If there is one factor that people use to determine the success of their blog, it is traffic. Without traffic, people seem to think that their blog is a failure if they do not achieve a certain amount of traffic within a certain time frame. One mistake that people make is that they compare their blog to someone else’s and expect to gain that same amount of traffic just as easily. As humans, we all have that mentality that says, “If he can do it, so can I.” We were raised and ingrained with the idea that we all can be successful. There is a lot of idealism with this concept but reality quickly sinks in. We start to blog and give it some time. Some blogs make it, some do not. For the long-haul we should consider alternative avenues to measure blog success.
What are these other ways that we can use to measure the success of our blog without having to rely on traffic as the sole indicator? That is the focus of this article as I provide others ways that will encourage you to keep blogging even when your traffic slumps.
What Is Traffic?
Before I talk about why we obsess over traffic, I want to provide some introductory sections on traffic in general. Traffic is basically when someone both finds your website online or when they actually go into your website. When your website is found online, your website link or button might be placed next to other websites. This means that you are competing for clicks with your neighbors. This makes where the anxiety and panic over traffic happens because you have to somehow get people to click on your website over the others. Not the easiest of feats to achieve. Your link text and description have to be more compelling in a way that does not misrepresent what your page will present to users.
Click Bait: Why We Exaggerate To Get Clicks
Since we have to do something to get our link clicked over the next guy’s, we sometimes have to be creative with our text. In some cases, we need to spruce and dress our links up a bit to make them stand out. This is why many engage in the act of click baiting. What is it? It is exactly what the name implies. You write text for your link that is meant to embellish your linking page so that you lure people into clicking.
Click baiting is a common tactic because it invokes feelings within people. The idea is to make people become so enveloped with emotions that their level of interest rises and they will want to click on your link. Typically you will say that our page has the best way to do something. As far as that being true, you leave that up to your readers to make that determination. If they agree with you, then they might return to your website again. If not, then they will go elsewhere. Harsh reality, but true. Getting return visitors is not easy so think really hard about not going overboard with the click bait.
I Got a Click! Now What?
Congratulations on getting a click to your website. As I have stated earlier, it is no easy feat to accomplish. Once people land on your website, you need to keep them there. You need to get them to convert over and perform some kind of action. Or, maybe they will just get the information that they need and leave. Whatever they do on your website once you get that click, you start to become obsessed with getting more clicks. I understand, we always want more in life. Also, we feel that once we hit a goal, we have no other way but to move up from here. There is a lot of wishful thinking here because everyone has that same exact mindset. You want to get more clicks and much as the next guy. We all do. This is how we start to obsess over traffic because we are wondering why everyone else is getting more clicks than us.
Where Does Traffic Come From?
Now that I gave a little introduction on traffic, I want to talk about places where traffic comes from. Even though traffic is hard to get, you have several options available to you. So you will need to consider getting traffic from other places when one source fails you. I have categorized traffic based on whether people are naturally coming to your website or if you have to broadcast it out there for people to see. I call it pulling and pushing traffic.
Pulling Traffic: Search Engines
I consider having your website on search engines as pulling traffic because you are not actively pushing your website out there. You are letting Google find your website and then it places pages on their search engine. In doing so, you are pulling people to your website because you are not directly placing your website wherever you want on Google. Google decides your placement in its rankings with its algorithm. Then you get placed wherever Google wants. Since the process of being on Google is indirect, I call that pulling since you yourself did not place your article on Google.
What Is So Good About Pulling Traffic?
Pulling traffic is great because you just have to submit your newly published articles to Google Search Console and you let Google do the rest. This is passive and requires less work on your end. At this point, it is up to Google to place you where they want you to be. Since you do not have to broadcast your articles out there, you can focus on writing your next article and hoping that you get a good ranking on your article. If you do make it toward the front of the rankings, then you might get some clicks in the process. If not, then give it some time and keep blogging.
Pushing Traffic: Social Media Platforms and Email Newsletters
Let me contrast pulling traffic from search engines with pushing traffic out there. Pushing traffic means that you are sending your blog articles directly to your users either by social media or newsletters. This is called pushing because your articles are going out to your subscribers, followers, and those on your mailing list. So you actively send these out instead of just waiting for someone to find your articles and click on them.
What is So Good About Pushing Traffic?
Pushing traffic to people is good because it is directly targeted toward your audience who are more interested in what you have to say compared to those who are just scanning through listings on a search engine. Although, there are differences between the user’s intent between pulling and pushing traffic. When you are pulling traffic, people are actively seeking you out. So that means that at that moment and time, they are looking for you. With pushing traffic, you have to hope that when you broadcast your stuff out to people, that they are currently in the mindset that to want to actually read your stuff right then and there.
Pushing Versus Pulling Traffic
So timing plays a huge factor for pushing traffic because you need to know the right time to blast your content out to people. If you send your content out at the wrong time, then they might not be interested in reading it. At least with pushing, you have people looking for you. Whether they actually find you several pages from the front is another story.
