When Traffic Isn’t Enough: 3 Questions Every Blogger Should Ask Themselves

Note from Corbett: the following guest post is a little different from the usual, partly because it starts with a video, and partly because Chris isn’t your typical blogger.

Chris is one of the few business-related bloggers who can claim to have built a 200+ person company. He and I have become friends over the years (first online then off), and I recently had the chance to help Chris with a significant new direction for his online brand and blog. He just completely rebranded and relaunched his blog and has some very interesting lessons to share with us today.

I’m really proud of Chris because this level of change isn’t easy to make when you’ve already had some success. See what I mean in the report from Chris below. I wish more bloggers would ask themselves hard questions like these. This is how you get past surface-level success and onto something much more meaningful and lasting.

Take it away, Chris.

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(If you don’t see the video above, click here.)

Although I had always enjoyed reading and writing I really didn’t know if I had the ‘chops’ to create and build a really popular blog. “Trying won’t hurt…”, I thought to myself, and so I launched my first blog, Virtual Business Lifestyle in early 2010.

Over the course of the next 2+ years it became a pretty popular blog. I also kicked-off a podcast, under the same name and had the chance to interview some of the internet worlds biggest names, such as Leo Babuata, Chris Brogan and Darren Rowse – as well as our illustrious leader, here at Think Traffic!

It was fun. I got to help lots of people, make plenty of new friends and generally have a blast… However, something changed.

I started asking myself a lot of questions. Questions that, following chats with many other bloggers, I realized weren’t confined to my own little self-conflicting world! It seemed that almost everyone I spoke to had, at some point or another, asked themselves the same questions.

There were a lot of questions in this virtual list of self-doubt, but it was quite clear that there were three that stood out as ‘being present’ in every successful blogger’s thought process, at some point in the past.

Today I present to you those questions. If you’re a blogger, as mentioned, you’ve probably asked yourself them before. If you’re contemplating starting a blog you’ll be able to get a head start on hopefully getting it ‘right’ in an easier, less timely fashion that I did!

Along with these questions, there are a few Action Steps I’d like for you to take. Otherwise, all you’ve done is wasted time reading another blog post, lets face it!

So, here we go… 

#1: Are you bringing REAL value?

Not long ago, I got a tweet from a reader. Nothing strange in that, as I use Twitter a lot. However, this was from someone that had come across content that I had produced (in this case it was a 5min video walk-through on how to update to the new Twitter profile), and then taken action on it. He actually used my video tutorial to update his own Twitter profile. And then, tweeted out to the world about how ‘super easy’ my post was to follow.

Another recent example of bringing value to your readers was another tweet I received in regards to my free ‘New Business’ Bootcamp course. Based on what this reader learned from me, directly, he is now going to start podcasting.

Effecting change – THAT’S what I’m talking about!

He wasn’t the only one that did something like this. Many others shared the post.

This is exactly the type of content that we, as professional online publishers (if you don’t see yourself as such, it’s a good thing that you’re reading this post today – because that’s what we should all strive to become, as bloggers!) should be looking to create with each and every piece of content that we put together.

Merely ‘talking’ about this or that is easy. Anyone can do it, and many do just that – talk. And I guess, there is a place online for that type of content; however, I want to do more than just talk (and anyone that knows me, knows I love to talk!).

I want to adopt and inspire change as a blogger.

But, most importantly I want to be personally responsible for helping people make changes, regardless of how big or small those changes end up being, that will help them build and grow their business somehow.

1st ACTION STEP: Look through your last 10 blog posts. Were they shared by at least a few people? What kind of comments did you get? Did people thank you for creating the content? Did it produce positive change in their thought processes, or the way they are doing whatever it is they are doing? If not, study some other bloggers and see what type of content they are producing that do all these things – and then do likewise.

#2: Are you consumed by ‘the numbers’?

Some time ago, Corbett posted on the subject of vanity numbers. You know, subscribers, comments, email open rates, Twitter followers, Facebook fans, etc. I read this post in earnest, as we had spoken on this subject before and he had promptly put me in my place in regards to the subject.

As bloggers, its natural for us to want our ‘online numbers’ to increase regularly. I mean, we’re producing all this content and to NOT see the number of people enjoying and digesting it is a little brutal, lets face it.

