Chasing Traffic – Why Most Bloggers Fail #9

CNA Finance PF MVP Award Week 5

Hey everyone! Wow…it’s almost hard to believe that we’re already on week 9 of this series. As always, your support really means a ton to me! As far as the lesson goes today, we’re going to talk about something that really hindered my ability to make money even 9 months to a year into my first blog. I knew that traffic would bring me money, so all I really thought about was traffic. Night and day, I would be doing one thing or another to chase traffic. That eventually lead to some pretty harsh realities. With that said, today, I’m going to give you a few examples of chasing traffic, and share with you some things that you can do to better spend your time! Before we get to all of that, we’ve got another Personal Finance MVP to award for a stellar performance this week…

This Week’s PF MVP Goes To…James!

As many of you already know, this week’s nominees were chosen by Debt Debs. Although I’ve happened across Retirement Savvy here and there, I never seemed to have the time to really give the blog a chance any of the times I stumbled upon it. Well, when Debs nominated James, I figured “I’ve gotta get to know this blog!” So, I’ve been following faithfully now for a week; and James, you’ve got a new fan! When I started digging through the posts at Retirement Savvy, I really started to enjoy the personality strewn throughout the entire blog. With great tips, information, and personal stories, I can definitely see why you’ve voted him as your MVP for this week! Thank you James for continuing to add value to the finance community!

Chasing Traffic And Why It Will Make You Fail

Remember that girl (or guy) in school that you really wanted to be your girlfriend (or boyfriend), but she (or he) didn’t “like you like that”? Do you remember how bad you wanted that relationship? I know…pathetic, right? Although you were a good lookin’, talented kid, in her (or his) eyes, your desperation was just a turn off! As failure persists, you get more and more drained. Eventually, you start to wonder…

Is it even worth it anymore?

Chasing Traffic Does The Exact Same Thing

Believe it or not, chasing girls (or boys) that don’t want to give you the time of day is a lot like chasing traffic. When I first started blogging, I was a huge traffic chaser. I was on websites and forums finding bigger and better ways to get traffic. The only thing wrong with this whole thing is that the techniques I put into play would generally fail. If something did work, it brought traffic that would bounce fast for a day or two and that was it! Here are some of the biggest mistakes I made chasing traffic while I ran my first blog (That turned out to be a complete failure!)…

  • I Took Part In Traffic Exchanges - Traffic exchanges are websites that allow you to browse other websites in an i frame and count the sites you visit. In return they send other website owners to your site. Most of them have 15 second minimum view limits. So, what I would see is a huge spike in traffic that lasted somewhere between 15 and 17 seconds on one page. That’s just enough to get through the first couple of sentences in a post! (epic fail)
  • I Purchased Traffic - Have you ever come across those sites that say “we’ll give you 1,000 hits for $10″? Well, I have too, and I tried them. I’ve probably spent $2k or $3k buying traffic in bulk. In the end, it turned out to be the same type of traffic I got from traffic exchanges and was a complete waste of my money. (epic fail #2)
  • I Took Part In Automation - I remember when I first came across the concept of spinning one article into thousands and mass publishing them everywhere, or sending a robot out to do comments for you. When I first started, I saw little increases in my traffic. A few months later, I finally started making a tiny bit of money right before Google said “Uh Uh buddy, you go bye bye!” and slapped me with a dried up Penguin! Needless to say, that was the end of blog #1. (Even Epicer Fail) (Epicer Fail meaning – OOOOOOUUUUUUCCCCCCHHHHHHH…coined term CNA Finance (lol))

The Fundamental Issue With Chasing Traffic

If you’re chasing traffic, you adopt a very singular focus. The bottom line is…all traffic chasers care about is traffic. Although traffic is a great thing, there’s far more important things to worry about. After all, if you do other things right, traffic just comes…well, organically (imagine that)! When you’re chasing traffic, you don’t give yourself time to think about…

