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An Interview (with Me) on Getting ‘Fast Traffic’ to a Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 28th of January 2009 Pro Blogger Interviews 0 Comments

A couple of weeks back I was sent these questions as part of an interview that someone wanted to do in the writing of a book.

In the end the person doing the interview couldn’t use it – so I’ve decided that rather than waste the significant time I put into responding that I’d post the answers here.

The focus of the interview seemed to be going down the route of getting ‘fast traffic’ to a blog. You’ll see this theme coming up numerous times in the questions and probably sense a little of my frustration with the idea in my answers. I hope you find the interview useful.

1. Please introduce yourself to our readers…

My name is Darren Rowse, I live in Melbourne Australia with my wife ‘V’ and two boys (aged 6 months and 2 and a half). I’ve been blogging for a little over 6 years. It started completely as a hobby but gradually grew into a part time and then full time job (and then beyond). I’ve written a book on blogging (called ProBlogger), am the cofounder of the b5media blog network and over the years have started around 30 blogs (although only concentrate on 3 today). I’m also a keen photographer and love to read.

2. What blogs do you own, which one is your favorite, and why did you start it?

I personally own and edit three blogs today – ProBlogger (a blog about blogging), Digital Photography School (a blog to help digital camera owners get the most from their cameras) and TwiTip (my most recent blog – a blog focusing upon Twitter Tips).

I enjoy each blog for different reasons but I guess if I had to give up two and keep one the one I’d keep would be ProBlogger – simply because it is the oldest of the three (although not the biggest – DPS is gets more traffic) and one that I’ve put most time and effort into over the years.

I started ProBlogger simply because it was a blog I wanted to read myself. I was experimenting with making blogging a business but no one else was writing about that at the time – so I thought I’d start it and journal what I was learning.

3. what is the number one thing you learned about blogging that has impacted your bottom line, that thing that makes the difference between succeeding and failing in this business?

There are so many things and to isolate one is difficult (and perhaps not that helpful as great blogs are built upon many factors and rarely just one thing).

However if I had to choose one thing it’d be that successful blogs are ‘useful’ blogs in one way or another.

Blogs need to meet a need or solve a problem that potential readers have. The need might seem frivilous (the need to be entertained for example) or it could be a need for information, community, news etc.

Meet a need and you give people a reason to subscribe to your blog and to pass it on to others. Create a blog that doesn’t really prove useful in any way and you’re unlikely to build a successful blog.

4. If you have to bring instant visitors to your blog in the next 30 minutes, what steps will you follow?

If you’re expecting big traffic quickly you’re asking the wrong guy. My strategy has always been to write content that people will want to read now – but also for years to come. Some call this ‘evergreen’ content and it takes time to write. It might not bring traffic quickly but if you write something that is still relevant in a year or more you’ll continue to draw traffic to it.

I’m sorry if that doesn’t answer your question but to be honest there’s a lot of bloggers looking for quick traffic and quick money and a lot of people promising to teach them how to get it – but that’s not my experience of blogging.

Take a long term view, build something that matters and you’ll build a blog that grows in traffic over the long haul.

5. Most bloggers like to get passive traffic… What are the one time actions we can do which will keep on bringing traffic without any effort after that?

Once again I’m afraid my answer could disappoint…. I’m not really someone who has found too many actions that will bring traffic (or income) without any effort after you do them.

The only real exception to that is to write brilliant content. When you do this it has the potential to bring traffic to your blog (via search engines) for years to come. This in turn can lead to ongoing income.

Other than that I’ve not really found too much about blogging that is ‘passive’. It’s a lot of work over the long haul.

6. What’s your most effective traffic generating strategy which works every time for you and gives the best return in terms of traffic regarding to your time spent?

Outside of writing useful and high quality content (am I sounding like a broken record yet) I’d say it is engaging in social media communities. For me one of these has been Twitter (for others it’ll be sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, MySpace, Facebook etc). These social networking and social bookmarking sites have the potential to spread word of your site or posts on it virally through the network and beyond.

