by Joe Wallace
Over last week we tried a few experimental posts designed to boost traffic to Freelance-Zone. A couple of them were squarely designed to appeal to people’s basic desire to save (and earn) a buck. You might have noticed a few random Freelancer Freebies posts–that was one of our experiments.
Results? About what we expected. More people are interested in freelance jobs and resources directly related to freelancing. Fewer people thought free Cold Stone ice cream was cooler than freelance jobs. Everybody loves free ice cream–why didn’t we expect that to perform?
It’s all about the power of highly targeted niche blogging. Take a mass-appeal idea and try adding it to the mix on your blog without tilting it directly towards your target audience. That idea gets a lukewarm reception unless you can address the “Who cares?” factor.
Freebies WORK as a blog topic. They also work as a traffic-driving gimmick, but unless you target your gimmick directly to your existing audience, it won’t give you the results you want.
Over the weekend I stumbled across a variety of sites gamely trying to attract viewers via Google by using a practice I call keyword stuffing. They take popular search terms from Google Trends and try to stuff them into their new blog posts. Sometimes the stuffing worked–one blogger tried to tie in her blogging work with the fictional writer in Sex In The City. It was a stretch, but it wasn’t too far out.
One blog I saw was literally dictated by specific trends, spending a few months dedicated to one topic, ditching the idea when it didn’t go viral and switching to a new topic for a few months, dumping that, and trying yet a third and fourth unrelated topic. None of them ever had a chance to gain traction. The blog shed its skin and tried to survive with a brand new identity over and over. None of the identities took off.
To make any blog work you need a good topic you actually know something about, time, and the dedication to pull it off. It’s crucial that you use your expertise to give authority to the site, put in the required online PR work and allow your site to attract long-tail traffic. Anything less will result in your blog going dark in, say, six to nine months.
In case you’re wondering, we definitely ARE doing the freelance jobs feature–that wasn’t something we just dangled out there to see how you’d react. Stay tuned.