  • Stellar Articles - I know, everyone says it, CONTENT IS KING. Do you know why they say that? Because it’s true! If you throw something together in an hour because you need a piece of content for this or that keyword, no one’s going to actually want to read it! You have to take your time when writing posts, bring in a little personality, and most importantly take a unique approach generally providing a solution to a real problem.
  • Relationship Building - The most important thing I’ve done for my blog aside from making sure to take my time on articles is relationship building! This involves commenting, reaching out to bloggers in your community, being active in social networks, and most of all, actually caring about the people you connect with in the process. The simple fact is, it’s almost impossible to have a successful blog if you’re not willing to become part of the blogging community!
  • User Experience - Although writing awesome articles is a big part of user experience, it’s not the only part. As a blog owner, you have to think about things like how fast a page loads, how many ads are on a page, ease of navigation, color combinations, and more. It’s your job to make sure that when someone visits your blog, it doesn’t take a year and a day to load, it’s visually appealing, and it’s not convoluted with ads.

The Bottom Line

It’s kind of funny when you think about it. If you’re chasing traffic, traffic is going to be hard to come by; but if you’re working on the few things I mentioned above, traffic is going to come naturally. Thanks for joining me today everyone, see ya next week for the next “Why Most Bloggers Fail” edition. Don’t forget to vote for your MVP in the comments!

This Week’s PF MVP Nominees

To vote for your MVP, leave a comment below or email your vote to CNAFinanceHelp@gmail.com!

Even Steven @ Even Steven Money

Mr. Frugalwoods, Mrs. Frugalwoods, and Frugal Hound @ Frugal Woods

Kirsten @ Indebted Mom

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46 responses

  1. Thanks for the kind words, Josh and thanks for taking the time to establish the Personal Finance MVP of the Week. A great idea! And of course, thanks to Debt Debs for the nomination which led to the win. For those that haven’t had a chance to check out her site, they should absolutely do so. It is great being part of a community that has an interest in interacting with readers, and each other, in the pursuit of greater knowledge for all.
    SavvyJames recently posted…I Don’t Plan to RetireMy Profile

    • Hey SavvyJames, my pleasure. It was fun putting this thing together. I wanted to come up with a reason for more discussion between bloggers and a little friendly competition. It’s going pretty well so far! Debs does have an awesome site! Thanks for swinging by!

  2. This might be a little foolish on my part, but I’ve never been that concerned with traffic or stats. I didn’t start out to make money from my blog, I just wanted to be a part of the community. I’ve received traffic by engaging with other bloggers, and I’ve pretty much kept with that. I never really expected anyone to care about my blog, so it’s been a pleasant surprise! My next step is to tackle a redesign.

    I’d like to vote for Mrs. Frugalwoods and Frugal Hound!
    E.M. recently posted…Being Grateful: Thirty-Sixth EditionMy Profile

    • Like you, the traffic or stats don’t drive what I do and my focus is not on making money from the blog. However, I do recognize that there isn’t a point in doing the blog if I am the only one – along with my wife, my dog and three friends – reading the blog posts and participating (e.g. commenting, sharing on social media). For me, in order to make it worth doing, there needs to be a minimal level of engagement with regular readers looking to learn more about personal finance, in general, and retirement planning more specifically as that is the focus of my blog. Therefore, I do monitor traffic and make adjustments with that in mind.
      SavvyJames recently posted…Looking for ChangeMy Profile

    • That’s not foolish at all EM. As a matter of fact, I’ve learned that the less I care about stats, the better they become. Thanks for swinging by…and your vote is counted!

  3. I have never cared about the traffic on my site. I really just want it to be a place for me to hang out and share my thoughts and hopefully help people along the way. I know that I could probably make changes to get more traffic or try to earn money from the blog, but it’s just not my goal for having a blog.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Weekly RoundupMy Profile

  4. I did some of these things when I first started out too! Those traffic exchanges are a joke. Luckily I didn’t put that much money into them. I think I actually used the versions where it’s free and you get/use tokens. Every so often I see a new version of these gimmicks. I hope others learn that they aren’t worth the effort.
    Jon @ Money Smart Guides recently posted…Following Your Passion In RetirementMy Profile

    • I’ve used a few different types of exchanges. Most of them ran on credits like what you’re explaining…and you’re right…they’re garbage!

