Sometimes More Traffic Just Sucks

Today I’m going to talk to you about traffic and why “just more traffic” is a lame endeavor. Yep. I said it. Traffic for the sake of traffic is a near-fruitless venture.

If you live in the States then, surely, you’ve gone to large shopping malls; you’ve gone to Black Friday events, where people are in a hurry to get that one discounted super-buy… You’ve waited with these people, who are also going after what you’re going after. You’ve been inside the large discount markets, specialty retailers on sale days. The mass of bodies can be impressive. People are quick to get in and quick to get out…

On the other end of that spectrum, I think of a place called Powell’s City of books, in Portland. There’s always a consistent mass of people in that bookstore. It’s a well-known store, mind you. People go into the place, lose themselves and subsequently make purchases, have conversations or just sit down to read and take in that musty smell you can only get from a grand old bookstore, like Powell’s.

I note these two scenarios because I’m familiar with both of them. They each highlight, I feel, different approaches to getting feet through the door.

One method relies on creating promotions and incentives, essentially buying the traffic. There’s nothing wrong with it. But the sort of folks that respond often have little loyalty to such a place. Sure, people who want to save money will be back, but only when the prices are good and cheap; something that agrees with their pocket-book. The other scenario has built a platform, if you will and, yes, I’m referring to Powell’s here. They established a business over a wide span of time. Sure, they have their promotions and sales, too. But they do something else. They foster a community… And that community has spread all over. The reason I’m thinking about Powell’s right now is because I saw a gal wearing a Powell’s shirt in Downtown LA the other day… Crazy, yet awesome.

Let’s Talk About Why Some Traffic Sucks

Not too many folks know this, but I run a somewhat popular dating blog out there in the world. You can go find it, if it’s important to you. =)

I’ve seen the type of traffic it receives ebb and flow with different waves of folks getting involved in the discussions with the site. I can tell you that the site gets around 2,500 ~ 3,500 views or so each day. It’s not a staggering figure by any means, but it’s more than many other sites in the same genre. Also, the site ranks in the top 10 for a number of highly competitive and popular keywords such as “Online Dating Blog,” “Dating Advice Blog,” “Dating Blog” and several others… I’m not writing this so that I can boast about it. The reason I mention this is because those things don’t matter. Sure, they bring in traffic, lots of it, in fact. However, the traffic is shitty…

What makes traffic “shitty?” Pardon the phrasing, but I’m being blunt here.

I think there’s two types of traffic. Good traffic and blah traffic. Notice I didn’t say “bad.” Let’s talk about the “blah.” The site in question has well over one thousand posts, has been around for a long time and has content about very specific keywords that have helped bring in traffic consistently, almost entirely referral-based. What’s so “blah” about that? I’ll tell you! Visitors will come, peruse the content, bounce off and be done. Little other interaction is made.

People will come in, digest what they searched for, and then leave. That’s it. No comments, no likes or shares. How rude!!

The result is lots of blah traffic. Traffic that leaves a site with high bounce rates and little else. There’s infrequent and little interaction as far as community goes. When your traffic is “blah” then it’s harder to sell things, even if your audience is large. Your audience just doesn’t care enough about YOU or what you’re building.

Blah traffic doesn’t get shared; it doesn’t get talked about. Blah traffic leads to a lot of “window-shopping” with little to no buying of anything. It’s the typical case of the amazingly good-looking person with no brains. Great to look at, but you wouldn’t want to stick around for a conversation. That’s sort of what a site with “blah traffic” is like. True story.

Bringing it around…

I mention this because I’ll talk to folks who want to rank 1st page in Google for specific terms; I talk to folks who want to generate x amount of traffic in x amount of time… Yet people focus on building up all the other stuff first. Building a nice looking site, for starters; generating content without thinking about “why.”

I want this many followers of my blog and social media accounts blah, blah, blah. To succeed, you have to walk start at the end and understand the goal; why are we doing these things. WHY do we want to be first page of search results for term a, b or c? WHY do we care about how high we rank? What will that higher rank accomplish for us? Why will more traffic be better? What will we do with it once we get it?

Those are some questions I intend to answer in my next post.

For now, just remember that not all traffic is created equally… Until next time.

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