What is more important: quality or quantity?
The easy answer to this long and heated debate is both are very important – and I’ll give you that, they both are, but for free content I am in the quantity camp. Go ahead and paste me and leave 1,000 comments telling me I’m wrong – I don’t care, I will read them and answer each of them when I get back from the bank where I am depositing my checks.
Quality will keep people coming back, it will give you an audience, and it will – more importantly – make you an authority figure in your niche. Quality is often the most common excuse I hear when people aren’t producing quantity. If you know how to write and you have a topic you are truly passionate about then just about everything you produce will (or at least should) be quality.
If I go to a blog and I read something I like I may bookmark it or at least go back. If I go back and it hasn’t changed or it hasn’t updated I still may go back, but the less it gets updated, the less I will go back. The less I go back, the less it becomes part of my routine. The less it is part of my routine, the more likely I am to forget about it altogether. My next step is one day I am looking at all of my bookmarks and I don’t even remember what site that was and I delete it.
1. How Much Traffic Is A Lot Of Traffic Or Enough Traffic?
This is one of my favorite questions and no matter what number you say, well, it doesn’t really matter.
The first day that I had over 3,000 unique visitors I thought I had a lot of traffic; in fact, people told me “that’s a lot of traffic”. Last month when I had 650,000 visitors my ad agency said “that’s a lot of traffic”. When I first went over a million page views in a month I thought that was a lot of traffic, now it’s a slow month. (And yes, that picture is my real Google Analytics, the reason it is flat the first year is I changed my URL.)
What I am getting at here: it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
If I had an affiliate ad that paid a 50 percent commission and the product costs $2000, and I had a 50 percent conversion rate monthly, well then 30 or 40 visitors a month would do the trick, at least as a start, and I would probably be grinding it out with a few other income streams as well. If I was running CPM advertising and the CPM’s were paying 50 cents to a dollar, about two million page views a month would be a good start.
The answer here is pretty easy, at least for me, the more the merrier. Now I hear and read people writing about good traffic and not good traffic, traffic that comes from this source or that source, I personally don’t get it nor does it make the least bit of sense to me.
The more traffic you have, the more you can do and the more options you have as far as monetizing. If you have a lot of traffic, more than likely it is coming from a lot of different sources. Some will be “good” some will be “not good” (by some people’s standards, but if you are CPM advertising with a reasonable rate all traffic creates income and is therefore good as far as I’m concerned), but as a whole it will give you a broader and larger audience to throw as many different types of monetization methods at it as you feel.
If you have a smaller audience and less traffic, you have fewer options. If you are looking for a hard number to shoot for – I would say at 250,000 visitors a month you will notice things change, as do the contacts you make.
2. Be Creative Or Be Informative?
I love this one as recently someone told me in a forum that because I use a schedule for what I am going to post that I can’t be creative – wanna bet?
I use my schedule both as a communication tool with my staff as well as an outline of what we want and need to cover. The schedule sets a specific timeline and, most importantly, prevents two people from working on the same thing at the same time as each of us are scattered about the world in my truly global company.
So when it comes to our scheduled articles, maybe we are less creative when it comes to a topic, but there hasn’t been anyone in our highly competitive niche that has been more creative than us. I hear a lot of feedback (also a byproduct of our growth: more visitors = more feedback) and one of the more common things I hear is how we are different.
Much of our “difference” has all been part of the creative process. Every day we are creating and being creative, but at the same time we are informative. What, in fact, we are creating are new ways to be informative and presenting material to our audience in ways and formats that didn’t previously exist. Without the schedule, we wouldn’t have time to do the other things that have moved us forward.
3. Cheap Tech Work Vs. Doing Your Own Tech Work Vs. Expensive Tech Work
A lot of beginners think they are saving a lot of money and learning something valuable by doing their own tech work. They are half right on a good day. Doing your own tech work and taking the time to learn to do your own tech work just are not worth it. At a certain point you are costing yourself more than you are saving.
Many bloggers have big plans for their blog and place a high value on it, but are willing to work for what amounts to be pennies. They waste valuable time. They could be doing something that directly brings in income, but instead they are doing tech work on their own site. Much of this tech work when done by someone with solid experience could be done in a fraction of the time.
While learning the ins and outs of the technical makeup of your blog does have some value – the value is that you can provide quick fixes later or when your tech person you hire is talking you will understand what they are saying. Outside of those two things, both you can easily live and prosper without, there is no value. Certainly not enough value to make up for the lost time, crucial time, that is wasted, which you could have used to work on something that will build your traffic and income, or at least get you a lot closer to directly doing those things.
