When I started online a few years back I was taught to research keywords, write keyword-focused pages with keywords in all the right places while trying to sound natural all at the same time. It was a great way to generate free traffic and it worked for many, including me. I was told that blogging was bad and borderline stupid, because…
- it’s hard to come up with subjects to blog about on regular basis,
- blogs don’t rank well in search engines (what a lie!),
- who needs those list posts anyway.
There was much more but I don’t remember now. Those days I believed that blogging was not professional and was more of a hobby than business.
Thinking for myself
Time passed and I can think for myself now. So I’ve got that high-traffic website and it’s true that it still works (although I never know how long this is going to continue). It’s a good website, I put a lot into it. There is a lot of people every day but for some reason it’s incredibly hard to monetize. The irony is that it’s in what is considered one of the most profitable niches out there and still all it can do is generate some petty Adsense clicks and sell advertising to brands. Brands don’t care, they just want to have their logo in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
One might argue it’s not niche enough, but to me if I go too niche I can’t generate more than a few pages. Despite responsive design, catchy images and high-quality information, the bounce rate is about 70%. Because readership comes only with regular updates and interaction, I never built a real following. All those thousands and thousands of people come and go, just like flour through sieve. About 20% come back but once they read everything there is to the subject they are gone forever.
I believe that when you build around keywords you aren’t necessarily attracting people interested in your topic. Usually what happens is that you simply answer questions. Their search term is always a question, something they have in their minds at the moment they perform this search, but once they got their answer they are gone. I’ve done this myself hundreds of times. So while you do generate a lot of traffic you don’t retain it. In addition, you are at mercy of Google, which is bad enough by itself.
Blogging, on the other hand, is about building readership. It does need much more effort and consistency, but you do have something substantial, real readers, real followers. Perhaps it will take more time to get traffic, but the reward is much bigger.
There is downside to blogging too. Once you stop updating your readership is gone. Apparently there is no one single perfect strategy, but perhaps we could combine keyword research, blogging, social media and email for best possible results.