You’ve picked the wrong goal for your blog

Nearly every day I receive some variation of this question — “How do I drive more traffic to my blog?” I would go as far to say that there seems to be an obsession with traffic among bloggers.

In my opinion, this is the wrong question to ask if your goal is to build and sustain a successful personal blog.  In fact, the pursuit of traffic may actually be working against your success.

Picking the right measure for success is vitally important because it should drive all of your blogging efforts.  For the sake of this post I’ll assume most people reading {grow} want to build a blog community that will enhance their personal reputation, business opportunities, and financial gain.

In his remarkable classic (and one of my favorite books) Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, Jim Collins articulates this better than I ever could. He describes how choosing the right metric is absolutely essential to creating sustainable success in a business. It drives laser-like focus and an activity level driven toward that goal. The same goes for blogging.

The myth of blog traffic

If you really want to build community, is it smart to focus your precious time on driving traffic?  Spend some time with the Google Analytics for your blog.  Click around on the statistics from people who are new visitors — “traffic” that arrived via search. How much time did they spend on your blog?  Probably an average of 0.0 seconds right?  How many page views?  The same. It’s traffic, but it’s empty.

Have you ever had a post go viral — that special day that drives the massive traffic that everybody seems to want?  What were the results? Did you get any new subscribers? A surge in comments?  Probably not.  In fact in my experience, other than a spike in daily “traffic” the result in terms of new readers is zero.  Last summer I had one post average 10 hits a second and a week later my blog subscriptions were LOWER. My point is, a focus on traffic and hoping that a post will catch fire is probably an ineffective way to build blog community in the long-term.

The alternative metric

Now look at the statistics of the people who are return visitors to your blog. These are the people who love you and are engaging with you. You are on your way to creating powerful business relationships with them. They are the good folks who will help you grow organically.

Does it really make sense to place most of your effort into driving a continuous stream of strangers to your blog?  Seeking “traffic” generates tourists to your blog. Focusing on content and your readers generates residents for your blog.

If you’re a “solo blogger” like me — balancing blogging with family and worklife — where you spend your time is a big decision.  If your goal is to drive “massive traffic,” you are probably expending effort on:

  • SEO keyword research and tools
  • Writing posts that are keyword heavy that are most likely to catch a wave of search visitors. By definition, if you are focused on keywords you are probably writing about the same things as everybody else.
  • Promotional efforts focused on the low probability that your post will catch fire

If you concentrate on serving the people who read your blog in a way that will encourage them to come back, you would spend your time on:

  • Unique and refreshing content no matter what the popular keywords are.
  • High engagement with people who comment on your blog today.
  • High connection on a personal level — including email, phone calls, and visits — with individual bloggers and commenters who would likely enjoy your blog and become regular readers.

You can see that there is a dramatic difference in approach. And there will be a dramatic difference in results.

Spending time trolling for readers who might stick around based on a chance meeting with your site is blogging alchemy. The real gold is produced by nurturing relationships with devoted readers who will carry the message of your blog to their friends organically.

Steady gains mean a sustainable community

On a daily basis, I have no idea how much traffic is coming to my blog, but I can always tell you how many return visitors came back that day.  Driving that number up over time is helping me focus on the right value-adding efforts that build a strong community that will be generating valuable business benefits.  And believe me — this is a very sensitive metric. When I write great posts, people come back.   Focusing on this number teaches me how to create a better blog for everybody!

If you adopt this slow and steady approach, at some point, you’ll reach a tipping point where enough people are spreading the word, and their friends are spreading the word, that you begin to see ALL your numbers start to go up.

If you have a corporate blog, I recognize that your goals may be more focused on specific lead generation and maybe SEO does make a lot of sense.  But if you’re like me — trying to build meaningful business relationships — think about taking care of those return blog visitors as your first priority.

Are you serious about building a loyal community?  There are no SEO shortcuts or silver bullets.  You have to build a blog community just like you build your customer base — one person, one connection, one relationship at a time. And that starts with correctly identifying your goals and how you are going to spend your time.

So what are you waiting for?  Let’s get to work!

What’s working for you?  Community? SEO? Or both?

Note: The link to Good to Great is an affiliate link.