The same can be said for cheap tech work. I am sure there are some great inexpensive tech people out there, I have just never come across any. What I find is that when I spend $400 on something that should cost me $2,000, I end up spending the $400 and then the $2,000 I would have spent anyways, but now have endured the added time and aggravation to get the project completed.
Pay attention to the signs. If there is a bad sign, like something you made clear that isn’t done correctly, bail right then. Do not wait. Do not hesitate. Chalk the financial loss to a learning experience and let go. I still do this today but less and less.
4. How Much Is My Blog Worth?
Most people over value their blog, it’s natural. Many mistake the blood, sweat, and tears and expenses that they put into their blog as actual monetary value, they simply aren’t the same thing. Like anything that is sold it is only worth what someone is willing to pay and in most cases people will base that on what timeframe they can recoup their initial investment.
Every blog and just about everything for that matter has potential. Things that are more valuable are those things that are beyond potential and are a viable working business with current income. Few blogs are worth more than the registration value left on their domain until it needs to be renewed. Others are worth millions. It’s rare that this comes down to perception, there needs to be substance to back it up. This leads me to the next topic…
5. How Much Can I Charge For Advertising On My Blog?
Most people feel that advertising space is worth a lot of money on their blog. Some are right, but most aren’t even in the ball park.
The most valuable traffic and the only traffic I would consider paying advertising for is targeted traffic. In other words, I want to make people who are unaware of my blog aware that it exists and share its merits with them. I also hope I have something that interests them enough to become a regular reader and a premium member. If I am super lucky they have some friends with a similar interest and they will share their new find with them.
I see CPM advertising ranging from 10 cents to 10 dollars, sometimes even more. Even if you find a really good agency the advertiser has the right to advertise, or not, on your blog. For CPM advertising the more traffic you get, the better deals you can get, it’s really that simple. Use the 250,000 unique visitors a month rule here; when you pass that number you get out of the 20 cent range and into better deals.
For text links a lot of that is based on Pagerank. I don’t sell text links anymore, I don’t trade links, and I don’t buy links, so I am probably not the right person to talk to. The last time I sold a link I had a Pagerank six, by the time it stopped running I was a four. The Pagerank doesn’t make my articles index higher, I think it just lets me charge more for text links? If you guys know – let me know.
As far as just selling monthly ad spots, once again I am no expert here and because Yaro is kind enough to let me talk about something other than sports a few times a month, I am not going to even pretend to know much about this. I get contacted with inquiries regarding it often. When people ask what I make from a similar or the same space each month from CPM advertising, the discussion usually ends when the potential buyer sees the number.
6. What Rankings Are Important?
Here is something I know a lot about, and if you ever take one thing from any of my articles, print this, clip it out, glue it to your refrigerator, your laptop, and everywhere else you look:
There is no more worthless and outright idiotic ranking than Alexa.
The Alexa ranking is based on visitors who visit a site, but only those visitors that have the Alexa toolbar.
Go to any sporting event, the subject of my blog, and ask any 1,000 people in attendance if they know what Alexa or the Alexa toolbar is. If you can find more than five I would be shocked. In fact, I had no idea what it was either until I started blogging.
Now ask a room full of bloggers, do it at one of the Blogworld or affiliate conferences and ask how many people know what Alexa or the Alexa toolbar is; my guess is it will close to 100 percent know, and the only reason it wouldn’t be 100 is you may come across a maintenance worker or bar tender who may not know.
Now since Alexa only counts visitors with the toolbar – who is likely to have a higher ranking? A blogger who writes about and caters to bloggers where 100 percent of their readers use the Alexa toolbar, or a sports guy like me who had 650,000 unique visitors last month and close to 10 million page views? Well, if the blogger has .05 percent ( not 5 percent, five one hundredths of one percent) of the traffic I get, they will have the higher Alexa ranking, that’s how stupid this concept is, and just how worthless.
The only metrics that count when it comes to making real money from advertising, and by real money I mean a minimum of a mid-five figures monthly and into six figures during the busy months, are Comscore and Net Ratings.
Comscore is what ad agencies show to their clients. It is a paid service and isn’t cheap, but is considered real numbers and what someone buying advertising in $100,000 to million dollar blocks look at.
