Why massive web traffic is mostly worthless

The other day, I was browsing Reddit when I stumbled upon a question in r/blogging:


I got this! I got this! โ€” I thought. I shared my story: how I managed to use my old personal blog to escape the retail world and get a staff writer job at Laptop Magazine.

I got a few upvotes out of it…but more importantly, there were a lot of great questions. One of the things I saw asked, time and time again, is how bloggers can get more traffic to their website.

The problem is: this is the wrong question to be asking.

The only reason that big blogs and websites want big traffic is because it increases the number of conversions. Big blogs like Smart Passive Income and Entrepreneur on Fire make their money when a user clicks on an affiliate link and makes a purchase, or when someone purchases access to online courses or communities.

If their conversion rate is 2.3 percent, then 10,000 new visitors means 230 new purchases. That can add up to a LOT of money, depending on the cost of that purchase!

But most of the people in r/blogging are not selling any products or making any money off their users. Their main goal is to be seen by a larger number of people. They think: higher traffic = greater reach.

But that’s not necessarily true.

I posed the following challenge to one of the commenters:

  1. Add all your favorite blogs to an RSS reader
  2. Choose one post per week that you find particularly interesting, pull out a paragraph for your own blog (crediting the original) and add two or three paragraphs of your own thoughts
  3. Once published, send a tweet to the author of the original piece and share your post

You won’t get as much traffic, but you’ll get the right traffic: writers and editors from the websites you respect. They’ll see you over and over and (if your writing is good) grow to respect you.

After a few tweets back and forth, you can easily ask if you could pitch for them. I have no doubt the answer will be yes.

Imagine the reach this blogger will now have. It’s not about working hard, it’s about working right.

Do you want 10,000 users to download your app, or a single interested investor? Which would be worth more?

Sometimes, a slight shift in focus can have tremendous results.

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2 Comments Why massive web traffic is mostly worthless

  1. Kim Herrington

    That’s a great idea, Dann! I’m presenting at Wordcamp Fayetteville about relationship marketing next weekend and will be sure to mention this tip.

    I always tell folks that building real relationships outside of blogs and social media (like via email or in person) is a great way to build your blog. But it’s hard to target busy people using that method. I imagine this works well for raising your reputation with folks who monitor their back links often and who are engaged with their followers rather than more “hands-off” folks.

    1. Dann

      Great points. The method in this post is targeted specifically at bloggers who are interested in launching a freelance writing career or getting better writing gigs. Editors and journalists tend to be the types of people who are sharing their thoughts and monitoring their feedback, so interacting with them is easier than with “busy people” in other professions.


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