What is more important: quality or quantity?
The easy answer to this long and heated debate is both are very important – and I’ll give you that, they both are, but for free content I am in the quantity camp. Go ahead and paste me and leave 1,000 comments telling me I’m wrong – I don’t care, I will read them and answer each of them when I get back from the bank where I am depositing my checks.
Quality will keep people coming back, it will give you an audience, and it will – more importantly – make you an authority figure in your niche. Quality is often the most common excuse I hear when people aren’t producing quantity. If you know how to write and you have a topic you are truly passionate about then just about everything you produce will (or at least should) be quality.
If I go to a blog and I read something I like I may bookmark it or at least go back. If I go back and it hasn’t changed or it hasn’t updated I still may go back, but the less it gets updated, the less I will go back. The less I go back, the less it becomes part of my routine. The less it is part of my routine, the more likely I am to forget about it altogether. My next step is one day I am looking at all of my bookmarks and I don’t even remember what site that was and I delete it.
1. How Much Traffic Is A Lot Of Traffic Or Enough Traffic?
This is one of my favorite questions and no matter what number you say, well, it doesn’t really matter.
The first day that I had over 3,000 unique visitors I thought I had a lot of traffic; in fact, people told me “that’s a lot of traffic”. Last month when I had 650,000 visitors my ad agency said “that’s a lot of traffic”. When I first went over a million page views in a month I thought that was a lot of traffic, now it’s a slow month. (And yes, that picture is my real Google Analytics, the reason it is flat the first year is I changed my URL.)
What I am getting at here: it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
If I had an affiliate ad that paid a 50 percent commission and the product costs $2000, and I had a 50 percent conversion rate monthly, well then 30 or 40 visitors a month would do the trick, at least as a start, and I would probably be grinding it out with a few other income streams as well. If I was running CPM advertising and the CPM’s were paying 50 cents to a dollar, about two million page views a month would be a good start.
The answer here is pretty easy, at least for me, the more the merrier. Now I hear and read people writing about good traffic and not good traffic, traffic that comes from this source or that source, I personally don’t get it nor does it make the least bit of sense to me.
The more traffic you have, the more you can do and the more options you have as far as monetizing. If you have a lot of traffic, more than likely it is coming from a lot of different sources. Some will be “good” some will be “not good” (by some people’s standards, but if you are CPM advertising with a reasonable rate all traffic creates income and is therefore good as far as I’m concerned), but as a whole it will give you a broader and larger audience to throw as many different types of monetization methods at it as you feel.
If you have a smaller audience and less traffic, you have fewer options. If you are looking for a hard number to shoot for – I would say at 250,000 visitors a month and you will notice things change, as the do the contacts you make.
2. Be Creative Or Be Informative?
I love this one as recently someone told me in a forum that because I use a schedule for what I am going to post that I can’t be creative – wanna bet?
I use my schedule both as a communication tool with my staff as well as an outline of what we want and need to cover. The schedule sets a specific timeline and, most importantly, prevents two people from working on the same thing at the same time as each of us are scattered about the world in my truly global company.
So when it comes to our scheduled articles, maybe we are less creative when it comes to a topic, but there hasn’t been anyone in our highly competitive niche that has been more creative than us. I hear a lot of feedback (also a byproduct of our growth: more visitors = more feedback) and one of the more common things I hear is how we are different.
Much of our “difference” has all been part of the creative process. Every day we are creating and being creative, but at the same time we are informative. What, in fact, we are creating are new ways to be informative and presenting material to our audience in ways and formats that didn’t previously exist. Without the schedule, we wouldn’t have time to do the other things that have moved us forward.
3. Cheap Tech Work Vs. Doing Your Own Tech Work Vs. Expensive Tech Work
A lot of beginners think they are saving a lot of money and learning something valuable by doing their own tech work. They are half right on a good day. Doing your own tech work and taking the time to learn to do your own tech work just are not worth it. At a certain point you are costing yourself more than you are saving.
Many bloggers have big plans for their blog and place a high value on it, but are willing to work for what amounts to be pennies. They waste valuable time. They could be doing something that directly brings in income, but instead they are doing tech work on their own site. Much of this tech work when done by someone with solid experience could be done in a fraction of the time.
While learning the ins and outs of the technical makeup of your blog does have some value – the value is that you can provide quick fixes later or when your tech person you hire is talking you will understand what they are saying. Outside of those two things, both you can easily live and prosper without, there is no value. Certainly not enough value to make up for the lost time, crucial time, that is wasted, which you could have used to work on something that will build your traffic and income, or at least get you a lot closer to directly doing those things.
The same can be said for cheap tech work. I am sure there are some great inexpensive tech people out there, I have just never come across any. What I find is that when I spend $400 on something that should cost me $2,000, I end up spending the $400 and then the $2,000 I would have spent anyways, but now have endured the added time and aggravation to get the project completed.
Pay attention to the signs. If there is a bad sign, like something you made clear that isn’t done correctly, bail right then. Do not wait. Do not hesitate. Chalk the financial loss to a learning experience and let go. I still do this today but less and less.
