“How can I get more traffic?” is one of the MAIN questions people ask me.
But last weekend, while I was preparing for a presentation, I had a HUGE “AHA!” moment.
Looking for “traffic” is a HUGE mistake.
The #1 reason why you don’t want traffic
Traffic makes us focus on the raw numbers, but those raw numbers are MISLEADING.
Here’s the deal:
Back when I ran an entertainment blog, I was generating millions of hits. Heck, in 2007 alone, it attracted around 30 million hits.
(Side note: My entertainment blog was so large that a publicly traded company actually reached out and wanted to acquire it. I said no)
But the one statistic that most people NEVER knew about had nothing to do with my “traffic.”
You see, even though I was getting millions of people to my website, if I updated a NEW blog post and linked someone, I’d send at MOST 1,000 people to their website.
Yep, a site that received millions of hits each month could only direct at most 1,000 people to another person’s site with a new blog post.
I had traffic…
…But I didn’t have readers.
What’s the difference?
My white iPhone story…
In September, when the white iPhone came out, Social Triggers was flooded with iPhone traffic.
You see, I ranked on the first page for “White iPhone,” “White iPhone vs Black iPhone,” and various other iPhone related phrases.
While I don’t have exact numbers for you, thousands of people stumbled on my site looking for information about the brand-new white iPhone.
But take a guess how that traffic performed when it came to conversions… or building my email list.
It didn’t. It was DEAD traffic.
Even though it looked good on paper, the reality was a much different story.
Now let’s take this back to my entertainment blog
The traffic I was getting there wasn’t dead traffic, per se.
The traffic I was getting was looking for one thing, and when they got it, they left.
“britney spears bikini pictures,” as an example. They’d get to the page, get the pictures, and leave forever.
Were those drive-by visitors good for ad revenue?
But were they truly listening to me?
And that’s why:
You don’t want traffic, you want readers.
Readers who listen to what you say and buy what you sell.
Because when you have those types of readers… that’s how you build a REAL business.
Trust me, I know.
Social Triggers is not even 2 years old, and my intense focus on getting readers (not traffic numbers) has laid the groundwork for my company Social Triggers, Inc to grow like a weed.
(I won’t get into numbers, but let’s just say I’m doing fine :-D. Maybe one day I’ll reveal more, but not today. Oh, and if you wanted to join the team here at Social Triggers, I’m hiring an executive assistant).
The question is “how can I get more readers?”
A Short Video About Getting Readers Who Listen To What You Say… And Buy What You Sell
I know I’m being a stickler for words here… traffic vs readers… but the distinction is important.
(Even if I’ve failed to make this distinction in this interview and in the past when I wrote about increasing blog traffic).
But now you know.
When I’m talking about traffic, and many other top experts are talking about traffic, we really mean readers… listeners… or watchers…
That said, I’m proud to share this video of me and Marie Forleo, the founder of a thriving community of more than 100,000 women.
(She’s in the middle of launching her premium training called B-School. You can see my RHH B-School Review right here.
In this video I share 3 specific strategies that can help you get more people to your website…
…and also do the “Gangnam style” dance.
Watch the video right here:
The one thing I want you to listen in for is the part when I talk about massage therapists. You’ll LOVE that.
Also, send Marie Forleo some love by letting her know how much you loved this video!
You can tweet this:
“Just saw a video about getting more traffic with @marieforleo and @derekhalpern. Loved it! (click to tweet)”
Also, if you have one friend—just one friend—that you think can benefit from this article today, send them a quick email that says “If you’re looking for more traffic, STOP!” and link to this blog post.
They’ll thank you :-D.
That said, what have YOUR experiences been with traffic and readers?
Did you get linked by a huge website… just to find out they sent you almost NO readers?
Tell me about it in the comments.
Great advice! I loved reading the stuff you wrote!
Readers and Buyers are two different folks. in a strict sense its somewhat true, but mostly readers don’t buy, and buyers don’t read.. hehe
Should it be about traffic or actual user engagements?
readers? One year gone and still struggling to get traffic. He he. I like the idea of working with related non competitors, but how can I find them and get them to partner up?
Great advice as always, Derek! i love you articles . thanks 🙂
Hi Derek & Marie,
I watched your video and did your challenge on finding a blogger in a subject that could be linked to what I am blogging about. I did just that and even used your advice on finding a blogger that had already did a review or interview on the subject before.
I reached out and sent the email and I received an email back the same day! Your advice totally worked and I will be looking for more now! I only sent one email just to take the challenge. Thank you so much to both of you and for the amazing advice!!
Really trying to get my new business known and so grateful for amazing tips like yours!!
Great advice…everything you said is very true. I don’t know if anyone here runs a music website, but if you’re looking to get people so sign up to your mailing list–a good thing to do is offer them a new song, or video or something that not everyone you talk to can get to see.
