I received an email from a client the other day. He wanted to know why the blog we’d started a week earlier wasn’t getting big traffic numbers. I tried to channel my inner Mr. Miyagi before explaining how it works. “Patience, Danielson. Patience.”
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist
“Patience and fortitude conquer all things.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet
“It’ll work itself out fine/All we need is just a little patience.” -Axl Rose, 80s demigod
In an increasingly wired world, instant gratification is becoming the new normal. Smartphones, GPS-enabled navigation, go-anywhere netbooks… they all provide us with the information we need, right now. It’s no wonder we expect so much from our online marketing campaigns right out of the starting gate.
But just like anything worthwhile, you must invest time and effort.
A sensei appears, on two wheels
About a month ago, I had a Mr. Miyagi moment of my own as I rode my motorcycle up VT Rte. 30 on a beautiful and pleasantly mild evening. Sounds boring, right? Not if you knew that it took me three years to get to that moment.
See, in 2007 I purchased a 1974 Kawasaki motorcycle off of Craigslist. It was running when I bought it, and that was all I needed to see. After just a few days of two-wheeled enjoyment, though, I found myself stranded on the side of the road. Bad battery connector. I was an hour late for work that day.
That scene played itself out over and over again for two summers straight. Just when I thought I’d solved the latest electrical problem or repaired the newest carburetor conundrum, I’d break down again. A flat tire here, a broken drive chain there. Once I even started a small fire behind the engine.
The repairs were seemingly endless. I made sure I always had my cell phone with me whenever I went for a ride, and kept my right thumb limber in case I was in an area outside of coverage. When I put the bike away for the winter last year, I was on the verge of breaking down myself. Still, I made sure to dutifully winterize the bike for its hibernation.
And then an amazing thing happened when I pulled ‘er out this Spring. She started on the second try, putting up no fight. “Well,” I thought, “we’re off to a good start.” And guess what? My cranky old bike has not broken down once this summer. I’ve been riding it carefree for months. It seems that all my hours studying the repair manual, ordering parts off of Ebay and putting out small engine fires had paid off. I… was… cruising.
You’ve probably already concluded the moral to the story here. I spent a lot of time and effort getting my motorcycle to a point where I can ride into the sunset, every night, without breaking down. My patience paid off, and now I’m reaping the benefits.
Give it time to blossom
A blog won’t get immediate traffic for a lot of reasons. First, the longer a site’s been established, the more authority Google gives it (result: high search engine rankings). Second, to gain a regular audience, you have to gain their trust. You can only do that by adding relevant, quality content on a regular basis. Once your blog becomes more well-known and trusted, more outside sites will link to you, boosting your page rank and reputation. I’m not saying it will take two years, but you need to at least give it 6 months.
The same rules apply to social networking sites like Facebook. You can’t expect to start a page and immediately harvest hundreds of fans. You must provide a lively, informative page that grows organically. You must recognize and foster your audience’s wants and interests. Be their friend. If your posts are funny, informative, provocative or any combination thereof, it will grow. I promise.
Sure, there are ways (think bait advertising and bargain incentives) to artificially inflate your traffic and followers in the short term. Don’t bother. I promise you that consistent, quality content pays off in the long run. You’ll feel better about it too.