Don’t Fool Yourself Content Alone Is Not All You Need To Generate Traffic

You know how we always say content is king?  Is it really?

Well, of course posting valuable content on your blog is important, because without it who is going to want to come to your blog, right?

That’s true, but is content all there is?  The answer might surprise you.

I have been observing traffic on my blog very closely all throughout the year as well as some other blogs, and my conclusion is this. Great content alone won’t get you traffic.  That’s right. I know this goes against what I used to believe, but this is the conclusion I came to while observing blog traffic.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that valuable content is not important, but what I’m saying is that content alone is not enough to bring you traffic that stays and improve over time.

On the other hand, however, once you’ve built traffic to your blog, even if your content isn’t always that great at times you will still get traffic to that post.  I’m not just saying this. I’m saying this, because it’s what I’ve been able to observe while visiting dozen of blogs on a weekly basis.

Does this mean that you should just try to attract traffic, and forget about the quality of your blog? No.  I will never promote mediocre content, but what I’m saying here is your content not sufficient to bring you huge traffic.  You need to go out there to other blogs and social media platforms to meet people.  You need to make a name for yourself, and once you do, traffic will always come, no matter what you write.  Yes, that’s right.  Even if your content is not always great, I can assure you that you will still pull up that traffic.

Why do Expensive Name Brand Products Sell And What this has to do with You?

Have you ever wonder why brand name products that are way more expensive than store brands or unknown brands?  It’s because people trust the name.

Are you aware that some of such non-brand products are made in the very same factories as the brand ones?  This means that more often than not what you’re buying with a brand name sticker or what you’re buying without a brand name sticker is pretty much the same product.  So, obviously it’s not the product that makes a difference here, but the name.

The same thing happens with you. If you create a brand name for yourself, people will come for you, more than the content itself.

This is why you need to create, to build a brand name for yourself.  This is the best way to attract traffic to your blog or site.

Is Approachable Linked to your Name?

So, how can you establish that traffic? How can you make people like and trust you like a good old brand that sells because of its name alone?

Start by visiting other blogs…

Visiting other blogs regularly is very important.  As a matter of fact, in my case it has been the most important action I have done to attract traffic to my blog so far.

I followed the very good advice of my friend, Adrienne Smith who is probably one the best example in the blogging sphere that I know of.  She always visits back someone who comes to her blog, and she will try to get to know you.  Those two qualities should be common among bloggers, but it’s actually not, that’s why she doesn’t have too many competitors in this area.

I can think of a few great bloggers right now who are really missing on something huge.  Yes, they do have great blogs with valuable content, but do you know what’s missing with them? What’s missing with them is a darn nice personality. Every times I go to those blogs I’m thinking, they have a good blog, but I wish they were nice too!

Do you want people think like that about you? I know I don’t.  Some of the bloggers that I’m talking about have some good traffic.  Yes, they do.  But not to the extent that they should.

Don’t Take your Visitors for Granted

Why am I saying this?  Well, I did a little experimentation of my own and came out with the realization that such “not so nice bloggers” have no more traffic than they had a year ago.  Yes, that’s right! I know I can’t get into their Google Analytics, but I am referring to the comments on their blog. When I started visiting those blogs about a year and a half ago, their blog posts had about the same amount of comments (and sometimes more) back then than they do now.

Now, to prove my point, if you look at Adrienne’s blog (yes, again) a year and a half ago, you can see that her blog comments has doubled today.  For example, last May (2011) her most commented on post had 87 comments, This April (2012) her most commented on post has 147 comments.

As for my own blog (the one you are on right now), last May I had virtually NO traffic yet, and my comments where close to none existent.  Today, however, as I mentioned in my last post my traffic has dramatically increased averaging around 40 comments right now (sometimes less sometimes much more).

So, if I compare my blog to those already “seemingly” successful blogs that I started visiting about a year and half ago which were also averaging around 50 comments per blog post while I had zero, I have now reached up to them.

What’s the Moral of that Story?

This is not a blog comment challenge post, but it goes to tell you that you are more responsible for the traffic of your blog than your content is.  You could own the best store in town full of stuff that I like, but if you are very unfriendly, never acknowledging me when I come to your store with a customer service that sucks, I’m going to check around for another store.