However, getting to the point of focusing more on the LACK of growth and not the ACTUAL growth that we’re enjoying is, lets fact it… total bullshit.  Why beat yourself up for no reason? The fact is that if you are creating solid content on a regular basis, your numbers WILL go up. They will go up slowly at first and then eventually (for some this happens sooner, rather than later) you’ll hit a tipping point. A catalyst for explosive growth.

This could be because of a post that went ridiculously viral, or perhaps a video on YouTube, or the fact that you launched a new podcast on iTunes, and a boat load of new people ‘found you’ for the first time in Apple Land.

What I’m getting at is that as bloggers we really should stop looking at these numbers and really start focusing on our content. That is, at the end of the day, what we’re going to become known for, right…?!

2nd ACTION STEP: Are you checking your Feedburner stats several times a day? Logging into Aweber to see how many people opted-in yesterday? Continually hitting ‘refresh’ on your Facebook page to see if your Like count has increased? If so, then STOP! Instead of wasting time (and that IS was you’re doing!), sit down and plan out your next 5 posts. Posts that will be so jam-packed full of awesome, actionable content that all of these ‘numbers’ will increase naturally – without you peeking over their shoulders all the time! 

#3: Are you HAPPY doing what you’re doing?

As 2011 came to a close, I took a really deep look at my blogging, and realized that there were several things wrong with what I was doing. If I’m to be really honest, I actually started to almost dislike blogging. My blog was a 4-Hour Work Week style blog, with plenty of ‘entrepreneur’ thrown in.

However, after almost 2-years of blogging, lifestyle design topics became boring to me. Throughout the course of those two years I had personally achieved all my own goals in regards to the lifestyle I was striving to create for myself and my family, and I wanted to interact with more ‘real’ entrepreneurs, not just 4HWW-wannabe’s and location independent peeps (there is nothing wrong with these groups of entrepreneurs, I just wanted something more!).

Simply put, I wasn’t happy.

I sat down with one of my closest online buddies in his hometown of San Francisco (you might know him… his name is Corbett!), and over a couple of cups of coffee it became even more clear that I needed a change if I was to continue blogging and creating online content.

That coffee chit-chat was just the beginning. Many hours via Skype later (even when he was on holiday in Mexico!), myself and Corbett had worked on everything from reader profiles, what my new USP would be, all the way down to rough design concepts. These sessions provided a massive amount of clarity, and that clarity brought about a very real view of what blogging meant to me, and why I wanted to continue. But, more importantly, I now knew HOW I was going to continue.

I decided to make a big change.

That change was completely gutting VBL and starting again over at ChrisDucker.com. It included, amongst other things, a brand new design and a free video bootcamp course for my opt-in offer. But, most importantly a whole new focus on what I was going to be about.

I want to create some seriously awesome content, as well as inspire and help people on the subject of starting and growing businesses using new media; online video, blogging and podcasting – and include a ton of entrepreneurial wisdom (I’ve been in business 21-years) and plenty of the Chris Ducker spirit thrown in for good measure!

But, most of all, I want to really enjoy my blogging again. And… I am.

3rd ACTION STEP: Ask yourself if you are really enjoying what you’re doing. If you’re not, then create three different reader profiles. Ideas of what ‘perfect’ readers of your blog would look like – this is what Corbett had me do and it was an utter game-changer for me. Then, start to ask yourself what type of content you can produce, and in which formats, to inspire and help these people the most. 


I was a ‘traditional’ brick ‘n mortar business guy all my life – until I started blogging. I’ve often been asked if I could go back and start over again what I would do differently. My answer, at least for the last couple of years has been “Get started with blogging earlier”.

Blogging is a remarkably easy way to affect change and inspire people.

However, if all we focus on is ‘traffic’ or ‘numbers’ we’re looking at things the wrong way. I was like that a while ago. I’m not anymore. And, let me tell you, I am by far a much happier, healthier and more motivated blogger myself now, because I asked myself these questions.

Please do the same. Today.

Chris C. Ducker is a successful serial entrepreneur, outsourcing expert, blogger, podcaster and the creator of the 7-Day ‘New Business’ Bootcamp, a FREE course that teaches you how to embrace blogging, online video, podcasting, eBook marketing and much more, to catapult your business into the 21st century!

49 thoughts on “When Traffic Isn’t Enough: 3 Questions Every Blogger Should Ask Themselves”

  1. Chris

    question #1 is the key factor here “are bringing real value” business and blogging is all about value.

