The commoditization of eyeballs — bought and sold with every click and tap — has brought us into a new era of the internet. Its no longer a hippy haven of happiness. Its about money. And more page views (eyeballs) means more money. Get more views, get more subscribers, get more followers — and then (somehow) you can turn their eyeballs into money. But, how do you get more eyeballs?
If you want a lot of page views, there are “hacks” to get it. The easiest being to just pay for it. But, unless you’re trying to impress an investor, fake traffic is mostly useless. To get “real” traffic, you’ve got to rethink your priorities. The point isn’t to find something you’re interested in writing about; You want to find something that others are interested in reading — and then exploit that interest to gain more eyeballs.
To find that topic, start by browsing Instagram and Facebook. Facebook even offers the Audience Insights tool that will let you narrow down a specific market-segment by location, age, gender, and interests. Its never been easier to creepily spy on an entire segment of people. Use that to your advantage as you find a topic and market to exploit.
Now that you’ve got a target market and topic in mind, its time to get writing. But, in the pursuit of page views, content doesn’t matter. I mean, you need some content, but it doesn’t need to be fresh, innovative, or even intelligible. As long as you have a clickbait title and — this is important — a Facebook tracking pixel, you’ll be fine. So don’t waste your time writing content. Either do it quickly, or just pay someone else to do it for you. You’ll be surprised how many blog posts you can get for a few bucks.
Now that you have a site with some content and a target audience, its time to start getting people to view it. The easiest way to get people clicking through is to buy ads. But don’t go wasting your time with Google search ads. You chose a highly active and focused audience for a reason — you can exploit those interests. Reach out to some more popular Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter users who share a similar audience. You’ll be surprised just how cheap it is to get them to sell their audience’s eyeballs to you. And, if you do it right, their audience won’t even be aware that you’ve paid for their endorsement.
And, it doesn’t matter if the people who click through actually stick around or read — remember all we care about is page views. You’ll get a bump in traffic from your new sponsored social media celebrities, but, thanks to Facebook’s tracking technology, you’ll also get access to retarget everyone who views your post. Forever.
Now you’ve got an audience, and you don’t even need them to visit your site to gain access to their eyeballs. Thanks to Facebook, you can push ads into their face from all over the web. Now, you need something to sell. Have you heard of drop shipping?
The above is all terrible, terrible advice.
And, hopefully, you’ve gotten this far, but I wouldn’t be upset if you didn’t. I wouldn’t.
Its easy to get lost in the back alleys of internet marketing. Farming out content, secret sponsorships, and creepy cross-site user tracking are certainly all real tactics — and they do lead to some form of success — but it comes at the cost of your morals, ethics, and soul.
But, page views are important. And not just for your pride or your bottom line (if you have one.) It feels good to know someone else read what you wrote. It feels even better if they like it. And, if they take the time to write a comment… well, that’s just an awesome feeling. Something you created, prompted someone else to create something.
Take it one step further, and your writing may inspire someone else to publish their own blog post. This feedback loop of writing and creativity is what sparked the popularity of blogs way back in the day. Webrings, pingbacks, trackbacks, blogrolls, and lots of other ways of connecting people began to popup in response to this writing loop, making way for organically-organized groups around topics and interest. Massive communities popped up online and paved the way for what we now think of as “social” experiences on the internet. This was before Google was a household word. Before your auntie was on Facebook. Before the President was being a doofus on Twitter.
Then something changed. Blogging, and the web in general, became a competition. A source of revenue. A driver of engagement. Blogging turned into something to help sell ads, or newspapers, or Amazon wishlists. With only 140 characters, and a few minutes a day, you, too, could get a book deal. Get enough subscribers, and soon you’ll find yourself talking about the joys of Tide’s™ New Fresh Scent™ Laundy Detergent (on behalf of your new sponsor).
Our sidebars, once filled with blogrolls and links, now overflow with Viagra and share buttons. Its no longer about that creative loop of inspiring others to create on their own. Its veered to far towards promotion. Follow my Twitter. Like my Facebook. Subscribe to my YouTube. Its a never ending battle to get more and more people’s eyeballs, and to have them share it with their “friends” eyeballs.
But there needs to be a balance.
Don’t force a topic purely to get more traffic. Find your passion, and share it with the world. People crave and recognize authenticity.
Don’t start a blog simply as a public relations tool. Blogging needs to be personal and authentic. Most corporate or business blogs end up being nothing more than elaborately written press releases.
Don’t obsess over the numbers. Obsess over your writing.
Don’t worry about making money right away, or ever. You’ll find yourself hating your blog if you start out with unrealistic expectations.
Don’t try to do it over night. Blogging is work. Work takes time. Be patient. Success won’t be measured in days or weeks, but more often in months and years.
Remember: 1,000 page views is not worth your soul.