You crazy kids!! 😀
Great article and definitely an eye-opener. If you want to get traffic to your website though you can always try:
– backlinks (comment on popular blogs, forums where they allow backlinks)
– social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google +, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, myspace, YouTube)
– traffic exchange services, e.g. TrafficSwarm
– guest blogging
Also you need to regularly update your content and write a quality content as SEO criteria frequently changes and you might end up losing your rankings If you want to find out more click here http://www.wealthmoneysuccess.com Hopefully you get both the readers and the buyers! Good luck.
Great post Derrek! Always useful advice to consider…but I would like a little more information to implement from your video. When you reached out to the massage communities and said, “I have this great article, what do you think?”… Did you ask them to link out and share your story from the get-go, how did this process work?
Informative post Derek.
Won’t it make sense to have such traffic for fairly new site (like my website) for stable results and ranking? I mean from conversion perspective your points are nailing the topic, but for a new website – more traffic might help to have search engines maintain a trust on it.
Correct me if I am wrong.
I have a new website, its 5 months old and its very poor in traffic…..
what you outline above is that you should have readers and not merely traffic sounds good….but then how many ‘serious’ or ‘not so serious’ readers are you going to attract when most people ,say 75% ,are looking for a quick fix for themselves….
again I intended to make my site work like an adsense site i.e. earn money from adsense ads, but then do I readers or just traffic that clicks on my ads without ‘too much complication’…
I feel I will be happy if my traffic clicks on my ads and I get my money
or I am missing the point and may be should have my own products and email lists and so on..
then this model of adsense site doesn’t work ever
I mean then that’s what this means
sorry to sound critical
I feel your write up is for a bigger scale
buddy I feel people can do something with that 75% I mentioned …they are not crap..sorry
Trying to get readers to such a niche market as mine is like trying to find that needle in the haystack, unless I get the traffic then the possible readers don’t know I am there but as not many people care about my little city on a little island in the Atlantic it is hard to get the traffic.
I have a few thousand followers on facebook, and a few hundred on twitter but I feel if I inundate them instead of communicating with them I will lose the few reader I have, it is a narrow rope to climb.
Ah, onwards and upwards.
Excellent advice might I say!
Was browsing the Internet and found this post and although I was looking for traffic, readers sound better! I I have a tech and gaming Blog and a community is more important!
Awesome advice as always, Derek! And I love that you Marie interviewed you….you both rock! 🙂
Thank you Derek for this article. I would definitely try to apply this to my own campaign. I am sending an email to my list (not really huge), and link to this article. I think this way, I can somehow build trust and relationship with them.
Of course, I am expecting them to thank me after. 🙂
If you have traffic, and you want to make the most of it. try a live chat to interact with the visitors. It will prevent them from going to the next site on good, help establish trust with a visitor, and will generate more leads. Email me for information.
I have around 2,300 people on my “list.” Anytime I send out emails I’d say maybe a couple hundred people open it. Almost no one ever buys anything from those emails.
I have regular “readers” and a small amount of traffic (~3,000 – 4,000 hits/month for my three sites). But almost ALL of my buyers are actually folks who NEVER sign up with my mailing list…
I find this strange.
Wow how true this is…we have a blog on our site that discusses all things in-ground pools and hot tubs. We get plenty of visitors but because a lot of our articles are short how to’s or quick informational articles, most people get the answers and then just leave.
Trying to build a list so I can develop info products in the pool and spa niche is tough when bounce rate is so high!
NH Web Consulting
I definitely get caught up in the #s issue. I have to remind myself that its quality not quantity and 1,000 hits with no subscriptions, comments, or anything to show for it isn’t much of anything. I’ve had my blog for about 3 years but hadn’t really bothered to use it properly before this year. I was a sporadic poster at best and a blog just was serving the function of saying, “Hey let me go into a wee bit more detail about this, that or whatever.” Now I have an editorial calendar, bust my ass to make sure I have useful content to other people as well as anything else I can spontaneously think of and promote the daylights out of it too. I have gotten some okay hits on some of my posts so it at least appears some things are being read. Next thing to work on along that that email list!
See, this is why it’s important to read the content instead of just skimming or going by the title. I was all ready to disagree with whatever you had to say based on the title and then when I read what you had to say I had to step back and totally agree.
Last year I removed an article I’d written in early 2010 that got tons of traffic, but almost no readers. The article was on how so many female celebrities use their sexuality to help market themselves but my title began with the word “cleavage”. You can imagine how it blew up on Google because of that, which I really didn’t expect, but people came looking for one thing, got something else, and immediately left. Google hated it and sent me a letter about the content (they obviously never read it) and that wasn’t the crowd I was trying to attract anyway.
Yes, readers; then hopefully the rest will come with it (although from the very first comment you got we know it doesn’t happen all the time).
My website gets tons of hits because I wrote a blog about healthy starbucks drinks. I’m not so sure those people every make it into the sales funnel which is annoying. I don’t think it hurts, but not so sure it helps.
Thanks for the information! Great stuff, keep it coming!
