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Sugar, Spice and Vitamins: Three Types of Posts that Will Grow Your Blogs Traffic

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of January 2009 Featured Posts, Writing Content 0 Comments

What type of content helps to build a popular blog? Today Jurgen Appelo from Noop.nl shares three types of posts to help you grow your blog.

There are many ways to build a popular blog, and each blog author has his own ideas on topics and style of writing. In this post I will tell you about my personal recipe for blogs. I call it sugar, spice & vitamins.


vitamins.jpgThe vitamins are the blog posts that are important for regular readers. They are about becoming a better manager, making life more joyful, having a less stressful job, or learning all there is to know about guinea pigs, motorcycles, Britney Spears, or miniature villages made of toothpicks. In short, the vitamin posts are the essential ingredients for your blog to build and grow around a certain theme or niche. My own blog is aimed at software development managers (probably a smaller niche than miniature villages made of toothpicks). So my “vitamin posts” have topics like How to Select a Fine Technical Manager and To Motivate People… Balance Your Practices.

But how do I get people to consume vitamins?

Well, just imagine that you’re trying to interest consumers in eating savory pies. Waving at people with healthy carrots and sticks of celery will probably not be received with much enthusiasm. People might care about vitamins, but what really gets them motivated is usually something else…


Sugar.jpgPeople might say they are interested in your important blog posts, but it’s easier to get their attention with sugar posts. Your blog should have just the right amount of sugar to get people interested. The sugar in your blog are the posts that make people’s mouths water from pure delight. You write these posts with the sole purpose of making your blog easier to consume. Some of my “sugar posts” were Top 100 Best Books for Managers, Leaders & Humans and Top 100 Blogs for Developers.

But why always the number 100 in these posts?

Because 100 is bigger than 25. And bigger than 50. And it’s the first number to require no less than three digits. The posts I mentioned here have been huge traffic generators for my blog. I believe that list size and traffic volume have a non-linear relationship. A top 100 list doesn’t give you four times as much traffic as a top 25 list. It gives you ten times as much! (I even created an article called How to Create a Top Blog List, so that you can enjoy similar results for your blog.)

You can think of other and better ways of attracting new readers. But remember! We’re talking about sugar posts here. They only exist to attract new consumers and to make them digest the vitamins as well. Go easy on the sugar! You don’t want your blog to turn into a cotton candy machine.


spice.jpgYou may notice that vitamins and sugar will not be sufficient to keep people interested for long. You need a finishing touch. Something to spruce up your endless stream of healthy and sweet content. I call this last ingredient the spice posts. The spices give your blog flavor and personality. These are the blog posts that can trigger heated debates. Everyone likes sugar, and nobody dislikes vitamins. But it’s the spices that will have people talking about you. Some of my “spiced posts” were Thank You, Stupid Americans and Professionalism = Knowledge First, Experience Last.

But won’t these posts scare away my readers?

Yes, some of them perhaps. I’ve written posts that made people laugh, scream and cry. Figuratively speaking of course. (And some of their replies made me laugh, scream and cry.) It’s the spices that will divide your readers. Some people will hate them. But many will come back for more, because they won’t find those particular flavors anywhere else.

Sugar, Spice & Vitamins

Exactly one year after I started, my blog now has 2,500 feed subscribers, and 1,000 visits per day. That’s not bad for a blog about an extremely boring topic like software development management. And I attribute the success to my sugar, spice & vitamins recipe. The sugar attracts new readers, the vitamins keep everyone healthy, and the spices make it all the more interesting.

So… have you figured out what kind of post this is?

Images by Fred Armitage, Darwin Bell and Riv.

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. Novel approach to a post. I find that post that use unusual numbers tend to catch my eye. Something like 27 Things To Do In India.

  2. I love the information in this article! Never thought of blogging like this before, but it is definitely an easy formula to follow.

    Thanks for another great post!

  3. I too am loving this post. I hate sites that focus on just one of these, especially when they leave out the vitamins entirely, which happens all too often. But a nice balance makes sense, especially if you’re aware of the vitamin part being the backbone/meat of any good site.

  4. This is just the analogy I needed to see today. My posts have been mostly vitamins (who knew that such solid ‘nutrition’ would have left me imbalanced?) and I’ve noticed that, while the vites bring a solid readership, I had been getting virtually not comments (it’s hard to say much to those).

    However, I wrote a pretty spicey post the other day (ironically, on chocolate, which, you would think, would put it in the ‘sugar’ category, but it stirred quite the controversy), and it brought several comments and emails.

    For my purposes, I think I will ‘balance the old diet’ a little more and see how delicious my–okay, yes, I’m taking the food analogy waaaay too far!

    Thanks for a great post!!

  5. Good food for thought!

    I mostly blog to provide tips and insight to artists who want to make a REAL living from their work (the vitamins), but it is also based on my own art and the brand I’ve developed. So, to be “brand consistent” – America’s Sweet Art, (the inherent sugar), I find that I tend to edit my spicier side. And trust me, I have me some repressed spice.

    I feel a bit confined sometimes by the image and how it can limit me from being the multi-dimensional person I am. What are your thoughts on businesses who blog and the impact it can have on brand image?

  6. Excellent post! I only wrote “Vitamins posts” before,I will write more “sugar, spice ” posts from now on.

  7. Now this is cooking at its finest! A mouth-watering recipe for success. Kudos…

    Now to apply this recipe to my own blog posts…

  8. Aloha! Working with eating disorders I Love the metaphor you used. So if I may add my 2 cents… also keep in mind balance and avoid binging and restricting :)
    Mahalo for your fabulous insight once again!