Net Ratings is done by the same fine people who do the Nielsen Ratings for TV, the A.C. Nielsen Company. This data is all about demographics of the readers of a site. This is how people who spend the big bucks advertise know they are targeting their correct market. This stuff is interesting to me at first, but as you may feel right now, it makes my head spin and that’s why my agencies earn their cut, they handle all of this for me.
7. How Important Are Twitter, Facebook, And Other Social Media?
Like I’ve said before, I don’t know everything and about these services, but I stick to a very basic strategy that has served me well. If I am going to spend one second of time or effort to get people to my blog, I better have plenty there to keep them there and keep them coming back.
I’ll admit it, I put these things down and am somewhat dismissive of them because I’m not good at them. I don’t understand why people spend so much effort on it when I know I could spend that same time and effort on things I know will either definitely get me traffic or definitely make me money.
If someone has good answers here and tangible results to show me I am all ears and can probably fit you in my budget if you can show a return on your work. If you are going to build me a pretty page and that’s it, I still wouldn’t get it.
I get plenty of questions and read even more as I am trying to become more active in the blogging community. I can always learn something and usually do. Hopefully, I will get a chance to see and answer your question in the near future.
Photo courtesy of Jordanhill School D&T Dept
Really helpful article, thanks so much for sharing. I have been working on our blog Sevensentences.com for approximately 3 years.
The traffic is building probably about 9,000 Unique visitors/month. Do you to a critical mass point where the traffic just sky rockets?
I wouldn’t say it happened that way, it just has always been and continues to be a growth process. I know we have just barely scratched the surface. I think it’s just a matter of keep moving forward and continuing to hit what you know works as much and as often as you can.
Thanks Dude… awesome.
Mitch, you are awesome. I read about how you started your blog and I think what you’ve done is amazing. These insights will hopefully help me get to a level near to where you’re at. Keep up the good work.
If I can do it anyone can
Thank you mitch, great advices.
Your success is impressiv. 3000 visitors a day after 3 month of blogging and as a total beginner.
That’s crazy !
When I joined Blog Mastermind Yaro gave me a few ideas, no so surprisingly, some of them worked for me in my niche and I was able to build on that foundation, experiment, and grow
Thanks for the great post Mitch- I learned the lesson about learning vs. paying for tech work the hard way after some of my sites got hacked.
As far as your view on social media, what I think you’re saying there is that you’d rather spend your time producing more content, or at least make sure you have a lot of content before you ever go and try to figure out different traffic methods… is that what you’re getting at?
I’m glad you got something out of it, I hope it helps or at least provokes some thought for a lot of people.
On Social Media that really is just part of my opinion. I just don’t get it, I personally don’t know how to use it to effectively do anything, I just know if people are at my site, I can convert that into money and with content there I can convert that into traffic and money.
Thanks for the tips, our traffic went up 74% in 2011
cool, percentage is all relative to the number you are working with and how long you have been at it but it is headed in the right direction.
Some good advice from a different perspective.
I like your take on Alexa, I’ve always thought people put too much emphasis on that ranking.
I am not a fan of Alexa, in case you didn’t notice..lol..just doesn’t make any sense..you see my google #’s, I am willing to bet if we find the 100,000 people ahead of me in Alexa (last I checked), let’s see how they stack up.
Hi Mitch – I’ve listened to the podcast you did with Yaro in the past and I am so impressed with the incredible work you have accomplished!
My question is: Approximately how many blog posts did you write in order to reach 3,000 unique visitors a day within 3 months? Did you have knowledge of keywords at that time? Did you write 1 blog post a day or more?
By your article, I am guessing that maybe you focused more on quantity than quality to give your readers who do land on your site plenty to read? Is this true still today and how is that working for you?
I find it interesting to hear your perspective concerning quantity vs. quality. This is always an age-old debate!
In one study (in the Pshychology field), 1 group of people were asked to make only 1 clay pot, but it had to be *perfect*. The other group was asked to make 50 clay pots with the result of showing their *best* pot in the end. Guess which group produced the best quality clay pots? Yep, the 50 clay pot group.
They realized they had the opportunity to practice making 49 pots before achieving their best 50th pot. The other group did not get that practice and the end result was not nearly as good. As you can see, the 1 pot group had a lot more pressure (and less practice) than the 50 pot group did.
The biggest lesson here is that quantity leads to better quality! This is good news for those struggling with perfectionism.
Love this topic and thanks for sharing this interesting article!
