Top 10 Blog Traffic Killers

Platform by Michael Hyatt

The following advice is from Michael Hyatt’s newest release, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. The book is one of the most comprehensive guides on building an effective platform I’ve seen. Both beginning writers and established authors will find excellent and insightful instruction.

Assuming you want to increase your blog traffic, there are certain mistakes you must avoid to be successful. If you commit these errors, your traffic will never gain momentum. Worse, it may begin to plateau or begin to decrease.

How do I know? After writing more than 1,200 posts and receiving almost 100,000 comments, I have made most of the mistakes you can make—numerous times. As a result, certain patterns emerged.

1. You don’t post often enough.

Frequency is what separates the men from the boys … or the women from the girls. You cannot build solid traffic without frequent posts. I have seen time and time again that there is a direct correlation between frequency and traffic.

2. You post too often.

Yes, this is possible too. People don’t need to hear from anyone more than once a day—unless it is a group blog or a news site. You would do better to focus on writing one really great post a day rather than several mediocre ones. The trick is to find your frequency sweet spot. For me, it is four to five posts a week.

3. Your post is too long.

I shoot for less than 500 words. But I often post up to 600-700 words. Sometimes more. You can get away with this if your posts are scannable—that is, you make use of subheads, lists, and other devices that keep people moving through your content.

4. You don’t invite engagement.

Engagement refers to a combination of page views, reader comments, and social media mentions. The posts that generate the most engagement for me are those that are controversial, transparent (especially about failure), and/or open-ended. That is why I try to end every post with a question.

5. You don’t participate in the conversation.

When bloggers don’t comment on their own posts and respond to their readers, it is like hosting a party at your home, making a brief appearance, and then disappearing. In any other context, that behavior would be perceived as rude or odd. The same is true in blogging.

6. You don’t make your content accessible.

I often get asked if I think people are reading less. The simple answer is no. In fact, I think they are reading more than ever. But they are reading differently. Readers have shorter attention spans. They are scanning content, looking for items that interest them.

7. You don’t create catchy headlines.

According to Brian Clark, who runs the must-read site CopyBlogger, “on average, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.” This means your headlines are the most important thing you write. Fortunately, Brian has an entire series of posts called How to Write Magnetic Headlines.

8. Your first paragraph is weak.

This is critical. Assuming you have written a great headline, people will next read your first paragraph. You must use this paragraph to pull them into the rest of your blog post. Start with a story, a promise, or a startling fact. Many bloggers spend too much time trying to set up the post or provide context. Just get to the point.

9. Your post is off-brand.

If you are trying to build a platform, you need to find an editorial focus and stick to it. A tighter focus leads to higher traffic. This is why I have tried to narrow my own focus to four areas: leadership, productivity, social media, and publishing. If I want to write on something else (e.g., fitness), I do so through one of these four lenses.

10. Your post is about you.

Unless you are a megacelebrity, readers don’t care about you. Not really. They are about themselves. They want to know what’s in it for them. your personal stories can be a doorway to that, but in the end, the best posts are about your readers’ needs, fears, problems, or concerns. Always ask, “What’s the takeaway for my reader?”

There are other mistakes too; I doubt this list is exhaustive. But if you can avoid these, you will be well on your way to increasing your traffic and growing your home base.

If you liked this post, you’ll love Platform. Read more at Amazon and download a free sample.

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Michael Hyatt is the Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the largest Christian publishing company in the world and the seventh largest trade book publishing company in the U.S. Click here to visit his blog.

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61 Comments on "Top 10 Blog Traffic Killers"

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Matthew Turner
3 years 8 months ago

Great tips. Especially about looking at each thing you do through a lens. Eventually you will talk about an array of topics, but if you always look through a particular lens, you should be ok

I think I do ok with most of these, but I fail at some for certain.

And I’m excited to get to your book too. I’m going to have an Amazon spree on Saturday :)

Matthew (Turndog Millionaire)

3 years 8 months ago

Thanks, Matthew. I hope you enjoy the book!

