Why Blogs Suck

Whilst I wouldn’t class myself as a fanatical tester and tracker, I do test and track extensively. Having now published this blog for close to a year, I have reached a number of conclusions.

To be fair, I reached these conclusions more than 6 months ago… but saying anything at the time really would have fallen on deaf ears. I needed to have an established audience created in a traditional way, without any “explosive” growth from gaming social media, paid advertising or leveraging existing traffic.

  • It would have been looked on as moaning and whining
  • I would be told that you can’t expect instant success from blogging
  • That you have to write better content to be successful
  • The only blogs that gain lots of traffic and subscribers write list posts and have great headlines
  • You have to optimize your monetization to make any money online

However ultimately everything comes down to one thing…

Blogs Suck For Lead Acquisition

  • The number of editorial links you receive is generally related to the number of subscribers
  • The number of repeat visitors to a blog is generally related to the number of subscribers
  • The amount of money a blog can make is generally related to the number of subscribers
  • The prominence of a blog on social news sites is at least partly related to the number of subscribers

So to get more links, visitors, money and possibly even success on social news sites, you need to optimize your visitor experience with one single aim, to get more qualified subscribers

Here is a little test for you, lets look on this as a group project.

1. No. of New Visitors During Last Month

In Google Analytics I know that I have had around 20,000 unique visitors that Google Analytics looks on as new visitors during the last month. Whilst this figure is fairly inaccurate, at least it is “constantly inaccurate”, so we can use it as some kind of reference point for the future.
In Google Analytics it is also possible to segment the new visitors by the source of traffic. I still gain more traffic from Google search than I receive from social media such as StumbleUpon, in fact 32% of my new visitors are from search, and that traffic is generally highly targeted.

2. Subscriber Gain or Decline During Last Month

Go into Feedburner or your other feeds stats, and work out how many subscribers you have gained or lost during the last month. Feedburner numbers can fluctuate a little, so go for an intelligent average.

Over the last month I know that I have gained around 400 subscribers

3. Compare New Visitors To Subscribers

Based on my data:-

(400/20000)*100 = 2%

2% doesn’t sound very good, it almost certainly isn’t very good, though the figure is probably a little on the low side. Many of those “new visitors” could well have been previous visitors.

At the same time, many of those subscribers could well have been repeat visitors.

2% Subscription Rate Sucks…
But Is Yours Any Better?

If you had traffic coming to a sales page, you might be happy with a 2% conversion rate… though you would obviously strive for more.

If you are offering totally free content of high quality, you should expect a much higher subscription rate unless your conversion of traffic into subscribers totally sucks, and lets be honest, mine currently does, and there is a high chance your’s does as well.

This isn’t a problem with blogs as such, as blogging software is really just a content management system.

Blogging and joining the conversation is important

It is very rare to see a blog that has a highly optimized traffic funnel, in fact I have seen some marketing blogs advocate what is effectively the exact opposite of an efficient sales funnel. For some silly reason they advocate advertising to new visitors, and switching off selling to people who have subscribed.

People who subscribe are your hot prospects, and if you don’t sell them something, they will most likely buy from someone else. If they buy from someone else, you have lost a customer

There are factors that might give some “abnormalities” to the overall statistics, such as a newly launched resource with plenty of traffic leverage from friends, affiliates or social media, and an efficient traffic funnel can change things dramatically.
Older blogs that are reaching a saturation point within their niche might have a reduced rate of subscription.

Blogs that can leverage “fake” subscriptions by frequent discussion of competing RSS readers and aggregators probably have a higher subscription rate than their real “responsive” numbers. I know my own numbers aren’t too far off because the occasional “hit” such as my article on “Linking Abuse” was read by 90% of my subscribers based on Feedburner usage statistics.

Email subscriptions for 3rd party blogs are hard to quantify if they are not reported to Feedburner.

So what is your subscription conversion rate of new visitors for your blog?

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Comments

  1. SEMSpot says

    I believe that people who blog only for money will get slapped hard with a dose of reality. When someone blogs for money, at first they are very excited and energetic about they write about because they know that there blog has the potential to make money. After a few months however there posting frequency might get lower, what they talk about is no longer that great or worse even they just start to copy other posts. People get hit with reality and see that it is not easy, you have to work hard at it, consistently write good posts to keep your current readers happy and try to draw in new ones. My blog is still fairly new as well, only difference is I have no ads on my site and am not looking to make money with my blog just yet.

