How to Make the Most of a Spike in Blog Traffic


A spike I received when Hershey's mentioned one of my Adventuroo posts on their Facebook wall

If you’ve ever been the lucky recipient of a major traffic increase on your blog, then you’ve surely wondered how to make the most of all that traffic.

A post that goes viral is a magic thing. Sometimes that magic lasts a couple of hours and sometimes it’s the gift that keeps on giving. If you’re wondering what constitutes a spike in blog traffic, well here are some examples:

While your spike in traffic may not be as drastic as these, consider a spike as any boost in traffic that gets you shouting for someone, ANYONE to  “Come HERE– look what’s happening with this post!” If you haven’t had this happen yet then no worries, you’ll know what to do when your time comes.

So how do you make the most of a major traffic increase?

1. Optimize Your Photos.

Huge traffic spikes are often from people either randomly stumbling on your post through StumbleUpon and Pinterest, both of which feed on great photos, or from people coming from search engines. If you can, move a key photo to the top of your post so it immediately catches attention. I did this for my Easy Homemade Ornaments for Kids post on Adventuroo.

Also, add alt tags to your photos using keywords so that search engines can find them easier. Alt tags are alternative text that tells search engines what the photo is (since they can’t actually “see” the photo).

And consider re-uploading your photos with a watermark on them while you’re at it (just be sure to keep the file name the same). I’ve seen lots of bloggers not being credited properly for their photos on Pinterest.

2. Interlink Your Post.

If you’re getting a big traffic increase, you certainly don’t want to get a high bounce rate from people leaving your site after just visiting that page. While it’s inevitable to get some bounces, you can minimize the impact by linking to other posts of yours within your post. The best way is to do this naturally in a sentence. For more tips on interlinking, you should read my post on interlinking and how to use anchor text.

3. Add a Call to Action.

A call to action is a request of your reader. If could be to subscribe to your blog, fan your blog on Facebook, tweet your post, etc. If possible, make the call to action center around the place traffic is coming from. For example, if it’s a traffic increase from Facebook, ask people to like your Facebook fan page or share the post.

Be sure to keep the call to action simple. If you ask people to subscribe, tweet, vote for you and stumble all in one breath, you won’t get nearly the same response.

4. Study it.

What made this highly-trafficked post so special? Is it seasonal? Is it timely? Is it a tutorial? Recipe? List? If people are coming from search engines, what keywords are getting people to your post?

Dig into your analytics a bit and take notes about this traffic increase. You can learn a lot. You may want to write a post about a similar topic in the future. If traffic is coming from Pinterest, you could add a Pin It button so it’s easy to share. You may see that certain keywords are driving traffic so you can optimize similar posts you wrote based on that keyword. You get the picture.

5. Don’t disappear.

The worst thing you can do after a big spike is not to post for days. While some people may never return, there will be some who do. Keep the momentum by writing some more killer content.

Even if the post that’s getting the traffic increase is an older post, this is still important since the next place someone might go is to your homepage to see what other good stuff you’ve written.

6. Monetize it.

Don’t be afraid to add some RELEVANT affiliate links in there! For example, if you wrote a craft tutorial, link to places people can buy them. Readers will appreciate not having to scour the net to find the supplies themselves. The easiest way to find out in a company has an affiliate program is to either go to their website and scroll to their site map (most will have this) or Google the company name plus “affiliate.” You can read more about this on my post about using affiliate links in your blog posts. And just be sure to disclose properly.

7. Celebrate!

Yes, enjoy it! Bask in it. Tweet about it. Tell your friends (well, the ones that actually get what blogging is). It feels pretty fabulous to have a post go viral so you deserve to savor the moment.

Speaking of call to actions, I just released a free mini-ebook of resources I use to run Momcomm. Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll get a link to download that bad boy.

Have you ever had a post go viral?

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  1. says

    Everytime you write something, I get so sucked in! This was so helpful! Thank you!

    I get frustrated when I get a spike in traffic. I feel like I don’t know how to dig around in my analytics enough to find out where everyone is coming from on that day. Do you have a post about Google analytics anywhere? :)

  2. says

    Great post and so helpful. Blogging is a hobby that seems to be never~ending in the things there are to learn. Having just moved to WP, I’m learning how to add tags, etc.

    This post is so relevant to me because I had a post that got Stumbled and continues to bring a ridiculous amount of traffic. I will apply some of your tips to make the most of it.

    Have a super start to your week!

  3. says

    Great post as usual Mel. Never had a post go viral, but I just discovered on analytics that my post from yesterday recieved the most hits ever. I’m thrilled & hope the love & support continues.

  4. Janmary, N Ireland says

    Great advice as always.

