If You Remember No Other Traffic Tip, Remember This One

WARNING: I AM BREAKING THE RULES HERE. This post is neither short, pithy, or catered to web-ADHD. This post is for people with an adult-level attention span. If that is not you, go check out Gawker or Boing Boing for your sugar rush. Thanks!

There are too many traffic tips out there. Way too many. There are too many Top 10 lists and too many How-to articles about getting traffic to your blog.

With so many "Easy Steps" lists relating to traffic, why is blogging such a revolving door? It is, you realize. There's a reason that most of the "professional blogger" sites cater their content to newbies and neophytes.

New bloggers quit, newer bloggers show up.

Old bloggers don't need all this advice. They need some, but not this much. You see, new bloggers are, in fact, a market segment. Are we tracking?

It's far too easy to find newbie blogging tips. The bitch of it is, most of these lists omit, downplay or vague-out on the most important tip there is.

Let's look at a few tips lists from respected pro bloggers and see if they have it.

Now, it's customary to provide a link when you refer to another blogger's material. However, nobody who isn't going to reveal one of the top traffic tips in their newbie list, doesn't deserve a link.

Blog Herald
  1. Don’t use blogrolling
  2. Pinging to weblogs et al is good but trackbacking to sites is better
  3. Offer to exchange links on your site under your links section
  4. Link to other small sites without exchange
  5. Submit your blog to ALL the search engines
  6. The most important feature of all (not -ed): post regularly and post often.
Definitely not there.

Seth's Blog (not going to list all 54, sheesh)
  1. Write about blogging.
  2. Digest the good ideas of other people, all day, every day.
  3. Invent a whole new kind of art or interaction.
  4. Post on weekdays, because there are more readers.
  5. Write about a never-ending parade of different topics so you don't bore your readers.
  6. Post on weekends, because there are fewer new posts.
  7. Don't interrupt your writing with a lot of links.
  8. Dress your blog (fonts and design) as well as you would dress yourself for a meeting with a stranger.
  9. Edit yourself. Ruthlessly.
  10. Don't promote yourself and your business or your books or your projects at the expense of the reader's attention.
  11. Be patient.
Hey, he almost said it there!

Yaro/Entrepreneur's Journey
  1. Focus on your content, don’t worry about the traffic.
  2. Start commenting on similar blogs.
  3. Start building relationships with other bloggers.
  4. Link to other blogs with trackbacks.
  5. Be prepared to work long and hard before big traffic comes.
Another near miss.

I'll add something else from Yaro:
"The reality is you have to pay your dues for success online just as much as you do in the real world. Nearly all big time bloggers have a history of hard and consistent work, only as a snapshot in time *after* something great has been built does it look easy."
Had enough? I have.

Let's realize something about these "Probloggers": we are their customers. If they don't say what we want to hear, we're going to go away; and that means we won't sign up for their newsletters, buy their products or click on their Adsense/Chitika/CPC ads. Suffice it to say, it's in their best interests to say what we want to hear.

That's not to say that they can't give good advice, offer valuable services or are necesarily, uh, bad. What many of them have a tendency to, however, is to be a little selective in what they emphasize.

Indeed, on most of their blogs you'll find advice here and there advising us to "be patient", or to not get discouraged if we don't have many readers at first. But that advice, to say the least, is not emphasized.

Why? Because we don't want to hear it.

What do we want to hear?
  • How to "fastrack" our blog traffic.
  • Top-10 lists of how to do anything related to making money with blogs
  • More on Adsense optimization, even though our traffic is little to none
  • Guides on writing posts that read more like sales pitches - when we aren't even selling anything.
Okay, on the last one, someone is going to say "Yes, you are - you're selling yourself". Sure. Then again, that doesn't mean that the average reader is in the market for buying blog authors. More likely, they're at your blog in order to get something, and once they have it, they're going to leave.

Hey, if you want to write your posts like a slick marketer or a used car salesman, knock yourself out. But that approach isn't for everybody, even though that's the implication we're receiving. Hell, look at the Shoemoney guy; his writing skills leave much to be desired, but his blog is pretty damn popular. Real value sells. Duh.

But I digress. I'm not a "problogger" and if I can avoid that title, I will; but my internet marketing and blogging career is, unlike many bloggers, a damn site longer than the average McDonald's employee. In other words, I know several things. In fact, I know what I believe is the most important thing.

This thing I know, is more important than any item on those Top 10 lists up there.

Posting frequently is great, if it works for you. Linking all over the place is fine, also; but let's not be naive about why those guys encourage us to go link-crazy (or to euphemistic, to be generous with our linking): they know we're going to link to them. And unless your post is the cure for cancer - or is critical of them - the attention you're going to get for linking to most of these guys is going to be nil.