Matthew Turner
3 years 8 months ago

bought it last night, so will make sure I review it when done. I hear it’s good. I’m sure it will be

Matthew (Turndog Millionaire)

Ed Cyzewski
3 years 8 months ago

All good tips that I’ve seen modeled at your blog Michael. Under inviting engagement, I would add that negativity can really alienate readers and kill constructive dialogue. If I’m ever tempted to tackle a tough topic, I have tried to remember the word “redemptive.” I need to help all of my readers rather than leading one band of readers on a chase after another group of readers with pitch forks and torches.

3 years 8 months ago

Love the comment Ed. In my personal life and in my mind I am a pitchfork and torches leader by nature. I have strong opinions that I frequently foist on my friends and family. It’s fine, they love me. Most importantly, they stand up to me and call BS on me too. It works for us. On my little Genealogy blog where I’m trying to generate business this personality flaw is a killer. My mantra to myself is ‘FRIENDLY and informative’. I like ‘redemptive’ too. I want to invite discussion, not echo chamber sycophantism.

3 years 8 months ago

Great tips Michael. All items I’ve been trying to implement into my blog. The toughest has been writing a killer first paragraph. Starting off always seems awkward. Any advice?

3 years 8 months ago

I think the best advice I can give is make it about the reader. Try to connect with his or her psychological state, a problem, or an intriguing fact.

3 years 8 months ago

Michael. I really appreciate this post. It is nice, succinct list to gauge all of my content against. I know where my strengths and weaknesses are on the list. In the blog reading I do for my industry I would say ‘off-brand’ is our biggest fault. Though not posting enough comes in a close second.

3 years 8 months ago

Jane, thank you for this guest post! Michael, thank you for the succinct and loaded bits of info about an area I (Yours In Books) am struggling to get on top of. Does your book do all this great stuff and more? (No, I’m not a plant!) Sounds like a must-read.

3 years 8 months ago

Yes, I think so. You might want to have a look at  the reviews on Amazon. They will give you a good sense of what others are saying.

3 years 8 months ago

Thanks for Sharing!

John Andrew Williams
3 years 8 months ago

Just bought the book.  Thanks so much for posting!!  I know my blog on needs some love and support.  

3 years 8 months ago

Helpful tips – nothing worse than someone who posts too much, I end up “unfollowing” or “unfriending” them.

C. S. Lakin
3 years 8 months ago

Terrific, concise, pertinent, and so helpful. everything a blog post should be! thanks so much, Jane!

3 years 8 months ago

These tips are terrific common sense rules of thumb.  Great reminder and help.

Carole Avila
3 years 8 months ago

Good information. Thank you for an interesting and informative article!

Dac Crossley
3 years 8 months ago

Right on!  I could re-write some of these for book signings, too. Emphasize number ten – everybody has a sign written across their foreheads – “It’s all about me.” Get your potential customers to talk about themselves. And listen.

3 years 8 months ago

Great post! The suggestions of what to avoid are relevant and mistakes most bloggers make at one time or another. It’s wonderful when someone puts these tips out there for others to see before they have to make the mistakes. 

Top 10 Blog Traffic Killers from Jane Friedman | The Writer's Block |
3 years 8 months ago

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3 years 8 months ago

Great, Great, Great post. 

Finding a balance of what you need to do, and have a live is very difficult.  I had huge number when I blogged every day, but it was killing me personal life.  Like you, I have cut myself down to five days a week.  I must admit, though… when I log in on a day that I don’t post, and see only 97 hits, my heart sinks.  I feel like I’ve failed.

I need to get over that, though.  Everyone needs a life.

marta chausee
3 years 8 months ago

Excellent post. It’s a “printer” that gets hung up on the wall near my laptop.

3 years 8 months ago

Great Advise. Especially in such a competitive world. But I agree with Ed about ‘redemptive’. I think its fine to make a strong stand, but I think you can do it without mud slinging. I’m researching and come across negative content that has no class, it’s mercy delete for them.

3 years 8 months ago

Thanks — this is a great list.  I’ve gotten better but have been violating number 1.  Whenever I post regularly, I watch numbers go up.  Luckily, I’ve gotten great reader response, so engaging with readers is fun.  I’ll be sharing your list on twitter.

Elizabeth Kolodziej
3 years 8 months ago

I’m guilty of 1 and 10 :( lol. It’s good to see a post like this. I think it really brings out everyones weakness to realize. 

