How Can I Attract More Readers to My Site?

That’s, like, the biggest question every hopeful internet mogul asks. More visitors equals more customers/ad clicks. More of that stuff means lots more money, so, yeah, visitors are probably the most important aspect for any internet business. Except they’re not.

VISITORS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL

I’ve failed miserably multiple times at making a living on the internet. This is important because one of those miserable failures bankrupted me and taught me the very hard lesson that visitors don’t matter as much as you think. See, what had happened was . . . I decided to try my hand at Google Adwords – thinking, like most internet wannabes, that visitors were the X factor I was missing.

Buy eyeballs on my pages and (so long as my commissions paid more than my ad buys) I would profit big. Let me just tell you how fast I lost money using that strategy . . . Fucking FAST. It was right about that time (you know, while having panic attacks over my credit card bill) that I realized that all visitors are not created equal. But even that’s not quite right. It’s not that all visitors aren’t created equal, it’s that

ALL CONTENT IS NOT CREATED EQUAL

I went bankrupt on Adwords not because I didn’t get the “right” visitors, but because I didn’t serve my visitors the right content. Even if I’d had the “wrong” kind of visitor, I could have changed my keywords and dialed my campaigns in until I was profiting (or at least not losing as much as I did). The lesson was clear: Eyeballs on your pages only matter if you’ve got the content they want. Serve up crap and all the eyeballs in the world can’t help you, but universally valuable and actionable content will always be universally popular.

SO WHY ISN’T THIS OBVIOUS TO MORE PEOPLE?

Okay, so it’s time for some tough love. (If you need a little more coddling, the back button is up on your left.) The reason you’ve probably never thought about your content being the problem is that now you have to fix it. Blaming the readers means that you’re forever at their whim. Not your fault you spent all that money on Adwords and don’t have shit to show for it (except a credit card balance that reads like a phone number).

It’s the readers and until they decide to like you (or you find “the right ones”) there just isn’t anything you can do. Once you realize that the content is the problem, you realize that the secret to your success has been in your hands the whole time. You can become a better writer. You can experiment with other forms of content. Hell, you could hire someone. But all those things are on your shoulders. And realizing that it’s all your fault that your business hasn’t made money is one of life’s more uncomfortable moments.

SO HOW DO YOU GET MORE VISITORS?

I probably gave this away, like, 5 paragraphs ago, but: Write Better Content. Go learn all you can about copy writing. Email your work to your high school English teacher and ask for their opinion. If they like it, throw it out and start from scratch. Ask some of the A-Listers you admire to give you a critique (you might be surprised how often they’ll do it). If you have the testicular fortitude, submit some work to those same A-listers as guest blog posts and let their readers tell you what they think.

The best thing you can do it accept that you are the bottleneck to profit and do your best to get out of the way. If that means learning to be better at content creation, it’s time to suit up and learn. If it means just hiring someone to do your dirty work, then bust out the wallet. The point is that if you’ve found yourself in the situation where your content is the problem, buckle up because life is going to get uncomfortable for a little while. There’s just no way around content on the web. Either you got it, or you don’t and everything stems from it like a seed in a garden. Plant shitty seeds, get a shitty crop. Plant great seeds and, well, you get it . . .

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