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  • Awhile back, I was getting kind of bummed (against my own best wishes and advice) about how low my blog traffic was. I was getting about 100 visits a day. While I appreciated the increase from the 47 I had been getting, it still seemed like a rather small group of readers.

    But then some strange power overcame me and I decided to look at my blog over the same length of time. On a lot of posts, I was getting around 6 comments and 10 Retweets (or so). So out of 100 visitors, I was getting 16 actions. Percentage-wise, that’s off the charts. 

    Then I looked at super big blogs that tout their 300,000 subscriber list. While 57 retweets or 70 comments seems really good, their percentage is actually lower than mine. Substantially lower in some cases.

    Ever since then, I’ve focused on encouraging people to converse with me (since that’s what I enjoy most anyway). I would be bummed if my traffic spiked up but my interactions stayed the same. I’m growing both at the same time, slowly, surely, and fun…ly.

  • Mark: This post is so clear minded, and so clearly written.  (So are all of your posts I’ve read so far. I could sense your approach from the first few minutes I spent on your blog, a day or so ago when I found it (I think it was via Socialmouths).  I followed you on Twitter and I couldn’t even believe you followed me right back.  It made me feel like I was already a part of your community.  So here I am, commenting for the first of what I’m sure will be many times.  I think what I’ve written here  confirms the ideas in your post.  People come to blogs because they want to learn AND connect.  There has to be both for them to stick around.  Otherwise, they may as well find another blog where that can happen, or read a magazine.  Well done.  Very useful.  Look forward to reading more.  Susan

  • This is a wonderful story Margie. I hope you turn it into a blog post!!

  • You made my day Susan.  Absolutely made my day ; D

    What a perfect comment for this post!   Thanks very much for your kind words and welcome to our community. There are so many cool people here.

  • Mark, every new blogger should be required to read this.  There IS an obsession over traffic.  I think people think that the raw numbers are the only way to measure success.  Meeting a real person who left a comment on your blog, in person, is way more fun. I’ve done that! My own blog is a personal blog without monetary goals, but everything you say applies to me too.  The second largest obsession might be “PR” – Like as if that one number tells you everything. It’s got its ups and downs (like a Klout score has its ups and downs)
    That myth of blog traffic is so true. I’ve had crazy days where blog traffic tripled, but it didn’t leave me with more comments or great engagement.

  • Great perspective Melody.  Thanks for taking the time to contribute your wisdom today!

  • I did awhile back, actually. Ironically, the post did not do all that well compared to others. Hah 🙂

  • Well, dust it off and add some of the additional comments you made here.  I re-visit themes on my blog in cycles because of new developments, new insights, and new readers.  Ya never know!

  • Marjorie: I’ve actually thought about just what you’ve written here.  I’d love to see your post, or a rework of it.  As a new blogger, I’ve sometimes gotten about as many or more comments as some bloggers with huge subscriber lists. How can that be?  Have people just hit subscribe and never come back?  Or are they just not the interactive type?  Or is there so little reach out by the blogger that readers see no upside to writing something?  It would be interesting to know the details.  Same with people with huge Twitter follows – I wonder what the range of per centage is of followers who actually see the people’s tweets. Mark is right – the focus belongs on building a solid community.  I think it helps to ask ourselves what the point is of the exercise – and once we answer that, then we should stay on point.  🙂  Susan

  • In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be a debate on this: a community would be built around quality content. However, there does have to be that marketing side to blogging (or to any writing, for that matter). The reality is that the writer now has to market himself and his writing so that there is an opportunity to build that community. That involves using SEO or something similar. 

    I do agree, though, that there is a myth about traffic as it’s focused on. It is far more important to keep track of returning visitors and, of course, comments. Not only the number of comments, but the quality of the comments. Quality comments take time and speak to how your writing is perceived. And, of course, returning visitors are like repeat customers are to a business–they speak to what your product is (in this case, the writing). 

    To me, it all relates. It has to. If you don’t intertwine the two seemingly different worlds, you’re almost destined to fall to the wayside. (I would go so far as to say that you should apply this to nearly every aspect of life). 

    It’s funny that you posted this, though. I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit. 

  • This makes so much sense!  I spend alot of time working at building professional relationships and do so on my blog, but what I felt was my true metric of success, I now realize, didn’t match my real goal.

    I wonder how many other parts of my business are this far off.  Thank you for this very enlightening moment.

