A couple of weeks ago on Freelance Writing Jobs I wondered if all traffic equals good traffic. Specifically, did I want to purposely stir up negativity and controversy as a way to increase traffic? Though I already knew the answer, I gave it a little test. Here’s what I found:
- Negative traffic stays long enough to make a negative impact and then it goes away. You can get on the front page of Digg as the result of a negative or controversial post, but as soon as your new visitors have had their fun, they’re gone. Very few will return on a regular basis. Most only come by to tell you you’re wrong. I’d rather focus my efforts on creating content that will keep people coming back for more, and stimulate intelligent and useful discussion among the members of my community.
- My community doesn’t like negativity. The members of my community at FWJ want to discuss freelancing, specifically freelance writing and blogging. They’re not so much interested in a lot of “you’re wrong and you suck” type comments. A couple of weeks ago when I received a rush of negative traffic, a couple of my regulars told me they weren’t comfortable visiting my blog when people were cursing and name calling. Though I deleted all the offensive posts, I would have alienated my community if I allowed it to continue.
- Negativity doesn’t mean ad revenue. When I received the negative traffic I didn’t do well, revenue wise. People who come to your blog to insult you and tell you you’re wrong aren’t going to click or buy anything. In comparison, I had major Stumble Upon traffic a few days later and revenue went way up.
- Your reputation is at stake. Do you want to be known for teaching something useful or for writing linkbait? See item number one above. Negativity begets negativity. Don’t expect something positive to happen at your blog when you’re stirring up the pot or doing your best to offend. If you want people to consider you an important resource, you’ll write important blog posts. If you want people to think you know how to attract negative publicity, continue to find controversy.
I think it’s possible to write good, link worthy posts that enlighten, inform and entertain without having to resort to negativity or controversy. Remember, when it comes to blogs, you reap what you sow. And that’s not always good.