Then, since there are so many stores out there, I will  find one that has the same great stuff  you’ve got, but the owner of that store is much friendlier than you, and his/her customer service is great.  Not only I will start going to that store, but I will refer some of my friends too.

Eventually, that store clientele of the nice owner will grow, while the clientele of the unfriendly owner will not.  They might still get their older customers that are so used to their store, but they will have a hard time to keep the new ones.

Does that make sense?

My guess is that’s what has happened to those blogs. Yes, they have great content, but they are totally oblivious of what really brings the traffic to their blog which is building relationships with you visitors with acknowledgment and respect.  What do you think?


61 thoughts on “Don’t Fool Yourself Content Alone Is Not All You Need To Generate Traffic”

  1. Hey Sylviane,

    Wow, thanks so much for using me as an example and for the oh so nice words.

    You are so right, content is not the only way. Without it we have nothing that’s the truth. But you definitely don’t want to just count on SEO methods because without building a relationship with your readers, those people won’t continue to keep coming back for more. I mean, that’s why we’re here right!

    We are both now living examples of what it takes to get consistent loyal traffic coming to your blog day after day, month after month and even year after year. Heck, if you go back to my blog in 2010 you’ll see I rarely got any comments at all.

    The key here is that even if you have the best content in the world, if you are not nice to people then you’re toast. It’s true and I’ve even written about this before. If people like you they’ll keep coming back. If they don’t, they’ll go find the people they do like.

    Great content and I’ll definitely be sharing this one with all my friends cause it’s good stuff.

    Thank you again Sylviane for the mention, I’m so honored. Enjoy your week and I’ll see you soon.

    Adrienne invites you to read..How To Be Productive So You Can Achieve The Internet LifestyleMy Profile

    1. Ah Adrienne, I know you always share my posts, but I kinda of knew you would be wanting to share this one 😉

      I took you as an example, because I know some people who would envy your comment area, and by the way had maybe more comments then you this past year, but you’ve beat them now big time. And those folks have great content, Adrienne, it’s not that the content sucks, but they do 🙁

      I feel the same anger towards those people that you feel when someone register you where you have not registered yourself. Know what I mean? So, I write about it to let it out 🙂

      Thanks for coming, Adrienne.

  2. Hi Sylviane,

    You are very true about the relationships and Adrienne is the best at it 🙂 I think you start experimenting as you went through this year to see how your blog progressing, no? 🙂

    I remember you mentioning about you are not getting enough traffic for some posts as they deserved 🙂 Sometimes I have a feeling that not everyone loves our content too. For example if I can’t relate to a post in any way, I may not comment but my visit counts. I have seen for some of my oldest posts, no comments but it is one of popular posts.

    Recently I heard from few of my readers on Facebook who always visit my blog and I was surprised that eventhough they visit my blog they don’t comment ’cause they feel not to comment after seeing comments of others. Let me tell you exact thing he said ~ “I don’t think my comment will add value to your post”. Really?

    I think it’s true ’cause I was afraid when I do start commenting on blogs too. If I haven’t started, I would just stop by here and share your post, but never comment eventhough it’s the best 🙂 If I don’t comment, you wouldn’t get to know me too, no?

    I think while we generating quality content, we need to reach out and interact with others rather than waiting for ’em to come, so they will pay attention on us too 🙂 I think being initiator is always the best and it will pay out soon.

    Mayura invites you to read..How to Create a Community on Google+My Profile

    1. Hi Mayura,

      Well, I would answer to your friends that every comment adds some type of value as long as they are sincere and more than just “great post”. But, anyone can say more than “great post” He could even say something like… “well, I’m not sure my comment will add value to your post but I’m going to try to say what comes to mind….” If someone left me a comment like that, it would be definitely OK with me.

      I rarely go to a blog and not leave a comment, because everyone in their right mind usually appreciate comments. It doesn’t have to be long, just saying I was here.

      Thanks for yours, Mayura 🙂

  3. Hi Sylviane

    I could relate your post to my story and could say that you have really shown the importance of building relationship, the baby step to start via commenting.

    I started with Adrienne in the month of November and today I know I am trying my best to build relationship. Some surely have been built and trust is gradually developing.

    Content will become best only if seen and admired by someone.