  • I’ve written a lot about the phenomenon of blog comments. Here is one article you might enjoy, Susan – The Five Surprising Impacts of Blog Comments

  • Well, a quality comment like this reflects pretty well then, doesn’t it : )

    Great thinking here, Shad.  It’s funny that I spend my living as a marketer and I do a lousy job “marketing” this blog in a traditional sense.  I just let things happen, pretty much!  I am not the poster child for marketing a blog.  It’s all pretty much been organic.

  • That makes me feel great Laurinda. Thanks for that kind comment!

  • Marjorie, That is a brilliant analysis. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it that way. Thanks for sharing your insights with us. You made my day!

  • Mark, thank you so much for this information. I had felt this way, but thought I was being too optimistic. The best example of this is StumbleUpon. That site can send 100+ visitors to one of my blog posts, but they’re like fairies that come in the night. They don’t comment, tweet or otherwise share my blog. It’s as if they were never there except for my daily hit count which goes way up.

    So thank you for reassuring me that my small group of devoted followers is more of a reward than a random high hit count. Great post!

  • If I read right, you do track regular visits? I’m curious if you take that traffic is a feedback mechanism or if it’s pure curiousity.

    I think there can be a healthy tension between paying attention to traffic as a sort of quality control on the one hand, and ignoring your traffic to focus on good content on the other.

    Particularly early on, it seems to me both points can be magnified. That is, the traffic signal is very important (since it’s all the feedback you’re getting early on), while there’s also better reasons to ignore traffic (it’s like a too-narrow statistical sample).

  • I was rather elated when I decided to look at it that way myself. I thought, “Oh, awesome, I’m doing alright!” Because *I* said so! 🙂 Numbers are fuzzy – pet them into submission. That’s what I say.

  • Mark,
    I fully with you – on the value of community.  It’s not about how many visits you have – it’s how you are able to interact and connect with those who visit.  I have personally developed some very great friendships – and that’s not a numbers game.  It’s a genuine connection with another human being…

  • This is a great perspective, and a timely one for me. I am relatively new to blogging (3-ish months so far), and I was so excited when a couple of posts went viral and spiked my views. And then it went back to normal, leaving me a bit deflated.

    So it’s good to know that the same thing happens to others, and that it’s not all about the numbers. Helps keep my blogger-ego intact too!

  • Erica Allison

    Hey Mark, 
    Great perspective on the old traffic goal and why we’re in it to begin with! As you know, :), I enjoy the numbers, but just hammering traffic is not my goal.  New business is my goal!  You’re absolutely right, placing value on the return visitors, engaging in comments and taking your relationships offline is the best method for cultivating that new business! Even if those folks aren’t my clients, they are ideal candidates to refer business my way!
    thanks, Mark!  Expect a call from me soon! 🙂

  • That is an excellent point. Every time I see a blog post recommending StumbleUpon as a great way to promote your blog I want to say — WHAT?  It does absolutely nothing for your blog. It’s shockingly bad.  Thanks Carolyn!

  • Peter I like that distinction.  True, early on there was ONLY “traffic” and not much of it!!!

    Sure I followed traffic early on because I read all the other blogs and had not idea what I was doing.

    There is so much data on the web and a huge challenge for folks, and especially newcomers, is finding the right things to pay attention to, to separate the signal from the noise.

    Traffic is noise. A comment below mentions the fruitless nature of StumbleUpon as a prime example. 

    Traffic is ego.  Here’s the signal. “People are coming back because I’m doing good work.” Now, go do more of that good work : )

    I’m really enjoying your thought-provoking comments! Thanks for being so active in the community!

  • Perfectly, said Lance.  Really appreciate that perspective!

  • My first experience with “viral” was a nightmare. Guy Kawasaki tweeted a post of mine like five times. Melted the servers. Then somebody POSING as Guy started leaving inappropriate comments on the site.  Then the real Guy showed up. I had to spend the afternoon sorting through fake versus real Kawasaki messages. Impact on subscriptions = zero. Had a post tweeted by Alyssa Milano. Same thing.  Viral is a pain as far as I can see. And it distorts all trend data.

  • You have really come a long way in a short period of time.  Love the wisdom you share here and of course I would be delighted to hear from you!  Thanks for the great addition to the dialogue, Erica.

