Monday, January 14, 2013

Why You Shouldn’t Drive Traffic

In the first 7 days of this blogs life, 20,000 visitors checked it out.

Sounds like a pretty nice result doesn’t it?

I was super happy, but a little disappointed in one specific respect. Only 500 people subscribed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved and nurtured those 500 subscribers and 500 subscribers in any time frame is not to be sniffed at!

My problem was, how can you have 20,000 visitors check out my blog and only 500 of them want to stick around?

The cause? I was “Driving” traffic …

Big Lessons Learned

I had been involved with a couple of successful blogs at that time so I had some idea of what I was doing, but when I sat down and looked at my stats a light bulb went off.

As anyone familiar with Authority Blogger will know, I was breaking the norm a little bit with this blog at that time by steering away from traditional blog monetization. Those 20,000 visitors did not bring me any income at all in terms of ad clicks or page views.

For my fledgling blog to be a success, I had to get subscribers. I didn’t need to get millions, in fact my strategy has always required a more engaged audience rather than a mass audience (which is why my free ebooks are not about topics like generating a lot of cash overnight and other instant appeal subjects).

The two big lessons were:

  1. Traffic sources have a massive impact on the success of your blog
  2. What people see versus what people expect can determine what people DO when they visit

In conclusion, you are not a cowboy driving a herd of cattle, you are a content creator trying to attract people to check out your stuff.

Instead of driving a mass-audience to my blog, I should have been attracting the RIGHT people and showing them something compelling.

It’s a subtle difference, but one that could make ALL the difference.

The Demise of Digg and the Rise of Referrals

A big percentage of the traffic I received in those early days was from social bookmarking sites such as

Gratifying as that traffic was (and problematic as I hopped around from web host to web host to avoid traffic spikes shutting my site down), it was never as good in terms of quality as the traffic I got from friends, fans and partners.

When you think about it, that makes perfect sense.

It is like we have gone back to the local community where word of mouth is far more compelling than a primetime Super Bowl ad.

From the point I noticed this trend I changed strategy to suit, and therefore attracted only the best and most lovely people to this blog – people like you ;)

How to Attract Visitors

So if driving traffic is the wrong thing, what should you do instead?

  1. Work out who you most want to attract
  2. Get to know those people as much as possible
  3. Develop content that will be super attractive to the people you want
  4. Meet them where they hang out and be useful
  5. Bring them back home with links to your best, most relevant stuff

Where they hang out might be forums, other blogs, or social networking sites. You can turn up, hang out, be useful at any of those venues. It might be the big industry conference everyone talks about.

Just as long as you can get your best stuff in front of the right people at the right time, it will be far more effective than trying to herd people towards your site!

Look at your own approach – are you trying to push people to your site or are you attracting them? Is it about what you want them to do or how you can help them?

Notice the difference?



Ditlev Engel Nigel Northridge John A. Allison IV Sean Boyd Thomas J. Engibous

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