    I think bloggers need to re evaluate the content that they put out in the blogosphere to make sure people can us it to grow, and to make sure that their content has something special about it.

    maybe written in a special way like I write my articles, because I comment on alot of blogs and most of the time I will see one of the same article like 20 times because bloggers write just like all other bloggers.

    I know bloggers must write value, and write in their own special way as oppose to titling each article similar to other bloggers, or writing the same style of articles like other bloggers.

    Thats I pride myself on a being a little different from other bloggers but not too different

  2. Really great read, especially since I’m in the middle of SABTM course. Perfect fit.
    Not that I needed an assurance, but I really think that Corbett is one of the better coaches out there. His ability to pinpoint the problems and offer a genuine way to solve them is to be admired.

    Good luck with the relaunch and the rebranding Chris!

    -Moses Kerub

    1. Thanks, Moses.

      You’ll find that the investment you’ve made in Corbett’s course is probably gonna be the best almost-100-buck-investment of your life.

      Enjoy. Digest. Explore. Conquer.


  3. I’ll have to admit, thinking of myself as a “blogger” seemed kind of weird at first. I’m glad you mentioned that we should think of ourselves as “professional online publishers.” Viewing myself in that light (a finance professional who is now also a professional online publisher) makes me feel a lot better about what I’m trying to accomplish.

    1. Hi Jonathan

      Love the fact that this resonated with you, mate. Really… So, so awesome!

      Go ‘publish’ something professional… now. And make sure it rocks the socks off your readers…!!! :-)


  4. Love it…! Very good advice… I think the general message I got out of this post is creating quality that is TRUE value to your readers. This normally comes when our project is truly our passion. See its hard to write about things that you really don’t have passion for and much easier to write value when it is your passion.

    1. Hey, Tampa!

      Yep – the quantity side of blogging is very much DEAD, as far as I’m concerned. I posted on Monday this week – it’s Thursday. I won’t post again until next week now.

      Why? Because I have to finish a post off that is ROCKIN’ over the weekend, and not rush it to post it now…

      Quality… All the way. Thanks for commenting.


  5. Wow, I think maybe you and Chris are reading my mind. Last night as I was editing a new post, I was just asking myself “am I bringing real value to my readers” or am I just making more noise on the internet?

    I want to bring value and inspire people, regardless of if anyone ever buys my stuff. That is the challenge I have given myself for the next year.

    Thanks for this tip in particular “Blogging is a remarkably easy way to affect change and inspire people.” I aim to do just that.

  6. Corbett will challenge you in many ways… as he has done so for me too.

    Your comment about “checking stats” really resonated with me and I have to keep reminding myself that content is king, not how many “likes” I get. Thanks for the reminder Chris. BTW- Love the new site!

    1. Hi Todd – thanks for the kudos on the new site. Sweet.

      I used to be TERRIBLE with my stat-checking. Not anymore, seriously…

      But, erm… I wonder how many comments I’ve gotten on THIS post so far!!?! *joke*

      Appreciate you commenting, bud.


  7. Thank you Chris and Corbett for these actionable steps.

    I’m stuck on #3. Blogging requires a lot of work every week. It’s a huge commitment on many levels. I sometimes wonder what my life would look like if I had never ventured online two years ago…The house would definitely look tighter ;).

    The vanity numbers provide an interesting to debate, for sure. If I’m checking out a blog for the first time, I am turned off by the perpetual “0 comments,” and I wonder why the author doesn’t 1) disable the comments (or hide the feature), or 2) start engaging, and otherwise reaching out.

    Back to the happiness dilemma–I’m going to write out my 3 client composites and hopefully this will bring me the clarity that you spoke of.

    Good luck with your relaunch. You have a captivating video presence :).

    1. Good morning, Chris, Linda.

      I have 0s, as do many people who are fairly new to on-line publishing – though I’m hoping you don’t really mean us…. or how else are we ever going to get off the ground?
      If I come across 0s, I make a concerted effort to give them a 1 – I know how lonely it is when you’re still trying to figure out how to engage people as the established ‘competition’ garner the market.

      With respect to watching the vanity numbers, Chris, I can’t say I’ve done that. Yes check occasionally – but when you’re still at the 0 stage, it’s depressing so perhaps not the best thing to do to encourage quality content production. If it looks like you’re not hitting the mark with anyone, it’s too easy to think you’re some sort of failure at on-line publishing when really it’s maybe just that you haven’t been ‘found’ yet.

