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Place Your Blog on a ‘Busy Intersection’

Steve Remington wrote a good post today that uses the metaphore of roads and intersections to think about blogs. It’s an image that caught my imagination a little. He writes:

“Think of your blog as a virtual business on a road. Your best chance of success is not sitting out in the middle of cyberspace where nobody can find you. Landing your blog in the middle of downtown or on an intersection somewhere will give you many more readers and potential clients.”

Read his full post at Blogs Are Roads; Intersections

I like the imagery of the metaphor and think that there’s some real truth in it. A blogger who simply works on their own blog and doesn’t work to put themselves ‘out there’ on a busy intersection will limit the potential of their blog even if they write great content.

Positioning yourself on a busy intersection or ‘downtown’ means getting involved in your niche, building relationships with other bloggers and becoming part of the places in your niche where the most action is happening.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Michael says:

    It is easier to say then it is to do.

    If you are not already an “A” list blogger it is hard to stand out on the busy street.

    I like the analagy and appreciate your take on generating traffic.

    Michael

  2. Originally that was my approach, to keep in my own world. But now i write useful comments on other blogs i look in my analytics account adn see some blogs i visited are sending a few people to my blog. Even one blog got me about 120 hits in about 2 hours.

    Ollie

  3. Daniel Bates says:

    Do you have any advise for people blogging about a very small niche (in my case it’s real estate in a small town)? I’ve been commenting on lots of other blogs and participating in multiple real estate websites, blogs, and forums. I’m also reaching out to other local websites and using print advertising in local stores. I’ve been blogging for about four months and am starting to enjoy some traffic, but just wondering if you see a way that I can get closer to the intersection even though I’m not really writing about it the highway!

  4. MJ Ray says:

    Does that title make more sense in other countries? When I read about putting your blog on a busy intersection, it made me think of leaving a car in the middle of a crossroads, so it will cause a crash – I thought it was something to do if you don’t want the blog any more but you want to use it to make havoc for others.

    Putting your blog on a street corner also probably has the wrong associations.

    Well, aren’t metaphors dangerous on Friday afternoons?

  5. Yeah, you’ve mentioned before about how you write more than you read. It’s important to get out there and participate. If you just focus on your own blog then why should others focus on yours?

    I really think that being a blogger is like being part of a town. You may live in the nicest house on top of a hill, but if you don’t have any friends no one is going to come to your parties…and you’ll be a lonely blogger.

    Also I’ve noticed that folks have put a lot into trying to get people to subscribe to their rss feeds. I agree that it’s important, but it’s even more powerful when someone like Darren puts a link directly to your blog in the body of their post. That does three things: A. Creates a backlink, B. Drives traffic to the blogger’s site, and C. Gives the blogger credibility from Darren. Very valuable.
    http://www.BlogInterviewer.com

  6. *Correction in first line*
    You read more than you write.

  7. Andrew Odlum says:

    What if your blog is a niche blog that has a potentially universal audience? My site is devoted to teaching a skill to anyone who wants to learn it. My target audience is thus a wide variety of internet users. I don’t think focusing on niche specific blogs would hit the audience that I want. What would be the best cross road for me?

  8. I think this is true whether you are an A-lister or not. People who have small to mid-sized blogs are generally more likely to network better than a-lister bloggers… because a-listers have a harder time keeping it with emails and comments due to so many of them. I find it easier to make friends with smaller bloggers… then just cross your fingers that either you or them makes it BIG! *=)

  9. narcolept says:

    This is 100% true. I get plenty of traffic just from comments on other blogs, just as much from organic traffic and search queries. In response to Terra, the A listerss are already at the corner of main street, they just need to figure out how to stay there :)

  10. Thanks Darren for the post. Whether you are blogging in a small niche or a wide one you will have your pros and cons. The wider the niche the bigger the intersections and the chances of you standing out are more difficult. The smaller the niche and more localized you are the better chance for you to become recognized. Of course you have your downfalls, overall less traffic… but that is the nature of blogging in either niche. But no matter how you get there, you need to be on a busier street than that back road, whether you live in small town, USA or downtown New York.

    Thanks again Darren!

  11. Daniel Bates says:

    Thanks for putting that perspective on it for me Steve. I’ve thought about that many times, but the way you said it really made sense.

  12. Deb says:

    I like the image. I thought of the old-time traffic stand in intersections where the officer stood up where he (in that day) could be seen. Sometimes there were signs and posters around the base of it.

    I think for those of us just starting out in our first weeks/months/year of blogging that finding the right intersection is a big challenge and can take some trial and error to hone-in on. Just a thought.