  • Gary Vaynerchuk Tweeted and Facebooked my review of his new book a while back. Result: A few thousand hits, none of whom read anything else or subscribed. It was nice, but … I’m with you and Margie. Would rather have a few real connections than a million “hits.”

  • Thanks for the kind words, Mark.

  • Like most bloggers, in the beginning, I looked at traffic, but then I realized that since I wasn’t selling advertising on my site, the more important metric (to me) was length of time on the blog. I also measure average number of pages/visit and of course Bounce.  From this I know that I have many “lurkers” and I appreciate them, but I’m often wondering what I can do to bring them into the conversation, that’s my biggest challenge, as a blogger and writer. Sometimes I do a post as an experiment, just to learn something.  I did one recently: crickets. I thought it would be a great engaging post, but my readers didn’t. Which also tells me something about my audience.

    I DO use my search words, but for a slightly different reason than SEO, I like to know what gets people to the site, not so I can riddle my posts with keywords, but because it tells me something about new visitors, like what are they curious about? Like you, @markwilliamschaefer:disqus I don’t do a ton to market my blog either, for the same reasons as you.

    I have to say, I’m glad that I’m one of the last to read this today, because the comments from other bloggers, both experienced and newbies alike has been really fascinating. Thanks, Mark and all who commented for stating an enlightening conversation.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, thanks, Mark. Feels like you were writing this just for me. I had a post on Friday that went viral, and watching the numbers add up was kind of euphoric. But then gravity sets in, traffic starts returning to normal, and your spirits plunge along with the trend lines. I don’t want to be one of these traffic junkies who writes SEO-laden crap just to get my “analytics fix.” Thanks for the timely reminder to focus on the folks who really matter — the ones who come back over and over because they truly care about telling their business story better.

  • Mark W Schaefer

    The patient and attentive approach really works I think. I hope it does for you too Will. You are really a great mind who deserves to be read.

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Pet them into submission? I’m so stealing that line!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    I look at keywords for blog post ideas. For example, I had some traffic come tot the site via “ideas for beginner bloggers” and I realized I had not done any basic blogging posts in a while so I did a few. I’m adjusting to feedback from the people finding me!

    I love your use of time on site and page views. Also quite important. My problem is that with a large amount of traffic those numbers tend to get washed out. For example, let’s say I have a post goes viral. Time on site and page views will go way down. However I might have had my best month ever as reflected by the number of people coming back. It’s the only number not tossed around by aberrations. It seems to be very sensitive to the quality of the posts … Or at least the quality of the headlines! : )

    As you suggest, an even better measure might be time on site by returning visitors but that would require an extra click into Google Analytics : ) Also, this might drive a behavior toward writing longer articles, which I don’t necessarily think is healthy.

    Thanks so much for your support, commentary and insights!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    You know it was good for you to learn that lesson though. I think everybody should have that experience at least once. Have a post go viral and then be left wondering what just happened. I’m sure new bloggers may think, Well, it would be different for me!

    So going through that euphoria and crash is a great way to keep you grounded and humble. I regard every reader and every comment as a gift and I will never, ever take that for granted. Thanks for the great comment!

  • The funny thing is that the majority of people that comment on your blog are marketers – wouldn’t you say? And I’m not sure about the majority of them, but I know for myself a lot of my professional time with my clients is spent explaining to them why having 5 million “likes” on their facebook page isn’t nearly as important as having a page full of “likes” that spend time engaging with them. My point is that we’re all guilty of not practicing what we preach.  I think you have done a great job (naturally) of reminding everyone that it is in fact, about quality… not quantity. We all need to remember to seriously practice what we preach. 

  • Mark W Schaefer

    I think this comment might have inspired a new blog post. I think you’re mostly right but there is something to be said for social validation. Remember the “bikes” parked outside story. If you ONLY and ALWAYS have crickets on your blog, people might think something is wrong. I think some minimal activity in terms of tweets and comments helps prime the pump for reader participation. I’m not saying to game the system or make number the goal in and of itself, I’m just reflecting a psychological reality. Great discussion-starter Kristen!

  • Svabroker

    Which do you think would be a faster way to make money?