It takes a lot of time to build up these networks to the point that they are effective at driving a lot of traffic. Start building your networks now.

7. What are your top 3 traffic sources and how exactly do you attract traffic from each of those sources?

  • Google – write good content, build relationships with other bloggers and website owners in the hope that they’ll link to you, learn basic search engine optimization techniques and stick at it for the long haul.
  • 2. Direct Traffic – this traffic is largely from readers who subscribe to my blogs via RSS or newsletters. The key with this is to convert first time readers to your blog into loyal readers by interacting with them, displaying subscription methods prominently, calling readers to action and building anticipation in visitors to your blog that you’ll write something that they’ll not want to miss in future.
  • 3. Social Media – this is about building your network over time, writing the type of content that goes well in these networks (research what types of stories go viral on these sites) and making connections with others on the networks.

8. Let’s say you lose your name, contacts and everything. You have to start from scratch as a “nobody”. What will you do then for the next 30 days so that your blog will start getting 1000 unique visitors each and every day?

I’m not sure it’ll make 1000 visitors a day within 30 days the way I’d do it but I’d probably spend time investing into

  • writing great content
  • offering to guest post on other blogs (linking back to my own blog)
  • networking on social media sites
  • and even investing a little money into advertising on sites like Facebook and StumbleUpon (where you can advertise fairly cheaply).

Other than that I’d be wanting to take a longer term view than 30 days and concentrate on building a useful blog with lots of content over time.

9. What else would you like to share, something that our readers can immediately apply to their blogs and see results fast?

Forget the word ‘fast’.

Really – forget it.

You can probably use some techniques to get fast traffic but a more profitable strategy over the long haul is to build a blog that people become loyal to and proud to belong to over the long haul. Do this and they’ll pass on word of your blog to others for you and in the long haul you’ll see bigger growth.

In my experience – the only times I’ve had ‘fast traffic’ to my blog is once a blog has been going for significant time and after I’ve invested a lot of time and energy into it. While the traffic might come in fast – the reality is that it was only as a result of a lot of hard work in building the foundations of the blog.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Forget the word ‘fast’ – Agree with you Darren.hehe With millions of blogs out there, there is no way on getting “fast”. May it be fast money or fast traffic.


  2. Darren, this is one of the gems you have produced. Straight, hard hitting and so true. Unfortunately, large number of newbies want quick success without putting the amount of effort that is needed.

    They only need to read your biography and learn how you have worked hard consistently for years to reach here. Great post.

  3. I too loved the line, “Forget the word fast.” Brilliant, perfect, and true. Lot of fun to read the interview with yourself Darren, Thanks.

  4. Hi Darren,

    Great interview! I can see why the guy didn’t use it – you didn’t answer the questions correctly, but you did answer them truthfully. Time, time, quality content and more time.

  5. Great interview, good questions good answers. It s very true on you say “Forget the word fast.”

  6. Thank you for your honesty and realistic attitude!

  7. Agree with @StephenD, it’s pretty clear why the guy didn’t use it and why it makes a good post for your site.

    The people that say making money online is dead and AdSense is dead and affiliate marketing is dead and blogging is dead are the same people that can’t “forget the word fast”.


  8. The interviewer may not be able to use your answers, Darren, but I sure can. Thanks again for great content!

  9. What a funny and awkward interview.

    You should have just said: “OH! You want a fast way to get traffic? All you need is to wear pink suspenders while writing. Works every time.”


  10. Hi Darren,

    You had some success with “fast traffic” see https://problogger.com/the-day-250000-people-showed-up-at-my-blog-case-study/

    But you are right blogging is not a fast rich scheme, you need to work hard and then on the long term you will see the benefits.

    Thanks again for the great post.

    From Darren: yep, it was fast, although it only really came after 6 years of building up my network, traffic etc so that the social media rush of traffic could come in :-)

  11. Isnt that a spelling mistake “interterview” in title of the post ?

    From Darren: Fixed!

