Don’t believe the Hype: Unique Content is not Enough

26 Jan
2007

“How do I get more traffic to my site?”

This has to be one of the most commonly asked questions on forums like SitePoint and WebmasterWorld

Invariably, the answer is always the same:

Write great content and people will link to you.

What a bunch of poppycock.

There is a lot of great content out there. People who spend hours writing one single article, re-writing it multiple times so that it is flows nicely, conveys its points across, and doesn’t bore the user. But that is far from enough. You write this great content – how does it get found? It isn’t that Google sends out some magical gnome to check on your content. No, you have to put your head down and promote your site non-stop.

As I mentioned in my earlier post about web hosting directories, the amount of riff-raff at the top is astounding. There are legitimate directories out there, but none rank at the top. In fact, the ones ranking at the top are the most void of content. What they did they did beautifully – they promoted and promoted and promoted. It is almost like fighting in the trenches – very grinding, very boring, but very important.

Now I do want to step back and say that unique content is important. High quality content is important. But without promoting it, you fantastic unique content will go no where. Unique content with no promotion vs so-so content with promotion results in the so-so content beating down the unique content.

Lets take the example of this blog. It currently has 33 subscribers. I can say half of them came from ProBlogger.net (Darren Rowse). Jacob took the time to email him about blog resources in demand. While the content was useful (or so I like to believe), without having emailed him, Darren would have had no clue that such a post existed.

Yet there is a silver lining. Once your blog (or site) is popular enough, then unique content is fantastic. Just look at Life Hacker or TechCrunch. Those guys have taken the time to write great content and promote it. They are now in a position where tens of thousands of people read what they say every day. So when they do post useful unique content, it gets disseminated, fast. It appears on Digg. It appears on Del.icio.us. Links to their post spread like wildfire, and everyone sees it within a few days.

But those are the anomalies. They have worked hard to get where they are. For everyone else – you have to promote your content. Every time you post something useful, find 15-50 sites that would find your content interesting. My biggest site gets over 100,000 unique visitors a day. During its 6 year history, I have sent out at least 15,000 emails. No spam, nothing automated – every single one individually written. It was exhausting, but it paid off handsomely. The emails got the webmasters to my site, and the unique content compelled them to link to my site.

27 Responses to Don’t believe the Hype: Unique Content is not Enough

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When Content Is Not Enough at The Blog Herald

January 26th, 2007 at 9:09 pm

[...] Ahmed has some good arguments over at techsoapbox that having good, unique, content is usually not enough to ensure a good following for a blog (or any other online material, for that matter). It has to be backed by good marketing, too. There is a lot of great content out there. People who spend hours writing one single article, re-writing it multiple times so that it is flows nicely, conveys its points across, and doesn’t bore the user. But that is far from enough. You write this great content – how does it get found? It isn’t that Google sends out some magical gnome to check on your content. No, you have to put your head down and promote your site non-stop. [...]

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Blog Bloke

January 27th, 2007 at 5:52 pm

This is the type of type of post that I like to read. Tell it like it is and no BS. Good for you Ahmed and btw, you now have 34 subscribers.

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Ahmed

January 27th, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Good to know you are a content reader :)

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Blog Bloke

January 27th, 2007 at 7:24 pm

Engaging in the conversation doesn’t hurt either ;-)

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Problog Quest » Blog Archive » Synchronizing Content With Marketing - A Bloggers Dilemma

January 27th, 2007 at 11:18 pm

[...] Don’t believe the Hype: Unique Content is not Enough – Ahmed Farooq [...]

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Merit And Visibility on iface thoughts

January 28th, 2007 at 11:04 pm

[...] Blog traffic is not only about good and unique content. Ahmed presents the other answer (via J. Angelo Racoma) to the question of increasing traffic. Content is still the king, but you also need the army to be visible – SEO and emails so that the search engines and other bloggers come to know about you. [...]

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Starked SF, Unforgiving News from the Bay » Blog Archive » Linker Barn: Monday, January 29

January 29th, 2007 at 8:17 am

[...] BloogingPro on Ahmed, Tech Soapbox, and the power of unique content. [...]

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Continuous Blog Marketing is a Must | Content Writing and CopyWriting Blog

January 29th, 2007 at 3:55 pm

[...] Quality content is not enough, says Angelo at The Blog Herald to make your blog a successful blog. The post refers to Ahmed’s post at Tech Soapbox where Ahmed says that your blog becomes successful due to lots of other factors and I totally agree. Angelo says: [...]

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technabob

January 30th, 2007 at 11:31 pm

Good points, Ahmed.

I’ve only recently started my blog, and so far, I’m drawing about 1500 unique visitors/day. Communicating with other bloggers has definitely helped me to build up more traffic and links, but it’s all part of a nutritious blogging regimen, which includes:

-Frequent postings
-Quality site navigation and link architecture (i.e. tags, site search, etc).
-Joining as many social network sites as possible (i.e. MyBlogLog, etc.)
-Submitting to as many directories as possible
-Having an accurate sitemap (I use the Google Sitemaps plugin for WordPress)
-Outbound links to popular sites
-Being responsive to comment postings
-Reading blog marketing articles such as this one
-Frequently testing and monitoring statistics

..among other things

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Sohaib

January 31st, 2007 at 5:09 am

Just added your blog to my RSS reader, excellent post, great content isnt enough, your website and the great content in it needs to be found 1st for people to link to it! and that wont happen without allot of promotion and marketing.

Sohaib.

