Wednesday, May 16, 2007

82. Ethics at Work in Building Blog Traffic

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.


The Saipan Blogger said...

you go girl!

I agree that content is King.

Samatakah said...

It would be interesting to know how many people I don't know in real life see my blog.

Just because.

I heard about yours, as maybe you know, on the NaNoWriMo "something impossible" board. You said you would blog - I said I would read your blog, to support your goal.

Saipan Writer said...

Thanks, Angelo.

And Thanks, Samatakah. I appreciate your support. It has helped me to know that you stop by and read my blog. (Love NANOWRIMO!)

I have a site meter at the bottom of my page. It helps me get a better idea of whose reading it.

I seem to get traffic from two basic groups-those with a tie to Saipan and those I connect with in some way on the writing sites I visit. And that makes a lot of sense because I blog about Saipan and about writing (& books).

I think it helps to leave comments in other blog trails. That invites readers of those blogs to come and visit. And I've viewed pages by bloggers leaving comments that interested me.

Fred Charles said...

Hey, thanks for reading my blog, and linking to my post about blog promotion. I'll add you to my blog roll.

Saipan Writer said...

Thanks. I appreciate it.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

I agree that linking to other blogs and leaving comments on other blogs helps you get readers. Especially people with some sort of connection to Saipan. I often leave comments on the blogs of people who visit here for a vacation. Many times they link to me and continue communicating with me many months after they leave the island.

Marianas Eye said...

Berry berry interesteeng, Sista.

I'll admit, I think that my blog is one of the coolest in the world, and that if everyone knew about it, everyone would want to read it. And I think the same about all our other Saipan blogs that talk about life on Saipan. I mean, how many people live and work and play on a tropical island? That's gotta be pretty interesting to most people who are stuck in traffic on some urban overpass, or who are without traffic in a cornfield. We're living what most people only dream of.

Angelo has 200-500 readers a day because he provided a "service" that got 5,000 readers a day, and some of them liked what they saw (beyond that service) and stuck around. I think it's silly to "trick" people into visiting, but if you ARE interested in the things the world is interested in, then write about them. If it helps people find you then that too is a service to them.

Of course, those who blog for money need the traffic to get the money. But I think that for the rest of us, we want traffic that consists of people who want to be on our road.

Hmmmm. Did I say anything new?


Saipan Writer said...

I hadn't connected that fact (that most of the world dreams of life on a tropical island as a fantasy, oh-if-only-I-were-so-lucky kind of wish) with the attraction of our blogs. I should have realized that already since, in mid-winter, I did have one state-sider say she visited my blog just to check the temperature of Saipan and feel envious.

Tanks for the feedback.