UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Can Your Blog Survive Without Twitter?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 9 Dec 2009


It was on Tony Hirst’s OUseful blog that I first noticed the Tweetmeme icon. This service provides an indication of the number of tweets (and retweets) to your blog (or Web site).

Tweetmeme iconAs can be seen in the accompanying image from the sidebar on this blog, this week there appear to have been 69 tweets which include a link to the blog. Clicking on the image takes me to the Tweetmeme Web site which provides more detailed statistics on Twitter posts which contain links to the UK Web focus blog.

Looking at the statistics over the past week I find that there have been 31 tweets containing links to the post on Lessons From Twitter Spam and 30 tweets to the post on “I Want To Use Twitter For My Conference”.

Summary of tweets linking to this blog Clicking on the image allows me to view additional information gathered by the service. As can be seen information is provided on the content of the tweets which contain links to the post.

Additional information provided includes a histogram of the number of recent tweets – however as this only covers the last 24 hours, in the example shown there have been no tweets included.

The Relationship Between Twitter and Your Blog

After I launched this blog I encouraged readers with an interest in the content of the blog to subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed, as this can be an effective way of keeping up to date with blog posts. I did appreciate that not everyone would be likely to make use of an RSS reader – and, indeed, I also provided details on how to subscribe to this blog via an email subscription. And just as I was surprised by the popularity of the email subscription to the blog (and, coincidentally, last week I met someone on the train who told me they received regular email messages containing the content of my blog post) so I think we are finding that Twitter is an important provider of traffic to blog posts – something I hadn’t expected.

My question, therefore, is for a blog which has an important dissemination role, can the blog survive without Twitter? Or if the word ‘survive’ is felt to be too strong, perhaps I should ask ‘Can your blog thrive without considering how Twitter can help to enhance the traffic to your content?’

Twitter conversation from Topsy: [View]

14 Responses to “Can Your Blog Survive Without Twitter?”

  1. pdanderson said

    Interesting post Brian. For a while I’ve been wondering whether wordpress stats include incoming references from twitter tweets. They don’t seem to. Does anyone know if this even possible?


  2. offers a Twitter widget. The nice thing is that I don’t have to bother logging into twitter. I’m using twitter to promote but, to be honest, I’m not a real big fan of twitter.

    To my knowledge the statistics in do not reflect twitter. Here’s WP’s main blog. You could always ask!


  3. iancbrodie said

    Survive is probably too strong a word.

    I get 10% of my traffic from twitter (52% from google, 17% direct).

    My blog is pretty old and well established so it’s well indexed in google with lots of backlinks and I get found a lot for long tail keywords because I’ve got 2 years+ worth of posts. So while my blog has seen an uplift in traffic from twitter (I’ve got 35,000+ followers so each tweet gets a lot of eyeballs) it wouldn’t die without it.

    For newer blogs without an established position however, twitter can be a great source of traffic. And it can happen fast.

    And, of course, once someone comes to my site via twitter they’re likely to hang around, sign-up for my newsletter, etc.



  4. With the phrase “a blog which has an important dissemination role,” a light bulb went off in my head (or over my head, or near-by someplace…). Twitter is probably important for a blog with that kind of role, but less so for a blog that wants to be a place (or part of a place) for conversations to happen. I don’t access blogs through twitter. Not knowing in advance where the short-link things are taking me is bothersome (twice I’ve ended up on malware sites), and, anyway, I find it hard to navigate that single, long stream / feed thing.

    Too, although I offer the “retweet this” option with each post, I don’t tweet my posts because it feels… spamy for me (me, not others). I’m thinking my blog content (postings on adult and community literacy work) has a narrow appeal, and anyone who is interested in my ramblings is likely to come directly to the blog. Which is another way of saying I don’t see my blog having “an important dissemination role.”

    No doubt, this is all hopelessly web 1.5 of me – LOL.

  5. artsatbirmingham said

    As Ian says, Twitter is a great source of traffic but it’s far from essential for survival. I’m sure there’s a direct relation between the amount of traffic this blog gets from Twitter and the fact that most of the blogposts are either directly about Twitter or feature Twitter.

    I’ve long been a bit suspicious of feedback tools online. Commenting on blogs is valuable, it gives the blogger feedback and motivation to continue, but you often get the sense as a blog develops that the writer starts to forget about the hundreds/thousands of total readers of their content and starts to engage in a constant conversation with the handful of regular commenters they get.

    I get the same feeling with Twitter, the easy traffic flow from it often leading the blogger to start writing posts just for their Twitter followers on an increasingly narrow range of topics.

    Your post asks a great question, but I’d pose another for a lot of bloggers – ‘Is Twitter killing your blog?’

  6. Billy said

    Left my comment (5.) above anonymous by mistake, perils of numerous wordpress accounts…

  7. Emma said

    I agree with Wendell’s point about not tweeting about his blog posts – I don’t with mine either (not that I’ve written any for ages!) yet, I will willingly go & visit someone else’s blog if they tweet to say they’ve updated it. Perhaps that says more about my confidence in whether or not people want to read my thoughts than anything else.

    I guess twitter can be useful – especially if you’ve got a new blog -but also if you’ve got a decent twitter audience – (or connected to someone who has!) – but if you’re starting out with both, then hard to know – I suspect it’s down a lot to what the blog’s for & how else you’re promoting it (if, indeed you are – rather than, as I see it, that my blog is primarily for my thoughts & it’s a bonus if someone else reads it; but I don’t expect them to.

  8. Emma said

    P.S. It was Stephen Downes OL Daily that got me here … not tweets (or RSS for that matter!)

  9. […] Can Your Blog Survive Without Twitter? […]

  10. hadleyjf said

    I just started blogging and let my PLN on Twitter know about it. That first day, I had 90 visits to my blog. Today, I had 40. I can’t imagine that without Twitter anyone would have even found it. Or that they would have found it in its infancy. The energy generated by the comments has made me want to write more about what I care about, which is teaching in middle school in a 2.0 world.

  11. […] Can Your Blog Survive Without Twitter? […]

  12. Ian Brodie said


    If you’re worried about clicking shortened links, get the plugin for firefox. It’ll give you a hover-over preview of where the link goes if it’s shortened with and/or other shortening services. Also, generally warns about malware and blocks links.


  13. Thanks, Ian. That’s exactly what I want. :)

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