If You Build It They Won’t Come

Remember that movie Field of Dreams where the voice said, “If you build it, they will come.” While that may make dead baseball players appear in a corn field, it doesn’t work online. Millions of people every week try to “build it” because they think that is all it takes to make money online. They build the site and add content to it everyday and wonder how come they’re not coming?

The reason most bloggers fail to make money from blogging is because they’re bloggers and not marketers. What separates John Chow dot Com from the no traffic blog isn’t so much the content. There are tons of small blogs that can write better content than me. However, the best content in the world won’t do you any good if you can’t get people to read it. Building it is not enough. You need to learn how to market it.

Nothing Happens Without Traffic

Without traffic, a site makes nothing. This is a numbers game. I know that for every 1000 readers, I am going to get a certain percentage of people clicking on an ad. You can build 1000 websites but if no one visits, it’s going to be really hard to make any money.

In my post asking Are You Getting Maximum Dollar For Your Ad Space, I wrote that it’s not the traffic that is important, it’s what you do with the traffic. That is completely true. However, before you can do anything with the traffic, you must first get the traffic. How do you do that? I’ve cover many marketing methods to drive traffic to a new blog. For those who don’t look at the archives, the following posts should help you out.

Remember, if you build it, they won’t come. Successful blogging is 10% blogging and 90% marketing. Learning how to generate a buzz will get you a lot further than learning how to write a better blog post.

95 thoughts on “If You Build It They Won’t Come”

  1. Great post and great resources! *=) I definitely agree…. many bloggers think of they start a blog and simply write in it, people will just find them. Good stuff!

    You rock! :mrgreen:

    1. Completely agree, it is not just the “build it”. The traffic is what brings you money..without it, you can’t do much (if thats what you are targeting).

      1. Geedos says:

        What also makes John standout is his incredible ability to efficiently monetize his traffic. Build it, market it and monetize it.

    2. Amanda says:

      when there is nothing left to post about post an article about other ideas you’ve had!

    3. So true, it takes a lot of hard work to get to the top. Once you start getting traffic, it’s a lot easier to leverage it for more money.

      1. MyBlogCotest says:

        Agree. When you got lots traffic and readers is easier than you don’t.

        1. Pam Hoffman says:

          Are you still working on the new blog without giving your name John? I’ve been out of town and I was looking around for something on it – I’ll keep looking.


          Pam Hoffman

          1. Geedos says:

            Yes he is – he won’t release much information on it. I think he’s waiting until its hit his revenue target for the site but no-one is really sure of what that figure is. Knowing John its a lot though!

    4. Blogging is hard work!
      It’s not easy blogging regularly and it would be even more difficult without any readers. It was very hard in the beginning but the key is to keep plugging through. People will find your blog eventually..but you have to market it! Promotion is the key!! I personally am starting to take advantage of social networks…
      πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜›
      – Raymond (MONEY BLUE BOOK)

      1. MyBlogCotest says:

        Good point! Social networks are great!

      2. Geedos says:

        Which ones are you using – are you an active facebooker? And do you use social networks to cross the line with family and business or do you keep your personal online networks separate from your business ones?

  2. rahul says:

    yep traffic rules $ revenue & John pulling them from everywhere 😈
    and thanks for saving time from archives πŸ˜‰

    1. My prefered method is “the art of linkbaiting”.
      Linkbaiting can bring you as much as 50,000+ backlinks.
      It can allow you experience the digg home page server crashing phenomena.
      Some blogs take off after just 1 successful linkbait.
      You definitely want to do linkbaiting.
      You may want to read the ultimate article about linkbaiting that I’ve done on . I hope this will helps.

  3. Karol Krizka says:

    My favourite of the posts is the “Six Top Linking Strategies” one. It has several good points, and I really agree with some of them. First of all, I noticed that I get lot of traffic from visiting other blogs, be it either via their mybloglog widget, or from the comment I leave. Also I agree about the news releases thing. There is no harm in doing it! Either you will get a link, or a complete stranger will find you annoying. It’s best if you write a generic email, and just copy paste it to each blogger you want to send to.

    One thing I wish you were more specific on is the “Work Social Networking Sites”. Do you have any suggestions on how one could improve the amount of diggs they get?

  4. Poker Sharks says:

    Number 1 = Quality content.

    Number 2 = Promotion/Marketing.

    But you need both for a successful (moneymaking) blog – all makes sense. No matter how godd your content is, if people aint reading you wont make any money.

    1. And once you get some traffic, you can leverage that to grow it exponentially. That’s what John’s done and his blog has gone from making nothing to making close to 20 000 a month (I’m estimating)

    2. MyBlogCotest says:

      Successful blogging is 10% blogging and 90% marketing. For JohnChow might be true because you have many guest posts so you only have to spend 10% time to bloggin. 😈

  5. Geedos says:

    Posts like these are some of your best John. I like reading about your thoughts on marketing and traffic building ideas like this, along with strategies you’ve used to build your blog to its current level.