  2. studio equipment says

    I have been reading that blogging is already on the decline. This is my personal experience too. I think that we have hit the law of diminishing returns.
    Having said that, non money making blogs seem to be growing. Particularly social network sites.
    Perhaps there is a moral in this somewhere.

  3. says

    Indeed you are right. Blogs suck. My subscriber count (I think feedburner is broken!) also sucks as most visitors come, find what they looked for and vanish. (But my site is quite new.)

    It’s trial and error until we fine-tune the sites.
    And I think blog audience is mostly other bloggers so chances to convert are not huge where the real money are made.

    Cheers.
    PS: We live in a blogosphere of freebies:)

    • says

      You make an excellent point that actually begs the question: “How does a blogger that uses blogging networks as well as the search engines target non-bloggers to visit and subscribe to their site?” (Or visit and buy something?)

  4. says

    Hi,

    I just started a blog with a twist…maybe this would help subscription rates…

    My blog is in format of a Private members only blog and forum. I am using it for the making money online niche where I will be coaching newbies how to get started making money online…

    I use a squeeze page to capture the email addresses so I can let my member know when there is a new post on the blog and in that way keep the blog in their minds.

    Would this be helpful for getting and keeping subscribers in reference to this discussion?

    I am enjoying the blogging experience so far and thinking of opening another in future so interested in your feedback on this as was thinking of doing one that isn’t private in future.

    Take Care,
    Veronica Routtu
    “Success Begins When You Take the First Step”

  5. says

    The only people that make any real money from blogging, and it’s still a really low conversion rate, are the so-called a-list bloggers like Shoemoney and Problogger.

    I’m afraid if people are blogging solely to make money, they’re going to be sadly disappointed.

  6. says

    I have ads but I don’t have a blog. It just smells like a blog but it’s actually a content site oriented towards SEO and programming mostly :)
    I rely on Search Engine traffic and those that visit my site do not subscribe to the RSS. They just bookmark. C’est la vie.

    Cheers.

  7. says

    Please don’t tie your thoughts to specific niches, the niche does have some effect on subscription rates, and I have had difficulty encouraging signups of some niche sites, but then the traffic funnel didn’t contain any incentive.

    If you spend a day or less developing and promoting a site, you don’t necessarily need to maximize these things.

    I think that the typical subscription rate for blogs that look like blogs might be less than 1% of new traffic becoming subscribers, but I really want people to check their stats.

    This is nothing to do with a decline in blogging, or whether A listers make money.
    In many ways I would say that many A-listers are actually very bad at monetization and have a poor lead acquisition process.

    If blogging is to be promoted as a core requirement for business of any kind, it has to be combined with a better measurable lead acquisition system.

    • studio equipment says

      Put that way, I agree. The proviso is however that it be a core requirement. Otherwise, why?

  8. says

    I think a better lead acquisition system is a social networks like BlogCatalog. I have gained more contacts and subscribers through BC than StumbleUpon even though I get ten times the traffic from SU. Perhaps it’s because they’re all bloggers like me.

  9. says

    Hey Andy,

    Since the “official” launch of my blog on Monday I am seeing a feed subscriber per new visitor rate of 19%. The overall numbers are pretty low – 282 new visitors v. 53 subscribers – but my content and the way I launched it were both pretty targeted (or at least tried to be). And I guess I have a novelty factor because I’m new so we’ll see what the sub numbers are in a couple of weeks.

    To improve feed subscriber rates I think you’d need to make it a n important component of your service. In keeping with your conclusions here’s a list of some ways you could increase feed subscribers:

    1. Run contests to promote feed subscription. Seems like it’s hard to track who’s subscribing though, even with content protection jujitsu. I have heard that the Feedvertising plugin might be helpful for this.

    2. Make some of your high value content only available via the feed. When new visitors arrive they might be compelled to subscribe to see what they are missing.

    3. Make a page that explains your feed and the benefits of subscribing. I imagine most people have no idea what that funny orange thing is on blog pages.