    Would building, designing, writing, recording, videoing, engineering, researching, testing and then selling a product, be a faster and easier way of making money?

    or . . .
    Would finding a company, product, or service that is already a proven seller and simply marketing it to others for a commission off a sale, be a faster way of making money?

  • thomasson

    As for me, I am not “working for traffic”. I Want to exprim myself and share my passions. I learn a lot by reading other blogs an sharing the contents.

  • Hi Mark,

    I am slightly interested in numbers. When I started my blog, I knew who my target audience was, and wrote without keywords or SEO of any kind. Not because I don’t understand how they work, but because I wanted to see if my blog would be found on its own merit.

    I wanted people to find and share my blog because they like what I have to say. Not any other reason. I now have frequent commenters on my blog. The very first pingback I ever got was on a post I wrote about my son, and Gini Dietrich saw it and it made her cry. It wound up in her Gin and Topics – The Kleenex Edition and I was so stunned.

    My readership still varies very widely, but most days I get at least one comment. I get some tweets, and all this time I have been being myself, good and bad. I now have 27 subscribers and I think the blog is growing. It makes me so happy that some days I still can’t believe how lucky I am.

  • Hey, great advice to new and “old” bloggers alike! And, after reading all the comments, most share your opinion.  Why? Because Social Media is not about traffic.  Advertising is about traffic.  Social Media is about sharing and disucssing things that are important to you and your community. The depth of insights people continually find about things that mattter to them are rarely found on Facebook, Twitter and now Google+. Those services tend to lead us to the information we need to know but rarely provide the “conversation” that holds the real insights to help with decisions.  As a classic example, {GROW} has grown organically because the collective community around it delivers value.  You have become the master of seeding discussion which is generating quality traffic and discussions that make a difference. This is why they (we) all come back and continually refer it to others who are interested in similar topics.  You have build a “Social (Entusiast) Community” by leveraging a technology called blogging. The commercial aspect of this has been business generated for you and many of your community members, but not because any of them (us) advertise or because you generate qazillions of page views.

    One last comment (and you’ve discussed SEO before).  If writers use SEO as a way to determine what to write about and generate traffic, they quicky become “preachers to the chior”.  Most of the time, when a topic reaches this critical mass of interest, it’s old news and the real “players” have moved on.

  • Thanks for taking the time to comment today!

  • Well, lucky to a point but you are also delivering compelling content, so give yourself some credit for that! 

    There has to be a balance. Most blogs don’t operate on “build it and they will come.”  My marketing was basically “connecting” and just building one person at a time.  Thanks Nancy!

  • Giff

    Hi Mark – great blog as always, and an important message. I think it is important to look at measuring engagement with both ‘active’ stats (comments, retweets) and ‘passive ones’ – return visits, and to know that they don’t always all work together. This was brought home to me around a year ago when I was researching VC blogs in search of potential influencers for a client and came upon one with some interesting content and very regular updates, but seemingly no ‘active’ engagement – pretty much no comments at all. I was about to head off (as clearly I couldn’t see visitor stats)  when I came across a post saying something along the lines of ‘After two years of blogging with little or no feedback, I’m going to call it a day’. The post had masses of comments, all from ‘lurkers’ saying ‘Please don’t stop, we love what you write about, we just haven’t told you so!’. I suppose it depends on your audience, but clearly some people just like to read without commenting – this still makes them part of your community, however.

  • Oh absolutely.. a couple of my clients blog posts get passed around a lot thru tweets, etc but no one ever comments on them.  I’ve scratched my head trying to figure out why they’re worthy of RTs but not comments. Is it because no one wants to be first to comment? Is the material not comment worthy? There is so much underlying psychology in what we do, isn’t there?? 

  • I really want to get a puppy =/

  • Tara, you idea of looking at the time on site and average number of pages per visit is a great one. You can set up Google Analytics goals based on each of these which will then allow you to easily compare and identify the sources of traffic which have the highest ‘conversion’ rates. It’s also good to set up GA goals for leaving a comment, and maybe goals for seeing pages such as ‘about’ or anything else which suggests a high level of interest in your site.

    On the subject of mining search keywords for ideas, on some sites it can be very useful to look at the words used in internal site searches for the same reason.

  • Pingback: To be or not to be… a sheep « Laurinda Shaver()

  • Great blog, Mark. Thanks again for the insight.