    Thanks for this remarkable post.


    1. Hi Sapna,

      Yes, I’ve seen you recently on Adrienne’s and other blogs and it seems that you’ve got it. I agree with Adrienne that relationship is everything.

      Keep up the good work!

  4. Sylvianne,

    You have written such an important message here for other bloggers to follow. Yes, content is important but I shall quote Mari Smith when she says “Content Is King, But Engagement Is Queen, And The Queen Rules The House.” When I first heard this quote it immediately confirmed that I was on the right track.
    We blog, we get comments, we need to answer those comments. Then go to that blogger Read their post and comment back.
    Then we take it to the next level and connect with them on social sites. Before you know it, you become “friends” and visit each other frequently. It’s all about being social.
    This is great advice for any blogger out there and I am glad you wrote about it.

    1. Yes, Donna, you said it all.

      I know that a portion of our traffic is just traffic that don’t comment, but frankly, unless such traffic buy from my blog or becomes a customer, to me they are almost useless, because unless I go to my Analytics I don’t know they exist. So in my case, I see comments as the living proof of my blog.

      Thanks for your excellent comment, Danna 🙂

  5. Sylviane, you got this one so right! You really need to get out and visit other blogs, comment and share to have others visit yours too. It’s a great way to get to know other people too. It’s all about relationships and Adrienne does such a fabulous job with it too. She always makes you feel welcomed at her “place.”
    Content is important but so are relationships.
    I didn’t realize you had closed comments before. I’ve always wondered why some choose that way. Interesting about brand names too. Relationships is the way to build that trust.
    Lisa invites you to read..Website Traffic From Pinterest Shows In The NumbersMy Profile

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Oh, no I never had closed comments, it’s just that nobody came to comment in the past. I would never do that.

      Yes, relationship is so very important and Adrienne sure understood that and taught me a lot about it.

      Thanks for coming, Lisa!

    1. Good way to go Michael,

      That’s right if it wasn’t for the feedbacks we wouldn’t know, and such feedback are social proof for better ranking as well. We really need those comments.

      Thanks for coming by.

  6. Ah, this is a conversation you and I have had before! Going to someone’s blog and leaving a comment… and nobody answers you… chirp..chirp…chirp… why would I bother commenting again? And you know what, there is a LOT of content on the web. So you’re right, it could be good content, but I can find good content somewhere else and probably find a blogger who will pay attention to their readers! In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that I stopped reading someone’s blog – I thought the content was great, the titles were always interesting but the person never responded or talked back to me. So I unsubscribed and gave up. There are lots of people who write content worth reading so I’ll go show them some love!

    I’m with you on the same page here. Your actions can have a lot to do with how well your blog does, not just how well you write.
    Carol Lynn invites you to read..Hey Businesses, You’re Doing Twitter Wrong!My Profile

    1. Hi Carol,

      Great example you gave here. You got tired of being ignored and unsubscribed. Now if you did this, you can assume that you are not the only one, so at the end of a year, who knows how many subscribers they’ve lost? I really don’t get that kind of behavior, but it’s their loss in the end.

      I sure personally always appreciate your great comments and reply to them, always 🙂

  7. Great post Sylviane! I have been following Adrienne’s blog for some time now, and it’s remarkable to see her progress in terms of traffic and the loyalty of readers she attracts. It actually changed my whole idea of blogging – like so many bloggers, my initial impression of blogging came from sources like ShoeMoney that were extremely popular half a decade ago and almost look like ghost-towns now compared to their hey-days at least.
    I am honestly glad to see there are plenty of other ways to get traffic than simply the search engines. Come to think of it, wasn’t that the original purpose the whole blogosphere in the first place – connections?
    Sid invites you to read..PostJoint Review: Guest Blogging PlatformMy Profile

    1. Hi Sid,

      Looks like somehow I’ve missed your comment.

      Isn’t it great that Adrienne helped you see blogging under a new light? When I started blogging I learned nothing about building relationship. All I was taught was create content with keywords and publish. I hated it, that’s why I have no problem with building relationships. that’s what I like.

      Thanks for coming 🙂

  8. I have to admit, i have been one of those bloggers who is bad about not responding to all the comments, or going long periods of time before getting back to them. Sometimes I get so caught up in doing things I forget to take care of the little things that keep people coming back.

