Traffic is a Marathon, Not a Sprint I asked Michael the single biggest mistake that people are making online and this is what he told me: “People are so excited at the beginning. They go on writing blog posts left, right, and center. But then after a few months, they haven’t made any money and they just give up. That’s why people fail so often.” Even if you’re doing everything right, it’s unrealistic to expect to have a ton of traffic and income right away. These things need time to incubate: “My brother didn’t make any money with Expert Photography the first few months. But he kept at it because he’d seen exactly how long it had taken me to grow my websites in the past. Eventually, he was making $100 per month, then $1000 per month, and finally this month he had his first $1000 day.”
Those are pretty amazing results after only 18 months. Josh owes the traffic success to his dedication to producing great content over the long haul (he’s already published over 200 articles on the site and you can take a look for yourself to see their high quality). Before you give up on a website, give it a fair chance to succeed: commit to publishing quality content consistently.
Be Simply Beneficial Writing articles that are informative is a big first step towards getting people to read them. When you write an article the intention is always to compose something that will benefit the readers. It is all too easy however to get caught up in the writing process and overlook a few key elements of your article. These elements actually have more to do with knowing how to ‘communicate’ your thoughts than knowing how to write an article. It is almost funny how often we can take something that is relatively simple and make it complicated. The fact is that the most popular articles online are the most that are the easiest to read.
“Focus on your content first. Traffic is a byproduct of doing great content.” Michael told me, “I think people are over-complicating traffic. They’re reading too much into all these techniques and spending all their time making sure their blog looks good.” There’s nothing wrong with having a great blog design or doing SEO the right way. But it is a problem when your spending so much time on the technical stuff that you forget your site’s purpose: to provide immense value for your visitors. Michael sees too many blogs that don’t have any “great articles that make people think, ‘I’m going to come back, time after time.’”
Extraordinary content is the key to extraordinary traffic. It all starts with Michael’s straightforward mindset: “When I’m writing an article, I have two things in mind. Firstly, I want to make it as simple for someone to understand as possible. Secondly, I want to make it as beneficial to the reader as possible.” Simple + Beneficial = the type of content that makes people love your website and want to come back. Michael insists that this model truly is at the root of his traffic success and that it’s really not that complicated: “We’re not doing anything special with Expert Photography. We’re just writing these really exciting posts. We’re getting people to share them on social media. Getting people to link to them, which makes us rank well, which sends us all this traffic. It’s that simple.”
Write a Strong Title The title of your article is a gateway to it. If it is skilfully crafted and promises information that the searcher is looking for, it will motivate the reader to go through your article avidly. If not, the searcher will simply ignore it and go ahead. All your labor and time in writing the article will be wasted.If you want your articles to create a buzz among your readers and keep their attention from the first word down to the last, the secret is not just creating a well crafted copy but to provide your articles with highly effective and strong titles. Before your reader can get into the body of your article they will first see your title, and if it is not convincing enough what you say in the body will not matter.
Try reading previous issues of magazines, newspapers, and even contents from online sources, what do you see in common? Think about what made you click the link to the article and finish the entire entry without even thinking about it. Research has proven that articles with catchy and striking titles attract more readers compared to copies written with regular headlines conveyed in a neutral tone. If you master the skill of writing appealing titles in your articles, you will increase the chances of your website or blog to be noticed by more readers and to be visited more often. No matter how good your article is, if the title is wrong then nobody will read it.When reviewing a friend’s website, Michael noticed that their titles were all wrong:
“The titles stood out firstly because they were using words that nobody would ever search for. If I was doing a post on traffic tips, I wouldn’t throw in a bunch of crazy words into the title to make it sound really interesting.” “Nobody’s ever going to Google ‘Premier Traffic Tips’. They’re going to Google ‘Traffic Tips’.” Putting the right keywords in your title is your best chance to rank well for competitive search terms. Of course, the ideal title also grabs a reader’s attention and makes them curious to read more.
Big Articles Provide Big Value If you’re a regular reader of Income Diary, then you know that our articles are long. Personally, my average is over 2,000 words per article. This length pushes me to provide as much value and information as possible our readers. For instance, “Top 10 YouTube Channels” could easily have been a 200 word article that simply lists the channels’ names, their subscriber count, and a link to their most popular video. But instead, it’s 2,733 words and the article contains in-depth information for each YouTube channel detailing how they built their following and how they make money from YouTube.
Seth Godin is a great example of a blogger who excels with short content and Michael Dunlop told me that he recognizes that type of content has its place. But for Income Diary, he instructs his staff to produce longer articles: “You can write articles that are great and that are literally 200 words long. But when I’m reading up on something, it’s really important to me that the author goes into more detail so I can make a better assessment.” If you want your articles to be ranked highly on Google for terms that are going to pull in a ton of traffic month after month, you’ll increase your chances greatly by writing longer articles. Not only will Google recognize that you’re site is providing more value than the competition, you’re also more likely to hit on long-tail search terms that are embedded somewhere in the 2,000+ words.
You Don’t have to be an SEO Master With all of Michael’s success with articles getting on the front page of Google, you may assume that he’s an expert on SEO. But Michael insists, “I’m no master in Google.” Instead, he says, “All I focus on is making sure that my articles are literally the best articles possible. Google just seems to rank them well because they deserve to be at the top.” Michael’s assertion is backed up by David Sinick – the SEO expert behind BeastMedia and the co-author of WordPress SEO Blueprint. In a separate interview about SEO optimization, David told me, “There are tons of different factors that go into ranking well, but the biggest is high-quality content.”
Recently, Google’s search rankings have been taking social feedback into account, with a special emphasis on +1’s. As Michael observes, “getting articles ranked does depend greatly on how well they’re received by people. The articles that get the most comments, likes, and links are the ones that get ranked the best.” In others words, don’t think you won’t be able to rank well just because you don’t know the ins and out of SEO. Instead, focus on writing content that deserves to be the top result. You might be surprised by how highly your un-optimized articles rank. All this isn’t to say search engine optimization isn’t important. At Income Diary, we practice some basic SEO tactics that you can read up on here.
Write ‘Top 30’ Caliber Content Over the years, Michael has published a lot of different types of content. He’s noticed that certain types of content just seem to do better than others. “One of the first articles I’d done on Income Diary was called Top Earning Blogs in which I listed top 30 blogs in order of monthly earnings. This article has done so well that by now it could literally have had a million views and thousands of likes and tweets. I’ve actually turned off the comments on it after 290 comments just because I was sick of having to constantly accept and decline comments on it.”
Michael credits the articles success to the fact that its title is a popular search term, that it’s something people wanted to share, and that it attracted the attention of the 30 blogs mentioned in the article (and their healthy audiences). While article keeps getting traffic to Income Diary month after month, Michael believes that there is still plenty of room for this type of content in other niches and subjects. Off the top of his head, he rattled off, “30 Top Bloggers in the Photography Industry, 30 Best Basketball Players of All Time, 20 Reasons Why it Sucks to be a Chef… Those sort of really link-worthy articles that people share on social media constantly.”