Blogging: Sometimes It Pays to be Contrary

by Ron on June 8, 2009

When I talk to people who have just started blogging, a common question involves how to generate ideas and drive traffic to the web site.  This post is going to discuss how taking a contrarian view can drive traffic in some circumstances. Don’t let anyone tell you there is a tried and true method, however for driving traffic because if there were, I like to say, I would bottle it and sell it.

Last week everyone was going wild over Google Wave. I see a lot of potential too, but after reading about it and watching the first part of the presentation at the Google I/O Conference, I decided there might be a few things people hadn’t thought through and I wrote a post on my DaniWeb TechTreasures by Ron Miller blog called A Curmudgeonly Look At Google Wave. It turned out to be the most successful post I’ve written on DaniWeb generating more than 40,000 hits on the first day.

This is not a typical traffic, believe me. It had passed my best post ever in about 8 hours. The traffic was staggering. Afterward I was trying to figure out why it was so popular and one reason was that I had taken an opposite view from everyone else. All of the articles I read talked about how great it could be (and I agree it has the potential to be great), but if everyone is saying one thing, why just throw your opinion onto the pile? At that point, your blog post is just more noise among the thousands of posts generated on any popular subject in a given day.

So instead of taking the prevailing view, next time try and take the opposite view, even if you have to play Devil’s Advocate to do it. It’s a fun exercise, and who knows, it could end up driving traffic to your web site. In my case, it ended up generating more traffic than I ever dreamed of when I wrote the post.

Photo courtesy of Mr.Tom Long on Flickr.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tom Wall June 8, 2009 at 9:19 am

10 Reasons This Post is No Good!

Just kidding, great post. On a daily basis I find myself gravitating toward entries that run counter to the “noise” on twitter and across similar blogs, so I can make my own informed decisions on what is good or bad. I’m going to incorporate some of this into my own work, so thanks!

2 Ron June 8, 2009 at 10:04 am

Ha. Good one, Tom. And thanks. Glad you enjoyed the post and got something out of it. It’s just one technique and like any technique, you don’t want to overdo it, but it’s a good one to have in the arsenal.


3 Mark Sherrick June 10, 2009 at 7:39 am

Being contrary is good to do now and again, but if your blog is full of entries that say the opposite thing all the time, you will lose your luster. Expressing your opinion is a great way to run a blog, but if all you’re doing is saying “hey look at me, when people like something, I always hate it!!!” it gets old quick.

I don’t get as many visitors as some of the major bloggers, hell, most of them, plus most of the minor ones too, but I do get small daily traffic, which does seem to spike after a negative or contrary article, but honestly, I got my most traffic when I was running a contest – and one time an article of mine fluked into stumbleupon or something. But too much against the grain stuff drives my traffic down and sometimes it takes a decent amount of time to recover.

4 Ron June 10, 2009 at 7:54 am

Abolutely, Mark. You never want to use any one technique too often or it loses its luster. Being contrary is just one technique in the arsenal and one of many methods (some of which we will write about here in the future) to attempt to make your blog more interesting and drive more traffic to your site.

Thanks for the comment.

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