I love finding hidden little sources of traffic on the web. You know the stuff that people are talking about, but that 99% of the online marketing population aren’t acting on? Uh-huh, that stuff.
Well a few weeks ago I found one of those traffic sources. Perhaps you’ve heard of it before… it’s called SlideShare.
SlideShare is predominantly used by corporate heads and conference speakers to showcase their Powerpoint presentations. Right now, in fact, it’s chock full of presentations from speakers at the recently completed South by Southwest (SXSW) shindig.
But don’t let that stop you. Because it does attract a large corporate audience, SlideShare is actually one of the least spammiest Web 2.0 sites that freely accepts content in a variety of categories.
A little more information about SlideShare
They have several membership options ranging from free to $249 a month. I chose the $19 a month option because I wanted the benefit of a full analytics package.
Their analytics program basically tells you how many views the document has gotten, broken down by onsite visitors and website embedded visitors. They’ll also tell you how many tweets and downloads your document has gotten.
My first SlideShare document
I created a Powerpoint presentation based on my article, 7 Days on Twitter, 60 Followers, 21 Posts, $50 Earned and 3 Lessons Learned. My goal was to see if I could drive traffic back to my blog with the help of the SlideShare presentation.
So here’s what I did:
1) I created a presentation in Google Docs. You can also use PowerPoint, but I knew I was going to be running a test for the benefit of my readers. So I went with the tool that we all have access to.
2) Extracted bits and pieces of the article and created a Powerpoint presentation. I didn’t repeat the entire article word for word. Instead I offered little snippets on each page, so that the presentation flowed like a story.
3) Put a Call to Action page at the end of the document leading visitors back to my blog. Go through the presentation right now so you can see exactly what I did.
Now here’s what I discovered…
1) Even though I had links embedded in the document, very few people clicked on them. The majority of people clicked on the blog link in my profile.
That might’ve been because the links in the document are very faint – as you can see above. Even though I made them black in Google Docs, they still came out light in SlideShare.
I even put a notice in red letters underneath each link saying – “Yes this link is clickable.” Still only a small fraction of readers clicked on the link in the document.
2) Social media and Internet marketing material tends to do very well here. I thought I just got lucky when I snagged 200+ views on the first day out. Then I looked at other documents in the social media category and noticed that many of them also had a high number of views.
Since I uploaded my presentation on March 11. I’ve already had:
- 646 Views
- 53 Clicks Thru’s
- 2 Follows
- 1 Download
That’s about an 8% click thru conversion, which is respectable.
SlideShare visitors who click on the link in the document tend to spend an average of 3 minutes on my site, which is good but still lower than visitors from other sources. Visitors who clicked on the profile link spend an average of 1 minute on my site.
3) Although my SlideShare page isn’t in Google for my desired search term (“making money on Twitter”), it still generated a very decent amount of traffic. For most people, the allure of putting content on a Web 2.0 property is that it gets ranked a lot faster than similar SEO’d content on their own sites.
In saying that, I purposely chose a competitive term for this experiment because I wanted to see if I could get any rank. Unfortunately my SlideShare isn’t in the first 50 results in Google. Anything after that is totally irrelevant.
But isn’t it interesting that I still got a ton of traffic anyway? Obviously the site has a strong built in audience and they’re pretty responsive. SlideShare score points for that one, because it means even if your SlideShare doesn’t get Google rank, you can still get traffic.
How can I make it better?
I think if I created a better call to action, more people would click on the link in the actual document. Perhaps this means promising some kind of freebie or even including the title of an article they might be interested in.
I think I’m also going to try including a social media related link in my profile URL instead of having a link that goes to this sites homepage. After all, if they’re reading an article on social media, they might expect to click thru and find some kind of social media information.
Some tips from SlideShare
If you’re really interested in trying SlideShare, do check out the SlideShare Zeitgeist presentation. One of the most notable points was that the most popular presentations on the site had an average of 63 slides. However, most presentations on the site had only 19 slides. I guess bigger is better here!
UPDATE – March 23, 2011
One of my commenters – Brankica – created 2 SlideShares as a result of reading this article. On the first day, her 30 Reason Why People Unfollow You on Twitter, received 195 views.
Have you ever used SlideShare? Be a doll and share your results in the comments section. Comment karma is a very real and awesomely awesome.