Which should come first: Great Content or Traffic?

Written by Chris Roane
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Should you spend most of your time promoting your website or working on great content? Can you receive and retain visitors without great content? What if no one comes to your site? These are all questions that website owners should ask themselves.

How you answer these questions determines whether or not your blog becomes successful. To help make this clearer, we will go through questions that hit the center of this issue.

  1. Is it possible to have a blog with great content, but no traffic?
  2. Is it possible to get a lot of traffic and not have great content?
  3. Will people keep coming back to a site that doesn’t have great content?
  4. Will people come back to a site that looks and functions horribly, but has great content?
  5. Why are you blogging?

Below I go through my perspective on these questions.

1. Is it possible to have a blog with great content, but no traffic?

Yes, it is possible. But the key here is that if your site truly provides something unique and valuable, you will retain visitors (and your traffic will increase). But you have to get your site noticed somehow. If you are only bringing in 5 new visitors per day, but all of them end up coming back, this will generate a lot of traffic as time goes on. The tricky part with this is you must keep up with the momentum. Give your visitors a reason to come back to your site.

2. Is it possible to get a lot of traffic and not have great content?

There are a lot of sites out there that are sub-par, but receive a ton of traffic. Part of the reason for this is they’ve had a lot of time to build links and become ingrained resources on the web. That is why you cannot give up. Having a massive amount of content and sticking with it will build your link/bookmark base and also increase your search engine ranking. But don’t think this will be easy. It will take time, effort and consistency.

3. Will people keep coming back to a site that doesn’t have great content?

As it is possible for a site that does not have great content to receive a lot of traffic, how many visitors they end up retaining will be very low. I have heard this referenced as the ability to be sticky. But also keep in mind that it is hard to generate a lot of traffic for a site that is just starting out and has horrible content.

With that said, who in their right mind sets out to write crappy content? No one! That is why you should be aware of what is already out there and make sure there is value to your content. You don’t have to have the best content on the internet to have a successful website, but it helps if you are better than most other websites in your niche.

4. Will people come back to a site that looks and functions horribly, but has great content?

Functionality and how a site looks are big factors. Whether you agree with this or not, your site is advertising a brand (the brand being your website). Having a website that looks like crap makes it easy for competitors to take your position.

For this reason, I am having a logo developed for this website. I have known that the logo does not look very good, and I figured now was a good time to have this done. My hope is to have this on the website by the end of next week. Stay tuned!

5. Why are you blogging?

Your answer to this question will ultimately answer the question in the title of this article. This will reflect on how much time you spend promoting your website, and how much time you spend on writing content. But keep in mind that if you want a high traffic blog, you cannot just throw your content to the wind by publishing sub-par content.

We all will error on one side, and my suggestion would be to error on the side of too much quality content. If you go the other way around, and you generate a lot of traffic, you will wish you had better content in place when you received the surge.

Do you spend more time promoting your site or writing content?

Photo taken by Christian Birmele

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Friday, March 12th, 2010

8 Comments or Pings to Which should come first: Great Content or Traffic?

  • Doug Roane says:

    Good points, Chris. I think the other trick, especially with Facebook Pages, is balancing posting often enough but not too frequently. I try to post when I think I’ve got something interesting, but not more than once or twice a week.

    • Chris Roane says:

      Yeah, the Facebook thing is whole separate animal. I really don’t understand how to work with it. My hope is to learn more about how to best use these social networks for website purposes over the next few months.

  • Personally, I think it makes more sense to spend more time promoting if your blog is struggling. If you have about 10 link worthy articles, spend more time commenting and building relationships until you get a decent following. At that point, then you might switch the balance a bit.

    • Chris Roane says:

      Yeah, if you have some quality content to work from, that is not a bad idea. I have been leaning more towards promotion in the last month.

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