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I may make enemies of some of my fellow bloggers by saying this, but it has to be said…
The current best-practice idea that you need to “be everywhere” in order to build traffic is bad advice.
It’s bad advice because most people follow it at the wrong stage of their business development and lack the capabilities to pull it off.
There is a right time to focus on diversifying into multiple traffic streams, but for most people, especially bloggers, that window is far into your future.
In fact, as you will learn as you read through this series on blog traffic fundamentals, I’m going to argue that the complete opposite of the be everywhere strategy is by far a smarter choice.
More on that later…
The internet is full of platforms you can use to attract traffic and build an audience. Doesn’t it make sense to have a presence on all of them?
From search engine traffic, podcasting, to videos, social media, webinars, kindle books, paid advertising and affiliate marketing – they can all be used to drive people back to your blog and your business, so why not do so?
To cement the idea even further, if you look at the biggest blogs and the most famous bloggers, it appears they use everything. They seem to be everywhere.
I can’t exclude myself in this assessment – I have two podcasts, a Youtube channel, use Twitter and Facebook every day, attract search engine traffic and have affiliates promote my content, on top of running my blog and email newsletter.
Hence it makes sense you should emulate the most successful people right?
The problem with that logic is it doesn’t take into account your resources or situation.
A successful traffic strategy requires specialised skills and knowledge about each platform, not to mention the resources to apply what is necessary to generate significant traffic.
To put it simply, it’s not easy and requires work.
Your personal situation also dictates whether this is the right path. Are you still working a full time job? If so, it’s very hard to “be everywhere” – it’s hard enough just to maintain a blog, let alone everything else.
Your business must be in the right situation to capitalise on the traffic too. Why bother trying to be everywhere if you don’t have a mechanism to profit from it? And if you are successful, can you maintain a presence on so many platforms AND service all the people this brings you?
It’s a smart idea to at least setup up certain platforms when you first begin, such as you social media accounts, and use them as a way to share your blog content. However to realistically generate significant traffic requires more than passive use of these platforms – you need to devote significant time and resources to them.
Who has the time and resources to devote to so many platforms at once? I don’t and I bet you don’t either.
The common argument to help you expand on to multiple platforms and build your traffic is to outsource the work to other people.
Anyone who has ever gone through the hiring process to find someone to create videos for you, or manage your social media profiles, or any complex or creative task that involves content production, you know how difficult it is.
First you have to wade through all the not-so-good people to find someone who appears capable, reliable and is a good communicator. Then you have to explain what they need to do.
You also have to educate them on what exactly you and your business stand for so they know what your brand and positioning is about. You can’t have someone build a traffic platform for you if it doesn’t line up with your current strategy, or it will do more harm than good.
Let’s not forget outsourcing costs money. Even at low hourly rates, when you hire someone to handle a complex task and you expect a reasonable level of quality, the fee quickly adds up. You won’t have the cash flow to justify it early on.
Even if you get through all of this there is one big fundamental flaw – outsourcing sucks your own time and focus. It will slow you down before it has a chance to speed you up.
Instead of working on your blog and business, you will end up spending time training someone else. They will interrupt you, ask questions, need constant hand-holding… etc.
Of course eventually once trained up they can be an asset, but there is a training period you go through with every person you hire, especially for complex creative tasks, that will slow you down significantly.
That’s why outsourcing is not the solution to a traffic problem until your business is at the right stage for it.
Once again I’m going to argue against conventional wisdom and suggest for an emerging blogger you should NOT outsource.
Build a traffic channel and cash flow source first. Hire help to expand later when you are ready for it.
I’ve got one more myth to bust.
Although it appears that some people succeed at being everywhere and using all the top platforms for traffic, the truth is they don’t.
If you were to dig into their statistics you will see that the truly valuable traffic – the audience that makes them money – predominately comes from ONE or maybe at most, two channels.
Even though someone might be using videos, a podcast, social media, kindle books, and paid advertising, the truth is they are really only very good at one thing.
What you will find is their traffic sources follow an 80/20 power curve. This means that 80% of their traffic comes from 20% of the overall sources of traffic they have. In other words they really aren’t doing that good a job at getting traffic from 80% of what they do to get traffic.
Doesn’t it makes sense then to focus on the one truly effective source of traffic and ignore the rest?
Oh and in case you are wondering, although I do have a presence on many platforms I don’t get much traffic from most of them.
The lion-share of my traffic comes from organic search because what I am best at is content marketing. I’m a great blog writer and I’ve done it for long enough that I get rewarded with steady traffic.
