Jonathan Green is back and we’re happy to have him!
By Jonathan Green
You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule. It’s a contemporary theory related to management, economics, and many other applications that states “20 percent of actions/causes/inputs, etc. will lead to 80 percent of consequences/effects/outputs.” The idea is sometimes attributed to Italian economist Pareto who developed the theory in 1906 after observing the unequal wealth distribution is his country. Here are some examples:
20% of Realtors make 80% of the sales.
20% of Families hold 80% of the nations wealth.
20% of your daily tasks net 80% of your best results.
You get the point. The theory is surprisingly pervasive. I wondered if the idea applied to blogging, so I set out to make some observations about the traffic that comes to my blog and how it gets there. I found that:
20% (more or less) of my articles result in 80% of my traffic from Google.
20% of my visitors account for 80% of my repeat traffic.
20% of those repeat visitors eventually add me to their feed readers or blogroll.
About 1 out of every 5 visitors will leave a comment, or 20%. 80% do not.
From these discoveries, utilizing a simple chain of reasoning, I’m able to synthesize some basic ideas about the way that I spend my time (as it pertains to the blog):
1) Focusing on the types of articles that net 80% of my traffic should help to increase traffic to my site. For me that means writing more neighborhood review articles, how to articles, and military relocation focused content. Surprisingly enough, I write these articles for the express purpose of informing a certain demographic, and not solely to generate traffic or be “keyword rich.” Perhaps the articles just end up being more keyword rich because they are more focused and concise than some of the rambling opinion pieces that I put out.
2) Once I’ve discovered where my traffic comes from, it behooves me to write articles geared towards encouraging repeat visits. Because I know that 20% of those who land on the blog will visit more than once, and that once they become repeat visitors 20 percent of them will link or subscribe to my blog, I have to offer content that will make them want to come back for more. If I do this, I should generate more trackbacks and feed subscribers and build greater credibility with my peers and with Google. For the Real Opinionated blog, that means exploring issues exhaustively. One neighborhood review is great, but an in-depth review of every builder contributing to a particular neighborhood (in separate articles) is better.
3) Accumulating comments should not be a goal since it is subjective to overall traffic. Comments make me feel better about my content, but in the end they seem to be just a bi-product of the number of visitors that I receive. True, replying to comments in a timely manner may encourage repeat visits and participation from consumers who will ultimately become paychecks, but that really has nothing to do with the 80/20 rule.
I’ve heard people say that traffic should not be a goal. I can agree with that statement conditionally since traffic results from quality content. Your “quality content” is that 20% of your writing which receives 80% of the Google juice, and focusing on producing more of the same should solve both problems, traffic and comments. Still, I receive roughly one money-producing lead for every 1,000 visitors that come across my site, so traffic is important at the end of the day.
I freely admit that my analysis of this trend is amateur at best. Therefore, I’d like to once again open a forum for those of you who are much smarter than me to help me understand how to best apply this principle in my blog and in life.
Thanks Jonathan! As always, it’s great to have you on the Vine.