Social Triggers is the not a one stop shop. You can find information on traffic generation, email list building, reasons why people read, reasons why they buy, real scoop on buying habits, and more.
If this site was a store it would be the Wal-Mart of marketing.
I love useful ideas for real people.
I absolutely love your blog. Your tips, ideas and strategies are amazing – when I am writing for my blog I always check out your site before even writing a post to see if you can inspire me to write something different and off the beaten path.
I love what you have to offer, I love your blog and am really looking forward to future posts!
I find the most effective way to get traffic is to blog on national press sites with a link back to an article on my site. However, this does not seem to translate to long term followings or subscribers. It also requires constant refreshing of articles on my site which is very hard work for a non-commercial site.
Finally, I am aiming at a huge influential cohort ( the grey market) but a sector that seems to be notorious difficult to motivate.
I’m also interested to know if I get rid of my follow my blog and have my email subscriber opt in? What if people are just interested in the blog? Also my blog is a subdomain and the mailchimp mailing list is for my main website and I’m not sure if I can have one for a subdomain.. It’s weird to return them to my main site right?
Derek, way to turn the metrics game on its head. People are prone to the trap of believing that numbers are good and big numbers are even better. What one measures matters far more than the measurement.
So are you defining “readers” as those who subscribed? While I believe subscribers is a far better thing to measure than visitors, I am a little nervous assuming that subscriber and reader are synonymous.
Do you think the average time on site is a valid measurement to track?
As a runner, loved the drafting idea. Or as I learned early in my TV career…catch a rising star. The big sites are a gold mine when you start exploring all of their “likes.” 😉 Thanks for all of this!
Derek, unforunately I have several friends; can I still link them here or would you prefer to keep it for those with just a single friend?
Cool piece, though. Seen a few people now that have mentioned traffic as an irrelevant factor when there are other more important metrics, like readership or conversions.
Very useful information, got some excellent ideas. Thank you. I’ve signed up for your newsletter
I was not thinking like this and may be that’s why not getting my job done as expected. Thanks to Gideon who introduced you and this power blog and now I’m learning a lot.
I should have checked this sentence:
“we the book published, and are not promoting it”
I meant to say we published an are now promoting his company with his book and blog.
Hey Derek, I just watched the video and I really love the 3 tips. My audience comes to me for writing and promoting books. One client is unusual, and after learning his game, we the book published, and are not promoting it. He’s a Resoration Contractor who get clients who have had a recent fire and are crying and upset over how their insurance companyies low ball them. He guarantees 50-100 % more payoffs from insurance co. to his clients.
Clallenge? Got ideas on what audiences he should send his blogs to? or how to reach them? I sugested homeowners,realtors, other bigger contractors. but I’m not as creative as you! His is a local and total US audience.
I’m open to oher suggestions here too! Thanks so much.
I have neither readers nor buyers at the moment but that’s what I’m using your course for Derek.
I am struggling a little bit will address that on your class call. 🙂
Well, I will go right on ahead and just email this to myself in that case.
Good post- it is often the common misconception that traffic is the #1 goal or kpi of a site. Sure traffic is good and it looks good to show a 65% increase in traffic to a client, but if that traffic is rendering 0 or very low conversions, then its really not that good.
Thanks for the share
Great post from two of my favorite coaches. Thanks for the tips and the action item. I just emailed a blogger and am creating a list of others to contact. O-to-the-Yah!
Great post here bud! Love the idea behind quality, not quantity. I really think in the social media world of things, business folks and bloggers are driven to focus so much of their attention to “numbers.” How many readers, how many subscribers, how many follower, how many Facebook likes, and the list goes on… However, as you pointed out, none of it really matters if your followers, reader, or audience isn’t your ‘ideal’ person. This is why I think it’s crucial to figure out who you audience is, know where they hang out, and go get them!
…I would much rather have 5 avid, active, ideal readers, then I would 100 disconnected readers.
Thanks again for the great article!
All the best,
Great article Derek. Gotta Share it right now! Thanks again.
I’ve got a bit of an issue that i can’t seem to figure out. People seem to be more than willing to share my posts on twitter (that’s not the issue), but none really leave any feedback.
It feels like I’m blogging alone.
Another great video. I was more focused on traffic than reader but I think I should focus more to build a readership.
But I can monetize from my readers only if I post on regular basis. If they don’t find updated contents, they will start losing interest in my website.
Truth never felt so good! Derek you are so incredibly smart. Thanks for real marketing know how!
I am running a site creating tutorials for the photo editor Gimp. By making use out of creating personal relationships with my list, answering their questions, and really digging deep in getting to know these people need to know to take their photo editing to the next level, I have acquired a pretty good credential. In fact, I’ve reached the point to where I barely post on my site anymore, I just take questions that my base emails me and convert it into blog content.
I see relatively good numbers, but I’m still struggling with monetizing my site from this. Perhaps I don’t have as many readers as I thought I did. How can you tell if you’re site is loaded with readers? Bounce rate?
