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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. Really useful post all aspiring bloggers. A nice perspective of the term – “fast traffic”.

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Couldn’t agree more! Most of the ”fast traffic” techniques either cost you mega money or end up getting you delisted for search engine clutter.

  3. I started http://www.handmade-jewelry-club.com about 7 months ago. I cannot disagree with you that content and time is the key to bring traffic! We need to be down to earth. There is no free lunch and fast traffic!

  4. Hi Darren,

    I have been reading Problogger for almost 2 years now and have fairly quiet in my participation, but this interview really reasonated with me.

    People have this idea that blogging is easy and that huge amounts of traffic and money fast are can be achieved with no effort.

    They want a shortcut to this and everyone seems to think it is possible. Other people perpetuate the myth and make money out of those who are fooled.

    In the end I have come to realise that blogging is about providing something valuble to humanity and that should be your primary reason in running a blog.

  5. Good reading your blog. Your tips and advice, through your various websites, continues to help me drive traffic to an ever growing number of sites. It’s good to come back here and re-focus on the core stuff.

  6. Thanks for keeping it real. Why is everyone so fixated on shortcuts? Just get to work.

  7. Nice interview Darren!

    Thanks for reminding us to focus on great content :)

    Looking forward to read your other blogs.

  8. Would you say that social media works as well for sites that have static content, where compared to blogs, blogs are continually being updated (in an ideal world). How do we give static sites a leg up?

  9. im a newbie and blogging about a year, i always read your articles and see opportunity on your blog, thanks for u and i wonderring who am i gonna be in next 5 years?

  10. The need for Immediate gratification is the true reason that so many fail in their online business pursuits. To many think that success is suppose to happen overnight. No matter the program, opportunity, or plan for success, most people fail to diligently and patiently work it to manifest success.


  11. Definitely good information. I just started my blog this month (totally new to the set as I was busy developing my product/craft) and can already see the time and attention that is required to be effective, without being cheesy greedy… for lack of a better term. Thanks Darren!

  12. Hi Darren,

    I’ve started a blog 3 month ago, about a technical subject, as I’m an SAP consultant, and at that time, from the searches I’ve done of ‘SAP Blogs’, ‘SAP’, etc…there wasn’t any blogs about the biggest enterprise resource planning software, commonly know as ERP, in the web….well, in fact there where some….updated 2 years ago, or with useless content.
    When I decided to write a blog about SAP and all the subjects near to it, as well as some technological areas, I knew this would be first of all with one intent -> To avoid others to have lack of information as I did 10 years ago when I started….
    Some would say that I’m selling, or writing my own experience, and i agree. But this will not bring fast traffic to my site, but will bring in the future, ”devoted” readers. It will bring money ? …. I don’t know !! If it does its welcome, If not, I’m happy with writing my experiences, helping other consultants to achieve excellence…… and this makes me happy !!!!

    And it’s always comfortable to know that there are still some people ….so called old school……

    Keep going with the good work

    Alcides Fialho

  13. Hard Work is the only short cut. Youtube also helps get me traffic, if used correctly!

  14. Joy of joys. I wish other so called blogging experts will read this interview and stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes with this whole ‘fast track to success’ garbage. Any business takes time to develop and an online business is no different so thank you for stating the truth and the reality.

  15. It is possible to get sustained traffic fast, my blog/forum at sammynetbook.com picked up to 2000 U/Vs a day in month one and has now grown to around 4000 a day 3 months later from a standing start.

    The secret in my opinion? Being at the right place at the right time. It didn’t take any particular great effort on my part, it was just a subject that hadn’t been covered and there was a demand for it.

    It didn’t hurt that I also loved building the site and enjoyed chatting to every new member – it’s been a lot of fun :)

  16. I completely agree with what you’ve said. It’s similar to my response when asked about website SEO. Content, content, content. If you don’t have good content (and changing content), you will never be ranked well and visitors will have no reason to return to your site. No fast-acting marketing scheme will get (and keep) visitors to your site if you don’t have anything worth reading!

  17. Darren, thanks for the valuable self-interview.

    I can see why the person who put you to so much trouble may not have wanted to use it. “Slow and steady wins the race” isn’t a palatable message to a writer who wishes to make fast money out of the nirvana of “fast traffic to a blog”. The presentation of the two mindsets, his or hers and yours, reminded me of Guy Claxton’s book “Hare Brain Tortoise Mind”.

  18. Speed kills. Lack of persistance kills even more. Thanks for the encouragement on just putting up good content and becoming part of the internet community.


  19. Youtube is the fastest way to get free traffic…trust me on this!

  20. Great Post.

    It seems like your interview wasn’t hyped up enough to be in that book, but what you said was so true,

  21. Hi Darren,

    this is a great post.

  22. Fast traffic is right! 6 months, a year that is fast traffic if you want it to be quality! I’m in the starting stages of my blog about blogging tips for political bloggers. I don’t want to saturate the blogosphere yet with links and social media sites until I know that I have tons of quality content. This way when they do come it will be targeted and hopefully the visitors will return. Long-term is the only way you can think about blogging successfully. Thanks for the thoughts… You were right about the interviewer not really getting the point!

  23. This blog is the perfect example of doing it consistently with a steady pace. Blogging can have a different meaning for different people. Ideally it should be an interaction and engagement with the reader.

  24. Great post, it really helped answer my questions. I am a 15year old blogger that started blogging some 1 month ago. I am not getting any search engine traffic but this article really motivated me. I will keep trying until one day I make money from it.
    Mohammad Afaq

  25. hi there do you know what kind of social marking that i need to gain more traffic visitor into my web page, ???

  26. I have to disagree, if you write a blog post with keyword competition with no competition because of your blog PR, you can get a number 1 spot in Google as soon as the post is indexed. This can increase traffic as soon as the post is indexed.


  27. Thanks for posting this; I enjoyed it.

    But man, you were right. It sounds like the interviewer was only interested in doing research for how to get rich quick blogging.

    You had great responses!

  28. I like this idea. I will recommend this article to my friends. Thank you

  29. Given the line of questioning I’m so surprised the interviewer found he couldn’t use your answers. So. Not.

    I appreciate the honestly and straight-shooting here.

  30. Darren, you’ve finally done it. I’ve been following you for a long time and it hit me with this post. Like so many others, I’ve been looking for a “fast” way to generate traffic to my site but when I think about it.I notice that no matter how much I follow the trends I get all my hits to my best content.

    Hmmm… I have planning to do.

  31. information is very clear. good and understandable explanation. super-topics. Thank you for sharing a very nice web site.

  32. Completely agree with the long term view and that to be succesful you need to add value.

  33. You would think that by the time a blogger was able to interview someone like you (Darren) that they would already understand this process.

    I haven’t been blogging for very long but it took all of like 2 days to realize that this wasn’t going to be a fast process. I am currently reading your 31DBBB eBook and I was just studying some of the other blogs in my niche. There were blogs that I saved, subscribed to, or immediately dismissed. I later found that absolutely every one that I saved had posts dating back to May of 2006 or earlier.

    Whoever did this interview is trying to sell something to their readers. They know that people want results with no effort… so they thought they would come to you and get some goodies to take back and sell… like it was the next big thing.

    I’m extremely happy to hear that “broken record.” I couldn’t imagine better answers than the ones you gave.

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