    4. Promote yourself and your fabulous feed all over the place – No need to tell you how to do that one.

    • says

      Just wondering how you came up with 19%? My calculator shows that 282 visitors divided by 53 subscribers is 5.32. Not trying to be an ass, just wondering if I am missing something in my calculations (last 30 days 300 visitors with average of 15 subscribers is close to 20%)

  10. says

    So what is your subscription conversion rate of new visitors for your blog?

    Zero.

    What annoys me about all this is that my target audience probably isn’t that computer literate. Some of them don’t even know what a feed reader is, but they visit my blog on a regular basis. These types of readers though won’t get counted towards my subscription numbers, which just sucks. One of the ways I’ve been trying to overcome this is to provide email subscription via Feedburner. Other than that, I’m at a loss on how I can actively work to boost my RSS subscriptions. *sigh*

    • says

      I’d think Andy would agree with this: it’s not just your subscription numbers that add up to your sites earning power. It is also the other metrics. Are you signed up with Google Analytics? Doing that will give you access to more great numbers (specifically to the visitors you are getting that are not subscribing). And don’t forget about Google Webmaster Tools.

      Being able to do things like remove indexed links (due to 404 errors, etc.) and update your sitemaps, and other cool things will help with understanding your numbers, and getting them to increase as well.

  11. says

    Hey James, maybe I am being dim – haven’t got a lot of sleep lately – but if I am trying to figure out what % of new visitors are subscribers wouldn’t I do subs/new visitors instead of the other way around?

    I think Andy may have mistyped in his post – 20,000/400 = 5000%. I’ll take that sub rate any day.

  12. says

    Great post, Andy.

    I don’t see the correlation between lead acquisition as universal. Perhaps it is only limited to the meta-blogging or marketing or business niche. The number of subscribers you have definitely do not determine the repeat visitors, money or social news prominence for all types of blogs.

    Let’s take a few examples.

    Celebrity blogs are traditionally weak when it comes to subscriber figures. Yet their repeat traffic dwarfs sites like Problogger, which may have a lot more subscribers. If you want to talk about income, they make more money too.

    Social news prominence isn’t really about subscribers too. If you are talking about Digg, Reddit or StumbleUpon (i.e. the social sites that matter) its mostly the same people submitting the same websites. How many times have you seen people like mklopez submit stuff from Download Squad and Lifehacker? Hundreds.

    RSS subscribership has also nothing to do with SU traffic, particularly when it comes to humor sites. And then we’ll have to take into account how big blogs go into cruise control once they reach a certain level of popularity. Social aggregators like Tailrank, Megite and Techmeme pounce and promote their material consistently.

    If you are offering totally free content of high quality, you should expect a much higher subscription rate unless your conversion of traffic into subscribers totally sucks, and lets be honest, mine currently does, and there is a high chance your’s does as well.

    I would only say that content quality is highly subjective. What you see is top quality stuff might be infinitely boring or incomprehensible to others (not that I’m saying it is).

    We know you can get more traffic or attention by writing specifically for a certain crowd. As you’ve mentioned before in an earlier article, you could possibly have gotten a higher subscription rate if you wrote for a wider audience instead of those interested in technical and detailed analysis on specific topics, although that is truly your selling point. :)

    I like the idea of treating the entire blog as a huge proposition, to build a list of supporters but then again… its not entirely necessary for the factors you’ve listed (income, repeat traffic and social media traffic).

  13. says

    Interesting post, but isn’t basing a lot of your reasoning off subscriber numbers more an indication of the fact that you (or should I say, the niches you work in) value RSS subscribers as the ‘holy grail’ of blogging?

    Bloggers value RSS, therefore those blogs that attract bloggers as readers base their success off RSS conversion rates.

    As Maki said above, there are plenty of areas where the visitors aren’t going to think about subscribing to a feed – “RSS what?” – but that sure isn’t going to stop them having lots of interaction by users, not to mention sales and income opportunities.

    I still don’t use RSS Readers much, and I do tend to manually browse the sites themselves instead (more interesting that way), so even though I’m not a subscriber to many blogs, you could still sell effectively to me…if I weren’t so sinnacle lol.