    However, I also have to say when good commenters come by, I try to always respond. Sometimes I find it difficult to find something to keep the comments going when all the comments are short one liners though.

    Adrienne is great at engaging in the comments, and we can get into good discussions through a simple blog post (sometimes the individual comments get longer than the original post) but often I wind up with one or two line comments that really don’t leave anything but a “thanks for the comment” answer to share, and I find those kind of comments are as bad as not saying anything at all.

    1. Hi James and thanks for coming!

      You are totally right a two liner comment that just say thanks doesn’t call for much reply but another stupid “thanks”. I agree that useless comments like that are just as bad as no comment at all, in most cases anyway.

      I believe that anyone with a brain and who has read the post, of course, can do better than this. It’s all about wanting to.

      Thanks for your honesty, James, I know it’s easy to get caught up in our busy life, but taking care of our readers is very important 🙂

  9. Hi Sylviane,
    Thank you for raising this important issue. And special thanks for saying what most of us are embarrassed to say aloud “Great content is not enough for generating traffic”.
    Relationships are everything in blogosphere. If I see that nobody reads and answers my comments, I would feel that I am not welcome and would not bother sharing my impressions. I would like content at least twice more if I like the author.
    Julia Reed invites you to read..How to Text in Class Without Being Caught by AnyoneMy Profile

    1. Hi Julia,

      Thank you for the compliment here. It’s never hard for me to say the truth, even if it’s the ugly truth sometimes. I might as well use this honesty in my blogs.

      Like you said if you understand that you are not important or valuable for the owner of the blog, you don’t feel like coming back. Bloggers need to understand that!

  10. Hi Sylviane
    Adrienne is such a great lady, she seems be get mentioned everywhere I go 🙂
    I was so glad when I found her she is an inspiration to us all!
    I have gained so much more traffic and made some great connections and relationships through Blog Commenting so I totally agree with you on this post.
    I have seen my traffic increase quite a lot since I started visiting other blogs and leaving comments, I do get a little annoyed though if I have taken the time to read a post and leave a comment if the author does not reply, I find that quite rude. It’s understandable if sometimes they do not reply straight away as things happen but I try and not leave it more than a couple of days before I reply to my readers comments.
    This is a great way of driving traffic to our blogs so thanks for sharing, hope you have a great day.
    Pauline invites you to read..Tips For Driving Traffic To Your BlogMy Profile

    1. Hi Pauline,

      I know that your comments have improved. I’ve noticed that, especially recently. It was very nice for me to be able to observe that.

      So, you’re a living proof that blog commenting will improve your own traffic. Isn’t that so?

  11. Hi Sylviane,

    Once again you have created a wonderfully informative post. The premise that content is King has proven to be a major factor to attract loyal audiences. The recent search engine changes emphasize quality content and social engagement, so to acquire responsive long term quality traffic, the interaction part is integral, and we cannot leave out SEO. I’ve been to many blogs with incredible content and very little comments. Branding is essential.

    Directing your readers to Adrienne Smith as an example of the Queen of Engagement is a great starting point to inspire other bloggers with the best example of the “How To” in blogging and following up correctly to build quality traffic.

    Readers will come back for more, once you’ve branded yourself…the most important first step. Let us not forget being nice! Thanks Sylviane!

    Raena Lynn
    Raena Lynn invites you to read..Trim And Focus. Do You Need 5 Staplers On Your Desk?My Profile

    1. Hi Raena,

      I’m lucky enough to know lots of nice bloggers, thankfully, such as you as well as Adrienne and others, and we even hangout online don’t we?

      I mentioned Adrienne because as you said she is the Queen of engagement and I’ve got quite a few readers from her because my being showing my face over there at her blog. So, blog commenting does work, no doubt about it.

      Thank you so much for coming here, Raena, and I will come over to see you as well 😉

    1. Hi Tom and welcome here.

      Yes, you’re so right and thanks for pointing this out.

      I have wroked for some of such brick and mortar stores and to them, the customer is king and they not only don’t ignore the customer but attend to his every need. I don’t know why people think that it’s different with an online store such as a blog. It’s not, really 🙂

      Thanks for your input.

