Blog Traffic: Another View

There are hundreds of guides on how to get more traffic directed to your blog, and most are wrong. Seth Godin recently posted on this topic, and I have to disagree with most of his points. While there are a few basically good ideas, there are many more that I just don’t see holding up.

Here’s what I look for in the blogs I visit:

  • Writer is an expert in the field. If the writer seems to have only a passing knowledge of the subject, I typically don’t return.
  • Articles are of a reasonable length. If the articles are too short they don’t contain enough information to be of use, on the other hand if they are too long, they require too much of a time investment. I’ve found that 600-1,000 words typically works out well for most items.
  • Don’t write about things nobody cares about. Many people are tempted to write about things that nobody else cares about, if it won’t benefit the bulk of your readers, then it’s probably not worth writing about.
  • Keep to a single, basic topic. I look for blogs that follow topics I’m interested in, the further it strays from what I care about; the less likely I’ll come back. For me, I care about technology, not the writer’s local news, the more news posts, the less the odds of me coming back.
  • Keep is site simple and useful. If the site is too complex, it distracts from the quality of the work being published. The site should have a simple theme and not be overload with useless links or icons.
  • Be transparent. I like blogs were the writer exposes a bit of herself, don’t be afraid to post your name or who you work for. The more information authors posts about themselves the more credibility they have.
  • The site can’t be an ad-farm. I’m not a fan of ads, but I understand high traffic sites are expensive to run. If the site looks like its only purpose is making money from ads, I won’t stick around. In most cases, if there are any banner ads, or more than two text ads, I’ll probably lose interest. Ad locations and colors should be carefully selected, if done properly, they add value, if done carelessly, they will kill reader loyalty.

This is by no means a formula to get millions of hits, just my view on what I look for, and the rules I try to follow. Each blog is different, and the readers of the topic you are writing about will determine what works and what doesn’t. Just try to make sure you’re writing about what people care about.

Focus on your readers, not your traffic. If you focus on providing a great resource for people, the high-quality traffic will follow. People matter more than the numbers, that’s what all bloggers need to stay focused on.