    Much better than reading about more advertising spots for sale but I’m probably in the minority!

  6. Dodgypress says:

    Hey John, I attempted to find/locate your blog via google, and could not pick you up. Ie you did not appear on the first page for your name.

    No doubt my experience, is not unique. My question is this, has this google ban of sorts, really impacted your traffic levels/readership…etc…????

    By How much????

    1. Look at his Readership…it’s pretty obvious that the Google ban hasn’t really hurt him at all…heh πŸ™‚

    2. John Chow says:

      Google cannot keep down the root of all evil. 😈

      My RSS at 5,000 when Google slap me. Now it’s on the edge of breaking 8,000.

      1. Geedos says:

        Hehe! Is that how you describe yourself nowadays rather than dot.com mogul? Maybe you should change your header on the site – the root of all evil!

        I can just imagine people being introduced to you who didn’t know about your blog – hi this is my friend John Chow he’s the root of all evil! πŸ˜†

  7. Shaun Carter says:

    One of the best things I did is cut my posting down a little bit and spend that extra time promoting and since then my RSS is up and traffic has increased five fold!

  8. Another great tip is to pretend to post as a single attractive woman. It helps when gaining and retaining. πŸ™‚

    1. MyBlogCotest says:

      That’s so evil 😈

  9. Excellent post. I wish you’d write more content like this on a regular basis. Posts like these show exactly why you are where you are.

    1. Wayne Liew says:

      Many of John Chow post has quality, it’s just that sometimes problogger needs a break and post some “TV commercial” posts. :mrgreen:

    2. It’s not easy to come up with quality content that is ground breaking every day…

      1. Some days it’s not that easy coming up with any content πŸ˜•

        1. This is true. Sometimes I might as well be beating The Great Wall of China into submission with my fists for all the luck I have coming up with content.

  10. Wahlau.NET says:

    It is good to recap those old post

  11. Click Input says:

    I think you’ll find that quote is actually from Wayne’s World :mrgreen:

  12. Sean says:

    IT really is all about traffic, but having great content is what make loyal readers. πŸ˜‰

    I myself focus most of my energy on getting traffic to my blog rather than worrying about the blog.

    I love this place :mrgreen:

  13. Wayne Liew says:

    Some blogging gurus teaches how to increase money that we made out of our blogs, saying that traffic is not important in money making but I personally think that to fully optimise money making in a blog, traffic is the vital part.

    Traffic first, conversion rate (clickthrough rate second).

  14. Kevin says:

    Good post John. Not sure if if the 19/90 split is correct but a lot of bloggers definately dont make it because they dont know how to market their site. I also believe a good design can make a big difference

  15. DaveVenter says:

    Well said John! Traffic is definitely key to marketing, but like you said what you do with it is important! Cheers Mate

  16. Why do you not appear in Google for the term ‘John Chow’? Seems very strange to me? have you fallen out with the Big G?

  17. Mubin says:

    Not entirely true, If you are adding new content every single day the promotion should occure by itself.

    This blog has over 100 new posts a month. Thats one hundred different websites that Google will index and send traffic to.

    Now if a blogger is just writing every single day with quality content, chances are google will pick you up in the serps and start sending traffic.

    While your ideas are all good, you would still need to build it. There is no point in getting dugg, and than not updating for 5 days.

    Or for that matter getting a reviewme review from JohnChow when you only have 5 posts.

    This post should be more geared towards branding which is what your great at JOHN!

    1. Building the content isn’t enough. Trust me…I’ve done it before.

      1. Mubin says:

        Im not big on the whole trust thing

  18. that’s what i always advise my fellow blogging friends: if want to build blogs, go to probloggers and friends; if you want to make money, ask John Chow dot Com!

  19. James Wilcox says:

    I’m nitpicking here…but the film was “Field of Dreams”. You forgot the “s” at the end John. Traffic and quality content aren’t the only things that matter…so does spelling πŸ™‚

    1. KingJacob says:

      Yah No, have you seen Ihascheeseburger?

  20. redwall_hp says:

    What? Order business cards? Just get some cardstock, a printer, and photoshop. http://www.webmaster-source.com/2007/06/03/create-a-business-card-in-photoshop/

    1. KingJacob says:

      If your printing a large quantity, using a printer is better because you cant do some of the cool techniques like raised lettering,etc for as cheap as they do.

  21. KingJacob says:

    Even in the field of dreams he had an SEO(James Earl Jones), link baite(graham)and a monetization expert(the daughter)

    1. Jorge says:

      That’s true!

  22. jhay says:

    That’s definitely true. I’ve always been guilty of spending too many times tweaking the looks and layout of my blog after I’ve posted new content instead of channeling my efforts and time to market my blog.