4. How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Most people over value their blog, it’s natural. Many mistake the blood, sweat, and tears and expenses that they put into their blog as actual monetary value, they simply aren’t the same thing. Like anything that is sold it is only worth what someone is willing to pay and in most cases people will base that on what timeframe they can recoup their initial investment.
Every blog and just about everything for that matter has potential. Things that are more valuable are those things that are beyond potential and are a viable working business with current income. Few blogs are worth more than the registration value left on their domain until it needs to be renewed. Others are worth millions. It’s rare that this comes down to perception, there needs to be substance to back it up. This leads me to the next topic…
5. How Much Can I Charge For Advertising On My Blog?
Most people feel that advertising space is worth a lot of money on their blog. Some are right, but most aren’t even in the ball park.
The most valuable traffic and the only traffic I would consider paying advertising for is targeted traffic. In other words, I want to make people who are unaware of my blog aware that it exists and share its merits with them. I also hope I have something that interests them enough to become a regular reader and a premium member. If I am super lucky they have some friends with a similar interest and they will share their new find with them.
I see CPM advertising ranging from 10 cents to 10 dollars, sometimes even more. Even if you find a really good agency the advertiser has the right to advertise, or not, on your blog. For CPM advertising the more traffic you get, the better deals you can get, it’s really that simple. Use the 250,000 unique visitors a month rule here; when you pass that number you get out of the 20 cent range and into better deals.
For text links a lot of that is based on Pagerank. I don’t sell text links anymore, I don’t trade links, and I don’t buy links, so I am probably not the right person to talk to. The last time I sold a link I had a Pagerank six, by the time it stopped running I was a four. The Pagerank doesn’t make my articles index higher, I think it just lets me charge more for text links? If you guys know – let me know.
As far as just selling monthly ad spots, once again I am no expert here and because Yaro is kind enough to let me talk about something other than sports a few times a month, I am not going to even pretend to know much about this. I get contacted with inquiries regarding it often. When people ask what I make from a similar or the same space each month from CPM advertising, the discussion usually ends when the potential buyer sees the number.
6. What Rankings Are Important?
Here is something I know a lot about, and if you ever take one thing from any of my articles, print this, clip it out, glue it to your refrigerator, your laptop, and everywhere else you look:
There is no more worthless and outright idiotic ranking than Alexa.
The Alexa ranking is based on visitors who visit a site, but only those visitors that have the Alexa toolbar.
Go to any sporting event, the subject of my blog, and ask any 1,000 people in attendance if they know what Alexa or the Alexa toolbar is. If you can find more than five I would be shocked. In fact, I had no idea what it was either until I started blogging.
Now ask a room full of bloggers, do it at one of the Blogworld or affiliate conferences and ask how many people know what Alexa or the Alexa toolbar is; my guess is it will close to 100 percent know, and the only reason it wouldn’t be 100 is you may come across a maintenance worker or bar tender who may not know.
Now since Alexa only counts visitors with the toolbar – who is likely to have a higher ranking? A blogger who writes about and caters to bloggers where 100 percent of their readers use the Alexa toolbar, or a sports guy like me who had 650,000 unique visitors last month and close to 10 million page views? Well, if the blogger has .05 percent ( not 5 percent, five one hundredths of one percent) of the traffic I get, they will have the higher Alexa ranking, that’s how stupid this concept is, and just how worthless.
The only metrics that count when it comes to making real money from advertising, and by real money I mean a minimum of a mid-five figures monthly and into six figures during the busy months, are Comscore and Net Ratings.
Comscore is what ad agencies show to their clients. It is a paid service and isn’t cheap, but is considered real numbers and what someone buying advertising in $100,000 to million dollar blocks look at.
Net Ratings is done by the same fine people who do the Nielsen Ratings for TV, the A.C. Nielsen Company. This data is all about demographics of the readers of a site. This is how people who spend the big bucks advertise know they are targeting their correct market. This stuff is interesting to me at first, but as you may feel right now, it makes my head spin and that’s why my agencies earn their cut, they handle all of this for me.
7. How Important Are Twitter, Facebook, And Other Social Media?
Like I’ve said before, I don’t know everything and about these services, but I stick to a very basic strategy that has served me well. If I am going to spend one second of time or effort to get people to my blog, I better have plenty there to keep them there and keep them coming back.
I’ll admit it, I put these things down and am somewhat dismissive of them because I’m not good at them. I don’t understand why people spend so much effort on it when I know I could spend that same time and effort on things I know will either definitely get me traffic or definitely make me money.
If someone has good answers here and tangible results to show me I am all ears and can probably fit you in my budget if you can show a return on your work. If you are going to build me a pretty page and that’s it, I still wouldn’t get it.
I get plenty of questions and read even more as I am trying to become more active in the blogging community. I can always learn something and usually do. Hopefully, I will get a chance to see and answer your question in the near future.
Photo courtesy of Jordanhill School D&T Dept