    So as you say, it’s not a problem with blogs themselves, just how particular niches measure success.

    While we’re on the subject, why not create a formula to take into account more factors than just subscribers, such as repeat visitor traffic, and comment to post view ratio?

  14. says

    Andrew, the right math would be 400/20000, which is still 2%.

    20000/400 gets you 5000, but that isn’t a conversion rate. That’s how many visitors it takes you to get a subscriber, so the subscriber rate is still 1/5000th or 2%.

    Maki has a point :)

    Btw, I have a 0.59% subscription rate, using Google Analytics. Though its data is somewhat low, the conversion rate should be similar. Some people subscribe to other feeds on my blog that I don’t track, such as from their browser (ya know, the feed button on the browser) other feeds, etc, but it is indeed lower than the coveted ecommerce 3%.

    I noticed that my subscribers come from places, where I have commented or where my posts were cited. Google traffic does get me some subscribers, but the long tail is pretty strong.

    I could argue about the rate that my site design sucks and that I post once or twice per week, though.

    P.S. In Opera, the right column is under the main body.

  15. says

    Andy, I visit your blog daily. I don’t subscribe. I don’t subscribe to anything.

    It’s an old habit from knitblogging. I just bookmark on my mac or memorize the url and type them in. You’re is easy to remember– so is doshdosh, lordmatt etc. But heck, I remember more than that because once I get past the first 3 letters, my mac suggests the rest!

    • says

      I am proper mad for bookmarking but this is because all feed readers seem to be clones of each other and do not work in harmony with me. I might write one…

  16. says

    I have been reading that blogging is already on the decline.

    I read a lot. Never read that before. Blogging, like Andy said, is a content management system choice.

    If blogging is on the decline it is mots certainly with the people another commentator wrote about who jumped into it looking at it like a biz opp and that it would be easy.

    If blogging is on the decline, it is a good decline, like the housing market coming into line. There are still realtors making a killing out there and the housing industry isn’t dead. It’s just that the easy money people are leaving (bad mortgage brokers for instance) and the market is coming back in line with true demand and value and not the over-hyped, inflated values before the bubble burst.

    Never thought blogging and the US housing market could be so closely related, lol.

    On a final note – A-list bloggers were not chosen to be such by some governing internet blogging agency. They made themselves.

    A successful blog is created with blood, sweat, and Red Bull. If you want to be an A-lister – do it if you have it in you. But never make the mistake that these guys had anything handed to them. That’s precisely why they are on the list and you are not.

  17. says

    Just one thought on selling to your subscribers: I believe that since your posts are most of the time written for experts, you’ll have lots of IM savvy readers.

    It’s hard to sell anything to them since they already know a lot or already have the tools.

    (After 2 years doing this internet stuff I may buy a product or a service every 6 months now.)

    If your blog was more oriented to newbies, then yes, you could sell a lot more.

  18. says

    OK, I’ve run through my blog’s figures: the subscription rate is 0.2%. About 60% of the readers come from search engines, looking for things not related to internet marketing or blogging, so I don’t expect those people to subscribe.

  19. Free CMS says

    I think most visitors coming from most of social networks are bloggers like us which I believe that they don’t subscribe just like readers, so we can’t gain more subscribers only few.
    Yeah I agree, BlogCatalog is one of the good source of contacts and subscribers. But we gained a lot of traffic from StumbleUpon and other good social networks.

  20. EyeOnTheTigers says

    I just about never use FeedBurner to subscribe to blogs, I tend to use the site’s own RSS so don’t take too much notice of it. Also I use the RSS reader to read, and don’t visit the site usually. Don’t know how many people do the same as me…

  21. emerson direct says

    Readers coming from social sites,”Are” bloggers, and I bet are the ones not contributing to any blogs that make money either. I’d like to know the percentage of subcribers and readers who are bloggers…

  22. esofthub says

    I agree with Humphrey’s statement that blogging is on the decline. I think the blogging fad is waning because making money (impetus) with blogs is a fairly difficult proposition.