    It’s a habit I must definitely change. πŸ˜†

  23. Dave says:

    Another way to obtain links to your blog is to submit your best blog entries to blog carnivals, on http://blogcarnival.com/bc/

    There are many blog carnivals, each specializing in a subject area. The carnivals are updated weekly or monthly and are often rotated among alternative hosts.

    You can even chose to start your own blog carnival, another way to get 10s or even 100s of links to your blog.

  24. Jorge says:

    One of the best posts ever!

  25. completely true, just hold on… johnchow.com didnt become a popular blog right away either or thetechcenter… my blog took three months before i started getting 100 viewers per day.. keepworking hard

    1. Jorge says:

      I will! πŸ˜€

    2. I know some bloggers that have been at it for a year or more and would be v happy with 100 uniques a day.

      1. Jorge says:

        It’s a good number! :mrgreen:

  26. Dave says:

    I always wonder if the little guy can really get up there in traffic and earnings. It seems to me that these big earners, the ones with lots of traffic, are salesmen who already had their networks of associates, friends, and partners setup beforehand, as part of their regular jobs (or their previous jobs) offline. As salesmen, they spent years making contacts as part of their work, whether selling toys or local microbrewed beer. When they set their eyes on Google, etc., and blogging, they were ready. Fortune favours the prepared man.

    1. Jorge says:

      That’s a point!

    2. James Wilcox says:

      Don’t forget the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of the money being made out there is being made by 20 percent of all the blogs out there in that niche. It might even be 90/10.

    3. Good point but even the apparent big guys give the advice of “If you can’t make it, fake it!”. Perhaps some of the big guys weren’t always as big as they are now?

  27. DeboHobo says:

    Great Lesson Plan for the day..this should keep me busy for a while. I’m on it!

  28. David says:

    Like any business attracting customers (traffics) is the hard part!

  29. Max says:

    Oh wow, I didn’t know it’s 90% marketing but good to know that is how you did it. πŸ˜€ πŸ’‘

  30. Michael Kwan says:

    I think this line pretty much sums it up:

    “There are tons of small blogs that can write better content than me.”

    That’s pretty much the key. I slam on John’s poor grammar and spelling, but if you can get past that, you find some useful information that has been marketed masterfully. Why else would a video post of him poking a live lobster create so much buzz? Countless other blogs do nearly the same thing, but they know jack-squat about marketing.

    I guess the same can almost be said about my blog. I’m a writer. I can even be a copywriter. But I’m not a marketer or a coder.

  31. MyBlogCotest says:

    Totally agree with “without traffic, a site makes nothing.”

  32. Samo Kralj says:

    John the marketing wiz πŸ˜›
    I must try some of this on my own blog. Link baiting sounds good.

  33. Samo Kralj says:

    John the marketing wiz πŸ˜›
    I must try some of these on my own blog. Link baiting sounds good.

  34. The 10% blogging and 90% marketing is golden rule for any web site, I fully agree with what you said. Most people keep forgetting about it.

  35. Carla says:

    I don’t ever expect to get rich on my blog. But I do have a good organic PR of 3 without doing anything but blogging. But this week I decided to have a little contest to raise money for a charity walk I’m in. Only one friend (a real life friend!) has participated. Its depressing.

  36. Really an eyeopener. Excellent. I am getting addicted to John Chow Dot Com nowadays that even before getting on to dailies, I get on here!

    1. Yah, it’s obvious if you really took the time to think about what needs to happen to have a successful website, but many new bloggers (myself included) don’t spend nearly enough time on marketing.

  37. That is a great tip! Thanks John!

  38. Great post (as usual) John. This is a great group of articles. They are great resource for beginners as well as an excellent refresher or wake up for experienced webmasters.

  39. Well said and I totally agree about the 10 / 90 split. That’s why I’m working on marketing my own blog a lot more than I have been.

  40. It’s pretty clear that John’s sense of humor and personality have a great deal to do with his success blogging. Like anywhere else, who you are is probably the biggest factor to winning in any business.

    It’s cool how John has made his business successful by being himself and being open to share value along the way. That’s the key. I don’ tsee a lot of that discussed but I think it’s the #1 reason John’s so successful–he is offering value and he is really open to sharing.

    That will always draw a crowd.
    Mike Klingler

    1. Geedos says:

      And he’s controversial and evil – people are also drawn to that as well.

  41. Great idea linking to older posts – I’m a fairly new reader, and hadn’t gone too far through your archives – it’s good to find similar articles without having to hunt!

  42. you are wright blog without traffic is nothing even if it has good content :mrgreen:

  43. This is an amazing post. As a blog newbie I am on a huge learning curve. However, if I can learn to do things right from the very beginning then it can only do good in the long run. Thanks John!!

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