Blog traffic is mostly a vanity metric.


I said it.

(Cue the hordes of high-traffic bloggers who’ll be beating down my door!)

What’s a vanity metric, you say?

Basically, it’s a number business owners like to focus on because it makes them feel good about themselves. And oftentimes, they aren’t necessarily indicative of a blog’s success (or failure).

(You’ll see why soon.)

These numbers include metrics like pageviews and subscriber counts (seriously!) — but not actual indicators of performance like profit, revenue, the level of engagement of your email list, for example.

Blog traffic, sadly, often becomes a vanity metric for most beginner bloggers, who will focus on growing blog traffic to sky-high numbers that they’ll neglect so many other (more) important aspects to their blogging biz.

Sound familiar?

The Traffic Myth_ How Not to Make Money Blogging-min

This is why I’d like to spend some time busting through the myth that blog traffic = blog money — and some of the things you should be paying attention to instead.

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Want to make money blogging? Don’t do this.

Focusing too much on your blog traffic while neglecting your email list is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a blogger.

It’s far easier (and more profitable) for you to focus on converting your existing email list than seeing if you can get cold traffic on your website to buy your offers.

To illustrate this point to you, let’s pretend we have two bloggers, Mary and John, who run their own blogs in the same niche.

Both Mary and John are selling a $47 product related to their niche.

Mary’s main objective: Grow her email list.

John’s main objective: Grow his web traffic.

After a year of blogging, here’s what their blogging metrics look like:


Blog metric

Mary’s blog John’s blog

Monthly pageviews



Email subscribers



Product sales



Total product revenue $1,786


Exhibit A: When more blog traffic doesn’t translate to more money.


Do you see the big difference in product revenue?

That’s because your email list is gold when it comes to converting buyers, not the (many) random visitors you get with blog traffic.

Of course you need traffic to grow your blog, but you need to have an email-list building strategy that allows you to send relevant product offers your subscribers can buy!

It’s far easier (and more profitable) for you to focus on converting your existing email list than seeing if you can get cold traffic on your website to buy your offers.

This is a huge missed opportunity for our fictional blogger, John. Even though Mary has less monthly pageviews than John, she’s winning at making more money off her product because she’s marketing to her email list!

So, remember:

Don’t let pageviews become a vanity metric for you.

Focus on the growth of your email list as a primary strategy!


Blog traffic: go heavy on quality over quantity

Sometimes people are so focused on the sheer quantity of their blog traffic that they forget actual people are behind those pageview spikes.

And if people (obviously) are viewing your content, isn’t it important for you to know where they’re coming from, what they’re doing on your site, how long they’re sticking around for, and more?

I’ve seen some blogs with monthly pageviews in the 300K range.

Yet some of those blogs have bounce rates of 90% (!!) and above.

(If you don’t know, a bounce rate of 90% is pretty dismal, especially on your blog’s general content pages and posts.)

This tells me that while the pageviews are high, the quality of the content probably isn’t so great, or the source of the traffic is poor.

After all, we’re not looking for more people to view our blogs just for the heck of it, right?

Aren’t we trying to get people to actually read our content, become subscribers, and eventually buy from us?

(Why else are we spending hours writing blog content?)

Don’t become the blogger who creates really poor-quality posts that result in bounce rates as high as the moon.

What are the consequences of writing poor-quality blog posts, you ask?

It’s a bit of a vicious cycle:

consequences of poor quality blog posts make money blogging unicorn copy co

So please avoid chasing the high pageviews if it comes at a cost to the quality of your blog content!


When the blogging burnout is real

I’m a big fan of sustainable strategies.

What do I mean by that?

Basically, if you can’t do something for a long time, and do it well, then you’re destined for lots of failure and missteps.

Think of crash dieting.

Or cramming for your finals.

Both are meant to be short-term solutions, but repeating the cycle isn’t necessarily good for you, right?

That’s why a successful, sustainable strategy, something you can implement over a long time and change as you go along, is far better than a short-term fix.

Let’s pretend you’re on your fourth month of blogging. You’ve been working super hard to grow your blog traffic, and you finally hit 40,000 pageviews.

But you also had to publish a blog post almost every other day.

And you completely neglected brainstorming product ideas, even though you wanted to create something your audience would buy.

And now, you’re actually a bit nervous if your next month’s traffic count will be just as high.

You want to keep that momentum going, so you go ahead and start drafting up more blog posts, and now you’re noticing you don’t mind if they’re not so good, as long as you keep publishing them…

Do you see how it’s not possible to keep going at that unbelievably fast pace?

You don’t want to be stuck on a hamster wheel.

You don’t want to be working for your business; you want it to be working for you.

My point?

Don’t jump into a traffic strategy that will overwhelm you, burn you out, and send you crying and complaining about how hard it is to run a business.

You don’t want to be working for your business; you want it to be working for you.

Because at the end of the day, only we make it harder for ourselves.


You have more important things to focus on other than blog traffic

Remember that fictional blogger I just mentioned who hit 40K pageviews after 4 months, but didn’t have time to focus on brainstorming a product idea?

That’s not a position you want to be in.

Getting in the trenches with your blog traffic while neglecting your subscriber list, nurturing your email list, building out products, and marketing your product will make it harder for you to monetize your blog.

When you focus only on traffic and lose sight that you’re building a business, you become a technician.

Technicians execute a repeated task again and again.

But technicians aren’t business owners. You don’t hire technicians for their vision, you hire them for their skill.

One of the biggest challenges I find in helping people transition into running their blogs is that they’re focused too much on being a technician for their blog instead of running their blog as a real business.

The greatest jumps in income you’ll ever have on your blog happen after implementing monetization strategies, not after some pretty spikes in your traffic.

So, just to reiterate, what are some other super-important things you should be keeping an eye on instead of obsessing over your traffic?

make money blogging blog traffic unicorn copy co

Give your attention to all of these areas in some way or another if you truly want to monetize your blog.


Over to you

Focusing on blog traffic without 1) strategy and 2) a bigger context in mind is setting yourself up for a case of tunnel vision.

You’re trying to get your business off the ground — not one individual metric.

If you keep that mind, it’s unlikely you’ll lose sight of turning a real profit on your blog.

Has anything I said resonated with you?

Do you agree that sometimes bloggers become obsessed with growing traffic without a real strategy in mind?

Let me know in the comments below!

The Traffic Myth_ How Not to Make Money Blogging-min