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High Traffic Blogging Steve Style

Posted By Darren Rowse 26th of January 2006 Pro Blogging News 0 Comments

Steve Pavlina has another good blog related post on How to Build a High-Traffic Web Site (or Blog) which has some sensible advice in the form of a list. His points are interesting because they are very untechnical and illustrate his own strategy (a successful one from what I can see) to focus very hard upon creating high quality content. Almost every point on his list touches on content creation as being the main focus:

1. Create valuable content.
2. Create original content.
3. Create timeless content.
4. Write for human beings first, computers second.
5. Know why you want a high-traffic site.
6. Let your audience see the real you.
7. Write what is true for you, and learn to live with the consequences.
8. Treat your visitors like real human beings.
9. Keep money in its proper place.
10. If you forget the first nine suggestions, just focus on genuinely helping people, and the rest will take care of itself.

Keep in mind that the focus us Steve’s blog is personal development and so some of these posts come out of that experience and probably relate more closely to that than for some other topics.

For instance in #3 he writes:

‘While I do occasionally write about time-bound events, the majority of my content is intended to be timeless. I’m aware that anything I write today may still be read by people even after I’m dead. People still quote Aristotle today because his ideas have timeless value, even though he’s been dead for about 2300 years. I think about how my work might influence future generations in addition to my own. What advice shall I pass on to my great grandchildren?’

I think that this is a brilliant strategy which relates very well to a topic like personal development. Many of the principles that Steve talks about are timeless as ‘being a human’ is timeless. However with some topics timeless content is more of a challenge. Writing timeless content about digital cameras can be difficult (when they are often obsolete before they hit the shops). There are some posts that are more timeless than others in that niche (ie tips on how to take a photo for example) but many posts on such a blog will be fairly time dependent.

Another example is # 4 where he writes:

‘A lot has been written about the optimal strategies for strong search engine rankings in terms of posting frequency and post length. But I largely ignore that advice because I write for human beings, not computers.’

Once again I completely agree with Steve that this is a great strategy for many blogs. Like he says there has been quite a few articles going around of late talking about how SEO is dead and a useless art for bloggers. While I agree with elements of these posts I would add that for some blogs SEO is a very worthwhile strategy. Again on the ‘personal development’ theme I suspect that readers will be looking for a longer term relationship with a web site than on some other topics. Once again I’ll talk digital cameras. While there are some avid digital imaging addicts that settle on a site and are loyal readers of it – anecdotal evidence tells me that the vast majority of web users that want information on the topic of digital cameras are looking for the information in a one off and short term burst – usually while researching a purchase for a digital camera. The first place most of them head to is the search engines. As a result on a topic like this where your goal is to give advice to those in the market for a camera, SEO is a relevant strategy. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write for humans or provide valuable content but the emphasis is slightly different. I’ve seen this personally as I look at the different strategies between my own blogs. For example while SEO is important for my Digicam site it’s nowhere near as crucial for ProBlogger which attracts repeat loyal readers due to it’s nature.

None of this is to say that any of Steve’s points are invalid or wrong – in fact his list is valuable – they just need to be taken and adapted to each blog to see which apply most and to what extent.

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, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. Agree with your last alinea… For a starting blogger it is sometimes hard to find his or her “own” way of blogging while looking at examples and role-models.
    Many seniors tend to subscribe what is “best for you”…

    With personal blogging it is like religion: You have to find the way that suits the unique ‘you’ best and not that of the crowd. Find your individual most pleasant way of blogging by picking those examples you feel most at ease with.

    Besides that… it totally depends on what you want to achieve with your blog.

  2. What’s the link to his blog?

  3. I think it was a brilliant article and has certainly re- alligned some of my own thinking as I embark on my personal blogging journey..

    Just try to genuinely help people …is a good summary of his Philosophy.. and you can’t go wrong with that.

    Thanks Steve and thanks Darren for bringing it to an even wider audience


  4. sorry for not including the link – bleary eyed oversite last night when I posted it. Fixed now.

  5. Strange advice about the SEO really. The adsense on Steve’s site is driven by SEO. If he does not include enough focussed keywords, then he will not get targetted ads. SEO in blogs is not difficult and so there is no real need to ignore it, just set it up and be mindful of things like focussed headlines and keyword rich text. As Darren says, some niches are based on ‘first time’ visits.

    Really, the answer is to do both, in my opinion, or rather, choose the right approach for the niche.


  6. that’s my approach on most of my blogs too Andy.

    I think the pendulum can swing too far in one way or the other.

  7. I don’t entirely agree regarding the comments about SEO. Well, I do agree, I don’t think it’s worth actively working on SEO above writing for humans as Steve suggests, however I think long term the SEO impact can be significant and as such should not be completely ignored.

