Case Study of the Mullet Link Bait Strategy
A few weeks ago Maki from DoshDosh wrote an article about the mullet link bait strategy. The mullet strategy that Maki covers in exceptional detail is when you use a page outside the normal flow of your blog or website specifically for link bait content. This is used for content that for whatever reason you do not want to be sent to your subscribers.
This is a method that I had been wanting to try for a while, but Maki’s post gave me the push I needed (plus some valuable information that helped me along the way). There are a few different reasons for using this strategy, which or course are covered in his article. In my case, the link bait that I wanted to use was a list post, and I had just published another list post about a week earlier on the blog. I felt that it may be bad timing to publish this on the blog that close to the previous list. Not wanting to annoy subscribers, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try the mullet strategy.
I would like to share some information from my experience that will hopefully help you if you are looking for ways to generate inbound links and create more traffic. On October 4th I published 40 Firefox Extensions for Web Designers as a page on my WordPress blog, rather than as a blog post. By using a page instead of a post, it did not get sent out to RSS subscribers and so any traffic that came to the page would have to be generated by other methods.
I didn’t link to the page from anywhere on the site because I wanted to test how much traffic and links I could get to the page starting with only social media websites. I immediately submitted the page to DZone, CSS Globe, and Design Float, 3 niche sites that focus on web design articles. I also submitted the site to Digg and StumbleUpon. Typically I don’t submit my blog posts to StumbleUpon right away, but I did with this one. I also don’t submit many of my posts to Digg because I don’t have a very powerful profile, but again, I did submit this page.
Here are some stats for the page from October 4 – October 18:
- 6,337 pageviews
- StumbleUpon was the leading entrance source by sending 2,793 visitors.
- Design Float sent 1065 visitors.
- CSS Globe sent 716 visitors.
- Digg was the #17 entrance source with 14 visitors.
- Technorati is currently showing 20 incoming links to the page.
- 96 del.icio.us users have bookmarked the page.
My goal with the page was to get significant traffic from the niche sites that I submitted to and hopefully enough bookmarks to land on the front page of del.icio.us (in the past when I have made it to the front page of del.icio.us a lot of inbound links have followed). However, the page never took off with DZone and the bookmarks didn’t come fast enough to get to the front page.
While I am happy with the 6,000 page views in 2 weeks, there are a few things that I could have done differently that I think would have made this experiment much more successful.
1. Find someone with a more powerful Digg profile to submit the page.
Digg generated almost no traffic to the page, which didn’t surprise me. I do use Digg fairly often, but I haven’t been active for long enough to have built a strong profile. If someone else had submitted the page I think it could have drawn more attention. Maki has also covered the topic of influencing powerful social media users in a recent post.
2. Include a Digg button on the page.
While the page did not generate much traffic from Digg, it did get a respectable amount of visitors from StumbleUpon and Design Float. I imagine that a sizable percentage of those visitors also have Digg accounts. If a “Digg This” button had been included at the top of the page it may have helped to translate some of the other traffic into Digg votes.
3. Ask friends for a vote.
If I would have emailed a few friends for a stumble or a digg I probably could have helped the cause. A similar option would be to use the shout feature at Digg and the send to a friend feature at StumbleUpon. There are a few people in particular that I think would have been interested in the information and willing to help out, but I wanted to test the process on its own without the help of others. I think by combining these first 3 options I could have made a huge difference.
4. Buy traffic from StumbleUpon.
You may not be aware of it, but you can buy StumbleUpon traffic for $0.05 per visitor. While this traffic typically will not stay on you website for very long, it is low cost and if some of those visitors give your page a thumbs up it can lead to even more traffic that will be free.
Looking back on the results of the experiment I think it is definitely something that I will try again at some point, and it’s a method that I think could benefit a lot of other bloggers. It will probably be a while until I use this method again, as I don’t have a lot of time to create extra content in addition to what I use for blog posts. If you’re looking for a way to gain some new inbound links, be sure to read Maki’s article.
Published October 18th, 2007 by Steven Snell