  23. Tinu says

    Blogs can suck, but it depends on what you’re doing with your blog, how it’s set up and who your audience is. I have one client that gets 79% of their leads for an electronic product from blogging, and one that got hundreds of new search engine first page placements but absolutely no leads. My own results from blogging gave me increases in traffic, leads and sales, but then, I have an email subscribe box on every page, use it as part of a marketing system, and blog for exposure, not directly for money.

    Like anything else, blogs have to be part of a toolkit. I agree that a 2% conversion rate is dismal. If mine were that low, I’d have to stop. But if you’re blogging as part of a marketing system, and the entire system led to a 20% increase in sales overall, then perhaps that would make more of a difference. I always thought you were blogging for reasons other than earn from your blog or I’d say to set up the site differently. I’m interested to see the difference after your redesign.

  24. says

    My stats: September: 987 new unique visitors, 14 new RSS subscribers => 1.4%

    “If blogging is to be promoted as a core requirement for business of any kind, it has to be combined with a better measurable lead acquisition system.” Agreed! A “business” needs a $$$ value in the metric. How much can I spend to acquire a new RSS subscriber? Is a RSS subscriber valuable more or less than an email subscriber or a regular Web visitor? Where does it fit in?

    The problem starts with the fact that RSS-blog-feeds are a form of exactly duplicate content which can be retrieved more anonymously than the content of your Web page itself. Tracking this is horribly complicated or impossible because of aggregators.

    Secondly one doesn’t market in a targeted fashion to those RSS subscribers. Users that only read the RSS feed don’t get any advertising at all, unless it is in the article.

    Thirdly RSS subscription is anonymous.

    All that said, doesn’t that make an RSS subscriber less valuable than an email subscriber.

    Somewhere you have to draw the line between what is anonymously accessibly, what is accessible for free and what information you are selling. Where is the big question? My 2 cents — John

  25. says

    I fixed the error in displaying the calculation.

    I will add a few notes rather than reply to each comment

    1. Highly targeted warm traffic to a new site such as Andrew’s local SEO blog received are bound to have a much higher subscription rate

    2. Maki you are right that different niches have different subscription rates, but I am also sure that the traffic and links that a site offering email or rss subscription prominently receives compared to a 10 year old site which doesn’t have those facilities is possibly several orders of magnitude more.
    I think in the case of sites that are popular on Digg, they partially have people competing over submissions because they know that their submission will have a high chance of reaching the front page, because of the highly cultivated Digg audience on those sites.
    There is definitely a tipping point in social media, and subscriber numbers who use a particular service play a large factor.

    There is also a difference between not just how many subscribers, but who subscribes and possibly how they subscribe. If a top writer for a popular blog subscribes to you so they receive SMS alerts every time you breath, that is highly likely to get you more links and traffic than a bookmark.

    3. Lucia I quite agree that in some niches people don’t subscribe as often, unless you give them a real incentive to do so, though it might be wise to encourage email rather than RSS.
    If you had access to email subscription rates for various knitting blogs, you would probably find a good correlation between possible income from the blog, and the number of subscribers of various types, even if 80% of regular visitors can’t be tracked because they use bookmarks and blogroll links.

    4. Tinu you are right that I have many reasons why I blog, but at the same time there is a lot of cross-over and new avenues have to be explored.
    I do have an email subscription box on every page, but it isn’t as obvious as it should be, can’t effectively be tracked, and can’t be effectively promoted with an incentive. (I don’t class links at the bottom of a feed as being a good solution)

    5. It is true that newbies are in many ways better targets for some forms of monetization, but more advanced users generally still buy goods and services.
    I know some very advanced subscribers of this blog who have suggested in the past that I should promote more products that I find useful, because they would be interested in possibly buying them. They might well be already making the purchases with someone else’s affiliate link.

    6. RSS subscribers in general seem less responsive than email, and in many ways it is easier to build up an email list than a list of RSS subscribers.

    Here are some additional links

    Yaro finds email more responsive
    http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/757/will-blog-marketing-replace-email-marketing/
    Tamar is Pro choice
    http://www.techipedia.com/2007/should-you-stop-sending-newsletters-and-focus-on-blogging/
    The Bruce Clay email newsletter is something different to the blog
    http://www.bruceclay.com/blog/archives/2007/09/has_your_blog_r.html
    Dawud questions the need
    http://dmiracle.com/conversation/if-you-blog-do-you-need-an-e-newsletter/

  26. says

    An additional note regarding “site’s own feed”

    That is in reference to the autodiscovery feed link that appears in browsers, or can be picked up if you use a “subscribe” bookmarklet for the likes of Google Reader.