Great post and very professional video, and I really liked the “Gangnam style” dance at the end – see I did watch it all!
Hi Derek – I stumbled on your awesome blog last week when Marie shared your video. I rarely share things I find on the net, but I’ve shared your blog with 7 people. You have a gift! Just sent out a couple of emails using your email guide from last week. Looking forward to the outcome!
I have been following both of you and Marie Forleo. I just love the style and uniqueness of Marie’s videos and I already found this video on her website. .. 🙂
Terrific advice, as always! You looked so cute doing that dance!
Hi Derek, the difference between hits and readers is that comparable with views and unique visitors? Thanks for the video, really useful tips. Hans
Two of my favorite people in the same time / space.
Thank you for providing the direction I need to take for the next phase of my website – Promotion.
I’ll no longer worry about publishing more than one story per week.
I’m off to find a few sites that will accept my story, ‘Halloween Of Yesterday’ and offer the opportunity to increase BOBBblog’s readership.
I’ll look at mom blogs first.
Thank you !
I heard somewhere this quote few months back:
“Blogging has no rules” (don’t listen to anyone, TEST and find your best way to succeed online)
I’ve to disagree with you about your traffic generation strategy – “writing 2 to 3 posts a month and promoting them like HELL”
No matter how hard your promote, others will come to your site only if you’ve great contents.
How come the beginner bloggers create awesome content when they’re learning new things?
I’m sure they may get some traffic by promoting the hard way… but isn’t it similar to the ‘untargeted traffic’?
P.S: I love you Derek
Great post and so true I think. Entrepreneurs are running around like headless chickens buying traffic traffic traffic.
I admit, I was guilty of this when I started out. Now I get consistent traffic and member sign ups organically from consistent content and networking on Facebook.
I might apply, not sure about New York in the winters 🙂
Derek, I’m a Fitness Trainer that’s starting a video niche workout website and your advice is what I’ve been missing. I’ve been subscribed to S.T. since March of this year and it’s been amazing. The examples in the video with Marie helped immensely like taking a client on a journey. Would love to work with you (hire you in the near future). Amazing!
Great writing, from a children author in Concord, Ca.
this is how I get more traffic – just respond to different people globally
I too am seeking the large amount of traffic that spends money, but as many others have said above, I too am focusing on writing great content. My site is focused on helping other people learn about how to turn their passion into a profitable business. I am passionate about helping other people and this is the best outlet for that,
My site this month has 463 visitors, 2.18 pages per visit, avg visit duration of 3:12 and a 59% bounce rate. I tried using Stumbleupon to drive traffic and it certainly did increase the traffic to my site, but they were just what you experienced. They weren’t readers. Those visitors were on the site an average of 10 seconds. Bounce rate was off the charts. So I quickly learned that they weren’t who I wanted on the site.
Thanks so much for the constant training and information. I for one appreciate it and hope to be as successful soon.
Couldn’t agree more! Great post!
I happened to see this post over at Marie Forleo the other day and I loved it.
Your advice is always so practical and is really easy to apply. I particularly liked the advice about posting 2-3 articles a month and then promoting the heck out of them.
As for your gangdam style dance – it had me LMAO.
So funny – see you can be a nerd for all things marketing and still get up and DAYANCE!
Loved your Gagnam Style dancing. 🙂
Good post- it is often the common misconception that traffic is the #1 goal or kpi of a site. Sure traffic is good and it looks good to show a 65% increase in traffic to a client, but if that traffic is rendering 0 or very low conversions, then its really not that good.
Thanks for the share 🙂
Thanks for the post Derek! Would love to be your admin but I hate apple equipment with a passion (except for the butt pile of dough I made of trading their stock lol)
I can confirm from first hand experience exactly what you said. Not all traffic is created equal. Some is great (especially if you structure it to be relevant). Other traffic is a waste of bandwidth (even if you get free bandwidth).
It all comes down to how you structure your message and how that ties in with the various sites that reference and index you. If you don’t put some thought into that then you’ll just get worthless traffic.
However, if you do then people will easily and gladly buy from you. And the coolest part is they will continue to do so 🙂 But if you do it wrong you will get absolutely zero sales.
My current challenge (what I’m working on). Is not selling something but getting a list built up and people who read my content just as you said… because conversion rates are MUCH better that way.
If I had to put in two more cents though, for converting without a list my experience has been video is pretty darn good 🙂 Just working to couple the two now…
Sorry for the huge comment lol That’s what I have experienced in a nutshell… I could go on about the same topic for hours. Mainly because I’ve lived and learned the hard way.
I love this! Thank you!
Another interesting post. Must admit I look for the traffic but as my site is still fairly new (with low visitors) I can be excused that. Love your advice and also like the fact that you don’t send updates daily so when one does arrive I know it’s going to be worth reading.
Love the whole article and the comments. I only market to my best audience–business people who want to write, finish, publish,and market themselves with a short eBook.