  12. Great point you’ve got here Mary,
    I’ve also been guilty of that before when i was starting, but i wont blame myself because i never knew about it it.

    I would say that most bloggers are often feeling too big to visit their commenters blog, some of them even finds it very hard to reply to their readers comments. That is really bad you know.

    Well, i quite agree with you that Adrienne is very good at that, in fact she is one of the most friendly blogger I’ve met.

    Thanks for this wonderful post Mary.

    Enjoy yourself and pass my greetings to your family.
    Theodore Nwangene invites you to read..Do you want to be getting more Retweets?My Profile

    1. Hello Theodore, but my name is Sylviane! Not Mary 🙂 I know that you’ve been here before, so that’s just a mistake.

      Yes, Adrienne is one of the most friendly people I’ve met online, even if she is not the only one, she is definitely on top of the pile, and like a lot of people I tend to be attracted by friendly people, so it works great for her.

      Thanks for coming by 🙂

  13. You are so right. I have good content and lately i have been getting a lot of comments simply because I connect more.

    Great piece!

  14. Hi Sylviane,

    What a wonderful blog post Sylviane. I got lots of value from it. I am glad I read such a post in my early stages of my blogging career as I learnt a lot from this post. Definitely relationship is key. It is the magnet that attracts readers and comm-enters to your blog.

    I am very grateful for the lesson you taught me on this blog and I will be sure to implement it and of course I will also visit Adrienne’s blog and start learning from her too.

    Thanks again for such a great post with tons of value. It made lots of sense.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat Tawadrous invites you to read..How to Overcome Fear in Network Marketing?My Profile

    1. Hi Neamat,

      I’m glad that you’ve connected with people who love and respect their readers. Not all bloggers do, but in the end they kind of reap what they sow.

      Maybe it’s still doing well for them, regardless, but that’s not my way of doing business online.

      Thanks for coming here again.

    1. Hi Atish,

      Yes, you’re right, to attract traffic in the first place, it takes more than content alone, regardless of how you treat your readers once they’re there, but when they do come that’s when you want to treat them well.

  15. What a fantastic post, Sylviane – and very reassuring, because although I’ve a way to go to get anything like the kind of traffic you and Adrienne receive, I feel I’m on the right track.

    I couldn’t agree more that building relationships is crucial – it’s time-consuming and labour intensive, but so worthwhile and very rewarding. I really like the feeling that I’m getting to know other bloggers.

    I love visiting and commenting on other people’s sites, because I learn so much in the process. And it’s great to feel that at least a few people are starting to visit my site because they’re getting to know me.

    It’s bound to take time and effort to gain people’s trust and respect – sadly, I guess a lot of bloggers just aren’t prepared for that,

    Many thanks for a very honest and challenging post,

    Sue Neal invites you to read..Why I’m a Content Curation ConvertMy Profile

    1. Hi Sue,

      Yes, visiting blogs and commenting on them, plus replying to your own comments is time consuming for sure, but as you said so rewarding.

      Well, here is the proof, you came to my blog fist, I think, and then I came to yours, so that’s one more reader to your blog, and one more social proof to show off to other readers… it just snow ball, doesn’t it?

      Thanks for coming 🙂 Sue.

  16. Hi Sylviane, great post. Saw your comment on Adrienne’s blog and followed you from there. Your blog is fab, so much information on it. Am now a regular follower of your blog, that is for sure. Regards.
    Marcel Spitz invites you to read..DON’T HOPE…DECIDE!My Profile

    1. Hi Marcel,

      Well, thank you so much. I will be sure to come by you as well, because I always try to get to know those who are nice enough to come visit me. I’m very glad that you liked what you’ve seen so far.

          1. Yes, but that’s why so many people don’t like that EN system… Not everyone wants to leave a comment through facebook. I know lots of people who don’t and I am one of them.

            This will really reduce your opportunity to get comments on your blog. Also, Empower Network was banned from facebook recently, so even less people will do so now, even if they lift the band. I’m not sure people would want to take the risk.

    1. Good for you Mike. You said it, if you want to build “long term, interacting with your readers is the way to go. I so love my readers for having taken few minutes out of their busy schedule to read my post and comment. I never take this for granted!