    If that feed isn’t redirecting to the feedburner feed, the blog owner set their blog up wrong and isn’t using the Feedsmith plugin, or the Feedburner branding options.

    It can make a difference in Bloglines, but there is a way in Bloglines to declare that yoursite/feed is the same as your feedburner feed.

  27. DeMerchant says

    I don’t even have feedburner :O… ill add that to my ever growing list of things to add

  28. says

    I couldn’t agree less on your statement regarding the ‘Blogs Suck for Lead Acquisition.’

    I think that’s very well said. And, even if you do focus on a different niche, the statement proves true in most all blogs.

    Great post!

  29. says

    What about people who bookmark the site rather than subscribe. Do you have any figures on how many people subscribe/sign up for email updates against plain old bookmarking the site? I know a lot of people who still aren’t up on feeds and who probably want to avoid getting even MORE emails to read, so if they like a site they just bookmark it and come back when they’re in the mood.

    • says

      I am one of those people you just described…mainly cuz I need to stay away from my email while i am working to keep me focused…secondly I have alot of new stuff coming into my box and want to cut down on email sorting time etc.

      When I bookmark the blogs I use, I put them all in one folder…then when I get ready to do blog reading and posting I can open all the links at once and work my way thru each site and keep updated and involved on a regular basis.

      Bookmarking just plain works better for me as someone who is a bit ADHD…lol

      However if there is a topic I am watching for a response from etc, then I do tick the little box to notify me of followup comments so I can get back to it quicker if needed.

      Veronica

  30. says

    Andy,

    For once I totally disagree with you on something. In the past 14 days blogging has brought my company three leads valued at more then 5 figures in just initial contract value. We have yet to close them but they all are looking pretty good. Our company blog is less then 3 months old and have almost no readership so far. Our traffic comes from search results but we have targeted the Dallas Business Community as our readers not the SEO and Blogging world. We call the blog the Dallas Business Blog.

    Additionally we landed Trump University as a client off my personal blog and one of my staff just landed a paid speaking engagement off of his personal blog.

    For use blogging is quickly turning into our number one lead generation tool. I think it has a lot to do with your readers and how you target them. Your readers are people like me, I own an SEO and PR Firm and I am if anything your competitor. So getting leads is tough for you here. If you readers were business people that did not really know SEO and Blogging and you were speaking to them about their daily issues and blending blogging as a component by now you would probably have to hire a pretty big staff to handle your work load.

    Jack Spirko
    Franklin Spirko Media

    • says

      Jack you might be misunderstanding where I am taking this.

      Of course I get leads all the time for consulting work that I generally refuse because that ultimately is not my intended business model, at least at this stage.

      You have a business funnel, and your blogs are attracting clients for your business, but there are always ways to improve the funnel so that you highlight the hot prospects for whatever service you offer, and can follow up with hot prospects first rather than the luke warm ones.

      Different niches and methods of monetization mean that subscriber values can vary tremendously.

      I doubt whether Techcrunch achieve more than $1 per subscriber, and that number would have been far less before their conference.

      At the same time I have read that Agora publishing who are “competitors” in the information product market have around 1,000,000 subscribers, and are reputed to be a “$300M business” – that is from some of Rich Schefren’s materials.

      I am not sure whether that adds up to $300 per subscriber per year, but I dare say their monetization model for business information is better than Techcrunch’s
      That doesn’t mean that Agora’s business model would be effective for Techcrunch, because their prospects might be receptive in different ways.

  31. says

    LOL you’re blaming so much of blog. Feed subscription doesn’t mean actually. Please don’t look so well on Feed subscription like feedburner. For my personal knowledge I think people who subscribe your site directly at Google Reader, The feeds will not increase. maybe their algorithm have problem

  32. says

    Blogs WERE good. Like most things, everyone jumped on board and now its just flooded. I started a blog for about a month, then just gave up – not worth the time spent (I could use that time doing work and earning money!)

