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The Case for Quality

January 9, 2005

In “Blog design in the age of RSS”, “The Long Tail” author Chris Anderson suggests that the new shift towards RSS as a substantial traffic source means that the quality of articles posted to your site is beginning to be more important than regularity in posting in keeping people subscribed to your syndication feed (and thus returning to your site.)

“…it’s a behavioral change on the part of the readers: in a subscription age, where publishers don’t have to entice you back each day with a flood of new content, quality trumps quantity. Once they’ve won you as a RSS subscriber, it requires an active decision on your part to unsubscribe. This puts a premium on the thoughtful post, no matter how infrequent, and discourages floods of random miniposts designed to drive return traffic.”

I know this is true of my own syndication reading habits — post great stuff once in a blue moon, and I’m liable to be subscribed to your feed forever. Annoy me on a regular basis, however, and I’m liable to unsubscribe right away.

From a practical traffic standpoint, this means that as a small business web site owner you really need to do both – produce quality material (to attract and keep traffic from RSS feeds), and do it on a regular and timely basis (to encourage search engine traffic.) So, brush up on those writing skills, and keep them limber.

The good news is that doing so gives you a lot of additional leverage — quality articles can always be repurposed to article publishing sites to add more relevant inbound links and bring in more qualified traffic. Further, it doesn’t take all that many quality articles on a given topic to have enough material to be edited together for an e-book, which can be sold or offered as an additional enticement for site visitors or site registration.

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