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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. Ashley says: 01/28/2009 at 6:59 am


    I just started a new blog – and I don’t have a lot of contacts or networks on any social media site. He asks how to get fast traffic, I’m curious what you think is a realistic goal for a new blog over 1 month, 6 months, 1 year and 2 years. I’m concentrating on good content and doing all the normal stuff (guest blog posts, article submissions, building networks on Twitter) but what sort of numbers would you say are reasonable? What should my traffic look like?


  2. We would all like to start a blog today and retire tomorrow, but I think your approach is much more realistic for most of us. One post at time, just make sure it is a good post.

  3. Thanks for the VERY usesful information! As a new blogger I appreciate all the helpful insite this blog has to offer!


  4. Hi there. I just wanted to say Thank you for your advice. It is always nice to read proper things to do on the internet. I am really loving the community I am becoming a part of. From what I can see in your post and what you indicated is to participate in the world of online is to provide something good and to do your best.. and clearly that shows in your blog. Thanks again for giving great advice

  5. Denise says: 01/28/2009 at 8:47 am

    ProBlogger is the place to come to for both daily postings and to search the archives for more. I can count on the no fluff, quality content; endless amount of helpful and honest information. Appreciate your hard work and efforts Darren.

  6. Great tips , i think its true that you have to build steady traffic , yhere is no quick fix

  7. No shortcuts then!! Damn! Must try and learn patience………

  8. Darren if it only took you 6 years to get some “fast” traffic (LOL) then I only have 5 years to go!! Yep, successful blogging takes time, energy and talent.

  9. It sounds to me like the interviewer did not really understand Darren’s approach to blogging. The pragmatic, realistic, long term approach is probably in contrast to the thrust of his book (or so it appears).

    I’ve been in interview situations before (as an interviewee) when it’s become apparent that the interviewer had decided what they wanted from me before I had given any answers.

    This is a good lesson for anyone considering approaching someone for an interview. Know a little about your subject and be open to answers you did not expect.

  10. LOL! Sounds like that guy just did not want to listen to the reality. Too much fast food and such in his life maybe? He should read about the slow blogging movement.

    I guess I might get a full-time income from this then if I stick around and keep writing while my kids homeschool high school and then make their way through college. No problem, as long as I get a little encouragement along the way. After all, I’ve been coaching one, other, or both of my kids in daily music practice at home for the last 10 years; anything after that is a walk in the park :-)

  11. Darren,
    I know where your head is at when you are aiming for the long term and that is an important strategy.
    But there are a lot of things you can do to build a blog fast, so you could have mentioned some of them.

    But people who want to ‘get rich quick’ are in for a nasty surprise.

  12. I have to admit, I want fast traffic! Of course, having said that, I don’t expect to receive it. I am trying to focus on creating great content, networking, and waiting.

  13. “but simply that after sending me all these questions he then wanted to send me another 7-8 followup questions “

    The guy obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He got it all wrong starting from the premise of his book.

    Good thing you didn’t waste any more time.

  14. I really enjoyed he interview and find it very useful. Oh…you forgot to mention that successful blogs are over a year old…

  15. Thanks for this. I really appreciated all the tips in the article. It’s taken me over a year to realize this isn’t an overnight thing, that it takes a lot of behind the scenes work to get good results. Thank you!

  16. I can see why they maybe thought they couldn’t use it. It appears that they wanted answers how to get rich quick blogging, which in itself is a flawed concept. While you are offering the quality content how to create a blog that people want to visit.

    I have only recently come across your blog, and it was actually through twitter, and your tweets that i found it, and very glad that i did.

  17. I’m guessing the 7-8 follow up questions were different versions of “How can you get fast traffic?” Kudos to the writer for being able to come up with 20 ways to ask the same thing!

  18. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing

  19. Darren,

    I am surprised you even took the time to answer these questions. I personally would have been too annoyed to take it seriously. I suspect that the reason he couldn’t ‘use’ your answers is because they were too truthful.

    Thanks nonetheless. It was definitely good for a grin.


  20. Darren, I knew that your most favorite of the three blogs is Problogger ;)

    Though, I was a bit surprised to find out that DPS has more traffic.

  21. Congrats on sticking to your ideals!
    And the author was totally about *his* idea and not listening to you, the expert! A book that may make him some money (fast money) but not stay on the shelves for long. I for one appreciate your quality content and care for writing! Keep up the good work.

  22. Darren,

    This is what I love about your posts; you are old-school. Nothing in life is quick and easy. Anything worth doing takes a lot of hard work and time. All we see is a wonderful theme and posts so we sometimes forget all the hours you put into your posts. Basically, what I am trying to say is thank you for giving us all this great information and advice.

  23. Great interview! Thanks for posting your answers, Darren! I have always been amazed that you started blogging as a mere hobby, and then it blossomed into this awesome career you have. Very inspirational!

  24. No wonder they didn’t use it, they evidently were trying to put something out there that would attract the fast money crowd and you didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. Good for you.

  25. I am suprised that there is not more mentions of viral marketing. I am like the interviewer looking for the quick fix

  26. It’s nice to have a short cut, but hard work is almost always better for long-term results. Who cares if a bunch of people quickly arrive at your blog if they won’t stay? Slowly building an audience who wants your content is much more desirable.