  33. Mental Self Help says

    I dont think the number of blogs out there make a difference, if you blog has unique and interesting content people will want to visit it. Although because there are so many blogs out there it may take longer now to build up that traffic and for your site to be found. Also for the average computer user most of them dont know what a blog is, my mum doesnt, they just see it as another site on the net. As for making money on a blog, its not something you should rely on as your only source of income, unless you have an extremely popular blog.

  34. says

    Busy thread here – good job Andy. :)

    Couple clarifications needed:

    1. I mentioned blogging is in decline because people who don’t want to take the time to build a quality site, whether its a blog or not, quit. Blogging just happens to be the easiest way to create a website these days and people are glomming on to it by the millions, finding out success takes work, and go back to their day jobs considering what we do a scam – or worse – they blame an inanimate object like the code that runs a site (blog software) for their failure.

    Notice how Andy said “blogging sucks.” Knowing the value of a good title doesn’t mean he truly thinks that the way he publishes online sucks because he’d be gone already. Why wouldn’t this be his farewell post if he thought software was to blame?

    Would you write differently or interact differently with your market simply because you were using Dreamweaver to publish instead of your blog?

    You still have to connect with readers. The information still has to get out there on SOME platform.

    2. People making comments about how social sites only have other bloggers on them, so why spend time on social marketing, are missing the point entirely. Being on the social sites gets you into the engines. The traffic you get from the ENGINES is largely outside the social networks where the heavy-duty geeks live. These are people looking for information you have and they have nothing to do with blogging, blogs, or social networks.

    Whatever traffic you do skim off the network itself that produces for you, great. But don’t discount the fact that your main site plus several of your satellite blogs and profiles from social sites should also be getting into the SERPS and bolstering your link popularity and traffic.

    3. I wanted to support Andy’s position here, but I think it’s important to point out that a lot of comments here are tending toward the gloom and doom side and can be seen as very short sighted when it comes to the power of blogging.

    So my position is: Blogging as a traffic generation and sales tool doesn’t suck. Blogs are a way of communicating on the web like any other website platform. If you suck at communicating, testing your conversation and driving traffic in a profitable direction from your content, then switching to another publishing platform isn’t going to help at all.

  35. says

    I agree with everything you just wrote, Jack, and I couldn’t have written it better if I tried. It’s not the platform; it’s the content. That and our ability to effectively communicate.

  36. says

    I’ve only been blogging for a month and am seeing a lot more potential every day and making great connections and putting deals together…

    Your post confirms to me that I am going about this the right way and not wasting time trying to get people to come to my blog or site or to convert or buy something… it’s just another tool on the bench and Like every tool, how you operate it makes all the difference in the world…

    but a damn nice tool you have to admit. (like a web site… how great is that? I’ve had mine for almost 8 years now, it’s not perfect but the product is and our customers are the best hand’s down. we get great customers….

    In addition, I find that we are the first or second listing (not pages but listing) of Many search words on google. Seems we would get more hit’s being the first listing but in my world, it’s just not that way.? (1 or 2% search hits and 98% direct hits)

    I agree with the guy who compared blogging to the real estate market but tend to think of it more like the gold rush… people think it’s going to be easy money and “some small %, the first to the table” make the easy money but the rest find easy money isn’t really all that easy and lol, there is rarely “any” money in easy money. (from my experience)

    but in blogging world (and the Internet in general) for a few bucks, pretty much anyone can be an entrepreneur and live the all American dream! kicking back in your bathrobe clicking the pay pal I Accept payment button while on your yacht or private jet of in the comfort of your luxury home…pool side. like an interactive lottery ticket:)

    (is that still the American dream or has it changed?)

  37. says

    I’ve only been blogging for a month and am seeing a lot more potential every day and making great connections and putting deals together…

    Your post confirms to me that I am going about this the right way and not wasting time trying to get people to come to my blog or site or to convert or buy something… it’s just another tool on the bench and like any tool, how you operate it makes all the difference in the world.

    but a damn nice tool you have to admit. (like a web site… how great is that?) I’ve had mine for almost 8 years now, it’s not perfect but the product is and our customers are the best hand’s down. we get great customers….