      I really like the idea of being an ‘on-line publisher’ rather than a blogger. In the hard copy world, publishers don’t get comments written on their book covers (and they don’t have to read the critics if they don’t want to) so I’m comfortable seeing 0s in my comments section – well, for the time being at least….
      I’m choosing to interpret 0s as no-one writing on my book cover… makes it more bearable!

      If anything, all I want to say here is if you see a blog with lots of 0s – reach out. Behind the 0 could be someone about to abandon their blog thinking nobody loves them…. says she, shamelessly hinting 😉

      Kind regards,

  8. Great post Chris. I have definitely struggle with #2 and realized to simply focus on upping the ante on providing quality content, which has improve my numbers steadily. I agree it is tough to see a post you worked so hard on not getting any comments, shares, reactions, likes, etc.

    1. Tough?!

      It’s BRUTAL to see all that hard work go to ‘waste’ – but, has it…?!

      I mean, just because you’ve not got tons of comments, it doesn’t mean that someone, somewhere hasn’t read, enjoyed, digested and then taken action on it…?! Right.

      How’s that Ante for you now…..? Hope its rockin’.


    2. Chris, focusing on writing epic shit has definitely improved numbers and response to my industry. Takes me twice as long to write and prepare posts these days. You are right, most posts that generate the most traffic may not generate a comment at all; however, I do get comments via twitter instead of on the site itself.

      I have debated whether to disable comments and reactions count from the main page.

  9. Hey Chris,

    It’s funny this came alone the same time Jonathan Fields also talked about a woman who made a complete life change. The day she stopped waking up with a smile, she quit her job and opened up a bakery.

    Number three is, in my opinion, the most important. The other two can be learned, but if you’re not happy, the other two won’t matter anyway. Great post as always.


    1. Hey Sam

      Appreciate you commenting, mate.

      Yep – I’ve learned a lot about happiness in the last few years – this change has given me a whole new outlook on ‘being online’. It’s FUN – again.


  10. Chris,

    Thanks for your sincerity in this post. I think that all of us can get “caught up” in the process and forget the objective. This post is a “cold shower” that many of us need to hear and I just wanted to say thanks for your “candor” in sharing some obviously personal lessons…

    Take care,


    1. Candor is certainly one thing you can expect from me, Troy.

      Didn’t used to be – online anyway – but, with the new brand… what you see is gonna be exactly what you get.

      I have Corbett to thank for that……………


  11. Great seeing you doing some guest posting Chris! Awesome stuff here – I really think that if you concentrate on getting as many “thank you’s” as possible instead of traffic, subscribers, FB likes, etc. the other stats will naturally come.


    1. Hi Thomas!

      Yeah, I got a kick out of doing this GP. I don’t do many – but, might just change that now – it’s so cool to touch a different audience every now and then.

      I love your comment on getting ‘Thank You’ more than anything… That’s EXACTLY what I’m going for nowadays, and I’m happy to say its working… Every day!


  12. Everyone talks about creating a customer profile but i believe you said to create three? Did I hear that correctly? If so, that would seem to make sense. When you write, you want to talk to one person but that person isn’t always the SAME person exactly.

    By the way, your site really looks awesome! Did you do that yourself or have a big hand in it?

    1. Hi Carmelo

      I had a designer put together the site (theres a link at the bottom of the site to his online offerings!). Glad you like the design.

      Yep – those three reader profiles have helped me A LOT!

      Glad you appreciated the post.


    2. Hello, Mr Drucker.

      I’ve just had a look at your new website too. Very smart – somewhat Broganesque, I would say. And yes, you do have a new subscriber – though that may not be exactly what you want to hear right now….. :)

      Kind regards,

  13. Hello, Chris – it’s me again!

    The first thing my mentor insisted I do before putting pen to paper for my blog, was think long and hard about who I wanted in my chalet. We had been letting to people who had not loved it as we do, with quite costly consequences. So from day 1 I have written for my ideal guest; the family of the guest; the friends of the guest…
    And I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. So has my ideal guest; her family; her friends. That bit was easy – it was me!
    Now what I have to do is find my clones.
    Hmmm – wonder if that’s why I’m getting 0s…..

    Heyho! Back to the drawing board!