  12. Nice post, Darren. Like the others above, I love the “fast” putdown, as well as your honesty and clarity. I don’t understand why you’ve cluttered your site with Hendry Lee’s meanderings — they are tedious, obvious and poorly written. But it was a pleasure to read Jenny Cromie, a real pro.

  13. It seems that the interviewer is really obsessed about “fast” traffic, good luck to him!

  14. Man this interviewer is really hacking away at the whole “fast-traffic” thing.

    It’s nice to see that you stuck to quality content because at the end of the day I think going viral is somewhat out of our hands. I’ve heard you and many others say that if you’re in blogging for quick money you’ll most likely be very disappointed. Great interview.

  15. A great little article. I always want instantaneous traffic but I know, waiting is the best game.

  16. Another insightful post. Hard to argue against the draw of great content. In fact, I’d say Problogger is the perfect example — useful content is why I subscribe and read faithfully.

  17. Excellent answer and not falling for the interviewers questions. Bloggers must think long term and your site contains years of advice that all of us have to together.
    There is no fast buck. Everything has to be earned.

  18. Yeah iam agree with you.. No body can get rich without using they time..and i like it about make your network..like me use friendster and twitter. To get more traffic.

  19. I think you can get fast traffic, but it requires a fast blog, with multiple posts every day. That’s a lot of work, and usually requires and ‘in’ in whatever niche you’re blogging about. I’m much more comfortable with the whole ‘evergreen’ tactic. I’d much rather take the time to write something that can be read over and over and for years than some quick news post nobody will care about by the end of the day.

  20. LOL I just noticed your title.


  21. Great replies to all the questions!

    I wonder, in reading this, if his thoughts might have been geared towards strategies that will bring a large amount of traffic to your blog just for the purpose of being seen.

    Obviously it takes hard work and great content over a period of time. But it does help to get those big bursts in traffic to assist you in even starting to be seen.

    Then once that traffic gets there, it’s up to the blogger to already have the content in place to keep those visitors.

  22. Lovely interview.
    I loved your answers. And hey! You don’t sound like a broken record :p


  23. Yes. He’s human!

    It makes Darren even greater!

  24. Quote: “I’m sorry if that doesn’t answer your question but to be honest there’s a lot of bloggers looking for quick traffic and quick money and a lot of people promising to teach them how to get it – but that’s not my experience of blogging.”
    This is so so true. Almost everywhere you see people that want to teach you how to get traffic quickly or make money quickly. I totally agree with you, the content is what brings people to your blog, not some magic trick you don’t know about.
    Great work with this post! I love it.


  25. No fast traffic is right. You have to write good content and it takes months if not years to get it going. I spent all my time at first just writing. Traffic will come sooner or later if your blog is good.

  26. chris says: 01/28/2009 at 2:04 am

    Darren – what an interview! haha.

    I can feel that it was getting awkward towards the end but why didn’t he use it? I thought that he should have. These are the correct answers to his questions. :)

  27. Darren – Thanks for sharing. I have just launched my blog and I actually started with a case study on launching a blog. It revolves around the idea of building good content (I hope!), getting involved in the blogging community (comments), and other efforts to start driving traffic.

    I am only at it for a couple of weeks now, but it is exciting to see when people come, leave comments, and engage. They can’t do that if you write crap. Thanks for taking the time to write high quality content for us all.

  28. Great stuff – it’s good to keep this in perspective as a beginning blogger. Good advice never fails!

  29. I don’t know anyone who has really made fast money whilst at the same time doing/selling anything worthwhile. Good for you for clamping down on that.

    I think the key is writing content that remains readable for a long time – the evergreens that you mention. And that should be the mantra for anyone writing almost anything, even tweets and e-mails. It’s a good way to approach editing your words.