When I was first starting out it was just me, I did one article a day, but it was a big one, one I would make into 5 articles now. But to answer your question, 3,000 at 1 article per day. I knew very little about keywords, I went backwards and found out what people were googling to get to my site and did it that way.
I’m not saying quality in unimportant or less important, my opinion is that it is subjective. I was fortunate, I went to one of the top schools for writing and communications in the world, the long time number one ranked in the United States. While it helped me in some respect (to be honest, confidence wise more than anything else just that they would let me in the door), I think if people are passionate about what they write about and authentic and they have even a basic set of grammar skills, about a 4th grade level, then it will be quality. Some of the articles that I have felt the best about have gotten very little traffic, some articles I consider fluff pieces have had over a half a million reads. The point being, if you post nothing, you will get no traffic to that article, a point a lot of people simply don’t seem to understand.
Very nice. Thanks for answering my questions. I agree with you…no articles = no traffic, regardless of how well they are written.
Thanks for sharing Mitch, you have some good insights. I’m not sure I agree about the traffic, more traffic is better but it depends on the source, I have websites that get 100 visitors a month, and other that have over 10000, and they make about the same amount of money, it depends on the niche, the target audience and what the offer is and how you can convert it. But keeping all things equal, yes more traffic is better.
I guess the bottom line is how much do they make? I have one site that supports myself and 27 other people and gets some traffic, if you have one that can do that with 100 or 1000 visitors than you are WAY ahead of me and I would love to talk about how you do it. My contact info is over at my site, feel free to use it.
That’s not what I’m saying, I’m just saying that it’s not just about traffic, it’s about quality of traffic.For example, some people get thousands of views from StumbleUpon each day (I used to be one of them), and the bounce rate is high and the conversion rate is low compared to other sources (paid or free), I ‘m saying I could make more money with 100 targeted visitors than 1000 non targeted, the amount of money itself is irrelevant.
Great article Mitch!
I wanted to just throw my 2 cents in with respect to your quality vs quantity question. I have a website in the medical education niche that I’ve been running for about 2.5 years and I’ve found that really good quality can come in really small packages. I think many bloggers falsely believe they need to write 1,500 words to be considered ‘quality’, when in fact I’ve found that some of my most read pieces were 200-300 words that delivered a very high-impact piece of information.
So I think it’s totally possible to create 3-5 small yet high-quality pieces on a daily or semi-daily basis and see some faster results, because having more information/content on your site when a new visitor lands on your page will probably keep them there for longer, and get them to come back.
I also believe that, as Yaro taught me a couple years ago, creating those ‘pillar articles’ that are both loaded with high-quality information and a bit longer can do wonders for your online business.
Great work Mitch, congrats on all your success!
I am with you there, the public will tell you what quality is..some of my personal favorites get no traffic at all, some fluff pieces…never stop getting traffic..
Thanks Mitch for the insights! I recall when we met you were sharing your perspective on Alexa and you’re absolutely right! It just doesn’t make sense. Your perspective gave me a little bit of a reality check on what is important and what is just time wasting. Refreshing!
Thanks my friend..still reeling through my stack of cards from ASW and sifting through all of the emails…something I’m not ever going to miss
Picked a few things here and there; glad to read this.
On the issue of quality versus quantity, I guess this is a personal choice every web publisher should make. People are different. Some can write 5000 words daily, others can only manage 1000 words or less.
What matters is what a publisher would want to achieve.
Happy blogging Mitch.
the key word is Daily..
A good post Mitch. I have always struggled when it comes to determining how much to charge advertisers. I seem to have hit the nail with text ads though. IAt the start of this month I started charging $50 a year for a text link on my PR5 blog and I’ve had three this month so far. 🙂
You might be cutting yourself short on the money at that price..
Great tips and a great read, going to put them into action on my blog
I found this very helpful. My blog is doing well but I have long ways to go but this leads me in the right direction! C.Jay
Loved the quality vs. quantity part of the article. I think you were bang on.
How many articles did you write to generate 3k visitors per month. Was it just one article? I am also planning to start a blog around gmat exam, and I am a teacher. Did you do anything else besides writing a good article? I mean did you use some SEO techniques to build traffic?
Anyways very informative article. It at least encouraged me to go ahead and pursue my passion. Thanks a lot!
I just kept writing. at 3,000 rads it was 1 article a day, but that article would be 5 seperate articles these days
You can’t really write about quality vs, quantity yourself because even though you go for quantity, the quality of your writing is excellent!