    Metrics and numbers seem so critical to what “bottom line” driven marketers and businesses want. But as I’ve suggested, the bottom line “numbers” rarely take into consideration the human/emotional aspect of the relationships you are trying to nurture. It is through those relationships that real business can grow. When you build trust, build relationships, infuse real value – not just for your audience but for you as well – that is when you can succeed.

    The interesting thing I’ve noticed lately is that often, comments on blog topics are done elsewhere than on the blog itself (except here, apparently 🙂  ). I get some commentary from folks via their Twitter comments (not just RTs), on Facebook and LinkedIn. How should that be “measured”? And, does that make the reader any less important?


  • Great blog, Mark. Thanks again for the insight.

    Metrics and numbers seem so critical to what “bottom line” driven marketers and businesses want. But as I’ve suggested, the bottom line “numbers” rarely take into consideration the human/emotional aspect of the relationships you are trying to nurture. It is through those relationships that real business can grow. When you build trust, build relationships, infuse real value – not just for your audience but for you as well – that is when you can succeed.

    The interesting thing I’ve noticed lately is that often, comments on blog topics are done elsewhere than on the blog itself (except here, apparently 🙂  ). I get some commentary from folks via their Twitter comments (not just RTs), on Facebook and LinkedIn. How should that be “measured”? And, does that make the reader any less important?


  •  I probably need to re-visit this again. Seems to be a hot topic!

  • Great ideas, Tim. Thanks for contribution.

  • Steve this is a superb comment that connects a lot of dots.  Really well done!

  • I’ve written a couple of posts on this topic but it might be time to re-visit again. Chances are there IS engagement, but it just might not be in the comment section. I don’t suppose you have that link do you Giff?  Would be interesting to see that response! Thanks for commenting today!

  • Like you, I’m on the front line of my blog and can “sense” how things are going from feedback in a number of directions, including offline feedback. The emotional thing is definitely a qualitiative measure, maybe anecdotal, but return visitors might actually be a proxy for emotional attachment?

  • thank you for the great points.  I will implement and change my focus!

  • I’m honored, Mark–you’re definitely a role model. 

  • You’re going to inflate my ego if you keep it up. ; ) 

    Right now, my blogging ‘career’ is young. It’s all experimentation. Trying different ways of approaching blogging. And, at this point at least, marketing my blog proactively would be awkward. I don’t want to waste my time with SEO or too much analytics while I’m getting off the ground. 

    The only way I’m attempting to grow my blog at this point is through engaging through social media outlets (Twitter and various blogs). Which, I suppose is what you mean by organic. My thought process is that if I leave quality comments, feedback, and generally engage with an audience… if they like what I have to say, they’ll read and share it. If not, that’s something that will come with time. 

    At the very least, I get a lot of ideas from comments and posts that I wouldn’t otherwise have. And that’s far more important to me right now. 

  • Hi Mark, 

    Great post. You just confirmed what I’ve been trying to do. add good value and let the number be what they are.

    Thanks for the confirmation

  • This Articles is very good to read, and This Articles prove to be of a high value and quality for readers. I like to read this information.

  • Very well said Mark. This makes me think of the businesses you can pay to add fans and followers by the 1000. That is not a community. They have no buy in. They haven’t invested in ways that ensure they keep coming back.

    I bet most of the people who come here and actually comment on some sort of regular basis would trust you if they referred business your way or wanted to do business with you.

    Great tips thank you!

  • That’s basically the approach I used.  I would invite you to leave your blog link in a comment so people can check you out, Shad.

  • I had a friend call me up and tell me, “I just bought 6,000 new followers on Twitter. What do I do?”  My answer: Start over.

    Thansk Howie!

  • I spent the afternoon with Pat Howlett of Inside919- and your suggestions align with our strategy session.  It comes down to solid, trusting, and well-intentioned relationships.
    Thank you!

  • I spent the afternoon with Pat Howlett of Inside919- and your suggestions align with our strategy session.  It comes down to solid, trusting, and well-intentioned relationships.Thank you!

  • That is one of the best short stories ever Mark.

  • I would hate to advertise that way, I think. But I will ask something of you: would you be willing to send me guidelines you have for guest posts? No obligation to accept. Hearing ‘no’ wouldn’t hurt my feelings–it would even help if there’s some criticism along with it. Plus, I might like the criticism more than being accepted. 