    Kind regards,

  14. Great points Chris!

    I especially like the point on being too focused on numbers. This is the trap we all fall prey to at some time in our blogging. It really is all about matching searcher intent with your business intent. That is how you win as you will know :)

    All the best!

  15. Hey Corbett thanks for interviewing Chris. I discovered your site from him.

    Chris I resonated with the comment, “create three different reader profiles”. I have been struggling to focus on just one, so to read your comment has given me inspiration and freedom to rethink my strategy.

    I was also honored and humbled to find my @adventureboomer comment included in this blog post. Keep up the good work you are my trusted source for all things “new business”.

  16. Man! I was constructing a post today that was almost the same as this. Mine was about How do you know if you are successful with your blogging and I was only having two points.
    Great post and very timely for me as I have been asking these questions a lot lately and finding some holes I have to work on. But at the same time lately I have been hearing from a lot of readers as to how I have helped inspire them to make a change. Yay!

  17. Hey Chris, great post. I can certainly relate to your story. 2 months ago I sold my high ranking web design blog and started from scratch. I used to get more comments, more traffic and better rankings but I grew bored of introductory topics as well and didn’t feel like I was impacting real entrepreneurs. Since starting the new blog, which includes articles as well as the podcast, 5 minute Friday videos etc I am much happier. I know there are serious entrepreneurs that have gotten something out of the content. And the comments and shares are legit, not back linkers.

    You’ve reminded me not to gloss over comments and emails like this one I got this week “Just saw your first video on “how to get in front of somebody else’s audience” and it was fantastic! I’ve gotten a list of actionable things from it for sure.”

    If people are taking action on your content then it’s the ultimate ‘metric’. I’ve given up on complex SEO and I’m confident, like you, that focusing on the value from day 1 will result in a far better long term result for my site. Thanks for the post and the reminder that I’m on track.

  18. Hey Chris – Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement. Although my blog is only nearing its second month, I am continuously revising my blogging strategy. SABTM has been the best investment so far.

    I do have a question for you though…

    I am totally on board with the idea of trying my hardest to create Epic Shit with every post, knowing that sometimes I hit the mark and others times… not so much. Jon Morrow – however has been urging bloggers to focus their efforts on guest posts rather than their own blogs until they have a substantial number of subscribers, with the underpinning that creating your own Epic Shit is pointless if no one is reading it. Just wondering what your stance is on this?

    Thanks again to you and Corbett for giving us a massive amount of clarity!

    1. Hi Andrea

      John has a point, of course. But, my issue would be this:

      You write something amazing for someone elses blog, then they come over to your and find that the content is not as strong, valuable or helpful. Bad impression to make.

      Simple solution: Write epic shit ALL the time!

      Easier said than done, huh…?!??!!!!

      Good luck.


  19. Blogging has become a vehicle for so many wonderful things that have happened in my life. It has connected me with all different kinds of people around the world. It has given me the ability to share what I know with people who may need that information, and learn from others who have more information than I do. It has improved my writing skills and even my speaking and presentation skills too

  20. i really enjoyed the article. as a new blogger i think that i have a lot of learning to do but i begin to slowly understand that quality is much more important than quantity.

  21. Hey Chris,

    I love the idea about creating “3 reader profiles”. Interesting approach.

    Agree, I think it’s really improtant to enjoy blogging about your subject, because it’s a long term game and results in blogging can take time.

    So if you lack passion for your subject you’ll find it hard to keep writing about it and you’ll be wasting your own time as well as your readers.

    Thanks for sharing.

  22. As a personal development coach i value the power of questions above anything else in achieving improvement and growth. You show here that as bloggersd we have to find time for reflection and ask ourselves some important questions. The one of value is absolutely essential, because we all want traffic, spend an age bringing it to our posts, but if we can’t put information in front of them that provides value they simply won’t come back. To go further, and actually make a living from blogging we have to be able to build more value on top of that which we give for free. Great inspiring read, thank you.

  23. Hi Chris! This post came to me at a very crucial time in my new blogging venture. I honestly can see your authenticity shine through with this post. I agree 1000% that you must be having fun with your blog in order to create content of real value.

    I can actually say that I have answered yes to all three of these questions. I am creating value, I am consumed by numbers (cough, cough) and I am having fun. So with that being said I am going to be spending some time creating my 3 reader profiles so that I can create content that targets these reader types. Oh, and I am going to stop checking my numbers so often.

    Thank you so very much!

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