As to traffic? I think the bounce rate is more important than the numbers. When people spened time on your site beyond reading the blog tips, you’ll notice more sales. And, it takes time to get those sales. My 6000 subscribers get weekly how to articles from me when they opt in. I ive, give, give and once a month, I offer irrestibile books, coaching sessions, and audio how to tips.
Mostly I coach my clients to give away their short book that shows how they work and the benefits they bring clients or customers. This is content marketing at its best.
Books and blogs–a marriage made in heaven.
My next blog is “Why edit 10-25 times? Write your eBook or Other Short Book–Fast!” and all the tips apply to all promotional writing.
I am really really enjoying your blog. I found it recently after watching your talk at the Internet Marketing party website. Your blog got a bookmark button on my browser now 🙂
One question I had with regards to traffic and promotion and products if you don’t mind. I recently have been reading a lot about lean startup and dry testing and the general concept of testing an ideas viability before making it. I think your “what are you struggling with” article is very helpful in this regard.
I have found myself in a catch-22. How does one know what a group will be interested in it before making an article for it and spending a lot of time promoting it? Or does one simply have to take the risk and do that before knowing if there is any interest? Thanks so much for such great content!!!
First off Derek, I love the advice you give. It’s always practical and based on research, but it also just makes total sense when I hear it.
I personally found your video on how to pick colors for your website super helpful since I was creating mine at the time. All my “action” links are red by the way 🙂
Second, I love that you seem like an approachable average guy who has studied up on why people do what they do and was smart enough to create a business around it. You seem to geek out on all this info and genuinely want to share it with people. Thanks for that!
I like watching your video’s because you are down to earth and give tons of great tips, but you also don’t take yourself too seriously. Taking yourself too seriously = insecurity in my book.
Gangnam style? Totally appropriate dude. No need to be so self conscious.
When people let their guard down and stop trying to be so damn serious and perfect, real interaction can take place.
Big big fan of Derek and Marie, apart, together, whatev. Keep pushing me forward, gang, love you!
“Before you Build and Audience you need to know who you want in the chairs” – huge nugget in the video. I think sometimes this answers the question of why even the readers are not buyers..
I just had to come comment again…DUDE, you rawked the Gangnam dance! Day-ahm I am breaking every dictionary rule in this comment but I’m so PUMPED getting more of those READERS and DITCHING the traffic; I feel like the world should get their hands on my eBook as you could have wrote it, I’m sure!
Thanks again for the inspiration man!
Every grammar rule too…
I actually have readers who are buyers! I’ve become picky about what I offer but when I do I see the conversion.
My numbers are low in comparison to other bloggers, however they are buying and converting into paying clients or affiliate marketing.
I just spent half an hour browsing your website (reading this article, watching the video, visiting the links), I think I’m a reader … fortunately not wasted time. Thanks Derek for sharing your content.
My opinion has always been that I have readers rather than traffic. It’s why I don’t care so much about keywords, but looking for new people in the right places.
It’s why I take a week to write an article to make sure people will love it. It’s why I care about time on site and bounce rate being low when other people tell you they are useless statistics. Or how I can take a break from marketing but my traffic increases and retention stays the same.
IMO it’s about building a readership above all else. There’s too many people have a favorite blog for a certain topic and if you aren’t that blog you are screwed. It’s why I am speechless when people talk about being more efficient and writing an article in 30 mins.
Who knows, maybe I’m wrong and they’re right, but I think I’ll stick to my way at the moment.
To answer your question, No I haven’t, though I have had large amounts of traffic from Reddit and apart from a few guest posts it’s the only way I’ve built my readers (kind of). So maybe I have lol
Good post, but the video surprised me: Great tips!
Thank you for your energy and for embedding the video. But the dancing thing? Maybe not. Lol
I loved the dance! Only take those people seriously who don’t take themselves too seriously!
Derek is actually an amazing dancer, and a really good sport. I don’t know about you Jessica, but a little more fun and light heartedness in the world does nothing but good!
Marie always incorporates FUN into her work.. and it does grow on you! It’s all about letting your true self come through in your work and in your online personality (being authentic as you share value). I thought it was great Derek joined in 🙂
I heard your advice last week and tried it. I have one fashion website that would share my info. I need to email many more. How many did you email?
I also agree about the distinction between readers and traffic. I get about 1,500 unique visitors per day but have little engagement and very few buyers. Trying to create engagement is definitely a challenge.
Thanks, Derek – it’s reassuring to know that quality is more important than quantity, writing 25-30 blog articles a year is certainly a less daunting task than writing 300+!
Hey. I love it. But it would be awesome to see a quick course on this or webinar. Thanks for the info, though. Peace.
This just happened to my business site – a random person must’ve posted an affiliate hoplink to my site in some popular place, because my visitors shot up by 3,000 from that single source in one day.
However, my conversion rate shot way down – virtually none of them signed up to the newsletter, and nobody bought anything. Clearly not traffic that’s interested in me, nor am I interested in them.
Your suggestions were great but it was the “Gangnam style” dance that took that video to the next level.