I bet you couldn’t do poor quality to save your life.
Thank you for the detailed information about your way of doing things.
A lot of info here Mitch. I never heard of Alexa either until I read about it in a blog post. This was before I started my own blog. I don’t think either that you average web surfer has the Alexa toolbar enabled on their browser.
ask your friends, most won’t know
If I were to choose between quality and quantity I’d say both. These two blog essentials are needed to make a successful blogging activity. You are very right Mitch, if a writer less likely update posts on his blogging web site I’d still come back but the more I see that it’s not updated the less I come back and later on I’ll be gone.
Thanks for the great post Mitch,
Love the post especially the Alexa reference. I have a site that gets piles more traffic than a blog of mine and still it is at about 300.000 Alexa. A blogger would say that is bad but my bank account isn’t complaining. So it is really important to look at it like you did, and not be upset about it if you are not in the “blogging niche”.
Very wonderful post especially the Quality vs Quantity aspect. Actually, I’ve been focusing on the quality side but reading your write-up makes me see beyond the popular believe. Just like your post, when you focus on quantity, quality set in automatically.
But getting 3k visitors within 3 months is really a big success to me. How I wish I could learn your secrets – of course apart from the ‘quantity’ aspect.
Every bit of the writings above has given me a head-up. I think I should be disciplined enough to be doing at least 1 article per day. Thanks.
Many great points and experiences here, Mitch — many thanks! I’m probably in the camp of doing too much of my own tech work (perhaps out of necessity at the moment). However, I do hope to have a good working knowledge of what work should be hired out first, and to whom I’ll engage in that task.
Thanks for the post, especially part 7. I don’t get it neither, why should I make facebook more interesting with a lot of my own work instead of getting those people to my own website.
Of course it depends of the business your in and your public but when I ask others why they spend/invest so much time on facebook and similar sites they say you have to do it because it is important without any numbers backing it up.
I have been blogging for six months now. And i’d been confused by so many different ways to get traffic. Gladly I found your site. And your right in saying that I’m spending lot of my time in social media activities, perhaps a total waste of my time. Now I know that I must focus more on my content more than anything else. Hope to learn more from You!
Great post Mitch, and you hit the nail on the head about Alexa (though that isn’t going to stop me from trying to improve my Alexa rank! 🙂
I have two sites that get the same traffic almost exactly and one is in the millions, while the other is below 70,000.
Thanks for the tips, Mitch. I sure hope that my blog sees progress after applying the things I’ve learned from this post.
The tips posted here are very informative, especially the discussions created in the comments. The biggest dilemma that I find is how to get traffic to my blog, for you was it all about keywords from search engines?
Incorporate lists into your blog. Whether you are blogging about cooking and the various ingredients and tools you need to make a certain dish, or the parts you need to overhaul the engine of a 1967 VW van, lists are important. Lists put the information that the reader needs out front where it can easily be seen.
Hi Mitch, thank you so much for posting this incredibly useful article. It answers a lot of questions that bloggers may have in a very real and honest way. I especially appreciated the part about alexa ranking; I had no idea that alexa only monitored those with the tool bar. Crazy!
Hi Mitch, thanks for sharing this informative article, great tips!
Great post! Entertaining and informative. Not that easy to pull off but you did. Thanks for sharing personal results. I love having number goals. I’m currently at 11,000 uniques per month and was thrilled to get that much. Keep it up.
Hey Mitch! Nice article!
Thanks for the information, I’ll be coming back here for months while I build my site.
Yesterday I picked up my social media game and have been sitting at around 1000 visitors a day after just over a month of blogging. Do you think this is good?
I’m just getting started at blogging. All the blog advice I’ve read so far has not been nearly a helpful as this single post. Seriously! And I was actually looking to find out my unique visitor numbers. So, I got that answered here, too.
Great Article! Thanks for Sharing. Would you say these arguments are true for all fields? exmpl. as a designer, wardrobe stylist, blogger, I have my website covering Fashion (my published work as a stylist and designer, outfit posts, fashion reports), travel (I have a pretty internation audience, being multicultural myself and back and forth between Europe and US), lifestyle (food, diy stuff, books, etc)
I know for me and my audience, Instagram is important as far as social media channels go. I get most of my freelance work via IG.
I wonder if everything else mentioned in your article, would be applicable to my field as well, or if you have any specific pointers to this ‘niche’.
Thanks so much