Using Link Bundles to Increase Traffic
|This post has been submitted by Webcomics.com member Cameron Davis, creator of Blow the Cartridge and Rose.|
I thought I’d share an experiment I’ve been running over the past few weeks with Blow The Cartridge and see if there’s anything to be learned from it.
Over the last year I’ve made a habit out of posting a link to one of my comics to Reddit every day. This is usually on the /r/comics feed. Some days I get a nice little traffic bump, but most days the link just sinks to the bottom of the Reddit pile and isn’t really seen by anyone. I just figure that’s par for the course, and posting to Reddit takes only a minute out of the day so it’s no great shakes either way.
Recently though I thought I’d try something markedly different: Link Bundles.
Basically, the usual method of posting a link online (be it on Reddit or Twitter or Facebook or whatever) is that you link to one strip, write some (hopefully interesting) text to go with it, and hope someone out there likes the strip enough to recommend it through retweets or upvotes or shares.
Link Bundling changes things by making the link go to an archive page on your site, containing a large number of comics on the one page.
Over the past few weeks instead of posting a link to one particular comic, I’ve been posting links like “73 Comics About NES Games” (Blow The Cartridge is about retrogaming, by the way, and I have an archive page set up for each old system)
If you tag your comics by topic, this is easy. Simply link to:
Where ***tag name*** is the tag you’ve assigned for that topic.
For example, the tag page for all of my NES comics is http://blowthecartridge.com/tag/nes/
Here are the results:
- More traffic: I’m getting on average about 4 times the usual amount of traffic over the past few weeks.
- Engagement is up too, as people are more likely to like at least one of the comics they see on the archive page, and they are more likely to comment.
- You can niche target these bundles pretty well, too. While I’ve been posting single strips to /r/comics, I’ve found good results from posting specific bundles to niche subreddits, for example posting “16 Comics About N64 Games” was a huge hit on /r/n64, even though there’s less people on /r/n64 than there are in /r/comics.
- This is only a short-term solution. I have over 350 comics in the archive, but really only 20 different archive pages that are worth linking to as bundles, so this gravy train won’t last forever.
- You need a large enough archive to make these bundles unique. 350 strips isn’t exactly a massive archive, but because the games I make comics about appeared on multiple systems, there’s a good amount of reuse.
- You need to have been tagging your strips well all along. I’m glad I had the foresight to tag each strip with each system the featured game appeared on, so it automatically populated their respective archive pages. Doing it all now would be a massive time sink. Maybe you can tag your comics with themes, subjects or events, and then have bundles ready to go for “Valentine’s Day” or “Baseball” or “Batman”.
It’s a different angle on reusing your old content, and increases the perceived value of someone’s click and time.