I drew you a cartoon, just in case you want to remember the moment…
You say in the post you’re being a stickler for “Words” as in Readers versus Visitors but honestly the discussion couldn’t be any less semantics… The distinct is of the utmost importance.
About eight months ago I wrote an emotion driven post that really didn’t have anything to do with my Blog agenda about a Horrible customer service experience I had with Time Warner Cable.
Now I have to chop off ~50 visitors a day sometimes as much as 100 just from that post because the people that search and find that post are NOT readers… They have a TWC bitch, they make it and move on…
I’ve considered removing the post… Haven’t yet.
But the distinction is so important. Words make us who we are dude…
Thanks for a great post.
It is really a big mistake that takes place first by almost every new blogger that they run after traffic. I’m always against this question, and it’s now too usual that we found the SAME answers, tips and strategies everywhere still the question doesn’t get it set and pop ups consistently!
Most fail because they look after traffic, and few win because they look after the service of their audience!
Great article, but at the end of the day, if you are running a business, it’s all about customers and converting traffic/readers/list to buyers. Numbers can be misleading. You’ve heard people say, “I generated 2 million in sales!” Well, if they spent 2.1 million, then they aren’t making any money. In fact, they are losing money. Don’t be fooled by numbers.
Keep up the great work Derek!
Clever call-to-action entry. Wel done!
Originally saw this video over on Marie’s site last week, but watched it again just now, b/c there are so many golden nuggets in there!
Love the journey analogy and the Forest Gump example — good stuff. Gives me an idea . . .hmm.
My experience with traffic and readers from my first foray into blogging a few years ago is that if you write quality content and do a fair amount of marketing/promo of that content, you’ll build traffic, but it happened waaaay too slow for my taste. Good things started to happen for me on that blog after awhile, and there were lots of other things I could have done with it, but after 3 years I was burnt out and just full stopped blogging for a while.
Now I’m at it again, but growing an audience is still just as challenging. But that’s ok, because the building is the fun part.
One thing I’ve learned though is that it’s definitely not big traffic numbers you want; instead, you want to capture the people who resonate with you and your message and who are open to buying what you’re selling that really matter, even if that’s a tiny group of people.
I’m reminded of something that Gideon Shalwick said, something like, “I’d rather have 100 millionaires watching my videos, than 100 million 13-year olds with no credit card watching them.” I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea. ; )
A short story of my own on how I learned this lesson:
Back in 2004 I started my first blog. All I wanted was readers. I was crazy with the numbers. I got sick of following stats, learning SEO tricks, trying to get a stupid AdSense cheque every month and trying to reach the 10 thousand readers barrier I set for my self (because I was convinced AdSense was the way to go). It took me 5 years to understand that. In the middle I went through all the wrong paths. A waste of time (although I have to admit I learned many valuable lessons)
Yes, I was having far more traffic than other blogs in my niche. Yes, I was having some readers. But mostly, I was feeling my blog was like an information supermarket: they dropped in, got what they wanted, leave for good.
One day someone told me: it’s not about having 10 thousand readers. Is about having the correct 300 hundred ones every day and being good at giving them what they want. The day I understood that, a couple of years ago, everything changed.
I still have far more readers than any other blog in my niche, I still own the best blog in my niche and I’m making some money… because I forgot about AdSense, about traffic and about SEO and writing for Google and not for my public.
A 100% in line with Derek here and very willing to read something related to buyers and readers as the person at comment #1 proposed. That’d be the next step in my cycle.
Cheers (and sorry for the extension!)
@Derek, I love reading your blog post as always and looking forward to your next batch of video podcast interviews so that I can watch them on my iPhone.
Regarding getting you a reliable Virtual Assistant, I already sent you an email. Looking forward to your response
This is a great video really worth watching for anyone who runs a business or is in the marketing or communications fields!! Thanks!
I’m one of those on the road sales guys and actually just finished listening to one of your podcast( while on the road) The podcast where your speaking about “How people make decisons” and the different psychological factors that influence these decisons.
Anyway, they’re not many blogs that I follow as I’m extremely busy , but your one of them, as well as social media examiner.
The reason: Content I can use in my day job as well as my e commerce businesses.
Congrats on the numbers and good luck with the employee search!
I’m a columnist for U.S. News & World Report. Every article I write has a link to my website. Surprisingly enough, it only drives a few hits per article.
Yahoo syndicates the articles. Sometimes I get a lot of traffic from Yahoo’s syndication, sometimes it’s a trickle.
The best sources are slightly more focused communities. Morningstar had a forum discussion about an article of mine, which sent a lot of traffic and subscribers. Same held true for a military retirement website.
I’m not complaining. The U.S. News gig is great, opens me up for syndication, and provides great cachet when I’m networking. However, it doesn’t provide the traffic BOOM that I would have anticipated.