    One of my top posts has been a recipe for spicy sausage pasta – I must revisit it and tweak things a bit.


  5. says

    I’ve had great luck with StumbleUpon. I do have some ideas as to why they do so well, but I don’t think it’s something you can recreate. You just have to promote the heck out of the posts that do take off!

  6. says

    Thank you for this post. I haven’t seen suggestions on this topic before and am grateful for the information. I’ve had a couple of small spikes and now realize what a missed opportunity they were. Looking forward to putting your tips into action!

  7. says

    Great advice. My only other advice? Don’t get down when your traffic drops back down to normalish or pre-viral levels. It happens sometimes, and while it stinks-I try to remember tips like ‘don’t disappear’ to get readers to stick around.

  8. says

    I had one go viral(ish) last week. It was a recipe post that took off on StumbleUpon. Problem with that is that it wasn’t really my normal content, so tough to bring people back unless they looked at the rest of my site and decided they were interested.

    • melissa says

      Yep that’s definitely tough. I guess that brings up a decision then- are you interested in more recipe posts? If not, then what other content could you drive people too that’s similar or related? Or try interlinking other content as well. A basic example is something like “I decided to try this recipe after going on vacation” and then linking to a vacation post you wrote. Of course, there may be no natural story as part of your recipe but if there is, then try that!

  9. Jessica says

    Great tips. I have just recently seen the traffic benefits of posts shared on Pinterest. What great ideas for keeping up the momentum.

  10. says

    This couldn’t have come at a better time. A Halloween recipe I posted has gotten 32k hits from pinterest, and I can’t believe I didn’t think to add some interlinks. DUH! Doing it now :) Thanks!

  11. says

    Speaking of stumbling, haha! I just stumbled upon this post/your blog and love it! I’m all subscribed and can’t wait to read more :)
    I’ve had spikes in traffic that have been fun, but nothing viral. Hoping I get to enjoy the ride soon :)

    • melissa says

      How cool is that?! My rides have been nothing like some of the examples. I’d sure loves that many visits in one day!

    • melissa says

      Thanks Lisa! The easiest way to think about alt tags is that you’re describing the picture to someone who can’t see. How would you describe the photo? That’s what an alt tag should be but keeping in mind keywords you’re focusing on.

  12. says

    Hi Melissa,

    Lots of handy tips here. I have had a few posts go viral. You never know which ones will go crazy until you post them. The sad thing is that StumbledUpon traffic never seems to stick around though the boost in stats is great to show advertisers!

    The best ones come from guest posts and people sharing a post because they love it:)

    But you’re so right if you hit a good run you need to leverage it!

    • melissa says

      Thanks Annabel! My SU traffic stays around (10% bounce rate) but I think it’s cause people who stumble across something in a category like blogging want to know all they can about blogging. So I’m in the minority and I KNOW my bounce rate is MUCH MUCH higher on my other blog Adventuroo!

  13. Kacey says

    I so needed this article. I recently experienced a traffic spike due to a post I included in a linkup. After freaking out and confirming that the numbers were real, I was then like what in the world do I do with this? How do I keep the traffic? So, thanks for giving me some ideas!

  14. says


    Super advice, I shall bookmark it for when my turn comes to have that spike!

    I really enjoyed the “Don’t dissapear” and “Add a call to action” sections.

    Thanks so much,

  15. says

    I read this earlier this week thanks to one of your flashback tweets, and it’s coming in handy today thanks to little spike in traffic (I’m at about 4x my average daily visits already). It’s exciting! I don’t think I did a great job of incorporating all your ideas, but I made a few changes from the initial post based on your suggestions!

  16. Dixie Hampton says

    Looking forward to putting your tips into action! Speaking of stumbling, haha! I guess that brings up a decision then- are you interested in more recipe posts? And hooray for a spike in traffic!

  17. says

    Oh wow. I so wish I’d found this post a long time ago. I was a new blogger and a huge design website featured my work — the ensuing traffic spike was shocking to me but I didn’t know there was a way to take advantage of it.
    To this day, half my traffic is coming from that one old post.
    I still haven’t embraced the monetizing thing either. I keep thinking my blog isn’t big enough to bother with that, but maybe I’m wrong.
    I’m going through your archives now!!

  18. says

    I wish I would have found this post earlier, too! Like Katy, I was featured on a major blog and didn’t know how to make the most of it. Are there non-obnoxious ways to keep that connection going?

  19. says

    Loved this. I’ve had a couple times where I’ve had the thrill of the spike of a viral post. Most recently it was for a gluten free post for Udi’s that they then featured on their fb wall. The traffic was insane. And fun.
    Wish I could keep the numbers of that spike! :)

    Great post.


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