Liz ^_^

3 years 8 months ago

All good points – the frequency is key for us…we need to set a fixed time and start producing quality content as opposed to how it happens now…surprise by the word count – always ‘assumed’ more is better – but for sure..having a 500 word post daily will be more of an achievement than a 1500 article once a week. Thanks for the read.

Friday Features #7 | Yesenia Vargas
3 years 8 months ago

[…] Top 10 Blog Traffic Killers by Michael Hyatt at Jane Friedman […]

3 years 8 months ago

Good stuff, Jane.  I’ve discovered these, too… the hard way.  Can’t keep my posts under 100 words, it seems.

3 years 8 months ago

Number 1 is my biggest downfall. Thanks for a great post.

3 years 8 months ago

Thanks for the blogging advice, Michael. I’ll be sure to consider your points when I’m writing future blog posts. 

3 years 8 months ago

How did you manage to get those social media icons in the footer? I haven’t seen anything like that anywhere else. 

3 years 8 months ago

Great guest post. You’re absolutely right on all of these, Michael. If you bore your readers, well, they won’t be your readers for long! I’ve got another one for you to add to the list: CAPTCHA. Add this plugin if you want your traffic to drop. I had to add this plugin a few weeks ago for just a few days, but it scared people off for quite a while. It was interesting because I didn’t make my blog any more difficult to read, just to comment on. But CAPTCHA sent people running in another direction. The lesson I learned… Read more »

[…] Hyatt (@MichaelHyatt)on Jane Friedman Top 10 Blog Traffic Killers “After writing more than 1,200 posts and receiving almost 100,000 comments, I have made most […]

3 years 8 months ago

I disagree with you last point. Your readers do care about you. They identify with you and that’s why they enjoy what you write. 

3 years 8 months ago

I love it! Great post Michael. I am guilty of #10. I’m trying to be focused on my audience instead. It’s a fine balance. 

[…] best blogging advice I’ve seen boils down to the following five rules (though some expand it to ten, these five seem to be the best). I’ve been thinking about how well I do at these bits of […]

3 years 8 months ago

I can relate to #2 in posting too often.  I had an entertainment style blog (Warcraft related) and built frustration trying to keep up on a daily pace with it.  I think I should  have posted 2-3 times per week and it would have taken the pressure off as once I wrote every day I felt had I had to maintain that pace.  Feeling the pressure that I should get something up certainly took away from the enjoyment of writing.  Live and learn:)

Marianne Perry
3 years 8 months ago

Excellent pragmatic blog! I’m new to this and this has helped me. Thank you and keep blogging. Marianne

[…] over shorter posts, is better for writers. At the same time, esteemed guru Michael Hyatt’s advice was posted on Jane Friedman’s blog. It says the exact opposite, that you have to blog frequently unless you want to fall into the […]

Jodie Renner
3 years 8 months ago

Excellent list, Michael. I’m guilty of several of those no-nos! I need to print this list up and tape it next to my computer!

[…] Cum iti ucizi traficul pe blog Nu postezi suficient de frecvent si constant? Este un motiv important pentru care pierzi cititori. Axeaza-te pe anumite domenii pe care le stapanesti, ai grija la interactiune si la accesibilitatea continutului de pe blogul tau. Vezi mai multe greseli prin care risti sa pierzi trafic pretios. […]

3 years 8 months ago

Enjoyed this post – excellent tips, all! Thank you!

3 years 8 months ago


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3 years 7 months ago

I’m a bit upset to learn that readers don’t care about me, and this explains a lot.  Seriously, all these considerations are right on, Michael.

3 years 7 months ago

Those are really great tips.  I wish I had them years ago.  I’m off to evaluate my own style now!

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3 years 7 months ago

[…] 10 Reasons Your Blog Doesn’t Get As Much Traffic As You’d Like […]

3 years 7 months ago

This was great, I should hang this on refrigerator , if people still do that :)

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Sanjaya Jayasooriya
3 years 5 months ago

thanks friend. its is essential to keep the readers at the same time we trying to build our audience… You have think it in a different way

Daniel Adam
3 years 4 months ago

Very useful tips specially for the new bloggers. Thanks for sharing yoru knowledge with others.

3 years 4 months ago

Frequency of posting is the hardest one! When life gets too busy the last thing I want to think about is writing! But I know I should..