Why this site will never have a million visitors

Thinking a bitIt’s become clear that more interaction with our reader base would be both welcome and warranted. Toby has mentioned it, both in conversation and in posts. Amy has mentioned it. And I know I could use it.

I mean, as much as I like to think that I’m the smartest guy in the room, this is a pretty big room. And I’m not that smart.

Okay, okay. I’m pretty smart. You’re right. I can’t fool you. I remember this one time….

Oh, wait. That’s not where I was going.

You see, like many of you, I tend to frequent the well-trafficked blogs. You know the names. I don’t need to repeat them. And I see their subscriber numbers. And I see the depth of comments. And I notice that there are a lot of people who interact with those blogs on a daily basis.

So, I started thinking about More than a living. And how our traffic was relatively low. And would likely continue to be. And how that could have a negative impact on our interactions with our readers.

And that got me to thinking about why we won’t ever have a million visitors interacting with us. And it’s because of things like this:

  1. We’re not doing this full-time.
    As much as we’d like to, none of us writes for More than a living as our full-time job. We have other obligations, other clients, and other jobs which take time, as well. We don’t have the dedicated time that some of the bigger blogs do.
  2. We don’t have a laser-like focus.
    We’re all over the board. Because that’s how we think. You think this is bad, try reading my personal blog at some point. Here at least all of the posts are thematically related, even if they aren’t all “on-topic.” They may, like this post, eventually get around to a particular topic. But laser-like? No.
  3. Brevity? Not our strong suit.
    Nuff said.
  4. We’re not a 10-posts-a-day kind of blog.
    The stuff on which we focus is generally not “breaking news.” Nor is there a veritable glut of information which needs to be organized quickly. As such, we post when we feel like we have something thoughtful, and potentially poignant, to say. That stance doesn’t lend itself well to multiple postings per day.
  5. We don’t do a lot of community outreach.
    We tend to read a good number of blogs. And at times, we comment, when it seems warranted. Or when it seems like we genuinely have something to add to the conversation. But we’re not out there every day, posting comments on 50 other blogs. We’re generally reading there and writing here.
  6. We don’t really write diggable content.
    The stuff we write isn’t sensational or necessarily technology driven. There’s very little hype here. In reality, it’s very much a blog about common sense. A commodity that is, unfortunately, quite uncommon in the corporate world. So we’re not diggable. Reddit-able? Maybe. Definitely some del.icio.us material and maybe a Stumble Upon every once in a while, but that’s about as far as it goes.
  7. We don’t submit our own content to the above-mentioned services.
    I’ll generally bookmark our stuff in del.icio.us or Stumble Upon if someone else has already added it. Or if there is something to which I want to refer in the future. But, as I said, our content doesn’t really resonate in most of the social bookmarking places. So why try to force it in there?
  8. We’re not especially inflammatory.
    One of the best ways to drive traffic is to be inflammatory, and dare I say, obnoxious. It happens. It causes people to flock. And argue. And then leave. That’s not really our bent. We tend to write extremely subversive articles about how you should strive to make work meaningful. Ooooh. Spicy stuff.
  9. We write about things that the vast majority of the population doesn’t even care about.
    And we use dangling prepositions. I mean, let’s be honest. How many people are actually trying to do something meaningful with their careers? It’s a fairly small subset of the US workforce. And I can’t speak for the international workforce. But, I can guess that it’s a very small population that has a distinct concern about their “career growth.” I like to think that population is growing. But I think it’s still very small.

So, I went through all of those reasons, and I tried to figure out if there was any way to change the site or our behavior to resolve some of the issues. To engage more readers. To get more conversations going.

And then it dawned on me: More than a living isn’t about driving traffic, More than a living about engaging you, gentle reader.

It’s about defining our success. And our success is not defined by the sheer number of visitors. It’s defined by the quality of visitors. The quality of our interaction with those visitors.

I know, I know. It sounds like sour grapes. And in part, I’m sure it is. I do have an ego. And I would love it if this stuff were important to millions of folks.

But, I also appreciate the truth. And truth is: it’s not important to millions of people.

So now that we know that this site will never have a million visitors. And now that we know that you are one of the visitors who has actually taken valuable time to read through this post. And now that we know that it’s highly likely that you’re one of the quality people with whom we would like to interact…

Now, you’re in the driver’s seat. Now, it’s up to you.

What do you want? What could we be doing better? Where could we focus? How do you want to be engaged? What would make you feel more involved? What would get you more involved? And, perhaps most importantly, do you even want to be involved?

Your feedback and input is welcome.

About Rick Turoczy

More than mildly obsessed with the Portland startup community. Editor at Silicon Florist. Cofounder and general manager at PIE. Follow me on Twitter: @turoczy
This entry was posted in Communication, Community, Feedback, More than a living. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Why this site will never have a million visitors

  1. Man, I totally feel you on this. I’ve been working on a traffic experiment for the past few weeks and posted some preliminary results that delve into the quantity vs. quality discourse. I also recently asked my readers if they knew about sites that I could join to drive more traffic, specifically quality traffic that would add more .

    This is all to say that you are in need of some better quality traffic and I’d like to invite you to participate in creating a circle of people to engage in higher quality discussions. 🙂

    Sorry for all the links, I just wanted to show how many parallels we have around this.

  2. Rick Turoczy says:

    Thanks so much for all the links. I’ll spend some time reading through the posts. It does sound like we’re running in parallel.

    Now, I’m double-sorry that I missed the last PDX Web Innovators get together.

  3. Cheyne Rood says:

    Hello hello,

    I read an article once about how excruciatingly difficult it is to build a community — and how many people underestimate the task. If I were a better commenter, I would link to said article…but sadly it is buried amongst many del.icio.us bookmarks.

    Anyways, I feel your pain. And am here! I enjoy good writing, and have interest in your efforts towards product dev/launch of kumquat. Keep on keeping on.

    If you want more people to visit/comment, start writing about lindsay lohan?

  4. I like you guys just the way you are. And I actually think if you did some, just a couple, of the things you listed above, you would have more readers and more engagement. You have a great message, why not promote it? I think you are giving up too easily, making excuses… 😉

  5. Rick Turoczy says:

    @Cheyne: You’re one of the most consistent participants, and we greatly appreciate it. Truly. Even if you are getting your product out the door before we do.

    Thanks for the kind words, and the continued readership. And, of course, the guidance to begin blogging about Ms. Lohan. She’s in a Utah rehab clinic, you know.

    @Rebecca: Aw. Thanks for the kind words, and… hey wait a second. Excuses? Okay okay. Guilty as charged. Some of that is pure excuse and can easily be corrected. I’m no quitter. Despite previous posts that seem to speak to the contrary.

  6. Just wanted to say Hey.

    I’ve been reading this blog for a few weeks (can’t remember how I came across it).

    So far I really like the style (written and visually) but I too am not a big commenter on the blogs I read.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

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