In the podcast that I published last week Lee LeFever mentioned the importance of going for long-term value over short-term gains. He was speaking about the strategy that he and Sachi have used in developing Common Craft. The same idea can be applied to a blogging or consulting business.
The power of explanations
A “top ten” list is a good way to create short spikes of traffic based on people reTweeting or Pinning your post. However, as I’ve mentioned before, most top ten lists don’t offer much in the way of value or new information. If you want to create content that offers long-term value that in turn generates long term traffic, create helpful explanations. One of the primary reasons that people Google things is to find answers to their questions. Create content that answers those questions and you’ve created something that can generate traffic for the long term.
Creating how-to guides and publishing them as PDFs has generated a lot of traffic for Free Technology for Teachers over the years. In fact, I still get traffic based on a PDF that I published in 2009! After publishing my PDFs on my blog I post it on Scribd or Issuu or SlideShare. Publishing the PDF on those sites can drives traffic back to my blog.
Publishing PDFs is not the only way to share how-to guides. You could also use Google Slides, screencast videos, and multiple part blog posts. What matters is that you are offering something that has long-term value.
So what if it has been done before?
Bring your own voice, style, and perspective to an explanation. In school sometimes all it takes for a student to finally understand a concept is to hear a slightly different wording. The same is true throughout our lives. Don’t worry if someone else has written about the same topic, publish your explanation anyway because that might be the one that a visitor finds to be the best.
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(And if you’re wondering about the car in the picture, that was the first car I ever bought. It did not have long-term value unless you count sentimental value).