    Thankfully most blogging software such as WordPress (which Steve and Darren both use) go a long way to optimize for SEs with the owners not having to change anything. That being said there is still a lot that can be done, most of which is quite simple. My advice is to get a basic understanding of Blog SEO so while you do what Steve says, produce content to help people, you are also conscious of the little tweaks you can implement at the same time that will help your long term SEO.

    Sometimes, and this is an important issue for me given I’m producing a blog traffic course, successful bloggers will write how they produced great content that helped people and got stupid amounts of traffic as a result. This is true and no one will ever argue against writing good content to bring traffic, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that it alone is a traffic strategy. Good content only forms the foundation of a traffic strategy.

    Steve’s case is a bit misleading because of how emotionally compelling his topic is. It’s so “raw”, it deals with core topics of interest to most human beings (who doesn’t want to be a better human!). Steve also happens to be a great teacher who communicates his knowledge well, in a compelling manner and of course has the knowledge and experience to draw on to do so.

    For the “average” blogger I think they need a little bit more than “write good content that helps people” as a guide to getting blog traffic.

  8. It’s a good read. Interesting perhaps that points 5 & 7 can often work against each other. Writing what is “true for you” may not always transform into a high traffic site. I guess it is somewhat dependent on the type of site, in Steve’s case with a self-help blog, writing what is true for him may well be why people read it. However in other sites, even though you’re still writing for the public, putting too much of what is “true for you” whilst ignoring what may be “true for everyone else” into the site can be a serious error is my opinion.

  9. I think Steve has one of the best blogs on the internet. I’ve spent hours at a time reading his archives. Nice streaming podcast setup he has too there too.


  10. too there too? Sorry ’bout that.

  11. I think that Steve made one point – write your own good content that’s of interest to others. Not quite sure if there was any need to go on forever on what good content means.

  12. I am very interested this theme, with attention I will read following informations.

  13. elephlux says: 01/31/2006 at 5:08 am

    This is an interesting post and from it, it’s obvious content is most import to keep people coming (so as to accumulate more readers over time). But most all of these points mean nothing if you have ineffective means of publishing your high quality content to the world. For example:

    1. Create valuable content. – Takes good publishing for people to see it
    2. Create original content. – Takes good publishing for people to see it
    3. Create timeless content. – Takes good publishing for people to see it
    4. Write for human beings first, computers second. – Takes good publishing for people to see it
    5. Know why you want a high-traffic site. – Because we all do.
    6. Let your audience see the real you. – Takes good publishing for people to see it
    7. Write what is true for you, and learn to live with the consequences. – Takes good publishing for people to see it
    8. Treat your visitors like real human beings. – Takes good publishing for people to see it
    9. Keep money in its proper place. – It’s in my wallet
    10. If you forget the first nine suggestions, just focus on genuinely helping people, and the rest will take care of itself. – Takes good publishing for people to see it

    So my question is this: if you have high quality content, how do you become an A-list blogger?

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  15. I agree that content is king when it comes to blogging. However, I have surfed through many blogs which have only a few posts made to them during the last year, and in some cases, were last posted to several months ago. I would add that in order to get high traffic, you need to post regularly and ping the blog services after you post so that people know you have new content.

  16. Create valuable content. – Takes good publishing for people to see it

  17. This is great info and it needs to be repeated. I recently stumbled across this blog with a lot of great information. But it was written in a high tone MBA language. I find its better to write like I talk which is very converstational. I find that this doesn’t alienate anyone and I am still able to get my point across.

  18. Content is king. Style is also important. Relevance counts. Patience is the key to a success blog. You can blog on almost anything, but you need to be patience and never quit. Blog with passion and if the lucks heading your way, you going to have one of those high value blog with amazing traffic.

  19. This represents a dichotomy for many of us, but illustrates why it’s important to rely on wisdom and experience beyond that of your own. It’s challenging to write valuable, compelling content when you feel like nobody’s looking. It’s like putting on a magic show and the auditorium is full of empty seats. While I struggle with that every time I invest two hours in a post, I continue to put my best effort forth, with the mantra that “someone will see this and enjoy it, today or a year from now.”

  20. I agree. When the writing is dedicated to readers and not search engines, that’s when the blog will grow over time. I like Aristotle part as well. That’s great advice.

  21. The content should always be for the humans first, and many bloggers miss this basic point.

  22. Yes its very true, ‘it takes good publishing for people to see it’. I’m in the pool of poor traffic at the moment but am confident that with the kind of quality information i post, people will eventually notice my website.

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