I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the single best thing you can do to drive traffic to your site is to give people a reason to want to link to your site. Your website, on it’s own, is rarely as awesome to everyone else as it is to you.
Blogs are one means to accomplish this. They allow you to provide your own content and give people a reason to keep coming back and to share your site. Plus, these pages provide more fodder for the search engines.
Typically, this means you want to blog on and about the site you are trying to promote. However, a friend has demonstrated that writing on your own website’s blog isn’t the only way to attract new traffic and thus, new business. And what she has done has directly reflected the Internet audience’s demand for transparency in business.
Basically, a friend of mine has gone and done something that has been sitting on my to-do list for a long time. Something I’ve tried to get my husband, Jonathan of Skippy’s List, to do but have met with resistance.
Let me back up a bit and explain.
Jen Lepp, owner of DrakNet Web Hosting began her business blog a while back. I’ve started guest blogging there a bit too. Then, she started writing in her own, personal blog at jenlepp.com. And discovered something surprising.
She discovered that she is her single biggest traffic source, after Google. That’s right, the 2nd greatest source of traffic to her business site is from her own personal blog. Not only is traffic up, but business is too.
But what she writes about at her personal site isn’t all about her business. In fact, the majority of it is about her personal life. So what gives?
In 2007, I read Wired magazine’s article The See-Through CEO. The article was quite an eye-opener for me. The author, Clive Thompson opens with: “Pretend for a second that you’re a CEO. Would you reveal your deepest, darkest secrets online? Would you confess that you’re an indecisive weakling, that your colleagues are inept, that you’re not really sure if you can meet payroll? Sounds crazy, right? After all, Coke doesn’t tell Pepsi what’s in the formula. Nobody sane strips down naked in front of their peers. But that’s exactly what Glenn Kelman did. And he thinks it saved his business.”
He goes on to tell how this worked for Kelman and others. And it’s not just small businesses doing it. Thompson mentions Jonathan Schwartz, the CEO of Sun Microsystems who “dishes company dirt and apologizes to startups he’s accidentally screwed.”
So if I’ve known about this so long, why haven’t I done it? At the time I read the article, I was going back to college full-time so this business was just a part-time job. My husband and I weren’t so sure I would even be running this business full-time in the future. Top that off with a husband who is what he describes as “Internet famous” who prefers to keep our private lives private, and well, I never got there. When recent events hit the news about growing anti-Muslim sentiment in this country, my husband and I began debating stepping forward into the limelight. He even wrote his own post on the subject. But due to the demands of expanding a business and juggling twins plus a web services business…well we figured we’d let that post speak for both of us for now.
Long way to say that Jen has demonstrated what a lot of us have known for a while: the audience of the Internet likes honesty and transparency. They want to know about the people they are doing business with, on a personal level. They don’t want to read about your sales and how awesome your business is, they want to know about YOU. Jen’s got first-hand experience with this. We saw it in the past when my husband’s site traffic jumped when he talked about my pregnancy and our new twins.
Congrats Jen! I think it is awesome that you’re just another bit of proof of what it takes to get new business and how business on the web is done.
So remember folks: it’s about creating original content for your site. That is the best way to get traffic to your site. They say you should write about what you know. And what do you know more about than you?