Thursday, January 15, 2015

How to get more visitors to your blog, e-commerce site, YouTube channel...blah blah blah

I know why you're here...

I got lucky and somehow Google determined I had just the right metadata to put me higher in the list of search results. 

Yup, I'm right up there with all the sites that promise Internet millions and no-down real estate deals.

Well, at least that's my hope but with Google selling AdWords to drive traffic and sponsored links chances are this article wasn't in the mix.

I've been blogging for around 4 years and been running a YouTube channel (now 4) for 3.  In that time I've never managed to get more than 150 subs on Youtube or more than 50K visitors to any of my blogs. 

In other words, I'm just like you. 

The little bit of information you'll get from the "experts" out there will  try to pound it into your head that the key to success is comprised of a few key tenets.  Most of the time they'll bury them in a bunch of vague marketing speak designed to get you to ante up the plastic to get the "secrets."

I'll save you a few bucks and spell them out minus the long-winded sales pitch.

1. Have interesting content!
2. Be consistent and post/upload on a regular basis
3. Collaborate with others
4. Use social media and cross promote

Great, now you know exactly what you need to do right? 

Of course not.  It's all ambiguous and misleading as hell.  

What you need to realize is all those sure-fire strategies are nothing but link-bait.  None of it is any more useful than a late-night infomercial.  They're selling a fantasy and making money with every duped visitor to their page.

So what's wrong with the "Tenets?"

Let's go by the numbers...

   Have interesting content!  -- Ok, define "interesting"  some people think knitting is interesting others think Pewdiepie is a phenom.  What does that make you?  The cold truth is that most of the popular people on the web were already popular somewhere else.  There's very little "organic" fame to be had meaning you might be the next Spielberg or Hemingway but nobody is going to know who you are unless you find popularity somewhere else.

   Be consistent and post/upload on a regular basis -- This one annoys me the most.  How many mindless blog posts or boring cat videos have you seen just because somebody followed this advice?  If you have something to share then by all means share it but don't put crap up just to fill space.  Nothing turns off an audience faster than having to sift through a bunch of half-hearted crap.   

   Collaborate with others -- It's nice to share but to be honest I can't stand 90% of the content creators on the Internet so why the hell would I want to collaborate with them?  Really now, If  I'm just going through the motions then why am i bothering at all?  Hey, if you've got a friend with similar interests great but otherwise leave it alone.  Nobody collaborates out of the goodness of their heart, they're looking for more traffic just like you and if you don't have anything to offer you're not going to get many opportunities.  It's kind of a catch-22 in that you need exposure but nobody is going to help you unless you already have it.

   Use social media and cross promote  -- This one kind of goes with #3.  Everybody thinks they're going to get on Twitter or FaceBook and suddenly have 100's of followers.  Except that most social media is siloed meaning you're going to spend most of your time communicating with people you already know.  Spamming other peoples pages with "Come see my stuff" posts will get you the opposite result.  Social media really isn't that social and unless you're already famous nobody is going to come looking for you.

So is all lost?  Am I just a Debbie Downer to your Internet dreams?

I sure hope so but not because I want you to fail, I just want you to get real. 

Look, it's really simple.  There's no such thing as get rich quick in the real or online world.  If you're just doing it to turn a buck then I hope you do fail.  I mean that.  Not because I'm some vicious troll but rather because I'm tired of content for content's sake. 

It clutters up the Internet with the online equivalent of junk mail and infomercials. 

Put up all the content you want but do it because you want to not because you're following some formula you read about from a Google search.   Blogs are great for creating a body of work.  Take it seriously and it may even spawn a career.  YouTube can be a great outlet for budding filmmakers, educators and new media content. Social Media can be a powerful tool if used wisely.

I've been creating content for awhile now and I can say with conviction that I never have nor would put up anything I didn't believe in.  Even if it never got a single view.  I can stand being unpopular, I can't stand adding to the cruft.

I may not be a "success" story but at least I'm genuine.  Forget the Leo Laporte's and Pewdiepie's of the online world.  Hell, even old Leo is getting a hard dose of reality these days and once Pewdiepie hits 30 he's over with.

So keep this in mind.

Do what you do but make sure it's really coming from you.

...consider the soapbox put away.