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How I Got 4000 Visitors in 2 Hours To My Website

Mar 10, 2008
Sometime around July last year, not long after WM Media was started, I started performing a little experiment. "How long would it take to get a website up to a pagerank of 5?" I wondered. To answer that question, I created a rare and famous stamps website.

Growing up, I had some interest in collecting stamps, so there is some familiarity with this topic. Over the course of a week or so, I researched the various rare stamps and built the website. Then, I went out to related websites and exchanged links, promoted on forums, etc. After only about a week, my website was already #1 for the search term "famous stamps" on Google!

Of course, not a whole lot of people actually search for "famous stamps", maybe a grand total of 2 or 3 visitors per day! Nevertheless, I was happy at my accomplishment! Next, I decided to try harder and go for the term "rare stamps". That one took a lot more effort, but it did eventually pay off as I hit #1 for "rare stamps" a few months later. Eventually, I also promoted the site for "postage stamps" and now, "stamps".

That's actually going pretty well, as the website is #4 for "postage stamps" on Google, and page 3 for "stamps". Bright future ahead!

From all these search terms, the website gets about 150-200 visitors/day with a very low bounce rate (indicating that people found exactly what they're looking for and want to see more). That is why I was extremely surprised to see that over 4000 visitors visited the website in about 2-3 hours of time yesterday! That's almost 3 weeks worth of traffic! What was going on?

My first thought was that it's probably some sort of social bookmarking traffic. After all, what else could send so many people to a website in such a short period of time? Since Google Analytics hadn't updated their data yet, I checked my adsense account as I knew that social bookmarking traffic wouldn't yield a lot of money. I was pleasantly surprised however, as adsense showing 10x a normal day's earnings in only a few hours!

Tick, tick.

Tick, tick.

I waited eagerly to see where this new source of traffic had come from. Would it be a recurring source of traffic? Is it just a one time thing? Where on earth did these people come from?

Tick, tick.

Tick, tick.

Finally, a few hours later, the analytics data updated and I saw the source of my traffic - 4000+ people had searched for "rare and valuable stamps" on Yahoo and clicked through to my site, in the span of 2-3 hours!

That just caused more questions - what on earth is going on?

One guess is that maybe Yahoo did some sort of special TV coverage on rare and valuable stamps? Maybe people just flocked to yahoo to see what the show was talking about?

Maybe you have an idea?

Or maybe this'll just be an unsolved mystery.

Either way, it was certainly a good day for my postage stamps website!

Incidentally, this is a good example of how doing something that creates value for people can bring unexpected benefits. I certainly didn't have to ask anyone to give me money here, nor did I have to ask anyone to make a show about stamps. However, because the website was of value, those people came to me because they wanted to it!

Another reminder of a good business lesson: Make stuff people want and tell them about it. They'll come!
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