  5. Participating in the community is the best part of having a blog. It helps your blog, but most importantly it just makes everything more fun! Another fantastic and helpful post :).

    And my vote goes to all of the frugal folks at Frugalwoods.
    Autumn @ The Barefoot Budgeter recently posted…Cash is Evil!My Profile

  6. I used to look at my stats every hour and got depressed when I didn’t see any increase! I stopped doing it after I read an article about something along the line with “don’t pay attention to the traffic, pay attention to the human being that reads your content” and since then I’ve been reading about how to increase engagement, how to write better content, how to promote content the right way, etc pretty much how to make my blog more user friendly.
    Poor Student recently posted…Eating Healthy on a Student BudgetMy Profile

    • Hey Poor Student, I’m glad you’ve changed your focus. It’s amazing how things change when you stop worrying about traffic and stats and start worrying about your audience. Thanks for swinging by!

  7. I enjoyed your post, I think as a new blogger it is hard sometimes to not look at traffic and wonder when it is going to come, but to instead just continue on writing quality articles. To me the blog is a great outlet and helps in making my own personal decisions and to build upon my knowledge in doing these things.

    As for this week’s Nominee’s that is difficult, I have been to all of their blogs and enjoy them. Can’t choose all three, right? Hmm maybe Kirsten at indebted mom… hard choice!
    Kipp recently posted…Life Is Short – You Only Live OnceMy Profile

    • Hey Kipp, I definitely understand, I’ve been there too. But, trust me, just focus on quality content and relationship building…the traffic will come! Thanks for your vote too!

  8. Well, in a sense, aren’t we all chasing traffic? While I blog because I enjoy it, if I am not getting the traffic, then there is no point in sharing the content. Content is king, but traffic is a result. We chase traffic by producing great content and networking. We want to grow our blogs and thus we chase traffic. We just do it in an organic way instead of paying for it.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted…Credit Sesame Review – Get Your Free Credit Score and MonitoringMy Profile

  9. I’ve never done any of those things to get traffic to any of my blogs because I guess.. that’s just not the traffic I want. I want authentic traffic that comes to my blog because they want to read something on it. I guess there are a lot of bloggers who do those things though so yours is a good warning and lesson!
    Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter recently posted…Why Cheaper Isn’t Always BetterMy Profile

  10. Hey Josh, I’ve only recently come across your site, but I love this series you’ve got going. It’s fascinating to hear all these crazy techniques that people can attempt for chasing traffic – I feel like a real amateur not having heard of any of them!

    I’m just finding that if one or two people happen to comment that they enjoyed reading a post, I’m thrilled! I’m definitely not in the ‘traffic building’ mindset at the moment, and am taking things very slow – I’m just enjoying being a tiny speck in this great personal finance blogging world! It’s great fun! Thanks for sharing your experiences and helping us new bloggers learn a thing or two!
    Jason @ Islands of Investing recently posted…The Liebster award! (and a few things about me)My Profile

  11. Good stuff! It’s always been tempting to buy traffic, but I never gave in. I just stick with integrity and write the best content I possibly can. I know my blog will continue to grow if I focus on creating the best resource I can for people.

    I have started spending much more time on each article and making each article a goldmine of resources and information. I write because I love to write and I think that will help me in the end.

    Great article!
    Kalen @ MoneyMiniBlog recently posted…24 Things That Are More Likely to Happen Than Winning the LotteryMy Profile

  12. Hi Josh,
    I am not a blogger but enjoy reading your blog and consider blogging someday, this series has been very helpful. I get a ton of information from your blog and I often click your links to other blogs and also to the bloggers that comment so I am proof that it works!
    Thanks so much!

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