Using popular social media platforms are a good way to broadcast your message to the world. Since they are so many people on there already, it can be difficult to be found. You pretty much have to be outrageous and make yourself really stand out from the crowd. Depending on the subject matter, you might have a harder time cracking that shell. Something that you should consider is knowing how to send the right kinds of messages to get people interested in your blog.
This might involve grouping similar articles together to add even more value in a social media post. This is why I recommend getting a good set of articles published on your blog first before you start social media. This way, you make a better first impression for your blog because you actually have stuff to read on there. Instead of just having a practically empty website and nothing for people to see when they visit.
Just thinking about launching a brand new store and nothing having enough merchandise or product for people to browse. They will probably not come back because you made a negative first impression on them. The same goes for your blog. You should have a blog well-stocked with articles because people might want to read more than one article on your blog. This is why you need a good supply of articles so that you can keep people on your website.
Sending out email newsletters is just as hard as getting your social media posts recognized. Most people will either delete or skip past your emails. You might even get some people unsubscribing from you.
This is why we become so fixated on traffic is because no matter the method we use to gain traffic, it is always difficult to capture. What we have to do is understand that this is how things work and it is just like life where things do not always go as planned. Most of us will just post stuff out there and it will never be read or gain traction.
Why Is Traffic Important?
The importance of traffic is due to the fact that your website cannot thrive without. This is the general notion that most people hold. WIthout traffic, your website is seen as a failure because people have become obsessed with using that as the sole metric to measure a website’s success. It is not like we can go against the grain anyway. If you plan to do business with people, your traffic speaks for itself. Your traffic is pretty much a way to tell people if your website is worth doing business with.
Why Are We So Obsessed With Traffic?
Since we eventually want to get recognition with all of the hard work that we have put into our website, traffic seems to be the thing that is always on our mind. This is why people chase search engine rankings so much and put so much time into SEO. Paying for ads is expensive for those who are just blogging as a hobby and are not willing or interested in incurring additional expenses. If you start out blogging for fun, then you are less likely to pay for ads. This means that most of our attention will be focused on getting traffic organically, which takes time and is not guaranteed. Search engines are brutal and ranking changes constantly throughout the day.
Is Traffic the Sole Measure of Blogging Success?
This question is easier to answer for the blogging hobbyist rather than a business. For a hobbyist, if you are writing to share your thoughts online with no actual goals in mind, then you have more freedom to do whatever you want. If you get traffic or not, you might not even care. You can measure the success of your blog just based on how many articles you write and share them with whoever you want. This is the fun and freedom of being just a hobbyist. Now contrast that with a business, who most live off traffic.
A business however, does not have the luxury of treating traffic as nothing. Traffic brings in customers, which leads to conversion and sales. Unfortunately, a business cannot live without traffic so it relies on traffic to measure its success. That is why the number one thing that businesses want on their website is traffic. All efforts to increase traffic are top priorities for business websites.
Finding Other Ways to Measure Success
This strictly applies to hobby blogs because they can get by without traffic if that is not a priority to them.
Here are some other ways that blogging hobbyists can use the measure success outside traffic:
- The amount of articles written
- How long the blog has been around for
- Who the blog has been shared with
- How much media is shared, photos, videos, documents
These are just some of the ways that hobbyists can use to determine the success of their blog. These are great ways to get your mind off traffic and focus on these other factors. The reason why is because you have full control over these other factors, not traffic. Traffic is something that we have indirect control over because of its nature. You have both your niche and competition to contend with. If you care not for those and just want to be happy blogging your heart out, then do not get so obsessed with traffic.
Defining Success in Your Own Terms
This is the great part about blogging as a hobby. You have so many ways to determine the success of your blog without relying on the traffic. When you consider these other factors, you will be relieved that traffic no longer plays a critical role in keeping you active. You will not have to fret about whether this article or that article got traffic or not. This is a really nice feeling because we want to enjoy blogging without having to think about the traffic every single time that we submit a new article.
Traffic, like money, makes the world go around. I started out giving an introduction to traffic, its source and importance. For those who seek traffic, they can come from several sources. You have search engines, paid ads, social media and email newsletters. When one method fails, consider other methods because there is more than one way to skin a cat.
I also discussed the difference between pushing and pulling traffic. Pulling traffic requires less effort but relies on people finding your drop in a bucket. Pushing is targeted towards an interested audience, but relies on them being interested in your article at the time that they receive the message. With pulling, your articles just sit on the search engine with active searchers. When you are on search engines, people are looking for your articles at that moment in time and are therefore more likely to click on your article.
Traffic is important because many businesses rely on them to generate sales. For hobbyists however, they might just like to blog for the fun of it and share it with a few people. Our obsession with traffic has to do with using a single metric that tells us that one website is “better” than another. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the web and traffic pretty much is the sole factor for anyone to take your website seriously.
For hobbyists, traffic is not the only sole factor that determines the success of a blog. You can measure blog success in many other different ways. You can measure blog success based on how many articles you have written, how long you have been blogging, who you have shared it with, and how many pictures or videos you have on it.