Last week I wrote a post titled "How Twitter Helped Me Survive A Bear Attack." It was a misleading title that totally risked the trust level of my reader base but I was curious of one thing: Do people actually read posts or do they simply retweet titles? Are titles alone click-bait?
After a week, I looked at my Google Analytics page and checked out how that post did traffic-wise in comparison with others in regards to traffic. Just looking at the tweet button, the post did gather the most amount of retweets of any post I've thrown up here in a while. You would think tweets would lead to traffic. Turns out it doesn't.
While my post had a decent amount of retweets, the traffic for that "bear attack" post in analytics was better than average but not the best. In regards to posts from the last couple of weeks, it was actually number four in traffic. Several of other posts drew in more traffic in the last week even though their retweet count was less.
What did I conclude?
Retweet count doesn't always proportionally reflect website traffic. My hypothesis that titles will get retweeted over content is borderline true. However, Twitter is often used to drive traffic to a website. Just because something goes gets a lot of tweet action doesn't always mean website traffic will reflect that. What drives traffic in addition to social channels is content. The posts that saw the most traffic were the ones that had the most conversation in the comments section. Even though some of these posts were older, they received solid traffic from search engines and other link drops.
I also learned that I will probably never try and pull the wool over the eyes of my readers again. At least not anytime soon ;).
Viral tricks and linkbait will help in short bursts. What sustains content - in blogging terms - is content. Retweets, though a valuable metric, aren't the end game.
What do you all think?