My advice on linking is: if you find something good or useful, link it. If it's not, don't. Don't suck up with trackbacks to lame articles just because someone else is where you want to be. Don't be such a traffic ho' that you force yourself to comment on a lame post hoping to cash in on some professional blogger's traffic. It's not worth it; you're looking for quick fixes.

Digression: 2, John: 0. Back to the most important thing.

Time.

Time is more important than writing masterful posts. Time is more important than posting frequently. Time is more important than getting links. Time is more important than making e-friends, or sucking up to networking and making strategic blogging relationships. Time should be #1 in any discussion about traffic for new blogs.

Perform this experiment:

  • Make a new blog on any topic you like.
  • Add 20-50 useful, informative posts. Long, short, in-between.
  • Add a traffic counter of some sort.
  • Submit it to various search engines, or if you're lazy, just submit to Google.
  • Walk away and forget about it.
  • Come back and check your stats after six months or so.
  • Marvel at the daily traffic to your 182-day old content.
I doubt you're going to do that, but that's okay - I already have. The above is exactly what happens.

Time.

Time to get indexed. Time to get out of the Google sandbox. Time for the algorithms to do their thing with your rankings. Time to become like an old reference book to a few web surfers. It all happens in time.

Most of the advice coming from the popular blogging gurus is just fine. In fact, if you follow the good advice, when your blog comes of age it is going to fare far better than if you hadn't.

But that traffic you want so bad right now? The ironic thing is, if you stopped updating your blog and walked away from it right now - forgot all about it - you'd likely get that traffic, in time.

Time.

I'm impatient. You're impatient. Most newbies are impatient. Indeed, most newbies quit blogging before the three-month point. Let me tell you how to avoid newbie burnout:

Stop checking Adsense. Better: Take Adsense off your site. Take all your advertising off your site. You do realize that (currently) you won't see a cent of Adsense earnings before you reach the $100 dollar mark, yes?

If you're making $1 dollar a day, you're doing great. If your weekly earnings can be measured in cents, seriously, lose Adsense. If your Adsense earning correspond with the tiny trickle of visitors you receive, you really don't need the monetary pressure Adsense brings to the table.

Now, if you have a lot of traffic, then it's time to think optimization. If not, it's time to think development.

You don't need to deal with TOS's and rules right now. You need the freedom to experiment. You may want to play around with traffic exchange programs or other things that various advertising programs would frown upon.

You need to be able to say what you feel like saying. The more traffic you have and the more ways you monetize your site, the more locked-in to your format you're going to be. The less freedom you're going to have. Use this time to settle on what works the best for you and feels most natural.

All that money, all that traffic, comes with time. Read the professional bloggers, but take their advice with a grain of critical thinking.

Problogger.com is a great, popular site, right? It is. Did you know that Darren Rowse doesn't make much money from it? Where does he make the money, then? Now you're critically thinking.

Speaking of Problogger, I read an "X Easy steps to fast traffic"-type article over there recently (ostensibly targetted to new bloggers) , and really, it didn't much apply to newbies. Use Technorati tags, yes. Use trackbacks, yes. Leverage your existing site, uhhhh... no. Leveraging an existing site would require:

Time.

Which, unsurprisingly, was not mentioned in the article.

It's a simple concept, it's a single word. If you remember no other traffic tip, remember this one: Time.


Comments

  1. I have to say that I've found this to be true with my blog. I cover a lot of eclectic matters, and therefore things I wrote months and months ago still bring several queries per day. You never know what people are searching for till you write about it, even in an offhand way. I know another blogger who used the phrase "pictures of dead people" in a post, and he tells me he gets several visits each day because people are actually looking for those pictures. Lately, I've been having lots of traffic come due to a cheap elliptical machine that I blogged about a few months ago. And people's names who show up in excerpts from news stories end up drawing people to my blog, too.

    Time, time, time, see what's become of meow....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yep, as soon as things are indexed and out there, it's all just a matter of time before the traffic comes. Thanks for your thoughts, Tor.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wait a tic...you mean we have to work hard at this to make money? What happened to the saw about its too good to be true?

    Yes, if you have not made money after six months, blog another 6 months, multiply that by two, and then don;t quit your day job. It is like anything else...put in your time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yo Jim,

    Absolutely, sir. It's taken for granted now, but the low/no startup cost for nigh-unlimited potential is amazing in and of itself. -j

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks so much for this post. It has spurred me on, at a time when I thought that however hard I was working at gaining readership (using the sort of advice commonly written on the type of sites you mention), not a great deal was happening.

    I have been spending far to much time on so called 'traffic increasing methods' that it was detracting time from writing blog content.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You're right. TIME is a major factor.

    My boss wanted to make money blogging, and he's not exactly working on his blog any longer. Why?

    He's impatient!

    ReplyDelete

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