My podcasts and videos help (and not just with traffic, but with branding and building trust too), but in terms of raw sources of traffic, my blog content brings in the most by a very wide margin.
I recently read a book called “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. His entire thesis argues that there is only ever ONE best thing you can do.
He takes the 80/20 rule and brings it down to the single most important thing. It’s the 20% of the 20% of the 20% down to just one most effective element.
I’m sure you can see where I am heading with this in terms of your traffic…
I believe to begin with you should not be everywhere, you should aim to dominate just one place. Become really really really good at just one thing.
Pick one platform or one method and get good enough that it brings in sufficient income for you to reach the next phase of you business growth. All that matters to begin with is cash flow so you can grow (and quit your job if you still have one).
Here are another two interesting points discovered from the research conducted by the author of the The One Thing -
Sequentially means you do one thing after another (the smart way).
Concurrently means you do several things at once (the inefficient way).
Sequentially means you focus on one thing, one traffic source, get the job done, then and only then move on to something else.
Concurrently is the same as trying to be everywhere at the same time. Spreading your focus, diluting your efforts and reducing your overall performance.
The women reading this might not agree with the statement that multi-tasking doesn’t work, but let me explain what that means before you judge.
The fact is your brain is not wired to do many things at once. It’s physically impossible when it comes to complex tasks. You can’t solve a mathematical equation at the same time as you compose a poem and plan what you are going to cook for dinner.
You can multi-task when it comes to combining different functions of your body – like eating a sandwich, while listening to an audiobook and taking notes with a pen, but you can’t for tasks that require your brain to solve problems or create things.
What you can do is switch tasks. You can go from writing a blog post, to replying to someone on Skype chat, to watching a webinar, and then back to your blog post.
The problem with this is you incur switching costs. This is the time you lose disconnecting from one task and re-engaging with another. Your brain doesn’t switch instantly, it needs to figure out where it was and get back into the flow.
This is why multi-tasking is inefficient and why you should stick to one thing, one core task that develops one core traffic source. The more focus and fewer elements at play, the quicker you will reach your desired outcome.
Perry Marshall summed it up best in his brilliant book, “80/20 Sales And Marketing“.
He said that there is a Ying and Yang to marketing – to traffic building.
The Ying is the one core marketing channel, the one best source of traffic you should focus on first to establish yourself.
The Yang are all the other ways you could market your business, all the other ways you could get traffic back to your blog.
The truth is that being as close to everywhere as you can and diversifying your traffic sources, if executed successfully, is how you reach the most people. It also keeps you safe from the “all your eggs in one traffic source” issue that can see your business disappear overnight (Google can wipe out income streams with a single change).
It’s also the path to make the most money. You need to reach a lot of buyers to make millions or even billions of dollars.
The problem is balancing the evolution from Ying into Yang. As I outlined, you can’t successful expand into multiple traffic streams until you have the resources that come from one core traffic source.
You need one quality source of traffic to fuel your early momentum and deliver cash flow so you can reach level one – a stable, profitable business. Once you reach this level, you have cash resources and a system that makes money, which can then be leveraged to roll out to other sources of traffic.
This is when you take the time to hire good people, train them well and put them to task to grow your business. You finally have the cash flow and stability to do it right.
There is a time and a place for everything, but you are probably doing the right thing for the wrong time, right now.
After all of this, what is the conclusion? What is your action step to start attracting traffic?
It’s simple: Begin a traffic technique testing process until you identify something that works, and then go hard developing it into the pillar of your business.
To guide you on what to test first, look for any existing advantages you can exploit to attract traffic.
An advantage might be based on a skill or talent you have, access to a certain resource (money or connections to people or a training program you can follow), or any established platforms you have developed previously.
Start with your advantages, test some traffic techniques and once you gain traction with one, go all in.
Don’t forget, every single super-star blogger you follow got to where they are because just one platform took off for them initially. They might appear to be everywhere now, but really it was one thing that provided their tipping point, giving them the momentum to expand on to more platforms.
Now you just need to find your one traffic source that works.
To continue this process and build your first consistent traffic stream, give yourself an advantage, download my newest guide created specifically to help you attract your first 1,000 blog readers.
The package includes 100 proven traffic techniques. You then select five-to-ten of the techniques to begin testing immediately, so you can finally feel what it’s like to have a popular blog.
I guarantee if you work your way through my guide, set up the right foundations and then test the techniques I provide until you find what works, you will have your traffic breakthrough.
In part two of this blog traffic fundamentals series I will reveal to you the single biggest secret behind the new blogging model you should follow.
It’s a simple idea, one rooted in the fundamentals of what makes a business work from long before we had the internet.
You can move on to part two here:
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