffic from social media sites so quickly. I have had the digg effect on my site and although it is true that most of the readers do not stick around for very long, this does not mean that your site does not receive a tremendous amount of benefit. For example, an article that makes it to the front page will bring in thousands of visitors. (One time for me it was upwards of 40,000 visitors in a very short period of time) While these visitors might not stick around very long, I found that they do click on ads, which brings in some extra money for your site. Also, the digg effect generates a lot of links, which will continue to bring in traffic long after the digg effect fades.

    March 3, 2009 at 12:44 AM
  • UPrinting Online Printing

    Cool post! Thanks for the information you have supplied.

    March 3, 2009 at 11:52 PM
  • Zakirah

    I think it’s because when other blogs link to you, the readers from those blogs already know what they’re looking for, hence they stick around. Like me for example, I even added your blog to my reader coz I want to be updated. That’s coz I know what to expect from your blog, in terms of contents. Besides, since those who stick around are probably used to the design community, so they feel comfortable and know what to expect from you, like this kind of discussion for example :)

    March 4, 2009 at 2:34 AM
  • desizntech

    Nice post… I would love get some traffic myself

    March 4, 2009 at 11:42 AM
  • Alex

    I was just thinking about how to increase my blog’s presence on the ‘net so your article was perfect timing. The increased traffic from other blogs is definitely due to targeted audience and credibility. If readers respect the blog they’re on, they’re more likely to trust that the blogs that are being referred to are good sources as well, and will stay for that reason. Web surfers don’t spend a lot of time deciding whether something is worth reading so if there’s no point of reference and it doesn’t look attractive at first sight, they’re outta there.

    March 4, 2009 at 11:43 AM
  • katproductions

    I’m just getting started with blogging and social media and this post was fantastic. I found it through a link to another one of your posts on twitter and i will be coming back to read more. Thanks.

    March 8, 2009 at 7:32 AM
  • gardener

    Nice statistics. It more useful to watch the analytics report

    March 13, 2009 at 8:00 AM
  • Pixelkink

    That’s an interesting discovery. I did notice certain connections within my stats after someone Stumbled one of my articles. I never had that many hits in one day, but hardly anyone stuck.
    I only just today subscribed to your feed. Commenting on and linking to websites in the same field of interest is a good way to get a couple of more hits. But the best way I think is to write original content and make sure you tell the world (read: design portals for instance).
    This is an interesting summing up!

    March 14, 2009 at 12:49 PM
  • warcraft gold

    Awesome! Thanks for the information. By the way, I appreciate your designs.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:32 AM