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Andy

January 31st, 2007 at 9:29 am

I don’t entirely agree.

One of my ‘great content’ sites recently picked up links from National Geographic magazine – I have been doing buggar all to promote it. And those links count for a lot.

Same with one of my mates with a similar type of site within weeks has been found and linked to by schools – also links worth a lot.

I would say though that these site have bloody excellent content.

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Ahmed

January 31st, 2007 at 10:37 am

Andy – I’m going to have to write you off as an anomaly :)

The question is – if you did nothing to promote it, how did people find it? Google won’t rank you (as you have no trust gained). Even a bit of legwork is involved, and most people do absolutely *zero*

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Andy

January 31st, 2007 at 1:53 pm

I chucked a few links at it long time ago – but no real effort.

I hope I am a bit of an anomaly yes :)

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richard

February 2nd, 2007 at 2:34 am

thanks for article, I found it helpful. The problem is I prefer writing to networking. Only solution is to write articles with keywords designed to get traffic from google.

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fun-da-mental

February 2nd, 2007 at 2:49 am

Hello Ahmed!

to your whole post I can only say: Amen brother!
I fully agree – market your site until your site ‘markets you’…

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akshay

February 2nd, 2007 at 4:42 am

hi there
i agree with you,unique content is not enough,using blog networks,social bookmarking sites,directories is also quite important and there importance is only going to grow with time.

with regards
akshay

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Exodus Development

February 3rd, 2007 at 2:15 am

Want to be found and seen? Three simple rules: promote, promote, promote….

How do you ensure that your site is found and read by users? According to Ahmed Farooq on techsoapbox.com – you must promote. Actively. Relentlessly. Writing great content just isn’t enough.
I agree. I’ve noticed that good content can get you so…

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Not Earning in AdSense? Read this at LifeSpy

February 19th, 2007 at 7:42 pm

[...] And here’s a great quote from Ahmed’s article: There is a lot of great content out there. People who spend hours writing one single article, re-writing it multiple times so that it is flows nicely, conveys its points across, and doesn’t bore the user. But that is far from enough. You write this great content – how does it get found? It isn’t that Google sends out some magical gnome to check on your content. No, you have to put your head down and promote your site non-stop. [...]

Avatar

Treat Publishing with Adsense as a Small Business at LifeSpy

February 21st, 2007 at 7:16 pm

[...] No leading product in the market today is in that dominant position without investments in proper marketing and advertising. And just like Ahmed’s claim in Tech Soapbox, you should take the effort to get the word out that your site and ideas exist. [...]

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iBegin Source: Out of Control - Tech Soapbox

February 22nd, 2007 at 7:57 pm

[...] Beyond my little plug about iBegin there, the real meat here is about how managing a business brings about frustrations people normally don’t deal with. When I was a wee-one on my own, making a website was easier. I would get a designer to quickly make a design, or alternatively I would go and use a template (as a placeholder). Programming, writing content, hammering out the non-spam emails … it all counted on me. I had no one to blame for failure but my self (and in that same manner, no one to pat on the back for success but me). [...]

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Jeff

April 14th, 2007 at 6:17 pm

Excellent post and good info. I get the whole need to promote relentlessly, as in “the greatest content in the world sitting all by it’s lonesome, on a blog nobody reads” doesn’t really help anyone.

Just one question – as a TOTAL NOOB to the world of blogs, do you have any advice/posts for suggestions on specifically HOW to promote your blog. When you really, really believe in your message and you really want to get that message out, what do you think are the best ways to…..spread the word?

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Ahmed

April 14th, 2007 at 7:02 pm

Comment. Comment, comment, and comment a bit more. It has two things:

1. It gets your name/site out there. This is really important when it comes time to email other webmasters. If people recognize your name, they are much more likely to open and read your email.

2. It can send you some traffic. Not a lot, but it can build up.

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Best of Feeds - 62 links - design, humor, funny, programming, tips, howto « //engtech - internet duct tape

May 21st, 2007 at 6:01 pm

[...] Don’t believe the Hype: Unique Content is not Enough (techsoapbox.com, 3 saves) [...]

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Principle Of Marketing

June 11th, 2007 at 2:50 am

Nice post and nice blog, this is the first time I’ve found it and I agree that is a simple step but probably one of the most overlooked step out of them all, all the hype is build it and they will come, well you would think with a billion people online it should be easy to get visitors but there are two probably four times as many websites online as there are people now and you’ve got to link build, promote, advertise, in order to become a big player.

I’m not a big player but my new blog will soon be bringing in some nice traffic and not because I write unique content that people comment on but its because I promote, link build, seo, and others but overall I work very hard to make it a success.

Anyway Nice article I’ll have to browse around and check out the rest of the site.

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Large sites should be blogging - Tech Soapbox

October 25th, 2007 at 11:55 am

[...] done the hard work in promoting the overall site. Now they are leveraging that hard work. A more dedicated user [...]

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a blog about blogging, by Blog Bloke

February 7th, 2009 at 7:04 pm

[...] couldn’t agree more with that statement. But just how do you promote your blog anyway? Ahmed has written a post about this and tells us: Every time you post something useful, find 15-50 sites [...]

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Promoting Your Blog: Which way is Best for You? | Blog Tips Helping You To Be A Better Blogger - by Blog Bloke

April 7th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

[...] couldn’t agree more with that statement. But just how do you promote your blog anyway? Ahmed has written a post about this and tells us: Every time you post something useful, find 15-50 sites [...]

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