  27. Thx fro the excellent blog. I find myself reading your articles on a daily basis. I only hope that I can also get my blog this successful.

    I also beleive that a blog needs to be “useful” I hate it when I get to a blog and all it is focused on is to make money, all the content is RSS feeding from somewhere else. Online communities are the future of the internet, it has been proven again and agian. They should all take their que from you.


  28. Interview with yourself?
    This truly shows how their isn’t anyone above you in the blogging niche :P

    Nice read there Darren, a lot of helpful pointers! The point on 7) Google has got to be the best way of securing traffic in the long run, it will always work until Google starts going crazy with power :)


  29. That explain a lot about you and why these blogs are successes. In web they always talk about
    make millions in one day.
    get 1000 users in one day.

    But i am wondering why there are only few rich people and few websites with good traffic.

    it is always hard working, slowly but steadily progress will work better and last longer.

    Great post!!!

  30. “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.”

    Great response! I have learned so much from reading your post…thanks for sharing!

  31. That’s a great reality check for some people who think that they can instantly build a blog with thousands of visitors.

  32. Great post, I think you got your point across in the end, great content, great content, great content!!

  33. Very funny, Darren! No wonder the guy or girl decided not to use the interview. I was chuckling all the way through. Your best lines were:

    “Forget the word ‘fast’.

    Really – forget it.”

    Fast food, fast blogging, instant traffic, instant friendship…as you indicated – life doesn’t work like that!

  34. Great post Darren, there is no such thing “becoming successful fast”. As main focus of this interview was building traffic it is important to have visitors to your site. If there is no visitors then there is no use of your great content.

  35. Thanks these are very useful tips….I have started a new blog emi and will follow all of your advice in order to bring traffic to my blog. I would rather say it again that these are great tips.

  36. Another person obsessed with instant success. They obviously didn’t include this in their book since it went against what they were going to try and sell later.
    Their loss, our gain here!

  37. I must say this is a really good interview. Apart from the fact that he doesn’t offer any fast ways to get traffic, I’m pretty impressed. I myself believe in writing good and original content but he said it correctly, it takes time before the traffic will come. Thanks for the tips though.


  38. I agree. It is time, patience, perseverence. Hold your goals up high and strive for them. And don’t stop.

    Fast blogging? I don’t think so. Getting traffic to sell an ebook or a clickbank offer is not long term. Writing timeless valuable content is. Good work Darren.

  39. This post is a shining example of why I have followed your blog for so many years- you are honest.

    I think this interview should be mandatory reading for anyone either thinking about blogging professionally or someone who is new to pro blogging. There’s no “magic bullet”. There is only writing great content which people WANT to read or helps them in some way.That should be the focus no matter how successful or new your blog is.

    The Geek Entrerpreneur

  40. Through this great blog, I found your other great blog, the digital photography blog! I need to read that more than this one! LOL! Don’t stop doing either one! Thanks for the great blogs!

  41. I always like when successful people share their story with us. This one is like showing the path of success to followers. When you are the top than you should show the path with the light of your experience to others and I am glad and happy that you are doing same here.

    Thanks a lot.

  42. Fantastic interview this. I think Darren every blogger needs to answer some of the questions to themselves.

  43. Robyn Durst says: 01/29/2009 at 7:12 am

    Thanks for being honest Darren. So many people these days want instant gratification, but that’s just not realistic. A “quick fix” never works in the long run. I have found that two things help me succeed: hard, honest work and patience.

  44. Darren – I thoroughly enjoyed this Q&A and am so glad that you decided to post it – as usual rich, authentic and useful content. You’re right, it would have been a waste to not utilize the interview that you took the time to participate in. Great lesson – to remember to think of ways to make the most of any situation (ie. it may have started out going in one direction as content for someone else but instead of perhaps feeling like you may have wasted your valuable time you turned it around and decided to share it with your readers who may find it helpful.) I sure did. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  45. I like your emphasis that nothing can be done fast.

    Some of us tend to forget that…I need to be reminded all the time.

  46. If you want fast traffic go to Google Trends and write a decent “in your own words” paragraph or two about the top 5 or so items. Do this a minimum of 20 times a day for at least 30 days. You’ll get traffic and it may be considerable. If you have a certain flair for it like Perez Hilton or Matt Drudge, you can do well with it although you’ll probably wear your self out quickly.

    This is, of course, a very different type of blogging than what’s done here by Darren. There are many different approaches to take to achieve great traffic results on the Internet as long as you take action.

  47. Great stuff — have put a quote from this blog on my blog . with of course a link back to you cheers heather from down under

  48. Excellent post. With a blog as large and successful as Problogger, how in the world can you find the time to focus on your other projects, Darren? I’ve met a lot of bloggers that have multiple blogs and I just don’t see how they do it. I’ve got enough to do just working on one!


  49. It’s always good to hear genuine comments that come from you in regards to traffic and blogging in general. You really are an honest person and not saying anything to impress your readers :) (well you certainly still impress us)

  50. Nice post!
    No fast traffic is right. You have to write good content and it takes months if not years to get it going. Do your best and the traffic will come!


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