    Thanks for the post and link.

  13. Jacob Share says:

    I think that there are different ways of understanding the metaphor, which is great.

    From Darren’s POV, it’s about promoting yourself so that you stand out at a busy intersection.

    In my POV, it’s more a question of choosing a blog topic that can reach multiple communities (highways?) without going so far as to create traffic chaos.

  14. I had my blog on an intersection but then they built a bypass. Now I get only limit passing trade but at least it’s safe for kids to play in the streets again…

  15. I feel like I am out in the intersection and people are driving around me, honking and giving me the bird. ;-)
    Maybe if I stood there naked?
    Hmmmm …. no, then they’d probably run me over.
    Catherine, the redhead

  16. Darren:

    I may not say it often enough. Your simple advice is really resonating in many ways. The ways in which this busy intersection helped me:

    1. Being here at ProBlogger put me in touch with Chris Baskind of then moreminimal.com and now LighterFootstep.com and Paperfrog.com.

    2. Through this site I met Tony Hung and now I contribute to The Blog Herald where I am meeting awesome people every day.

    3. I saw a post by Lorelle VanFossen for the first time here. Lorelle is an amazing contributor and knowledgeable resource. I am even thinking about switching to WordPress when I grow up in geeky terms ;-)

    4. Coming to meet you and the other ProBlogger fans allowed me to meet LaraKulpa, Marshall Sponder, Shai Coggins, and many more interesting people who are also very good at what they do and passionate about it.

    5. Because I participated, you linked to my blog a couple of times, which generated a lot of good traffic (thank you, readers).

    I could go on… thank you for all your hard work. Even if you do it for earnings, you still show passion, love for the craft, and respect for your audience. So I guess another benefit of this conversation is *being* the cross roads, the traffic generator, the connector.

  17. Location, location, location…

    This is the most important thing for brick & mortar businesses. It is the most important for the online businesses and blogs, too.

    Thanks for the reminder, Daren!

    Regards,
    William

  18. PS: The comment about earning through blogs — many of the folks who do not blog for money may see themselves as purists vs. pro bloggers. It was meant as a compliment to say that pro bloggers have equal amounts of passion and love for the work, etc. Just making sure my communication skills are serving me and you well ;-)

    Have a great weekend everyone!

  19. Positioning yourself on a busy intersection or ‘downtown’ means getting involved in your niche, building relationships with other bloggers and becoming part of the places in your niche where the most action is happening.

    I have to say that is one of the reasons I comment on this and other popular blogs.

    When I was just a reader a month ago, I could say that I learned a lot. Now, that I also write in my own blog and comment on others, I can say that I learn 3 times more.

  20. Wintermute says:

    I still get trickles of traffic from comments I’ve made years ago on other blogs. A single comment to Guy Kawasaki’s blog, after the initial surge of traffic, has resulted in his blog showing up in my referral logs at least once for the past year and a half. That’s not a ton of traffic, but combine that with the traffic I get from the comments I’ve left elsewhere, and it really starts to add up. Granted, I’m a relative unknown with a low-traffic blog, but the more I comment the more I’m known and the more traffic I get. To answer Andrew Odlum, specifically, it doesn’t matter what your niche is. My blog has no defined niche, other than general geekery, and I still manage to convert a little of the referred traffic to regular readers every now and then.

  21. JohnPlace says:

    Although it wasn’t mentioned in the artlce, I’m wondering what you think about obtaining membership in a blogging group. The proper name of these organizations escapes me at the moment — but basically, it’s a list of blogs that all belong to the same “club” and link to each other.

    Anyone had any experience with these? There are a few of them in my niche (personal development) and I’m wondering if they are worth pursuing.

  22. K says:

    Anyone else think it ironic that Steve talks about linking out
    and then doesn’t link out once in his post?
    I was laughing my a$$ off.
    That man HAS to have a killer sense of humor.

  23. Darren Rowse says:

    Thanks for that feedback Valeria – very encouraging :-)

  24. Don says:

    One of the principles (sp? eeks!) I learned from this site more than a month ago is to post consistently and have something key to say on the blogs of other people.

    Also, blogging and leaving comments should be done strategically. I’ve read that time and again.

    And the other, yes, a busy intersection is necessary. But I also have loyal readers who don’t have vast amounts of traffic. So I make it a point to consistently stop by their blogs and comment – a way of saying “I value them.”

    In time, they may build their traffic and I will be a part of their network.