      Thanks for being one of them today 🙂

  17. Sylviane –
    Thanks for “hitting the nail on the head with this post”. First, you are right on with using Adrienne Smith as the act to follow!! She has set the bar where it should be and she keeps nudging it higher and higher! You are in the same class as well!
    Prior to becoming a blogger, I was a professional portrait photographer and owned my own studio for over 40 years. It was a brick and mortar type business as opposed to an on-line business. So…I understand exactly what you are saying. Words are one thing but being a real person with even just a pleasing personality – yet alone an outstanding personality, will take one a lot further ahead.
    I enjoyed your post tremendously!

    Les Wallack invites you to read..Establish A Way To Sustain A Healthy Lifestyle…My Profile

    1. Hi Les,

      If you’ve been a brick and mortar business owner, I am sure you know what I mean. Even if you were the best photographer but with an awful personality, I’m sure your business would have suffered from that.

      What I don’t understand is why some bloggers feel that it’s OK not to be respectful when you can hide behind a blog. My blog is my store, so to speak, but I sure try not to hide behind it. I would hate myself for doing that.

      Thanks for your input, Les.

  18. Hi Sylviane,

    Thank you for doing this post and sharing those interesting statistics to illustrate the point. Consistent small steps do pay off.

    I am glad that Adrienne Smith has impacted on your blogging career. I agree that she is derserving what you called Queen of Engagement. The ‘like’ factor is indeed very important. I have also learned a lot from her. I can testify that she always visits back someone who comes to her blog and she will try to get to know her visitors. She is ENGAGING & SUPPORTIVE!

    You too have been sharing so much knowledge here. I am truly blessed to be connected, Slyviane 🙂 Keep shining & giving. Let’s spread the Adrienne Smith spirit in this blogging world.

    Viola Tam – The Business Mum
    Viola Tam invites you to read..Top 50 MLM Blog ContestMy Profile

    1. Hi Viola,

      Thanks for coming here. Yes, if so many people speak of Adrienne is because she is doing something right, and while it takes time to do what she does, anybody can do the same.

      I don’t believe in the I’m too busy excuse, because I’m so busy myself, and I know that Adrienne is very busy too. So nobody has any excuse.

      Thanks for your nice comment Viola 🙂

  19. Yes, it’s not just the blog content that matters. I’ve found that with several blogs I’ve written so far.

    You can get a bit of search traffic without interacting with other bloggers. But that’s about it. It can be frustrating.

    But if you can get to the point of getting a couple of comments on your blog, you’re on the cusp of more traffic. it’s important to reply to them as this will make it more likely for others to comment because your blog is “alive”. That will make it more shareable on social media, too.
    Matt invites you to read..Get quality Twitter followers, not just lots of themMy Profile

    1. Hi Matt and welcome here!

      Yes, that’s right. Comments are not just good to look pretty at the bottom of your post, it makes it more search engine efficient and it works for social media as well as you mentioned. But most of all, as you said it let’s people know that your blog is ALIVE. Comments are the blood stream of a blog.

      Thanks for your input 🙂

  20. 50 comments so far You have certainly learned how to balance quality content with quality promotion. By quality promotion I mean the sort that keeps bringing people back and has a viral effect to bring more.

    Commenting on a lot of other blogs is good as far as google is concerned but it is how you comment and respond to those on your own blog that is important too.

    You spend time giving informed, informative answers and show that you are interested in your readers, for what they say and not just to get the numbers.
    Sue Bride invites you to read..‘Twas The Night Before Christmas For AffiliatesMy Profile

    1. Yes, Sue I love my readers, truly, and appreciate them so much. They must feel that, somehow. I try to answer the best I can their questions or comments. Sometimes if I’m not sure what they mean I even read the comment 2 or 3 times. I just love the whole thing. It’s so nice to see you here, Sue. I hope you’re doing well.

  21. Hi Sylviane
    I think on line people forget that every visitor should be treated as a potential customer and therefore should be treated as though they are going to buy a product if treated like this hopefully we are on the right track. You treat people the opposite and you are soon going to be in trouble and end up in the trash bin along with your business.

    Really great advice thanks lee

    1. Hi Lee,

      That’s right we should treat everyone as a potential customer, and most of all as we would like to be treated ourselves. I wish more people would believe that.

      Thanks for your feedback.

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