  9. Ok, I will give more vitamins for my blog.

    Thank’s sir ….

  10. You paint a great pictures. Because I just started my blog, these ideas have got me thinkin’.


  11. Great analogies. I love all types of posts, depending on my mood.

  12. Interesting post. It now makes easier for me to recognize which article is vitamin, which is sugar and which is spice… Never thought about that. I like the idea behind those three words… It really shows what it’s all about.

  13. Your ideas are great, but your pictures make it so much more powerful. You certainly know how to get people`s attention.

  14. This is a very good recipe. I think people are more attracted to the title first before clicking it for more reading. So, the wording of the title plays an important role in increasing traffic.

  15. Hey, thanks!

    Its really great that you sharing kind of stuff! Thanks a lot!

  16. I don’t think I have many (any?) “spicy” posts because I don’t like conflict. This is a very different way of thinking about writing. I think “sugar” posts for my blog would be my “True Confessions” tag. Thanks for this different way of looking at things!

  17. While were at it, why not use 101 instead of 100 if you’re going to be using numbers in titles? 101 is catchier in terms of attracting more eyeballs.

  18. I am wondering if “diet” or “non-fat” type of post is good at any circumstances? :)

    btw: if you search “top ###” in Google, top 100 do get the most numbers, more than top 10, pretty surprising to me. Great article!

  19. Thanks for this post: you articulated something I’ve often abstractly thought of in relation to my own blog. As always-you are a big help!

  20. I think you hit on the three special ingredients to make your blog grow. I always call them easy posts, anchor posts, and controversial posts, but I like your terms better, vitamins, sugar, and spice.

  21. Very Smart and Intelligent combination, Sugar, Spice and Vitamins. Your blog truly includes all the three of them without any doubt. One thing is for sure that your recipe might have turned to great success. What say..??

  22. Vitamins, Sugar and Spice – 3 items must have ;)

  23. This has to be one of the best articles I have read for a couple of months now (no kidding). I usually come across articles which are trying to get the same sort of point across but no one makes it as interesting as your post I have just read.

    This is an excellent example of how you can take something of no relevance and turn it in to something of relevance which you can relate to.

    Again, I commend you on your article.


  24. This was a very insightful article. Thank you!


  25. This post has been very informative.It is very difficult to come up with original content these days and on top of that adding some spice, sugar and vitamins!

    Great analogy!
    Thanks for the post


  26. Instead of 100 I am trying $500. LOL I am offering a drawing for those that sign up for a free email subscription to my site. The winner gets up to $500….Do you think that is too much sugar?

  27. well daren…. I like style your writing & presentation making the articles…..very interesting

  28. Couldnt agree more, I recently decided to change a bit the way I manage my blog. I have a lot of vitamins, but I needed some sugar and spice! I came up with an idea for a couple weekly columns, and it turns out im right because it fits perfectly into what you were saying….

  29. I found this site on the advice of Lisa Sabin, the Author of WordPress for Dummies. I read this article and although is a start it’s only a suble one, even philosophical.

    Perhaps this is not the appropriate place to post a questions but I am having trouble with my blog and I am lost and need some imput from you folks that are out there making it happen.

    Althought it still needs work I crated a blog about 3 months ago. Wrote some great articles. And in 3 months I have not had 1 visitor…NOT ONE! The only comments on my site are fake posted by me and my mother (bless her heart).

    1. What and I missing?
    2. Where do I start?
    3. What can I do?

    I have important things to say…life saving things and I am good at it…but no one cares. Thoughts anyone?

    With Thanks,

    Dr. Steven Ella
    ( http://www.NutritionWire.org ) Not sure if it’s cool to put a URL in a post comment but this is not blog spam I assure you!

  30. This article is really great. Good info.

  31. Funny thing… My blog is all about natural and holistic living. I posted an article about a particular TV show that is like my crack. It’s such a guilty pleasure. I got a great response and lots of new followers from that one post. I also received my first comment from it. Spice is good….

  32. I did not take spice to mean posting articles outside your area of expertice or off topic…I thought ‘spice’ means something contoversial withing your topic…so for example, “The Atkins Diet is Insane and Deadly” on my blog about diets would be spice…BTW, what’s your site HoneyChild?

    Any one have advice on how to create traffic and visitors and commentors?

  33. Another great article, I need to start adding some spice to my blog. Time to get really spicy!

  34. Great advice. I’d never thought of it in those terms before. Thanks, too, for the link to the How to Create a Top Blog List. I’ve opened it in another window and am about to devour it word for word.

  35. The longest list I’ve written was 50 items. 100 items… yes, maybe that’s just what everyone is waiting for.

    Wait a second.

    When I see lists of 100 I always ignore them because in the past any list of 100 anything has always been filled with 70 things that didn’t need to be there. Are you sure this works?

    100 great items – that would be a serious piece of content – and effort.

    I realize that what I like and what others like is usually really different – so I’ll try this list of 100 and see what happens. Gotta try everything I think!

  36. This is a great post and great advice! Actually, it sounds a little bit like a recipe for carrot cake! :0) Thanks for all your great ideas and advice!

  37. Very creative using food analogies. Using sugar and spice is something that catches my attention.

  38. I think its a spice post.

    I remember the title line from the PowerPuff girls,

    “Suger, spice and everything nice…”

    -these were the ingredients to create a perfect blog!

  39. Absolutely brilliant post! I’m going to bookmark this and refer to it over and over again when I make postings on my blog. Thanks so much!

  40. SPICE: I like this post a lot and could really use a little spice and sugar on my blog. Thanks for the unique ideas that I will have to start working with.

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