The Saipan Blogger (Angelo) has me thinking about the ethics of tactics used for building blog traffic. Promoting a blog is like advertising in print, audio or visual media. What tricks you use say a lot about who you are.
I am all for content, or as they say: Content is king.
People will keep coming back if they liked your content. Unfortunately, content is only king if you have someone reading it and spreading the word. So promotion is a necessity.
For the basics on promotion, there's this very simple primer at Fred Quattrone's blog here . I like this because it all seems doable and legitimate.
I disagree with Angelo's advice to check what is the number 1 search topic of the day and then blog on it. Unless you wanted to blog on that topic, anyway. To me, it seems dishonest. But he's not alone in suggesting blogging on hot button issues and popular celebrities. Dean'sBlog also offers it as advice.
ThisBlog (Seth Godin) has a list of 54 ways to increase traffic. There are some good suggestions here, despite the humor and sarcasm. Obviously, not all of them can be done simultaneously--such as # 11 (don't write about your cat, your boyfriend or your kids) and #13 (write about your kids); and the similarly contradictory advice at # 27 (include comments so your blog becomes a virtual water cooler) and # 34 (don't include comments), and that at # 9 (write short, pithy posts) and # 12 (write long, definitive posts).
I try to make my blog like the ones I like--simple formats, good content, some photos and other interesting things to look at, frequent updates. I like links to other blogs in a topic under discussion. I like puzzles and polls, but only up to a point. And comments--giving and receiving!
The idea of increasing traffic interests me. When we drive along the road, we don't usually like traffic. When you own a business with a physical location, you want traffic, but also easy access, and sometimes the two are at odds with each other. And on the Internet, you want traffic, and more traffic (until you overload your system and then have to upgrade, but it's all for the good).
So for me, I want my blog to not only have readers but to be an expression of me, who I am. And I'm not the ambulance-chaser. I'm not the slick, pat-you-on-the-back guy who smiles for the camera. I'm not one with the razzle-dazzle, power-point presentation that impresses with color and sound and doesn't give you time to think or analyze.
I'm the one who works hard, concentrates, thinks out loud sometimes. I like my work to be a finished product, but I know the importance of deadlines. I want to hear the voices around me, take a moment to smile and chat, and then get back to work.
From my perspective, tools to increase traffic, like search engine listing and exchange links, are useful. Tricks, gimmicks and posting just to be popular--these are probably not for me. Not even the Google-ping, as used and explained by EricLuper .
So even on the Internet, I'm probably on a remote island like Saipan! And I'm happy where I am.