You break almost all of your own rules with these long rambling posts and emails. I read maybe a quarter of it ..waiting for the point. This will likely be the last engagement from me and I’m sure many others. I know you’ll keep the funnel full but sooner or later you need to practice what you preach or lose your credibility. Aha moment 2.
You’re a d*ck! (was that short enough for you Mr. Tate)
Looks like jealousy to me.
Funny, Derek was much more diplomatic than I would have been. Rambling? What an F’ing idiot. There arent many people who give more value than Derek. This guy probably thinks that long sales letters don’t work either. Still blaming the world for his failures and pissed off because when he put up his GoDaddy Website Tonight site, pennies didn’t start falling from heaven.
Glenn, glad you didn’t link your site, cuz you’d get hammered with people that think you’re an airhead. Waiting for the point???? What rules are you talking about? Apparently you have no idea what you’re talking about and don’t have the chops to prove that your comment matters more than two spits. Nobody around here will miss you. Peace out homeh.
I guess some people just don’t like to be educated and like to stay stupid…but that is awesome because it leaves more room at the top for people who GET it. I think this post was great!
I read most of Derek’s posts and I can’t recall that he ever said you should write short… What I do remember is that your first sentences should be short and used to draw your readers into the rest of the content. I’m not a fan of reading but I read this whole article – proof that it works.
Here’s what I think about that:
Heh. What’s he want? A two sentence summary? Maybe just put your advice in tweet format. Less reading 😉
Love it! ABSOLUTELY love it!
Funny, just launched my new site, landing page, intro video, stating clearly what everything’s about. Majorly focused on opt-ins, joining the community, take hands, etc.
They should know what it’s about after being on the landing page, I’m fairly confident that the subscribers I got since launching are READERS and not traffic.
Now the fun part starts…building relationships, converting, trusting recurring relationships 😉 (that doesn’t make all that sense but you know what I mean)
I am stuck at a point, I am getting around 700 readers a day. This number is constant!!! I am writing content too, I don’t know where I am lacking. I would really appreciate if you can help me, @DesignSkew on Twitter.
Rishi, hope you don’t mind me giving you a couple thoughts… The information you blog about is a commodity and it doesn’t provide solutions, nor is it emotional enough that people will care to come back.
You write about some cool stuff from my perspective but very little that would want me coming back and nothing that would make your site memorable in my mind. For example, your blog post about the retina wallpaper is a perfect example of what Derek is talking about, traffic that doesn’t convert but comes and goes. They have no reason to come back because you’re only satisfying a temporary need and not positioning yourself as an expert, a resource, or an expert with opinions that matter, with solutions that demands to see the light of day, with a topic that matters emotionally to readers. All of your articles are about random things in design, which is a commodity with 1000s of bloggers blogging about the same thing. That’s a lot of people groveling for the same worthless traffic.
How can you make yourself different? What can you say that really matters? Draw a line in the sand. Ruffle some feathers. Provide crazy value over and over and DEMAND that people subscribe. Give them a reason to subscribe. I hope that helps Rishi. Best to you!
Care to take a look at my site and tear it apart? I’m not giving up – I’ll make it happen. Shred me up if needed.
I can *sigh* take it…
Thanks Seth!! Got your Point!! Really, Thanks.
This is great info Derek! We have a pretty good size blog ourselves and I always thought it was traffic, traffic traffic but I totally get what you are saying.
I know that I am going to change my mindset now…to be more focused on getting “readers.” One thing I really have never done is reach out to other bloggers in my niche, which actually would be blogs like yours, to see about working together…interesting. Watch for an email!! 🙂
On a side note…you looked like you were in pain when you were dancing…
Haha nice to see you’ve said this Derek. This is what I’ve been trying to clear from long time and wanted to tell those bloggers who always trying to increase the traffic.
I mean we need readers and we wan to gain their trust, not just traffic.
Today I’m going to email (not only one :D) Some of my friends about this post.
Hi Derek, sage advice. We have just launched and have had fun finding the right target. Your advice is always good.
Inspired! Pumped up! You guys rock. I’m all in.
Awesome post Derek, I found this same issue when one of my blogs was flooded with traffic from StumbleUpon…. great for the number of hits but awful for getting regular readers and conversions… so I concentrated my efforts on finding readers!!
No you’re comment above, readers and buyers…. can we expect a post on that soon? 😀
I have to admit that this was something that I struggled with for the better part of my internet career. (caring about visitors and not readers)
It wasn’t until I posted “Why I Returned the Retina Display for a 13″ Macbook Air” that I realized that you are 100% spot on.
I had traffic…
…But I didn’t have readers.
Absolutely brilliant post, Derek. Like you, that post brought all kinds of traffic for folks searching for Macbook Airs and Retina Displays and what not.
And the thought has crossed my mind to delete the post, just as a statement to this point. 😉
That massage therapy tip was GOLD
Love love love your work, Derek!
One year old site, pages with ok (Small time) traffic, 5/10 readers a day.
Income a whopping (Stand back everyone!) $30 ish. a month.