    – Andy

  30. You are a true craftsman v. girlsgonewild junk pusher! I would like to know if you get lots of hyper traffic, what is it really worth? I’m sure there must be some formula for how many hits for $$, like 100:$1. Loved how you kept taking that pony back to the corral. Content Content Content

  31. “Fast” does not really work. I have had the experience (like I know most peopla have). I find google sends me most of my traffic and that comes because of the content. Over time, every blog becomes an archive of good content if the owner is good enough. At that time, the search engines cant get enough of refering people there. Thats when the traffic starts. It sure takes time.

  32. This advice is encouraging for me as someone with a relatively new blog. Everyone wants some form of traffic or they wouldn’t post publicly, and understanding that it could take time to generate readers helps set realistic expectations.

    I think out of all the social networking tools, Twitter is fast becoming the most pwerful for driving traffic.

  33. Well, Darren, I am glad you included this for us.

    The people who did not include it are just plain nuts. Maybe they are not ready for the “Rowse Straight Talk Express.”

    You are one of the few who encourage the smaller blogs to stay in there – do good work – enjoy it – and not expect to be a millionaire.

    (At least for quite a while)

  34. Great Interview, I loved your answers because you didn’t tell them a bunch of fluff to make them happy. Instead you told them the truth and probably opened their eyes a little about their book idea of fast traffic.

  35. great interview :), yes, there’s no fast track

  36. Bravo! My blog has been steadily building over the last two years to the point where I’m starting a company. Slow and steady is the only effective way. It’s nice to hear someone say it like it is!

  37. LOL! No wonder he couldn’t use it! He definitely asked the wrong person for a fast fix.

  38. Was the reason he couldn’t use it simply because he was going for the whole “fast” nonsense? I.E. If you won’t sell my readers unrealistic goals, then no thanks?

    From Darren: Actually the reason it couldn’t be used wasn’t that he didn’t like the answers – but simply that after sending me all these questions he then wanted to send me another 7-8 followup questions and I simply didn’t have the time to spend another couple of hours on an interview :-)

  39. Darren, your dedication to quality is always what keeps me coming back here. Thanks for not being a sell out ;)

  40. Darren,

    Awesome post as usual… There is a big difference between quality traffic and quantity. Both have their own objectives but I’d go for quality since it creates a long lasting readership or revenue stream if that’s your goals.


  41. Good answers to some very awkward and unrealistic questions. Great response.

  42. Maybe somebody who has already built up a network can get traffic fast. But I’ve found that building that network and that traffic is a gradual process. It’s about making real connections with people, one at a time, day by day, just like you would do it in the offline world. The “fast” traffic, like I’ve gotten occasionally from StumbleUpon, doesn’t stick. The slow traffic, on the other hand, comes back.

    The point being: Connect with people, take a real interest in them and what they do, and they will often return that interest. If there’s a way to do that fast, I don’t know it.

  43. “I started ProBlogger simply because it was a blog I wanted to read myself.” I think that’s key in starting a blog. Imagine what you would like to read, learn as much as you can on the subject, and write about it yourself. Chances are, there are a helluva lot of people out there that want the same thing.


  44. It sounds like the interviewer is kind was persistent in finding ANY way of getting quick traffic.

    There is one way of getting fast traffic and that is via traffic exchanges, but the problem is that the traffic is not quality traffic.

  45. This is very true…
    Article tagetting social media are entirely different then article targetting search engines and I appreciate that you have not mention any thing out of box for getting high traffic rather you wrote the most important point “Quality content and unique content”

  46. Great post…surprisingly encouraging even if there aren’t any “fast” answers!

  47. Loved that Interview. Can see why the guy didn’t use your answers though, he was looking for something that doesn’t exist.

    Forget the word”fast”…classic!

  48. I am grateful for this article because I always thought great blogs happened “fast.” I have been working hard, and I am seeing a payoff, but it has been slow and steady – two steps forward, one step back.

    Thank you for being so encouraging!

  49. It is the content like this one that draws me to read your blog regularly.

    Thanks and great to know about melbournian!

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