  • Community. Thank you. And could you please post this message again next week. I seem to be so easily distracted from this important truth!

  • You make an excellent point for solo bloggers that sort of fits how many who are 40+ treat relationships. I’m curious what you think about engaging on Twitter though. My young web-designer has explained how I need to find 10 new people a day to follow if I want to increase my author platform, but making 70 new friends a week on top of my loyal blogger commenters (whom I’ve been paying less attentions to lately,) seems to go against what you mention in your post. Just curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks. Sonia.

  • HI @timlb:disqus thanks for extrapolating that. Essentially, that’s exactly what I do. I also measure first time comments, which I think is an interesting measurement too.

  • @businessesgrow:disqus You are so very right about the length of time potentially being a result of blog posts. But to your point, I noticed that for me, longer blog posts actually get LESS time, which requires me to be more disciplined about my post length..something I definitely struggle with.

  • Louis

    You’re right Mark – I totally agree with you. I work in an international NGO where I’m in charge of communications. I have recently launched our blog (as part of freshing up our branding strategy) – we focus on democratization and ICTs – it makes more sense to us to focus on cool content about open gov data and the arab spring revolutions rather than upload content with the lady laga keyword in the title. Although I must admit – it does generate much traffic when doing so – but then in the end – like you said – no one is actually coming back- I guess those who are indeed seeking some juicy news on the popstar seem pretty disapointed when stumbling upon a post on human rights, democracy, and the right to be free.

    You’re all more than welcome to check it out and give us your views and comments on it – we do it for a good cause!

    keep on the good work!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    You’re welcome, Greg!

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Ha! New product innovation — the perpetual blog feed! : )

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Well, I do have some strong opinions about this. You might benefit from reading my book The The Tao of Twitter. It’s cheap (but mighty!).

    Seriously I think this will lay the path out for you if you have any confusion with Twitter. Twitter is the movie trailer for your blogging movie. They do work well together as integrated activities so I at least partially agree with your colleague. Let me know how it works for you!

  • Much appreciated Louis. Thanks for commenting.

  • Write with passion. Write with fire. Write about you love and sustain your effort. Do these things and good things will happen.

  • Hey Mark, finally got to read this article. Glad I did not miss this one out. It is always good to receive a knock on the head reminding us that blogging is not all about traffic, especially when no one is interested in what you’re writing about. I imagine it like window shopping – huge foot traffic but nobody steps into the store. What good can that bring? None. Thanks for the timely reminder 🙂

  • It’s certainly refreshing to feel okay about being authentic in life again. Regrettably, there are a lot of “hollow blogs” out there that do nothing but clutter the bandwidth.

  • Marjorie, this is a wonderful point — and one I have realized as well.  I’ve heard that on  average one-half of one percent of the people who visit your blog will comment.  So, you are indeed off the charts!

    As for SEO, Mark, I pay no attention to it.  I write what I want about what I like and I’ve grown a loyal and terrific group of readers that way.

  • I’ve been writing an internal company blog for some time, but now setting it up to be public.  That definitely changes everything.  I’m new to the social media world.

    Mark, not only was the post the most practical advice I’ve found yet, but the comments added another layer of helpfulness.  Some of the advice I found in my research just didn’t click with me.  Seemed so “wrong”.  Not here, though.  This makes sense.

    Kudos for the topic and hats off to your followers.  The take-away on this is much appreciated.

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  • Tom

    Thank you for writing this.  It’s a good reminder that I’m writing for me in the hopes that others will benefit, rather than vice versa.

  • Tom

    Thank you for writing this.  It’s a good reminder that I’m writing for me in the hopes that others will benefit, rather than vice versa.

  • Great stuff! Thanks for the share. Very simple yet effective tips

  • Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

  • I’mKar’n (leslie)

    Bob.. i know little about blogging – but – from what you say here – it’s a bit like life. If you don’t take the time to build relationships – in the end you have nothing! Great info for me!

  • Hi Marjorie, I started a blog this week and was obsessing about page views until I read your comment.  Makes a lot of sense.  I’ve only had 3 different people comment so far in the past 5 days of commencing the blog – but I’ll get there!  Thanks again.

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  • Gaye

    I’m a return visitor! More great advice. Thanks.

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