One program I use for this site costs $44 a month to use. I’m almost running in the black. I’ve cut it down to that one bill and the monthly hosting fee.
I think if I ever do get these powerful flood gates you speak of to toss me a bone, send me 1000 or so readers, I’ll do much better. I really put a lot of work into it and I will never run out of things to write about.
Today’s post has information on deals on cameras, and winning a Canon Digital SLR camera that Rocks! The EOS 6D by Canon. It’s a rocket ship of a camera.
I’m gaining more interviews, having guest posts by pros finally and I’m not giving up!
I have friends making 10K a month and I’d be thrilled with 20% of that, being forced retired as I am.
Love your site! Very motivating!
Readers or Traffic?
-3.3 Pages per visit.
-3:05 average time on site.
-Bounce Rate: 2.9%
-Returning Visitors: 34%
I am hoping this means I have readers. I suspect so.
But then I need to give a nod to Linda and say, I have readers, but not buyers. Working on that though.
Thanks for another great article.
Is that from GA?
No blog has a bounce rate that low. I’d say you’ve got your GA code inserted at least twice on your site.
Well, since I don’t even know what bounce rate really means, I sure could have something messed up with GA. Oh, well.
I took a look, and sure enough: As Melanie says, you’ve got GA installed twice. Once through Google Analytics for WordPress by Yoast (great plugin, by the way), and another time probably in your theme. That’ll mess up your numbers.
Have you inserted your tracking code in your theme options, too, perhaps? (Seems like you’re using Headway theme. If so, go to Headway > Configuration > Scripts and Analytics > Footer scripts, and remove the GA script from there.)
PS: Nice site. 🙂
Another Great article!
Just for the record. I am a true reader to this weblog.
I am also running for traffic. After reading this post I realize having readers is more important. However, Traffics are important as they may turn to regular reader. And missed your video as YT is banned in my country.
Thanks for an awesome post!
Dude, I went to college in upstate, NY, too (Vassar). Where were you? We could have hung out in New Paltz. Also: I like this video, I watched it via Marie.
I have a site, Country Music Life, that jumped out of the gates in a big way, but it was all traffic and not readers.
The traffic came from search and social, but it was mostly just people looking to listen to a new country song and then leave.
It took me about a year to realize that these people weren’t worth anything to me.
Now, the main focus of the site is getting readers (or email subscribers).
I don’t even pay attention to the analytics except to check in once in a while. The only statistics I care about is email subscribers. That’s what pays. All decisions are made with the idea of building the subscriber list.
I would actually take this a step farther. You want not only readers but partners. For instance, I took your advice on e-mailing influential people along with some of my own experience and got an article published in a UK golf mag.
Now that same mag is asking me to produce content to their entire readership which has lead to inquiries for services. Readers are great, but if you can find readers that you can establish business relationships with, even better.
That’s a great story Sean – I’m glad to hear people being successful following Derek’s advice, as I’m starting to dig in and put this stuff to practice myself.
Totally agree Sean, that’s an excellent point and I think it might be the key difference between those who make it and those who don’t. Partnerships.
As a new blogger, I’m looking for traffic just to gain exposure and also Feedback to see what works, what doesn’t–where do people go etc etc. etc.
Loved the video, definitely a smart thing to find different angles for the different people you want in the seats instead of competing with the big hogs.
Really good stuff Derek!! Thanks for sharing!
*my gut, my guy doesn’t care he’s too busy teaching awesome physics labs to high school students who are all WAY TOO SMART for their own good.
I actually learned about you from this video earlier this month. I LOURVE Marie and this may be *THE BEST* advice I have heard so far. So now I’m a Derek Halpern/Social Triggers Fan4Life – I am glad that I continue to follow my guy when it comes to my blog. I write for readers not for traffic. (anxiously waiting for more juicy tips)
Hi Derek, I discovered you through Marie and have been enjoying Social Triggers a lot. Readers, not traffic. Good motto.
Me too Jacqueline 🙂
I have readers, but unfortunately not buyers
just a note on the readers / buyers deal – I don’t have a bunch of readers, most of it was generated using Derek’s blogging techniques as of late… But they are plenty, and I generate about $1 per month per subscriber…
One thing that really turned my readers into buyers was by not focusing on selling a n y thing on the site – or in the content, besides the idea of getting on my email list…
Once they get on my list I have a 6 part nurturing campaign set up to get them to know me, like me, trust me – and then I challenge them on their basic business beliefs (another Derek tip)… I literally tell them they’re WRONG – then I tell them why, and how to ‘fix’ their business.
Nothing new here, I just finally built the system – now when I email something to my list, they all (for the most part) know me / like me / trust me… (for the most part)
So in short, if I were in your shoes Linda, I’d forget buyers on the site – get them on your list and get them to know you! – and don’t forget to challenge their assumptions
Readers and buyers is a whole other debate.
You can have readers… but the wrong readers.
Point noted, though. Maybe that’s another article 🙂
I have the same situation, so here’s a second request for that article! 🙂