I’m all for case studies.
I’m constantly yammering on about what’s happening with my niche sites which is a form of case studies. As a student of blogging, I enjoy reading good case studies.
They can be very, very helpful. But they can also be ridiculously misleading.
It’s easy to make almost useless info look really good.
Likewise, sometimes really good results don’t look as impressive as it actually is.
What I’m going to set out below is merely pointing out something to watch out for.
As with all things, use common sense when assessing whether something suggested is a good practice, tip, strategy, etc.
What I’m talking about specifically is traffic growth statistics.
I’ve seen my share of “1000% traffic growth in 6 months” emails, reports, etc.
Like Pavlov’s dogs, I click always hopeful for that secret sauce that will 10X my traffic with a click of a button.
I bet you do too.
I’m almost always disappointed.
It’s a clever use of statistics.
Specifically using percentages instead of absolute numbers.
Absolute numbers tell all.
Percentages can be highly misleading.
There are “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” A quote by Benjamin Disraeli that’s so famous it’s a cliche.
Here’s a simple example.
- Site traffic start date: 50 visitors per month.
- Site traffic end date one year later: 4000 visitors per month.
- Percent increase: 7,900%
- Absolute traffic increase: 3,500 visitors per month.
Impressive? It’s okay but it’s certainly not as impressive as the 7,900% increase makes it sound.
Here’s another example.
- Start traffic date: 500,000 monthly visitors
- End traffic date one year later: 650,000 monthly visitors
- Percent increase: 30% increase
- Absolute traffic increase: 150,000 visitors per month
Impressive? The percentage is solid but 30% growth in a year doesn’t exactly scream explosive growth like a 7,900% traffic increase.
However, the 150,000 monthly visitor increase is very impressive.
Put another way, what comes across as more impressive?
150,000 monthly visitor SEO growth OR 30% SEO traffic growth?
For me it’s a no-brainer. I’d be more inclined to click the 150,000 monthly visitor SEO growth.
Contrast that with 3,500 monthly visitor SEO growth vs. 7,900% SEO traffic growth?
In that case, the 7,900% figure looks way better but it’s not. It’s only 3,500 visitors per month more.
I’d much rather learn how to add 150,000 monthly visitors to a site than 3,500 monthly visitors.
What’s my point?
Use common sense when assessing big claims.
Growing a website from 50 to 4,000 monthly visitors over the course of a year is basically ranking for 1 to 20 keywords. It’s not nothing but it’s not adding 6 figure traffic monthly to a site.
Taking a site from an already impressive 500K SEO monthly visitors to 650K in a year is the result of a proven system. That very system will be one with staying power.
Interestingly, both may use the same system, but I’m far more persuaded by the 500K to 650K case study than the other.
While the 7,900% increase percentage is technically accurate, it’s smoke and mirrors.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.