First, some background context
I’ve run the BonFX blog since September 2009. Way, way, way back then, I didn’t get Twitter. I was just getting a handle on blogging. I had a Twitter account, because, well, I was supposed to. I didn’t know what to do with it though. Should I post what cool pizza place I found? Nah. In those early days, I was interested in SEO best practices in HTML and wondered primarily if I should have images or not in my posts. How quaint!
It takes time, quite a bit of time, to learn what blogging is all about. It takes time to get it demystified. I’d say it took a solid 6 months before I grasped the power of Twitter, and what the real fundamentals of SEO were. I’m still learning that of course, but I’m not running down the wrong path, at least. If you are reading this, you obviously already grasp these fundamentals. That is half the battle. I won’t get into why Twitter is important to bloggers—enough is said about that other places.
The other half of the battle is the stuff of SEO basics: interesting writing, written for humans, in a personal voice, filled with meaningful, timely, useful advice. All the SEO tricks and tweets in the world are just a footnote after the issue of content.
So let’s say you have great content, great SEO, great exposure, and now your graphic design blog is starting to get some traffic. Great! What is a great way to measure you traffic? Well, I figured if I was growing my blog the way the other “big hitters” in the graphic design field were, I figured I’d be doing good. So I set out to figure what good Twitter growth looked like.
Poor man’s statistical analysis
What I did was simple: I copied down the number of Twitter followers that some of the graphic design bloggers that I follow had, about a month ago. I don’t follow that many people, so of those I do follow, I focused on the few that met some simple criteria, such as:
- I really liked them and their content
- I liked what they tweeted
- They tweeted often
- They posted to their blogs often
- They had a sense of humor
- I had that sense of anticipation each day to see what they’d tweet
- They had a big (to me) Twitter base and a decent number of RSS subscribers
These few criteria gave me a pretty wide cross-section of graphic design bloggers. Some new, some old, some huge, some not so huge. The most important common denominator, I’d say, was that they were busy on Twitter.
So I wrote down the number of Twitter followers for each of these bloggers in the beginning of July 2010. And then I wrote them down again today, August 4th 2010, and did some simple math:
- x = Today’s Number of Twitter Followers
- y = Number of Twitter followers from 30 days ago
- z = Percent of change in 30 days
- y/x = z
So how did my favorite graphic design bloggers / blogs fair in 30 days of Twitter growth? Take a look:
|Blog||Twitter ID||Twitter Followers July 1st, 2010||Twitter Followers Aug 4th, 2010||Percent of Change|
|Logo of the Day||@logooftheday||1245||1314||+6%|
|Logo Design Love||@logodesignlove||7708||8100||+5%|
|Just Creative Design||@justcreative||29279||30030||+2.5%|
I don’t know about you, but I find the data really interesting.
So, how fast should my Twitter followers be growing?
I mixed my own data for BonFX in the chart. As you can see, as a relative Twitter and blogging newbie, I don’t have many Twitter followers. But look at David Airey or Jacob Cass (Just Creative Design). They both, in the last 30 days, have a slightly lower growth rate than mine. But I’d sure like to have their numbers! Of course 30 days isn’t a very big sample. I’m sure this rate goes up and down as Twitter and blog activity ebbs and flows throughout the weeks and months with project and schedules and vacations and life in general. I’m not collecting data like Google, but you can see the point: everyone on the list added more followers last month than I have total, including those with a slower growth rate than mine.
Can we draw a meaningful conclusion then or not?
Flunk me out of stats class—I don’t care! But here is what I think is good advice based on my little-layman-analysis. Percentage wise, if you are growing 3% to 7% a month, you are on par with some pretty well known bloggers and their growth rates.
Like interest on your cash in the bank, a slow steady growth rate can yield big dividends if you are patient, and just keep doing the hard work of what is right: write good content and tweet interesting tweets over a long period of time. Period.
The point is this: Twitter growth is relative. It seems quite clear that the bigger you get, the bigger you get. Look at Smashing Magazine. They added 14k followers in 30 days. That’s about 500 new followers a day. They are doing something right!
And what is the lesson on getting bigger and wider in regards to your audience? Great content on your blogs and interesting tweets will keep people coming back and spreading the word.
So, take what you will from this! Your mileage may vary. I do this kind of thing from time to time because it’s fun, and a little inspiring. What do you think?
And hey, looks like we could all send a round of applause to Duane over at Logobird for an incredible 32% growth rate over the last 30 days! Congratulations!