When it comes to my online presences I am two things. Their order changes based on context.
- Consumer of content
- Content publisher
I often find that based on context my desires/actions are 100% opposed.
Consumer of content
As a consumer of content I’m critical of titles. I hate to see something sensational in the tile only to read a pretty mundane post. That makes the post feel totally like linkbait and makes me feel a bit less like trusting the news source. 99% of the sensational titles are written like that to help cover up for the weak content.
I don’t love twitter accounts that just post links to posts that someone has written in the past. It feels like they are just pushing more old content on me all the time.
As a content consumer I hate popups that prompt you to sign up for an email newsletter. They are totally distracting and I’m here for the content not whatever you’re selling. Maybe once I’ve read the content you’ll have gained enough trust for me to sign up.
Publisher of content
As a publisher of content I see that many of the things I dislike truly work as a channel to gain more traction on my posts.
Those ‘sensational’ post titles I hate that feel like linkbait, well they work. Writing a sensational claim in a post title gets a bunch more traffic to your site. My best post was when I used DHH (famous rails guy) in my title. Using his name made it sensational and gained traffic to my site.
I’ve played with tweeting old content on my site and you know what when I do it I see about 20% more traffic to the site. It’s typically not terrible traffic either since my average page count isn’t really affected.
Everything I read about those popups says they work. I still haven’t been able to justify crossing the line yet but I keep thinking about it. As a content producer (and product seller) I do want to increase a mailing list of people interested in my stuff so that I can send updates on new products and more great resources.
Rekoning the tensions
I’m still not quite sure how to rekon all the tensions. I want more traffic to my sites so that I can share what I think is useful knowledge on building WordPress projects the right way and so I can share business practices here.
The content publisher part of me wants to have more time to write and publish more content. To do that I need to sell books (and here is the publisher saying I’m writing one on the business of freelancing to pique your interest). We all need money and information products is part of my revenue stream differentiation (you know not all money from clients).
I can only promise that I’ll try to give out way more for free than I charge for.