    In addition, (on the web site) I find that we are the first or second listing (not pages but listing) of Many search words on google. Seems we would get more hit’s being the first listing but in my world, it’s just not that way.?

    I agree with the guy who compared blogging to the real estate market but tend to think of it more like the gold rush… people think it’s going to be easy money and “some small %, the first to the table” make the easy money but the rest find easy money isn’t really all that easy and lol, there is rarely “any” money in easy money. (from my experience)

    but in blogging world (and the Internet in general) for a few bucks, pretty much anyone can be an entrepreneur and live the all American dream! kicking back in your bathrobe clicking the pay pal I Accept payment button while on your yacht or private jet of in the comfort of your luxury home…pool side.

    (is that still the American dream or has it changed?)

    Like an interactive lotto ticket.

  38. says

    Well you have givin me some things to think about thats forsure. But being optimistic I am sure after a year and I have all my idea’s on page I will be doing ok.

  39. says

    I’m beginning to wonder about blogs. You have to spend real time coming up with good, original content for your blog. Then you have to come up with MORE, original content for the article directories. I don’t think PPC is effective for promoting a blog, so article directories is probably an important traffic technique. It’s DARN HARD coming up with so much original material!
    When you start to manage a few blogs it gets really complicated content-wise.

    Or is it just me?

  40. says

    Hi Andy, I really enjoyed reading this post of yours about why blogs suck, it’s really made me think.

    I wonder how much of what you say has to do with how conditioned (or trained) blog visitors are to subscribing to an RSS feed or through a regular optin box? I’m sure this ties in closely with who the target market is.

    The only reason why someone should subscribe to your RSS feed is to be kept updated about your blog right? If they don’t know how to do this or are just surfing around, it’s not going to happen.

    If this reason for subscribing isn’t strong enough who’s going to bother?

    My question is… can RSS subscription be incentivised so people get more then just updates on when you post something new to your blog? How about an exit grabbing popin window that asks people to subscribe to your blog feed before they leave?

    I don’t see any reason why a Blog can’t work as a sales tool that’s used to help establish you as an expert.

    If your blog is focused on driving people to your direct response websites (or squeeze pages) there’s no reason why this can’t work. I think it’s when you give people reasons to leave your blog (aka Adsense and social networking gadgets) that you lose more than you gain.

    Blogs only suck if you set them up in opposition to what it is you want them to acheive.

    • says

      Sorry it is taking me a little while to respond to some of the comments.

      There are ways to offer an incentive for RSS subscription, but XML feeds are open in nature, so freeloaders will still be able to access whatever you offer.

  41. Curtis says

    I agree with the post. Blogs do suck. Most of them leave no real value to the internet and fill up SE with gunk.

    • says

      Curtis I think you might have missed the point. Blogs attract visitors, and with them you are “moving the free line” which is a good thing, but many people ignore the sales funnel.

  42. Wordpress SEO says

    Hello Andy,

    Thought provoking post, but really Jack Spirko has it right on.

    Weblogs are not necessarily a profit center in themselves.

    And Jack Humphrey is right – a good weblog is a lot of work. Not many people want to do that much work.

    Not everybody is a gifted writer or communicator.

    On the other hand, in the hands of a gifted writer or communicator, a weblog can be the alchemist’s stone. Or a great gathering of culture and thought.

    Both are worthwhile enterprises. Stop thinking about the money all the time.

  43. says

    Interesting post and comments.

    My blog is a month old. Just today I was telling my partner that we hadn’t gotten even one sign up for our list yet. Coincidently two people signed up today. That would be a .34% conversion rate. Seeing your numbers give me a conversion rate to shoot for. (my first metric – yipee)

  44. Rusty Shackleford says

    May I all remind you

    href=”http://mama.indstate.edu/users/bones/WhyIHateWebLogs.html”>

    you are all massive tools.

    Look at your comments. fits each exact profile.

    Seriously, by writing this article, you are just obeying idiocy.
    Now why dont you just keep masturbating into your sock, and let the real media do its job.

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  1. […] marketing strategy.  My new online bud, Andy Beard, whom I met via blogging, has a post up called “Why Blogs Suck” with a number of good points about why the return on the blogging investment can be depressingly […]