As Your Content Expands, Things Get Easier


image credit:  josephina

I encourage clients, associates and even friends to create content-rich sites for whatever they specialize in with the purpose of building an audience and forging relationships.

The type of content aside, the way to create a popular web property is to slowly grow larger over time in an organized, attractive layout with uniquely useful material focused on your niche.

Everyone is aware of the benefits of building your brand by using exceptional content to market yourself.  What is not spoken about often is how difficult this is in the beginning.  Writing when you have no audience is not a task most relish, and takes strong passion, dedication and inner strength.  Sustained traffic comes only after relentless work.

But of course, everyone started where those who are new are starting, and it’s perfectly natural to get frustrated in the beginning.  You have to work through it though.  The truth is, most people give up far too soon without giving it a proper effort.  The silver lining is it does get easier over time if you stick with it.

Simply put, the more linkable, useful and compelling content you have at your site, the easier things will get as time moves forward.  There are several reasons for this, and while they may be obvious to those who already have a popular site – it is worth repeating to give motivation to those who are new to publishing on the web.

Subscriber base grows slowly as you add content

Even if you create material that get lots of views, converting subscribers takes time.  Patience is key here – consider that only 11% of web users actually use RSS.  That means that only around 1 out of 10 visitors to your site even knows they can subscribe by RSS.  For everyone else, you’ll have to hope they value enough to opt into the email subscription options, but even then – converting subscribers is a slow process.  This isn’t just for you, it’s true for everyone.  Here are a few ideas for how to gain RSS subscribers, but do consider that even with tips and tricks, it is a process.

More feed subscribers = greater chances for your content to be shared

Subscribers and heavy users are your vital visitors.  Those savvy enough to subscribe to your RSS feed are also going to be the same users who tweet, stumble and digg your posts and act as influencers to get your content out to the rest of the world.  Eventually your subscribers sharing of content should lead to additional subscribers who also share content and create a virtuous cycle.

More content = more potential keywords/phrases for Google to discover

Simply put, but the more unique content on your web property the more you will tap into the long tail of search.  If you’re pouring out lots of unique and compelling content and not building search traffic like you think you should, consider developing an SEO strategy.

You will be seen as a referential source on a subject

As more content is added to your site, you will naturally appear as a greater resource for both visitors and search engines.  They will see a library of content already created that you have carefully built over time.  You’ll naturally appear more of an authority on a subject simply by having more material on your site.  If you’re doing things right you’ll concurrently be acquiring links and attention as you go.  Just realize that while a wealth of content is good, quality is even more important than quantity.

Creative uses, remixes and mash-ups of past content

Once you have a good amount of material, you can start to get creative with re-purposing it/highlighting it for new users and get fresh exposure for content.  You can do things like:

  • Make lists of your favorite/most popular posts
  • Create a popular posts section – a great way to show new site visitors you’re worth subscribing to by putting some of your flagship content on display right up front where new visitors can’t miss it
  • Create a “related posts” section in every post, which provides easy entry points encouraging visitors explore your site further
  • Make a Squidoo page of your best content (see this one Seth Godin made, neat idea)
  • Contextual linking of older posts within new posts

The more you can highlight older but relevant content when creating new content, the better.

Conclusion

Your web property most likely isn’t going to reach one large, obvious tipping point.  Rather, growth occurs in a linear fashion over time, and the true element for sustained growth is a consistent addition of content that is genuinely interesting to the world.  Interesting could mean anything from relevant, useful or even entertaining.

The web rewards patience and consistency.  Most people quit too soon because they see the internet as an avenue of instant returns – but nothing could be further from the truth for developing a popular web property.  The reality is the people behind the top sites are dedicated and passionate enough to push through and reach the point they are at now.  You have the same opportunity.

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