  25. JP says:

    I “stumbled upon” your site via technorati, and I just have to say two words, “Thank you”. The amount of information your provide for improving ones blog is astounding. Little things, such as posting a comment, can improve ones traffic. These little things do add up over time into BIG things.

    Thanks again

  26. Colin says:

    Obviously the key is finding those busy intersections & then standing there without getting run over! Or, maybe you DO want to get run over, if it means traffic to your blog. Or is it that you want to jump into the next fast car that happens by your intersection? Am I reading too much into the analogy? :P

  27. zool says:

    Yes.. It ain’t easy but it is one of the technic…
    I will try to use it

  28. cmanlong says:

    i agree wholeheartedly. it takes a combination of content and positioning to make a blog successful. I have found that the they are both equally challenging. Writing quality content is very time consuming and can sometimes take days to put together a good post.

  29. Laurie Manny says:

    Social Networking sites are a great way to get started.

  30. Hi! I wrote about something similar, except that different categories/niches are like cities and suburbs. I hope you like it.
    http://www.walletrehab.com/finding-a-niche-location-location-location/
    I think the real estate, land analogy really works for websites. More so than ever.

  31. Michelle says:

    I think I’ve managed to put my blog MelbournePriceCheck at a virtual intersection, by finding the intersection & creating a blog to act as a sign post. Thanks for the analogy, its got me thinking about how I can improve placement of my other blogs.

  32. I have to agree with this post and think it makes a lot of sense for people serious about gaining traffic to their blogs. I’m new to the blogging world but have been an avid reader for years and just recently decided to start my own blog on affiliate marketing. This site here at problogger has been very fruitful for me. Thanks.

  33. larry says:

    A blog or any website is essentially a piece of real estate in cyberspace. The number of incoming links is akin to its Location. The difference as compared with bricks & mortar is that on the Internet, it is usually more possible to influence your Location by building your relationships with other bloggers and building your incoming links. Not quite so easy with Bricks & Mortar. But then again the numbers are much bigger in real estate and more effort is to be expected.

  34. komirad says:

    Something like what I talk about here on how to increase the authority of your blog: http://komirad.com/using-authority-indicators

  35. Peter says:

    Hi,

    This is my first time reading your blog Darren and I found it very useful. I’m new to blogging and have just spent the last month or so getting into the habit of posting as much as time allows. I decided to build up some good quality posts (I believe they are referred to as pillars) before moving on to stage two, commenting on other blogs. I’ve only made a handful of comments but can already see an increase in traffic to my blog.

    I work in design (although you wouldn’t know that from looking at my blog, still have to customize it!) and the metaphor worked well for me.

    Anyway, looks like you have yet another regular reader, think you can handle the traffic? :)

    Best of luck.

  36. Darren Rowse says:

    Welcome Peter – I’ll tell my server guys about you and get them to beef up our potential load in traffic :-)

  37. Blog opinion says:

    I read your article before to keep on commenting . I like the idea on http://skinnymoose.com . Thanks “pro” friend .

  38. Abby Eagle says:

    A fair analogy. Standing on a busy intersection and at random handing out business cards – like exchanging business cards at a networking meeting. Most go in the bin but everynow and then we pick one up a year later and make contact. I think it is the guy on the street corner who stands out from the crowd that sticks in our memory. Like the guy who washes car windows with pizzaz on a busy intersection. This guy i am thinking of was taking $1,000.00 a week. He even had a business plan and was looking at buying a house. So how do i use this opportunity to entice you over to my website? Well i am the NLP and Zen Meditation instructor who can show you how to silence that internal chatter. It’s like turning off a commercial radio station that has been blaring 24 hours a day. Once you get some peace and quiet in your mind then your whole life just works more efficiently. Read about Zen and the Art of Living here: http://www.rejoiceinlife.com/zen/semZenCourse2.php Good luck to all you other pro bloggers. Abby

  39. Sometimes if you create the intersection yourself people will come. Once I achieved a PR4 or PR5 for my site people came out of the woodwork looking for a linkback. I ended up creating a site for just linkbacks and traffic generation the social way called http://www.15blogs.com. Within hours of creating the site I had thousands of visitors from all over the place. So in a way I became the intersection.

    For small time bloggers I recommend the BlogCatalog Discussion forums that has a feeling of a small town and makes it easier to network.

  40. Shaine says:

    I too have found that commenting on other blogs brings traffic to mine. However, I get a lot of traffic from what might be considered the freeway of the Internet, Twitter. I have a plugin that notifies my Twitter friends when I put up a new post. That immediately results in visits.

    Another thing that I am doing is visiting high-traffic sites like Myspace and Facebook to help build interest in my blog.